With the impending cutoff of April 8th for XP support I had to do something. A friend gave me his Dell Studio 1535 to rescue some data from it and hack around with. I’m on that machine now and posting about my experience going from an ancient Windows XP system to an Ubuntu 12.04-4 LTS operating system.
The initial install was a tiny bit clunky because the DVD drive on this box might have an issue. But the setup ran, converted all 320GB of space, encrypted my home directory etc. in a pretty short amount of time.
Setting it up required plugging in to a wired network – because then I could get the Broadcom driver for the Wifi card in the machine. Once that was done I disconnected the wired network and connected to my wireless network. Then I did all the system updates. That actually required a reboot because the Linux 3 kernel got upgraded in the process.
Then I setup a share – and installed Samba so I could see the Windows machines on the network. I discovered that Libre Office could read all my Word and Excel files and even read Access databases using a JET driver. Cool beans – and my iTunes library – copying as I speak.
Next up was testing it with online video sites. YouTube worked flawlessly with the Flash player. And hulu works as well. The heavy lift was Netflix.
I had to install a piece of software called Pipelight. In addition I had to add a User Agent Switcher to Firefox -in fact right now it looks like I’m coming from Windows usin Firefox 26. Once I’d put those two things on the machine Netflix works without a hiccup now.
Overall I’d say I’m very pleased with the newest Ubuntu. The Gnome environment has gotten much slicker than in prior versions. I do have a disk with Kubuntu on it but I was looking and even though I’m an old KDE fan I just couldn’t do it. Ubuntu it is.
I’ve installed Clam AV on the machine too.
Now all that remains to be done is grabbing my Firefox and Thunderbird profiles and stuffing them on this machine.
But with all that in mind I really don’t have to virtualize me old XP box. I can just read and modify the documents right from the Ubuntu box. That’s a pleasant surprise. I had planned on spending a few days creating the image, setting up the VM etc. But didn’t have to do that. A++ Ubuntu!
Now I won’t say that Ubuntu is for the faint of heart. There are still some things you HAVE do from the command line. But as you can see, I’m already on WordPress too. In fact I’ve got one tab open to YouTube, another to Facebook, one to Reason Magazine, and this one to WordPress.
Speed wise – the Dell 1535 is a dual-core machine. And now that it doesn’t have Vista on it, the machine is pretty zippy. I’m loving it.