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 UbuntuForums.org 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…