Last week I decided to install Ubuntu 10.10 on my wife’s 4 year old laptop as a primary operating system. My last experience installing Linux as the primary operating system was from the early Red Hat days, since then I had always installed Linux as a virtual machine using either Virtual PC or more recently VirtualBox.
I had to use UNetBootin to install from USB because the DVD drive on the laptop would not read certain parts of the install disk, but once it got started with the USB boot and subsequent install, things went pretty smoothly and I was up and running with a fully updated installation in 20 minutes.
I was amazed at how much the whole install experience for Linux has improved with Ubuntu. First of all, even before the installation started it had detected my wireless card and had me connected so that any updates could be downloaded and installed while the setup was running. And after the install, every piece of hardware on this old laptop worked, no driver issues or anything.
The only pieces of software she needed were Chrome and Skype, and the synpatics package manager made installing those a breeze, so I had this new laptop setup and ready to go in 30 minutes. What a world of difference. And now with the browser being the primary means for our family to access most of our apps and data it doesn’t really matter that the amount of software available for Linux doesn’t match the quantity available for Windows or OS X, Ubuntu is good enough for us.