Is your computer causing too much trouble?

by Volker Weber

Ubuntu 5.04

If you want a hassle-free machine to access the internet, do email and work on office documents, most of the times it isn't necessary to get a new computer. Just remove Windows and install Ubuntu Linux, a debian distribution for ordinary people. It is actually much easier to install than Windows, comes with a full application suite including web browser, email, address book, calendar, word processor, spreadsheet and many other programs. It isn't as fat as Redhat or Suse, so it fits on one CD and you can download that for free from Ubuntu. And if you don't want to or cannot download the image, Ubuntu will actually send you a couple of them, free of charge. Ubuntu can afford to do that since its founder Mark Shuttleworth made quite a fortune. Microsoft could afford to send you Windows and Office free of charge as well, but I would get Ubuntu. :-)

See a full screenshot here. This is the localized german version; the CD already includes most languages and it will get the rest when needed over the internet. Yes, you can change the color. I actually like it. Very easy on the eyes.

Things got even more impressive once I started utilizing the second CPU by installing the SMP kernel. Which actually took only 3 minutes and one reboot.


Of course, if you need to buy a new computer anyway, you just get a Mac. :-)


I have to admit that Ubuntu install is better than many, but you have to beware that it actually wants some fairly high-spec hardware to run on.

It does not test the computer spec at the start of the process so I ran a full (rather lengthy) install on a Celeron 700 with bundles of RAM, only to find at the very end that I could only boot into text mode - I eventually fixed it by swapping out the first-generation AGP card for a PCI one.

So there are always traps for the unwary ;-]

Nick Daisley, 2005-04-13

Interesting. I have been running Ubuntu on some very very weird hardware without any issues. Anything mainstream should work right out of the box.

Actually, even 400 MHz/256 MB machines do just nicely.

Volker Weber, 2005-04-13

Very very weird? That sounds interesting - please provide details!

I'll have a go with another box then - I have a surfeit of computers here, none of them very recent. 8-]

Nick Daisley, 2005-04-13

There should also be mentioned that there is a KDE version called Kubuntu. It can be found at

Henrik Heigl, 2005-04-13

I don't have all the specs, but if you go to vowe's choice, you will find some weird 10 year old high end machines, dual PPro and such. I also had a notebook with shared video/audio memory. The only problem I could not solve so far were related to buggy firmware and grub. (Obviously the same probs then with other distros.) Once it got the kernel loaded it worked rather nicely.

Volker Weber, 2005-04-13

Yes, but one would want to avoid KDE anyway. :-)

Volker Weber, 2005-04-13

Die deutschsprachige Ubuntu Linux Community
Make your own choice: gnome, KDE or XFCE.

Not only vowes choice...

Henrik Heigl, 2005-04-13

Ein sehr amüsantes Statement zum Thema OpenSource-Betriebssystem für nicht mehr aktuelle Hardware gab es gestern in der Süddeutschen.

Volker Berding, 2005-04-13

Well, if you need more Screenshots of both Ubuntu and Kubuntu:here. But I also would prefer Ubuntu over Kubuntu...

Daniel Dufner, 2005-04-13

wow, nice of them to send CDs. i just ordered some x86, ppc and amd64 cds so i can test it out on various machines of mine.

wish there would be some linux distribution that supports microchannel architecture ppc systems, like the old rs/6000 that is dusting around here.

Sascha Reissner, 2005-04-13

Nick, sorry but what you are saying is rubbish: there must be something wrong in your setup.
I have personally installed Ubuntu-Warty on 32 MByte Pentium I and it did work in full graphic mode with the Gnome Wimdow Manager. Of course Gnome desktop is quite demanding and it's not pratical to use such a setup as most of the time and cycles are dedicated to memory swapping.

Even this limitation however, can be solved with a well descripted Ubuntu low memory install, which basically comes also "out of the box" (just read the onlyne Help or the Ubuntu-Wiky page).
It is to say that I made an Ubuntu PPC install some time ago on my G3 Wallstreet powerbook only to find that, surprisingly, OSX (thank ou Xpostfacto!) was remarkably faster.
But, as Volker says, "Linux on a Mac? Who needs that..." ;-)

Pieterjan Lansbergen, 2005-04-13

I like Ubuntu. It installed right out of the box on my pretty old Toshiba Tecra 8000. I have some considerations with this "if you need a new machine, you buy a Mac"-thing. From my experience (and I am typing this on a PB) Macs are beautiful. Most of the applications that come with the box are well thought through and well integrated (I excempt iPhoto here, but that is my personal opinion). However, even a system such as MacOSX has its flaws and sometimes solutions are much simpler on a clean windows system ... so at least for me the Mac is just another yet very convenient machine with its very own strengths and weaknesses.

Thomas Nowak, 2005-04-13

Old archive pages

I explain difficult concepts in simple ways. For free, and for money. Clue procurement and bullshit detection.


Paypal vowe