I recently acquired the means to revive the computers I owned and operated during my college heydays of 4 ½ years ago. This just means I now own a desk, live in my own room with space, and got a commission check that afforded me a new monitor and a few needed peripherals. One of these computers is a 2010 Dell Mini Netbook POS (and I do not mean “point-of-sale”). The last time I powered this baby on was over 2 years ago and it was slower than the United States Postal Service (BURN! I hate them).
Even before I packed the Mini up and said my temporary good-byes, I had contemplated installing Linux on it to lighten the load. All I really wanted to use it for was surfing the internet and occasionally watching movies in class. Being a 10” laptop, it was pretty much useless beyond this purpose. Note that this was well before mobile computing was ever a thing. We’re talking 2010 here and tablets were out of the budget as well as the realm of anything I’d care about at the time.
So last weekend I took the dive. If you are not familiar with Linux, there are currently 169 distros (short for “distribution”) listed on the Linux.com website, many with their own versions and flavors. I did a little (very little) research and downloaded Ubuntu 14 desktop for a 32 bit system. Installing it was really simple, especially since I had no reason to keep Windows XP at all. And you know what? It was even slower than the shoddy XP system that was there before! What the hell?!
After spending several hours looking up how and what to remove through the terminal, I gave up on Ubuntu desktop. This is where things got a little crazy. You see, I READ that the best way to handle a light install of Ubuntu was to install the server edition and to build up rather than try to tear down all the packages I wouldn’t ever need. But once I got to the part that needed internet, I was stuck, because I only have WiFi. Frantically, I searched my things to get an ethernet cable that I knew I must have had lying around in order to directly connect to the modem and…
… Well, I’d rather not bore you with the details. Needless to say, one does not know frustration who has not tried to connect Linux manually to the internet with command line. This journey started late last week, and as I type this, I have eight different distros sitting on my external hard drive, waiting for their purpose, and a download of Point Linux waiting for me to find out if it is finally the one.
For those considering Linux as an alternative, heed my warning and get really familiar with executing command lines.