Living with Linux: Distro Distractions


(No, that’s not the new black MacBook… It’s the mighty Dell Inspiron 7500 kindly donated for my adventures in Linux.)

It’s only now, after my second install of Ubuntu, that I can appreciate what a user-friendly Linux distro it is. I had installed for the first time without a WiFi card present, and—big surprise—when I slapped the card in the next day I found that my networking options were, as the kids say, ”borked”.

For the record, the message I was getting was ”SIOCGIFFLAGS error: No such device”. I have no idea either… And after patiently waiting for help on I realized that I could probably fix things myself if I just reinstalled with the WiFi card present.

Of course, wiping a hard drive clean and starting anew presented an opportunity to try out some other Linux distros as well. Some casual Googling informed me that Slackware was supposedly a great choice for older machines, so on my Mac I downloaded burned the four install CDs via BitTorrent. But the install process proved so daunting that I instead turned to the most popular Linux distro, Fedora.

After more than two hours of installing and configuring I was all ready to boot up into Fedora when I got the same networking error that I had in my previous install of Ubuntu, so I slid in my single Ubuntu installer CD and half an hour later was back up and running with no apparent networking issues. The computer successfully synched with the Ubuntu clock server, and upon log-in I was immediately presented with a list of software that needed updating. I hit “OK”, and after a quick reboot had an optimized Linux OS ready to go!

It’s an interesting coincidence that this Dell laptop has roughly the same specs as my old iMac. also in the above photo. In my usage thus far, Ubuntu seems just a tick faster than Mac OS X Jaguar on that machine…






2 responses to “Living with Linux: Distro Distractions”

  1. Chris Avatar

    Ok so here’s the deal. I’m going to have to buy a new computer in the next year or two. I’m not one of those upgrade constantly guys; I keep my computers till I really can’t use them any more. I’m thinking of going for a laptop, now I’m a PC guy now, how would you convince me to go Mac? Any links would be ok too. I just want to cover all my bases before I invest for the long-term future.

  2. Andrew Currie Avatar

    My favourite question… 😎

    The single biggest reason to switch to Mac would be the complete and absolute lack of spyware and viruses available to infect it. A couple of months ago I installed a freeware anti-virus app just to be on the safe side, but quickly found that I had no need for it!

    You’ll definitely pay a premium for Mac hardware, but for design snobs like me the superior graphic, music and video apps, plus the general visual experience of using the computer are well worth it.

    But if you’d rather hold off I’m still betting that Apple will someday release a generic version of their OS which will run on any Intel box—then you can have the best of both worlds!

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