This weekend I finally got a motherboard back from ASUS RMA that actually worked (took 3 tries) and I went on a quest for a new operating system, XP was getting old.
I started with Vista Beta 2, the next generation of operating system from Microsoft. Being a cautious individual that I am with my data, I decided to install Vista to a separate hard drive. No go. It couldn’t copy the files from my DVD that I burned from their download. Try number 2, use the DVD that I ordered. Nope. Went to reboot back into my XP install, and found that the other drive had been corrupted some how. After much swearing and fear of loss, I managed to do a partition recovery with Active@ Partition Recovery v 3.0, yay!
For the Second attempt I tried SuSE 10.1, a very nice distribution helped out by the good people at Novell. The installer had some problems, when it got to the choosing which drive to install to. After some troubleshooting it turned out, that the recovered partition table from my Vista attempt was not all that it should be. In fact there was now an extra 5 mb partition at the end of the drive. Why? I have no idea.
So, instead of installing SuSE, I reinstalled XP, copied all the files off of the original drive, to my new drive, except of course for the ones that where unreadable. Disk check did not solve any problems nor did it find them despite XPs’ unwillingness to copy said files that Disk check said where okay. Anyhow, 10 hours later, data all backed up, completely wipe the partitions from the drive and ready to install.
Back to installing SuSE. It installed. It updated. It was rather disappointing, and I had issues getting it to recognize that my ATI X1300 Pro graphics card had 2 outputs, so my computer looked more like a ridiculous stereo-scope rather than a nice dual desktop system. I couldn’t figure out how to get the package manager to install unstable packages where all the good stuff is anyways. I also found it S-L-O-W. So onto my next choice.
Enter Fedora Core 5. Now this may have been a mistake from the beginning, but it was what I had downloaded and sitting on install disks, so I gave it a shot. Success on seeing that my video card should have 2 outputs. Failure on actually installing the ATI drivers. But faster than SuSE. But still not good enough, if I was going to give up Windows I needed at the very least faster and dual monitor with proper 3D drivers.
Enter Ubuntu Linux, or to be more precise Ubuntu 6.06 Desktop Edition. Now, here was a nice install. The CD booted into the operating system, not an installer. I was able to try out everything, get a feel for the layout and the possibilities before installing. Six step installer was clearly labeled on the desktop, merely asked my name and where I wanted to install the system. ATI drivers installed without a hitch, dual desktops where up and running with them both showing their own information (opposed to mirroring on both screens). I have to say that I like it. Nice and fast.
So 3 days and 5 OSs later, I have a working machine that I’m happy with. I look forward to getting to know more about the system as I use it. Most of my experiences with linux have been in the terminal world on servers, so this is new to me.