Posts Tagged ‘Ubuntu


Happy Birthday, Ubuntu!

There’s a great post up at Ars Technica (click) which should answer any nagging “What the heck is JC going on and on about with this Ubuntu thing lately?”  It makes for a good (quick) read if you’re even SLIGHTLY curious.

Still flying Microsoft-free, and still loving it.  You should too.  Seriously.


Almost lost my cool there…

The Great Ubuntu Experiment had a major hiccup today.

I was fiddling around with my video drivers, trying to improve performance for both windowed and fullscreen video playback (mostly divx rips of some DVDs I have) and I somehow end up crippling my video settings, so that they will ONLY display 1024 x 768… on my widescreen monitor.  I HATE having all my stuff look squished, so I did some more fiddling and somehow managed to delete the GUI entirely AND get myself locked out.


I almost did one of two things:  (1) install Vista again, or (2) wipe and reinstall Ubuntu… and lose all the tweaks I’ve been making these last two weeks.

Fortunately, I kept my cool.  This was a puzzle to solve, and I’ll be d*mned if I’m going to wuss out in the face of a geek-problem of this caliber.

Long story short, I managed to figure out a password that would let me back in, boot into recovery mode (which I had forgotten existed,) removed and reinstalled several packages via command-line interface ONLY… and an hour or so later, I’m back to as-good-as-it’s-been.

And that feels good.  Original problem NOT solved, but at least I fixed what I broke in the first place.

Still Windows-free… unless you count using my wife’s laptop to look up all the crap it took to fix stuff.  And I don’t.  Or so I keep telling myself.


Forgive me, mighty geek gods!

My God... what have I done?

"My God... what have I done?"

I deleted my Ubuntu partition this morning, and gave the space back to Vista.  There are a whole host of reasons I did this, most of which I don’t care to go into detail about here.  But it’s done.

I really, REALLY like Ubuntu, and some day soon I’ll switch over completely from Windows.

For now though, I’ll just run with the rest of the sheep.  Baa, I say.  Baa.

Here’s how I did it. Fortunately, I already had EasyBCD installed, so restoring the Vista bootloader was a breeze.

I hope I can sleep tonight.


It’s pronounced “ooo – booon – tooo”

I like Ubuntu. And if you knew more about it, you would too.

So, what the heck is it? Simply put, Ubuntu is the easiest way to get a stable, high-quality, low-maintenance computer operating system (you’re probably using Windows right now,) as well as HUNDREDS of self-installing, high-quality programs (for just about ANYTHING you could ever want or need to use them for,) for ab-so-lute-ly FREE.

Zero. Zip. Zilch. Nada. Free.

Conventional wisdom probably kicks in for many of you at this point. “You get what you pay for,” you say. (Also, “the Earth is round.”)

Not true, friends. Thanks to the innovative concept called OPEN SOURCE (read more about it HERE, or watch a 1.5-hour documentary on it HERE), you can have (dare I say it?) better-quality, faster-running software than anything that Microsoft puts out, and it won’t cost you a penny.

I’ve been running Ubuntu version 7.10 since about August on my Dell Inspiron 1501 laptop. I installed it to where I can choose whether I want to run it or Windows Vista when I start up my machine. (Sadly, there are still a few programs tied to Windows that I need to use… the list is beginning to dwindle, though.) It took me a couple of hours to get it all set up, and a few weeks to work out some of the bugs I was noticing.

Since then, some geniuses found a way to install Ubuntu from within Windows. It’s called “Wubi.” (How can you go wrong with a name like that?) I haven’t tried to do it this way, but it seems pretty fool-proof. CLICK HERE to read more about “Wubi.” If you don’t like it, you can uninstall it like any other Windows-compatible product.

Also, you can try Ubuntu without installing ANYTHING on your computer. It’s called a “Live CD.” You just download a (big) file — about 700 MB — follow the instructions to burn it to a CD, then restart your machine with the CD in your drive. Wait a few minutes, and BAM, you’re test-running Ubuntu… no risk, no fuss. You decide you like it, you follow the instructions it gives you and install it.

Oh, the FREE programs. Gosh, this is so easy it should be criminal…

Let’s say you want an educational program. You click the “Applications” button (like a Start button in Windows,) click “Add/Remove Programs,” and you’ll see THIS:

Then, you can click a category on the left to browse a MASSIVE free software catalog (or simply do a search at the top for a keyword — “math” or “astronomy” for instance), put a check in a box by the ones you like, click OK, type in your password, and Ubuntu does the rest: it installs, confgures, and adds links to the programs you want in a matter of minutes. Uninstallation is just as painless — just uncheck the boxes by the programs you no longer want or need.

Office software? Yep. Compatible with ALL your Microsoft Office file formats. And did I mention that Ubuntu (version 7.10 and up) can read and write to your existing Windows (NTFS) hard disk?

And, if you CAN’T find the program you want or need in their built-in catalog, Ubuntu comes with a “package manager” program that can go out and find EVEN MORE repositories of free, compatible, software.

If you decide to give Ubuntu a try, there are LOTS of places on the Net, full of friendly folks eager to help you. These are some that I frequently enjoy reading, and have helped me solve several problems:

  • Ubuntu 1501 — A blog about running Ubuntu on (gasp!) a Dell Inspiron 1501… just like yours and mine. (He told me how to fix a slow-startup bug I couldn’t figure out.)
  • The How-To-Geek — This guy answers questions you never knew you had about Ubuntu, Windows Vista, Windows XP, Microsoft Office, Mozilla Firefox… and even those poor lost souls out there using Apple computers. (shudder)
  • Ubuntu Web Forums — If it’s out there, and it’s Ubuntu, somebody wrote a post about it here.
  • Ars Technica — A great site for news and information about a variety of techy, geeky things, from video games to viral genomes. (It was THIS POST (click) that I read there which convinced me to give Ubuntu a shot.)

Seriously, you owe it to yourself to give Ubuntu a try. Here’s the link again on how to get it. Just make sure you DO. Get it, that is. Really, what’s stopping you?

EDIT: I have been amiss in not mentioning that the seeds of the digital rebellion were planted by my Brother-In-Law, Tyler K. Thanks man.

The random musings of a 30-something, West Texas high-school science teacher. Hoo-RAY.
August 2020


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