I mentioned in this blog that I thought it was time to discover whether Linux was ready for prime time. Thus, this reasonably computer literate nerd decided to install Ubuntu Linux on an old laptop. Here is my saga:
Wednesday, October 10th
- Yippee ... my free Ubuntu Linux CD Rom has arrived
- Reboot computer off Ubuntu CD
- Answer five easy questions during install (keyboard, time zone, etc)
- Software starts to copy / configure ... take Spot the wonderdog for a walk
- Return home ... Ubuntu is installed!
- Hook up ethernet cable ... Wow! (I'm on the network)
- Play around with system ... make first attempt to install wireless card
- No success with wireless card ... must be tired ... go to bed
Thursday, October 11th
- Come home from work ... start work on configuring wireless card
- Google Query: Linux, Ubuntu, Wireless, Network, Install
- Hmmm ... lots of people have lots of problems with wireless cards
- Learn all about ndiswrapper
- Try to use lazy man's way out (i.e. free trial download from Linuxant)
- Get frustrated ... give up on old DLinkSys card
- Purchase new "compatible" Netgear wireless card via Amazon
Leave town ... run WhistleStop Marathon in Ashland, Wisconsin
Monday, October, 16th
- New Netgear WG511 wireless card arrives
- Repeat wireless installation attempts with ndiswrapper and other tools
- Hardware profile at least knows that I have a PCMIA card installed
- Much frustration ... perhaps card is not so compatible
- Google reveals many other people have similar problems
- Give up ... my time is not worth this aggravation.
- I will reinstall Windows XP (ouch!)
Thus, in my assessment, Linux is not ready for the faint of heart. I chose Ubuntu because it was supposed to install a nice clean desktop interface right out of the box. In fact, if I only had wanted to use my computer hard wired to the network, Ubuntu worked perfectly and was a very easy install. Wireless (and I never got to the WEP problems many people experienced) is a totally different matter.
Update later in the day:
Thanks to all the Linux folks who have contacted me. I'll try a few of the suggestions.
Update on October 17th (next day):
In the comments area for this post, an issue was raised over how the media often serves up misinformation with respect to LINUX. Interestingly enough, the Wall Street Journal has a very large article in today's paper written by Lee Gomes titled: How Far Behind is Linux. As the WSJ will not leave the article in the clear for more than a few days, here are pdf copies
You should hope your post slips by the other Linux watchful. If it doesn't then you'll get buried in some rather unpleasant responses.
Ok, here it goes. I will simplify your post into one sentence, see if you can spot the flaw. I tried to get Ubuntu working with my wifi card but Linux doesn't work. You seem to have fallen into the trap laid by the clueless press. Ubuntu is NOT Linux. It's one Linux distro of many good ones. Ubuntu is a very respected distro but not necessarily the best one for your machine.
If you take the time to learn more about Linux and make the effort to get Linux working on your machine, you'll be rewarded with a computer that is nearly impervious to malware, boots up and shuts down in under a minute, does NOT report back to the mothership on you, will not degrade in performance over time and is far more configurable than any operating system on the planet.
I don't know what your circumstances are with your Internet connection (you ordered Ubuntu rather than downloaded it) but my advice would be to download PCLinuxOS and give it a try, it has very good hardware detection. Another thing you should do before trying any distro is this: Google "your wifi card" with "distro of choice". You are bound to get some good information.
Linux is free but don't expect it configure itself completely without any user input any more than you'd expect XP to install itself complete with antivirus, firewall, office suite, registry cleaner, full suite of user games, and an "Add"/Remove program manager that actually *ADDS* programs. You may want to visit this page "http://faler.wordpress.com/2007/10/14/linux-is-a-no-go/", he had problems similar to yours. Which ever way you go Ubuntu...I mean Linux, or XP, good luck.
Blog owner (Rich Hoeg) responding to Richard Chapman (author of comment):
Thanks for the excellent comment. While I now appreciate your point about Ubuntu vs. Linux, the Ubuntu web site describes themselves in this manner: "Ubuntu is a community developed, linux-based operating system that is perfect for laptops, desktops and servers." Thus, it is more than the press that caused my confusion. My goal was to find a desktop version of Linux which could be easily installed.
As I stated, my install worked perfectly if all I wanted was a desktop, hard wired computer. Wireless was the issue.
It will be sad if I get bombarded with negative comments by Linux supporters. This was a serious attempt to try a new option, on a blog which focuses upon the idea that "knowledge should be free".
Thanks again. I'll visit the link you recommend ... Rich Hoeg.
Posted by: Richard Chapman | October 16, 2007 at 10:50 AM