Test driving the Ubuntu Windows installer

Test driving the




Ubuntu Windows installer

“Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.”– Mark Twain

Why Ubuntu

I know you might be confused. What is Ubuntu? And why are you considering this?

Let’s step back a moment. I been running two computers on a local network – behind a router. Both have been running Windows 7, which is a good operating system. But then Windows 8 came out. Windows 8 encourages you to buy new hardware. If you want to use the latest features – use the latest hardware.

But not everyone is jumping on the Windows 8 bandwagon. For example, in my local area:

  • The Carol Stream Public Library (i.e. where I live) is running XP
  • The local PC repair shop encourages customers to run Windows 7

Why Ubuntu?

English: Ubuntu Software Center Logo Español: ...
English: Ubuntu Software Center Logo Español: Logo del Centro de software de Ubuntu Русский: Логотип Центра приложений Ubuntu (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ubuntu is a popular version of Linux. Now there are spin-offs – like Xubuntu, Kubuntu and Lubuntu. But the first is the most established. They are used on around 20 million computers and backed by the company Canonical.

PC Mag did a blog post entitled 10 reasons to choose Ubuntu 12.10 over Windows 8. To be fair, there are some good rebuttals in the comments offered.

Getting started:

A good article I found is Linuxed – Exploring Linux distros . It tells me what I need to add:

  • VLC
  • Cheese
  • Adobe Flash
  • Gimp

Experiences and setbacks

Ubuntu is fairly easy to use. I had a PC workstation running Windows 7, which was created around 2009. It’s an ideal candidate to Duel boot.

But I didn’t know what to expect. There were some minor glitches. This is from a guy who used to work with both Windows workstations and Sun Unix servers at Motorola.

  •  The first time after installing Ubuntu via the Windows installer, I had to reboot the machine. But the screen was blurry the first time. I thought the system was broken. Apparently, it was doing some stuff in the background.
  • My second computer took a while to connect to websites. It’s connected via my wireless network. Perhaps it’s confused with the Linksys router being connected to the main computer.
  • I’m taking the Duolingo Spanish course. I did have about 2 years of Spanish at COD – a few years back. I had trouble in FireFox with the audio files. For one thing, it didn’t recognize my speaking when asked to record a Spanish sentence. I remedied this via speaking into Skype to their Echo service. This corrected the microphone speaking part. The audio output was no longer streaming. I had to choose either VLC or Windows Media Player to play the streaming sentences in Spanish.
  • The first thing missing was the Flash player in Ubuntu. The Ubuntu Software Center Icon had an install available.
  • The other stuff like Cheese, Scribus, VLC, and Gimp are part of the Ubuntu software install options. So is Skype – if you check the Canonical partners, Skype is an option. But I can’t get it installed though the Ubuntu software center or even using the superuser option to install in a terminal Window. A search of Google shows others have this problem.
  • Even though you don’t need an Anti-virus, I did install Bit Defender and ClamAV, but I just kept ClamAV.  After all, it is open source and Ubuntu does have installs for it and the GUI.
  • Ubuntu comes with FireFox, Mozilla Thunderbird and LibreOffice.  But I did add Google Chrome (Also Chromium- a Linux based derivative) and Opera browsers. Not sure why folks do try to install IE and Safari on Ubuntu.  Or why they bother with non-popular ma and pa size software browsers.

Plans for the future

Skype Voice Calls Work on iPad with Everyman H...
Skype Voice Calls Work on iPad with Everyman Headset (Photo credit: stevegarfield)

I plan on running Ubuntu and Windows 7 for a few months. If Ubuntu is a good alternative (so far, Skype install is the only big hangup), then I will do this:

  • Buy a good PC labtop that’s configured with Ubuntu. Some companies like System 76 sell these. But you don’t need to buy a new one every 2 – 3 years. Then buy a second laptop that you can buy for 3 to 4 hundred dollars at Walmart. You can upgrade these at a more accelerated pace, with the latest Windows operating system.


There’s an article I came across entitled  Tips for dual-booting Windows 8 on Macs.  Then I wondered if you could triple boot on a Mac?  There’s an article  How to Triple-Boot Your Mac with Windows and Linux, No Boot Camp Required.  But I noticed the software recommended hasn’t been updated since 2010. Perhaps one can duel boot a Mac and Windows, at the same time running a PC with Ubuntu with more horsepower.

Only one thing about Apple: the stores are a bit of a drive.  With Windows PCs, there are many stores that carry them – Walmart, Costco, etc.  There are also many local area PC repair shops.



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