I mentioned that I tried running Xubuntu GNU/Linux from a CD (a Live CD, I guess you call this kind of thing). I had been seeing these CDs of the various Ubuntu systems and the exhortation to try them without having to install anything. I was skeptical about how well that would work.
Well, it worked great. I wasn’t even sure if my old machine would boot from a CD, but it started up with no problems. (And with plenty of screen resolutions to choose from, which was nice after my earlier travails.) I didn’t do much other than verify Firefox could get to the Internet and that OO.o Calc would start. I was deeply impressed by how well it worked. If you’re going to try to sell people on something new like this, it’s great to be able to demonstrate it without having to install the operating system. A very nice “sales” feature.
I had hoped Xubuntu would run better on my old machine, as it is meant to be lighter weight for less-powerful computers, but it was still pretty sluggish on old Wintermute. My delight with how well the Live CD startup went was undiminished, though. It was just very cool.
My appetite whetted, I tried starting up Ubuntu on my main system, “Zodiac.” A P4 couple-a-gigahertz-or-so Dell with a gigabyte of RAM. And again with a pleasant experience. I’m starting to become familiar with the Gnome desktop and it gradually becomes more inviting and feels more comfortable to use.
I have two flat panel monitors rotated to be vertical, and not surprisingly it started up with just one of them in standard horizontal orientation. I briefly tried to get dual monitors working with some instructions I found for Xinerama, but it mentioned rebooting and I didn’t think my
/etc/X11/xorg.conf changes would stick. I tried restarting just X with the
CTRL+ALT+BACKSPACE sequence, but that didn’t produce anything like a successful result.
I really wasn’t expecting to make much progress on it, so didn’t do any more than take the one stab at it. I mainly just wanted to see if and how Ubuntu would run on Zodiac. It’s making me hungry for more, as I start finally taking some steps forward. Knowing that I have a lot of hard work ahead of me, to migrate a dozen years worth of Windows artifacts. A quick excursion is fun and safe, especially when the startup works so nicely, but I anticipate more frustration as I work at replacing everything I use in Windows today.
One more technical note: I got the idea from reading another thread that you don’t use root like you do in other GNU/Linux distributions, so I figured out to do
sudo vi xorg.conf to make the changes for the dual monitor. I’m thinking/hoping vertical orientation won’t be a problem when I eventually need to get it working.
So, what next? I don’t want to start dual-booting on my main machine for a while, so I’ll need something with more horsepower to experiment on and so that my wife won’t have to suffer at the hands of the aging Wintermute. She says she doesn’t mind, but it’s not really suitable for my best customer. I’m envious. She’s already where I want to be: using GNU/Linux as a primary machine. It helps if you only need a web browser and a spreadsheet, of course. Less baggage.