I installed Ubuntu 10.04 on Dad’s new PC he got for his birthday.

I was up until 2am as the ISO’s had to be redone at the last minute so downloads didn’t start until about 9pm, then I had to screw around with fdisk to deal with the Advanced Format Drive problem with the new type of hard disk. It has 4kb sectors but to get around some stupid WinXP bug the manufacturers make it report 512byte sectors, which dramatically slows the drive under Linux.

Once it was all up and running the download repositories were really slow, like my ISP’s local mirror was doing 36K/s where it usually maxes out my connection at about 1M/s, so installing packages took an age. I at least got Thunderbird and Firefox installed and migrated over their emails and favourites and setup BackInTime to backup their documents and emails to the spare hard disk weekly. I also got their Samsung ML-2240 laser printer working using these instructions – basically just copying the PPD and raster driver from the Samsung proprietary driver.

Dad seems fine with Linux, Mum’s had some practice of course with her laptops, but I’ve got to go over and teach them a few tricks (like installing software) at some point. Dad’s already liking the Compiz cube and desktop wall etc. OpenOffice 3.2 certainly is a lot faster than 3.1 that comes with Fedora 12.

All I’ve got to do now is to get a few Windows games working under WINE. I got one kind of working but it doesn’t seem to be keeping the serial number in the Registry and hangs when you quit it. I really have to look more into how you properly setup apps under WINE, I don’t fancy installing Crossover Office 8 Pro after the last fiasco.

When I’m confident I’ve migrated everything over I’m going to install Linux for Mum on their old Shuttle machine and give it a makeover – new fan if I can fit one, clean out the dust, I might see if I can put a gigabyte of PC3200 in it and underclock it to PC2100, at the moment its got 768Mb of underclocked PC2700 in it. I might try fitting my old Athlon XP-M 2600+ instead of the Duron 750, not sure if the cooling would be sufficient though, but it is a mobile chip…. I’ve also got an old Radeon 8500 or even an Nvidia FX5200 graphics card which might work at 4x AGP. I’ve got to see if I can find the old WiFi PCI card we used to have for it – then again that thing never worked under Windows so Linux might be pushing it, I do have a couple of USB wireless dongles which might work though.

Update: I’ve rebuilt the Shuttle – the PCI wireless card didn’t work (its an AMD Alchemy 1722) but I found a Netgear USB2 dongle which works at 54g with Linux! I got the 1Gb PC3200 working and the Athlon2600+ works but is running at 1.5GHz instead of 2.1 due to FSB limitations I guess, but that’s probably better for heat anyway. The Nvidia 5200 works fine at 4x AGP, although its heatsink is a bit hot as it doesn’t have a fan. The case was pretty dusty, the fan grille was about 50% closed up and the fan blades would have barely turned I expect. A blowout and a nice new 80mm LED fan and its silent again.