In thinking about Vista being released and wondering whether I should upgrade, I also felt the nagging urge to "go legal". I wanted to get an OS for the next generation, but spending so much on Vista didn't feel right. As fate would have it, while I was out reading some magazines at a store I spotted an issue of Linux User with a full copy of Ubuntu Linux 6.10 (Called Edgy Eft) which is the latest version of the OS that has taken the (Linux) world by storm. It came free with the magazine so I decided to pick it up.

I am not new to Linux, having experimented with it over the years, starting when I was 16 and installing and using (only) Linux for 3 months. What an experience. Was it good? No it was bad. Really bad. Recompiling the kernel so that your graphics card will work is very uncool. I was using Redhat 5.2, which is probably like Windows 95 in Linux terms; it was rather crappy and useless. I did eventually get Quake 1 to run, mp3's to play and... that was about it. I couldn't get any OpenGL working (It was a Voodoo Rush). I eventually formatted and went back to Windows, and stayed there for the next 7 years.

About a year ago I thought about giving it a try again after hearing good things about the newer distributions, so I downloaded SUSE 10.0. What was cool was that I installed the OS off the Internet (Like literally off the net, no download first), what was crap was that it took 2 days to do that :( When I got to run it I was pleasantly surprised by having everything already installed for me, a graphical interface that was on par with XP, and full suit of applications for music, video, and even the latest version of Firefox and OpenOffice. It was really impressive. I quickly installed Quake 3, which involved copying it from my XP drive and then downloading the executable, ran first time no problems, I was even already connected to the net so could play against some folk.

Problems did start to arise where the music program (A Media Player rip-off... in a bad way) started making my PC crash. Supposedly just reinstalling it would have fixed the problem, but it would require a bit of command line. I also had a problem where I couldn't choose switch sound card I wanted to use for which program (I like to have games on headphones and music and movies on 5.1). Apart from that it worked well though, I could manage to do everything I could do in Windows, but I lacked the drive to really improve it and make it my own.

Learning about new features like the 3D desktop ( (think of Mac and Vista combined), and new functionality, with even more games and applications supported, I decided to give it a go again, my aim is to make it a full Windows replacement, with all software free (or relatively cheap), but still being able to do everything I can do in Windows. I also plan to make it the prettiest desktop on Earth... Why not?

I decided on Ubuntu for a few reasons, it's one of the latest releases, it's South African, it's hugely popular and my favorite bit, their tag line is "Linux for human beings", in fact their default theme is even called "human".

This is day 1, through my efforts I will let you know everything good and bad that happened, through the eyes of a "normal" computer user.

Ok here goes. I stick in the DVD and reboot. I get shown a really cool boot screen and click on "Run Ubuntu Linux or Install". From there it actually boots to Linux, without installing anything, it detects all your hardware and runs. You get greeted by a pretty, but plain view. On the desktop is an icon "Install". Double click the icon and the installation start, you only need to fill in the most simple information, first, what language you speak, and then your name and what the name of your computer is. Wow! There are only 6 steps on this installation and I am on step 5! This is frikking easy!

Oh oh, I spoke too soon. Time to make some partitions. What I planned to do is format my old Linux partition, but for some reason, once I set it to root ("\"), and click next, it says "Please choose your root drive" #%^$#!@^%#

After about 10 minutes of playing around with partitions, I realize that the actual installation is stuffed, so I try another method. I restart my pc and at the boot screen I pick "Text Installation". I must say that although it may not be as pretty as the live installation, it was in fact easier and more user friendly. In fact it is by far the easiest operating system installation I have ever done, comparing Windows 95, 98 XP, 2000, other versions of Linux etc etc.

It took about 20 minutes, and then restarted. I have it on dual boot so it asks if you want to start Windows XP or Ubuntu, I pick Ubuntu and boom; I am in my new fancy OS.

Unfortunately by then it was time to go to work so I will need to continue playing around tomorrow! Stay tuned for more adventures in a non-Microsoft world!