My Dell Inspiron 6400 has arrived. The experience so far has been rather pleasant. I am cautiously optimistic about it, in fact. When I received the laptop (complete with 160GBs of hard disk space!) I set about wiping the bloated excuse for an operating system that Dell had pre-installed. I used the Dell restore CDs to give myself a clean install of XP (yes, it came with XP – not Vista, praise God!). By clean I mean to say a driverless wasteland of horrid compatibility errors. So much for Windows “just working.” After an hour and a half trying to find the Dell drivers for my Nvidia Geforce Go 7300 graphics card, I decided to take a break and try Ubuntu. In less than thirty minutes I had booted the live CD, installed the OS (I kept XP, so I’ve got a dual boot system – I still want to use Libronix), configured the wireless card (it’s not a broadcom chipset!), enabled the restricted drivers for the video card, and had a completely working setup. Meanwhile, back in XP, the only thing that was working was sound (no wifi, no nvidia video drivers, no SD card reader, no USB, etc, etc, etc).
Fast forward to today, and after another four hours I’ve got all my drivers installed and working in XP. Ubuntu, on the other hand, continues to operate smoothly and with far less of a headache, even with Compiz running. I never want to hear someone say, “but Windows just works” to me again. I will be displeased.
So, my computer is working well at present. My files are transferred, and setting up my shared laser printer was a snap. Now, if only game companies would start making games for Linux, I would be an insanely happy man. In the mean time I shall struggle through the trial that is Windows, so I can run Libronix and play a game every now and again. Of course, Battle for Wesnoth is a worthy game to grace my Ubuntu install – and so it shall!