Friday, May 4, 2007

(K)ubuntu Installed

I've been toying with the idea of Linux Ubuntu ever since Windows Vista came out; it strikes me as nice to have an alternative when the time comes that I need a new computer. Shouldn't happen for a while - my Dell E1505 (running Windows XP Pro) that I got about a year ago works just fine (well, as well or better than any other Windows box I've owned). I installed Ubuntu 7.04 on my old Dell Inspiron 8000, as a dual boot system, leaving the Windows partition intact. I later installed the KDE desktop environment, so I guess I'm actually running Kubuntu. At least that's what the bootsplash screen shows.

Had a few hardware issues getting it installed - mostly related to the ATI Rage Mobility M4 video card that is on my Inspiron 8000 (i8k). Had to do quite a bit of googling to find out the correct way to edit something called the xorg.conf file. It seems that some ATI cards don't play nice with Linux. I've got it working, though it will still only correctly display a screen resolution of 1600 x 1200, which strikes me as too high a res for a 15.4" display. As a workaround, I'm playing around with the desktop appearance settings to increase the font size of some desktop elements.

Other than that, it works fine, and seems to run many apps as well as Windows does. In the future, if I ever buy a Vista box, I think it would be great to install Linux as a dual boot system, keeping Windows for certain apps such as Photoshop. I'll now know to research which video card to get it with before I buy.