Monday, July 16, 2007

Know what's cool? Blogging from your installer is cool.

The pendulum is swinging back towards Linux again for me. As my wife has noticed and much to her irritation, every couple months I'll take another shot at replacing my Microsoft... er, I misspelled that, I meant Micro$haft (now I'm 133t), operating systems with one of the more popular Linux distributions. Over the years I've tried Red Hat (v4 was my first attempt), SuSE, Mandrake, Lindows (I think it's now called Linspire), Caldera (now SCO, those bastards) and an old Corel distribution. Mostly with varied levels of failure. Until Red Hat started the Fedora project, most of my attempts at converting to Linux we immediate dismal failures at best. There was always some level of ridiculous flakiness or some quirk that would irritate me enough to throw my hands up and run back to the known-devil that is Windows.

My current experiment is with Ubuntu 7.04, installed with the DVD included in a Linux Format magazine. The magazine is an excellent read and worth picking up even if you're a hardcore MS developer. But to make their magazine even cooler, each issue contains a content disc that usually has the latest version of several distributions. It's much easier just to spend the $15 and read the magazine while the installation chugs along, than to fight with downloading an ISO and discovering it was corrupt only after you began the install. But the magazine isn't why I'm blogging. I'm blogging because I am so throughly blown away by the Ubuntu installation experience.

Ubuntu has an amazing installer. They load the operating system as a live cd, basically running the OS directly from the DVD. You can then play around with the distribution before you fully commit to installing the OS, and if you decide to commit you just click the "install" icon on the desktop. A few more clicks through the wizard and you are on your way to Ubuntuy Linux goodness. The really fun part is that you can surf the web while the installation is running because the live cd loads all the drivers automatically. So I was able to blog about how awesome the Ubuntu installation experience is while the installation is running! Neat! Funny that installing an OS could be easier than installing some common desktop application.

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