My Ubuntu Experiment: First Report

[ubuntu logo]

As I mentioned recently, my father has agreed to try Ubuntu as his home desktop operating environment, replacing Windows XP. And because I promised to document the experience, here is what happened yesterday when I delivered the system.

Before I turned the system over to my father, I finished the configuration by attaching his HP 4110 USB printer. Ubuntu handled that flawlessly--when I started the printer installation utility, the printer had already been identified and I was able to print a test page immediately. Impressive.

I then took my father through a very short introduction to the system, capturing his issues as we went. The issues and my remedial actions are listed below.

  • ISSUE: He had an immediate negative reaction to the default Ubuntu brown background. Said it was ugly.
  • ACTION: Changed the background to a sky blue.

  • ISSUE: I had previously dragged Solitaire to the desktop, since he'd had it there on his XP system. However, he immediately noticed there was no icon for Hearts, another game he enjoys.
  • ACTION: I hadn't put Hearts on the desktop because it wasn't included in the base Ubuntu installation. This was easily fixed by searching for the name of the appropriate package and invoking the following:
    % sudo aptget install gnome-hearts
    Once installed, however, the game failed to start. More web searching found this thread which allowed me to fix the problem with:
    % cd /usr/share/pixmaps/
    % sudo ln -s ../gnome-games-common/
    

  • ISSUE: Where is Google Earth? I had forgotten GE had been installed on the original XP system.
  • ACTION: I downloaded the .bin file from here and then ran 'sh' on it, which installed the software with no problems.

  • ISSUE: As the sole user on the system, he did not want to specify a username and password each time the system booted.
  • ACTION: System -> Administration -> Login Window -> security tab : Enable Automatic login

  • ISSUE: He asked if he could still access AOL.
  • ACTION: That stopped me for a minute because based on a quick search, there is no Linux AOL client. However, since my father only accesses AOL via broadband and everything he needs can be reached via http://www.aol.com, no client software was needed.

  • ISSUE: He asked how to access his existing documents.
  • ACTION: We used OpenOffice to open several Excel and Word files and encountered no issues.

Those were all the issues noted during this first session and none were show stoppers, so the experiment continues. More news as I have it...


Comments:

Regarding Google Earth. A while back I downloaded it couldn't get it to work. Didn't know about a
'sh' to install it. Please give me more about this.
I'm eager to use it.
tia

Posted by Bill on January 07, 2008 at 10:10 AM EST #

Hi, Bill. Go to the Google site and download the Linux installation file, which ends in ".bin". Now start a Terminal, go to the directory to which you've downloaded the file, and then type:

% sh name-of-the-bin-file.bin

and answer the questions the installer asks.

Josh

Posted by Josh Simons on January 07, 2008 at 10:25 AM EST #

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