So, now that Microsoft has decided to stop supporting XP
and their only suggestion is to spend a few hundred or a few thousand on a new PC and move on to their much hated Windows 8 platform, I decided to try another route.
I have a little HP netbook. It’s always been a little doggy, but I only used it for a word processor so it wasn’t a problem that it was slow. Now that the XP software that is on it is losing support, I decided to load Linux on it to see what it would be like.
I’m a Unix admin and I’ve been hearing great things about Linux for many years but haven’t really had the time nor the extra computer to run it on. This little machine seemed the perfect choice to experiment with.
I chose a version of Ubuntu that was designed for netbooks and was supposed to be less demanding of resources so it could run faster on a lower power machine. It took me about 45 minutes to find an operating system, the software to load it onto a bootable jump drive, and then to load that software onto something I could boot my little netbook to. The actual reformatting of the netbook's harddrive and installation of the software took a little longer (maybe 3 hours – but that included reading documentation) but when it was all over, I got a little netbook that runs almost as speedily with 1 GB of ram as my 8 GB Windows 7 PC. The whole operating system is slick, with a minimalist feel and none of the bloatware that comes on any PC you could purchase these days. More importantly, it’s NOT Windows 8.
So far, I’ve found a software package in Linux to do everything a casual user might want to do plus a few that are specifically for my artwork! Inkscape and Audacity – two programs that I already use on my Windows machine – and GIMP, an art program. If I didn’t already have a lot invested in windows programs on my main machine, I’d be seriously considering moving over to Linux on it too. I probably will move my daughter over and my son too – the next time they want new machines. Nobody I know who has Windows 8 likes it, and since windows is determined to force it down everyone’s throats – I thought I’d offer an alternative.
Linux is slick and as professional looking an operating system as I have ever seen. It’s quick, small and clean and best of all, it and most of the apps for it ARE FREE.