This is part two of the XP vs Ubuntu setup time test.
The test turned out to be less scientific than I had first thought. The machine that was due to get Kubuntu installed on it was a former Windows 2000 machine. I hadn’t checked the specs with the friend that I ‘rescued’ the machine from, and hadn’t even booted the machine up – I’d just assumed that it would be powerful enough to run Kubuntu with all its eye candy.
The machine turned out to be a 900Mhz Intel with 256MB RAM, a very slow, small hard drive, and a Riva TNT 16MB AGP graphics card.
Interestingly enough, the actual install of Kubuntu was 12 minutes faster than the XP installation on a faster, newer machine. After installation, the machine booted to an 800×600 desktop, but it did have internet access.
Unfortunately, the NVidia Legacy drivers didn’t want to work with Kubuntu 8.10. The machine also ran appallingly slowly.
I have plenty of spare bits lying around so put some more memory in the machine, and upgraded the graphics card to a Geforce 3. I decided that Xubuntu would be a better choice performance wise, since the KDE desktop eye candy wasn’t really needed anyway.
Xubuntu installed nice and quickly, but the desktop was still in 800×600. Installing the NVidia 86 drivers didn’t help – in fact after enabling the restricted drivers the desktop shrank to 640×480! It took a couple of hours of messing around with Xorg.conf (and the X recovery tool) to persuade it to boot in 1024×768. Once that was set up, however, everything else worked perfectly. Installing the available updates and restricted packages required to be able to watch videos, etc, was a semi-unattended task which took about 3 hours – mostly because our net connection has been crawling for the past few days.
Getting Xubuntu up and running was fast and easy, except for the issue with the desktop resolution. I did try using EnvyNG, but in the end dropping down to the command line turned out to be the solution. It’s impressive that Xubuntu installs so quickly, but I could imagine many ‘normal users’ giving up if faced with similar graphics problems.
Now that the Xubuntu box is up and running, I plan to use it for C++ and Python work (freeing up my Windows setup for gaming!), but I must admit, I’m falling in love with Kontact and K-Mail.