With there being so much talk about the Ubuntu operating system, I decided to buy and install the Ubuntu operating system on my HP Pavillion a735w. I currently had the XP operating system on my HP Pavillion, and decided to install Ubuntu as a dual boot so I could retain my Windows XP operating system. An earlier article on AC described how easy the process was, so I decided that surely I could install and use Ubuntu with little or no trouble.
Before I installed the new operating system, I tried the live cd and it seemed to work without problems. I loved the clean look of the desktop, and while I was confused by the menus, I decided to proceed with the Ubuntu install.
During the install, everything went smoothly just as described in the previous article. I was pretty happy when I removed the disk and restarted the computer and booted up with Ubuntu. Ubuntu loaded quickly, much quicker than Windows XP did.
One of the first things I did was sample the games and play music, and that was where I found my first problem. The music tracks played, but I had to turn the speaker volume all the way up and still the music was muffled. It wasn’t until I did some research that I found out that Ubuntu doesn’t recognize popular file types. It is necessary to install codecs in order for the Ubuntu operating system to process popular files such as Quicktime.
The most important thing for me is internet access. Unfortunately, nobody told me that it was nearly impossible to get a dialup modem working in Ubuntu. It has been over a week now, and despite hours of installing driver packages and following programming instructions given at the Ubuntu Forums, my dialup modem is still not working in Ubuntu. Several posters have told me to switch to DSL or cable internet access, but that is not an option for me due to my location.
Since I do have XP still installed on my computer, I have switched back to it for most things. While there is some great free software available for Ubuntu, without internet access most of it is unavailable. I would gladly start using Ubuntu if there was a way to get my HP Pavillion online.
The software, such as photo editing and word processing, that came installed is wonderful. They rival costly Windows software, but because they are open source, they are free. It is the idea that software should be free that Ubuntu, and other Linux systems, thrive by. However, there are some that sell software, such as the modem drivers that I tried, for Ubuntu. While this type of software can be helpful, it seems to leave a bad taste in the mouths of die hard Linux fans in the Ubuntu Forum.
For that reason, if you are new to Ubuntu, I recommend trying to make do with pure Linux software. Trust me, the hassle of explaining to the world why you aren’t running a pure Linux box while at the same time asking for help isn’t worth the added benefit.
So while I love Ubuntu’s look and software, I don’t love the software and hardware incompatibilities. I did receive help in the Ubuntu Forum, but many times the advice was to buy different hardware. Or worse yet, the advice did nothing. I would still recommend Ubuntu as a secondary operating system to those with high speed internet access, and if you have dialup then I recommend that you stay with Windows. Unless of course for safety reasons, you want to put children on a computer that can’t go online.