Tuesday, May 13, 2008

No Microsoft!

So, I started having a bit of trouble with my laptop when I was in Iraq. It was just acting funny sometimes. So, I tried to keep it limping along for a while, but it wasn't optimal. Well a few weeks ago Cindy wanted to use the laptop and called me at work to say it wouldn't boot up. What a pain.

So, I come home from work and sure enough, it wouldn't start up. I tried everything I could think of (which admittedly isn't much) but couldn't get it to work. So what's the next option? Re-load Windows and start fresh. Luckily I'd already backed up everything so that wasn't a problem. So, I reload Windows and the computer starts working again. It was a pain, though, having to track down all the hardware drivers and such, loading them, getting everything working again. But, the computer was running again.

Well, it lasted for a couple of days, then it crashed again! So, I take it to a computer place here in town that Melissa hed used once before. They spent a couple of days on it, said it had been hacked into (most likely that happened in Iraq) so they cleaned it up and got it running again. I brought it home and downloaded a new anti-virus, anti-spyware program and loaded it. Again, the computer worked about 2 days. I took it back in and they said that since I had it on the internet "unprotected" for the 3 minutes it took to download the anti-virus that I would have to pay for them to fix it again. I was not happy with that, as you can imagine, so I took the laptop and went home.

What can you do? I was fed up with the whole thing, so I decided to try going a whole new way. I got on the desktop computer and started looking around. I found what I was looking for, downloaded the .iso file, burned it to a CD and loaded it on the laptop. How awesome.

So, what did I get? I downloaded the latest distribution of Ubuntu Linux. The install was easy as could be, and quick. Much easier and quicker than loading Windows. It even found all my hardware and had it working when it initially booted up. No drivers to download or anything. Great. Best part about it is it was free. I was looking at prices and buying Windows Vista, Microsoft Office and a couple of other programs would have cost me close to $1,000. Ubuntu Linux is free, and it comes with other things needed, also for free. Open Office is a free office suite (word processor, spreadsheet, presentation program, and database) that is the equivelant (and completely compatible with) Microsoft Office. It also came with Firefox web browser, which I was using in Windows anyway, so that was nice. And Gimp, which is a graphics/photo program like Photoshop.

The important thing is that my computer is now running very well. Much faster than with Windows. No hiccups so far. I still have a bit of a learning curve with Linux, but for basic computing (email, surfing, and my school and church work) I'm doing great.