Experience of installing my first Ubuntu OS on an old Dell PC

Last night I  reformatted my my PC and installed Ubuntu Feisty Fawn beta on it, the first client PC we have moved completely to open source.

I had tried the ISO version as a demo which was slow, but seemed to work ok.  As it is a spare PC at home, it didnt matter if it didn’t work, as the exercise was really just an experimental  confidence booster.

Cutting straight to it, it worked. Fine, easy, no problems, no crashes, worked first time around.  As its primarily a “social” PC, its mainly used for web surfing (95%) and some skype and saving family photos. Skype went on fine, sound card worked ok, USB2 external HDD, everything.

The only unresoved issue is streaming real player for watching the BBC newscasts, but I gave up after 10 minutes – I’ll get back to it later.

Fundamentally, this has given me a lot of confidence in the ease of installing ubuntu and its stability on thick client PCs.

My first working day of using Write and Calc rather than Word and Excel has gone fine, no problems.

I like this open source stuff – full steam ahead!

  • Sounds like your well on your way and so far so good. Great to here!

    Automatix (www.getautomatix.com)was just released for Ubuntu Feisty. Automatix helps you to install some “extras” on a Ubuntu system. I suggest you check it out as it may help you get common non free stuff installed with little to no work at all.



  • Matthew Flaschen

    I’m glad things are working out for you. The reason the ISO is slow is that it installs nothing to disk (a CD is much slower than the hard drive). I would recommend against installing Automatix. Matt Zimmerman (Ubuntu’s chief dev) said, “I cannot recommend the use of this program, and systems where it has been used cannot be supported with a clean and official upgrade path.” (https://lists.ubuntu.com/archives/sounder/2006-November/009117.html). Basically, it does things in a hackish way, and that can sometimes cause problems. Real Player isn’t installed by default because it’s proprietary. If you want to install it anyway, follow the instructions at https://help.ubuntu.com/community/RealplayerInstallationMethods.

  • The Real Player instructions on help.ubuntu.com are a little outdated, but on the right track; for Feisty you (currently) should install the Edgy version (there will almost surely be a Feisty version, but probably not until a few weeks after Feisty is released). Here’s the line for that, otherwise following the help page instructions:

    deb http://archive.canonical.com/ubuntu/ edgy-commercial main

    Once installed, you can confirm installation by going into Firefox and typing “about:plugins” (no quotes) in the address bar and looking for an entry that reads “Helix DNA Plugin: RealPlayer G2 Plug-In Compatible”