If you've read my previous blogs, you'll see that I've been using Ubuntu Dapper Drake (6.06) since it was "Flight 6." I still chose to reformat/reinstall on my notebook instead of just doing an "apt-get upgrade" in order to find out how well it supports my notebook's peripherals out of the box.
I was in for a pleasant surprise. First off, the installer CD was actually part of a "live CD" which means you boot it and you get an instantly usable Linux desktop. There's only an icon there labeled "Install" which you can click to actually install Ubuntu on your machine. Second, the install took probably less than 20 minutes. This is a pleasant development in today's OS installs upwards of 45 minutes, like Windows and other Linux distros (including the older Ubuntus). And to think my machine is just a lowly Celeron M 1.3 GHz!
Third, X Window defaulted to 1024x768 on my machine. Wow...I know this is not interesting to Windows folks, but with previous versions of Ubuntu (and perhaps other distros too) my notebook with Intel 855GM video defaults to 640x480. Previously I had to install the 915resolution utility and meddle with xorg.conf to get to 1024x768.
The most surprising of all this is that my Ralink RT61 wireless worked out of the box! Granted I had to do a "ifconfig ra0 up; dhclient ra0" command to make it work the first time...but this is the first time a Linux distro worked on my notebook's wifi without requiring driver compilation and all that kernel magic. This is definitely a very positive development. I mean...even Windows XP couldn't detect my wifi at first. (To be fair, though, WinXP came out in 2001 so it's not surprising for it to be unable to detect my wifi card until a driver was installed.) I proceeded to modify the /etc/network/interfaces file in order to include the wireless device (ra0) in its initialization list upon bootup.
Other plus factors for Ubuntu 6.06: fast bootup time (comparable to WinXP), great icons and slick themes...Ubuntu and desktop Linux in general are just going to get better, folks.
06-12-2006 7:12 AM