09 July 2007
I wasn't going to buy a new laptop, really I wasn't. But -- as has happened before -- Dell had a sale of just what I wanted, so I gave in and purchased both a laptop (much smaller than my others) and a new monitor (much larger than my other one). The laptop is an XPS M1210, relatively lightweight but with all sorts of goodies on it, some of which may be more challenging to get working under Linux than others. The monitor is a 24" one with lots of USB and other ports. Later I'll look up the specs or post a link for those of you who want to know all the technical details. I repartitioned the hard drive for dual-boot and a shared partition with Windows, installed Ubuntu 7.04, installed the Nvidia driver for Ubuntu, installed the printer, and got the big monitor working with it (as the main monitor, not a second monitor; it came right up when I installed the Nvidia driver). Most of my data files have been copied over, though there are a few things still to set up (shared Thunderbird files, for example). I'm delighted to report that Ubuntu's installation from the desktop CD has improved with each release, and several things that I previously had to do manually are now handled by the installer -- like enabling the wireless networking (it was detected like the ethernet and just worked, no drama), switching between wireless and ethernet (automatic), mounting the shared drive (no more manual editing of fstab!), and some other things that I forget. It was a good distro for newbies before, but now it's even better -- I feel much more confident now that I can hand a CD to someone (except the totally clueless) and they would be able to install it successfully without assistance.