> Hi Roy,
> Just out of interest, will Ubuntu run on laptops? I have a Dell PIII
> 500MHz 256MB laptop and would be interested in running linux on it, but
> so far, the need to run command line things has pissed me off enough to
> stay with windows 2000.
What did you need to run in command-line mode? I only ever use the command
line for richer, expressive operations, which is what a Command-Line
Interfaces are for. Examples: constructing a large collection of
directories as specified by a rule or localised screenshots with time
delays. CLI was important enough for Microsoft to decide to implement it
(bash != DOS). It will not be ready by the time Vista (Longhorn) comes out
if I recall correctly.
Auto-detection of hardware should cope with most things. To ensure it is the
case, you can run the live CD ('virtual' Ubuntu which does not require you
to install anything). This way, you can get a rough feel for compatibility
without affecting your Windows partition at all.
> I only use it for word processing / web access / newsgroups, in
> reality, a copy of Firefox and Openoffice would be all I need. Would I
> be able to get all the movie plugins and stuff for it? Also PDF
> readers, and the like?
You have got all the three that you mention built into the base. I am using
SuSE most of the time, so I haven't got a feel for how large the amount of
codecs in Ubuntu actually is. It does come with video, audio, CD players,
ripping software (IIRC) and of course can always be extended for free.
> How quickly does Ubuntu boot up, and how 'snappy'/responsive does it
> feel? (pretty subjective that one, I know, but...)
>From my experience, Ubuntu boots up far more quickly than the Windows,
especially once Windows gets bloated at the Registry level. Ubuntu uses the
Gnome desktop environment which is fairly light so it is very responsive.
If you want KDE, look into Kubuntu, which is great if you like eye candy.
> More importantly, can I have my own desktop picture under Ubuntu? :-)
Of course. You have about a dozen themes to choose from (windows decoration
and 'stuff') as well as the ability to choose a desktop picture of your
To illustrate the effects of some slight customisation (I detest the default
brown theme), I put a couple of screenshots up. It all runs on an old Dell
machine at work.
KDE offers far more flexible desktop picture management with on-the-fly
colour effects, automatic switching between pictures in the stack, and
more. See as an example the illustration at:
PS - To some it appears obvious that Windows no longer offers good
productivity (merely any revolutionary change since Win9x). I think too
many people are afraid of the change, which is the reason Shuttleworth
decided to include a Live CD.