Revitalize your desktop

Now that I’ve got the new machine up and running, I’m trying to figure out what I should do with the old one. Windows was running like a dog on the old box, which is why I wanted to upgrade in the first place. Just for kicks, I decided to install Ubuntu, a free operating system based on Linux. I’m really impressed.

Ubuntu was easy to install, had no problems recognizing any of my hardware, and feels like it runs 3x faster than Windows 7 on that same machine. Even browsing web pages seems faster than on my new Windows 7 machine. Plus it comes with a bunch of software pre-installed for viewing/editing/saving documents, spreadsheets, presentations, photos, videos, and songs. All for free!

The interface is kind of like a cross between Mac OS and Windows, so it might not be something that some will want to use if they’re used to the paradigms of a particular OS. But if you’ve got old hardware and want to wring more performance out of it at no cost and no risk, I’d definitely recommend giving Ubuntu a shot.

If you use the Windows installer, you can install Ubuntu alongside Windows and choose which one to load when you turn on your computer. This way you can try out everything that you’re used to doing and compare (i.e., how does Ubuntu handle re-tweeting stupid things, watching videos, reading email, and occasionally doing work?). With the dual boot, you can then load Windows whenever you need to play on Full Tilt Poker or play a PC game.

As a side benefit, there’s almost zero chance that you’ll get infected by a virus or spyware. The people who make viruses and spyware target operating systems and browsers based on market share, and Linux has only about a fifth of the market that Mac OS does, and Mac OS is completely dwarfed by Windows (20:1). Using Ubuntu does not, however, protect you from accepting a check from a Nigerian ex-President / foreign exchange student who wants to rent your room / overeager Craigslist buyer who wants your car and getting ripped off in the process. That you’ll have to figure out on your own.

8 thoughts on “Revitalize your desktop”

  1. oops, i somehow said nice and liked this, when on my android facebook app, it appeared that i was doing that on your story about the txt messages on the iphone 4 from the demo unit in the store. weird. anyway, i like and use ubuntu also.

  2. Full Tilt won't run under Wine? You should check that. On your new PC, you can easily run a fully-virtualiz​ed Windows instance within your Linux system for Tilt, etc., and I can pretty much guarantee you won't notice a performance hit on the regular OS side (and not too much on the virtualized side, although it won't work well for graphics-intens​ive games).Re the viruses, there are other reasons a Linux system is better-protecte​d as well: e.g., being designed from the ground up as a secure, network OS, and also, e.g., having a much more intelligent security model.By the way, I'd recommend you try two other Ubuntu variants: Xubuntu (XFCE-based, slightly faster, and currently the variant I choose for most systems) and Kubuntu (KDE-based, slightly slower, and the one I used to use). You can install both easily from the command line and simultaneously,​ after which point you can choose which you want to use at (graphical) login. I actually keep all three installed on my main system because I like changing it occasionally and I like some programs from each environment. They play pretty well together.sudo aptitude install xubuntu-desktopsudo aptitude install kubuntu-desktopWhen it gives you the choice, choose gdm as the login manager (you could choose kdm or xdm, but I find gdm works best when all the environments are installed).

  3. Full Tilt won't run under Wine? You should check that. On your new PC, you can easily run a fully-virtualized Windows instance within your Linux system for Tilt, etc., and I can pretty much guarantee you won't notice a performance hit on the regular OS side (and not too much on the virtualized side, although it won't work well for graphics-intensive games).Re the viruses, there are other reasons a Linux system is better-protected as well: e.g., being designed from the ground up as a secure, network OS, and also, e.g., having a much more intelligent security model.By the way, I'd recommend you try two other Ubuntu variants: Xubuntu (XFCE-based, slightly faster, and currently the variant I choose for most systems) and Kubuntu (KDE-based, slightly slower, and the one I used to use). You can install both easily from the command line and simultaneously, after which point you can choose which you want to use at (graphical) login. I actually keep all three installed on my main system because I like changing it occasionally and I like some programs from each environment. They play pretty well together.sudo aptitude install xubuntu-desktopsudo aptitude install kubuntu-desktopWhen it gives you the choice, choose gdm as the login manager (you could choose kdm or xdm, but I find gdm works best when all the environments are installed).

  4. oops, i somehow said nice and liked this, when on my android facebook app, it appeared that i was doing that on your story about the txt messages on the iphone 4 from the demo unit in the store. weird. anyway, i like and use ubuntu also.

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