[plug] [plug-ctte] Linux enthusiasm - too good to be true?

Patrick Coleman pcoleman at iinet.net.au
Mon Jun 16 21:36:31 WST 2008

J & M Kampert wrote:
> About two months ago, I tried to run an LCD monitor on  my "Windows XP
> home" computer. It was a disaster: XP could not set the screen
> definition to match the LCD's needs. Possibly I could have fixed this
> then with a graphics card; BUT the old computer {My ninth or tenth?} is
> not a good candidate in my opinion for hardware experiments. So I
> recalled from my days as a computer systems manager/accountant [HP NCR
> mini computer systems in the bad old days of tape back-ups etc] that
> there is such a thing as LINUX nee UNIX which could get me out of the
> clutches of Microsoft without switching to [an even more expensive]
> MacIntosh system.
> I started to read up on LINUX, and developed the impression that either
> it's very very good, or it's too good to be true.
> I purchased two CD's from your Perth supply address: LINUX XP 2006SR2
> and then SimplyMepis 6.5.02.
> The first wouldn't even demo, the second demo'd under Windows XP but
> didn't seem to accept any scanners.
> SO, I decided to play it safe and bought a new PC with a faster CPU,
> more RAM a twenty inch LCD and Windows VISTA, the system that allows me
> to write this email. This also enabled me to download Open Office and
> GIMP under Windows VISTA, saving me a small fortune for software
> replacements. After two days of systems work, I got my old printers and
> cameras to work under Vista, but the download of a Canon driver for my
> old scanner failed, so I had to invest in a new one. Open Office and
> GIMP allowed me to continue to work  on my existing data from MS Office
> and Photoshop. 
> Then I took the chance to try and install a version of Linux on the old
> box, hoping it would allow me to learn Linux and so to eventually rid
> myself of VISTA.
> the results:
> Simply Mepis 6.5.02 did instal, and wiped out all the old Windows XP,
> all other software and data, BUT then demanded a registration number,
> which I haven't got, and the old box is not [yet] connected to the net.
> Furthermore Mepis did not seem to have loaded much of Open Office!
> I then tried LINUX XP 2006SR2, which wiped off Mepis but then could
> not/would not properly auto-reformat the disk and hence did not install
> itself. Now the old computer system is just an empty shell with only a BIOS!
> Perhaps I should re-install Windows XP Home on it and use it for storing
> back-up data?
> If you can show a way into Linux without requiring a Uni or TAFE
> course,  then I look forward on installing LINUX without eating also a
> box of panadol!
> But for now, I tend to the belief that the Internet-hype about Linux is
> just that; it's great if you are a tinkerer/hobbyist; but no good if you
> expect your computer to work as a tool!
> Regards,
> John Kampert, retired accountant

Hi John,

I'd recommend you try Ubuntu - its hardware detection is very good and it's great as far
as "just works" goes. I use it on my various desktops and my laptop because I don't have
to stuff around with it (I spend my time breaking Linux servers at work instead). Ubuntu
has become an extremely popular distribution recently because of this.

If you would like a copy and don't want to download it (if you want to you can from
http://ftp.iinet.net.au/pub/ubuntu-releases/8.04/ubuntu-8.04-desktop-i386.iso) let me know
and I can give you a copy at our next seminar.

I've cc'd this to our mailing list, in case anyone there has any other suggestions. If
you're interested in learning more I'd recommend you subscribe (if you haven't already) -
you can do so at http://plug.org.au/resources/mailing-list.

Everyone: you may want to cc John on any replies.


Patrick Coleman
President, PLUG

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