Last week, I was charged with finding a computer for a customer who only wanted it for Internet, email, and word processing. He didn’t want to add any games, extra programs, or anything else to it. My first thought, as I was listening to his needs, was Ubuntu. One other request was not to break the bank on cost. Lastly, he told me that he would be hooked up to a high speed cable Internet service.
Upon talking a little more, I explained my idea bout an Ubuntu Linux machine. He asked, “Does it do Internet? Email?” I said, “Yes.” He agreed that it sounded fine to him.
This weekend I perused the big box store ads in the paper as I do every Sunday morning and found the deal I was looking for at Best Buy. For $399, the package included an AMD dual-core processor, 1 GB of RAM, 19″ flat panel monitor, AND a printer! It came with Windows Vista Basic, but I wasn’t planning on leaving it on there anyway.
I called the customer, and they agreed to meet me there and purchase the system. They also decided that it would be fun to Skype their family from time-to-time, so we added an inexpensive web cam to the mix.
When I fired up the computer to make some restore CD’s (just in case), I left everything as is and timed the boot process with Vista; 4 minutes 45 seconds. And of course, trying to do anything, I got the obligatory “Are you sure you want to do this?”
Ubuntu 8.04 came out this week, and I inserted one of my freshly minted Ubuntu installation CD’s into the computer and restarted. Less than 45 minutes later (90% of it hands off time), I started working with the new Ubuntu system. Boot up time: 54 seconds! The printer was installed, the web cam was installed, I downloaded, installed and configured Skype, and setup his Yahoo email account for easy access.
To do all of this on the machine I bought, had I left Windows on it, would have taken twice the amount of time, and he would have had less features.
Moral of the story: