Mom going to Linux

My mom asked me to order her a new laptop but she was on a budget. So I picked the Dell Inspiron 1501 with 1GB RAM and an AMD Sempron 3500+. It came with Vista, but my mom is’ not much of a computer person. She still uses Windows 95 on a Pentium 60 šŸ™‚ So the idea of teaching her Windows Vista scared me as I would have long nights trying to support that.

I then bought a copy of Windows XP Home, as I figured this would be easier to support over the phone. Then I kept thinking, why not go with Linux? Could it be any harder to support than XP or Vista? Actually, it isn’t. I wouldn’t have to worry about her machine getting infected with viruses, or any of the other windows type hacks.

I found this wonderful site on how to get Ubuntu running on the Inspiron 1501. Everything seems to work: wireless using ndiswrapper drivers, the Canon PIXMA IP6310D USB printer works using drivers from TurboPrint, the display works at the native 1200×800 using open source ATI drivers, though I don’t get to use compiz which is fine. Suspend and hibernate work as well. I even got flash, and music support. So far this is a great looking setup.

I did opt for a dual boot scenario with Windows XP Home on a 15GB partition, but that’s a “just in case”. The sad thing is, Ubuntu was easier to install and get working than XP was. šŸ™‚

One last problem I have to solve is the modem. The laptop has a Conexant onboard modem. I’m not sure if my mom will be willing to ditch dialup šŸ™‚ strictly for the price: $4.97/month vs. $25/month for DSL. But the ease of getting on the internet and me supporting here with SSH would make it worthwhile.

Next stop is to get my wife, Liz, running Linux as well. Then I’ll be Windows FREE at home, sorta, I still run it in VMWare for the few times I buy iTunes music.


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