Category Archives: Linux

Dell Inspiron Laptop

In my last post, I explained that my work had bought me a new Dell Intel I7 laptop with 16GB of RAM.  It came with Windows 8.1 Pro on it, and as an experiment for work, I upgraded it immediately to Windows 10 Pro.  (I have 10 Windows 7 Pro desktop computers that I manage for work right now, and knew at some point they will have to be upgraded to Windows 10 or later). I do have 3 newer desktop Dell’s running Windows 10 Pro running that I have made to look like Windows 7 Pro. Since I have to support the users within the company, it’s easier to keep everybody on the same “look and feel”.  Every computer that I manage has 16GB of RAM, and as they need hard drive replacement, I’m installed SSD’s in them.

Unfortunately, the new Dell laptop came with a slow 5400rpm hard drive, and it went from booting in about 5 minutes before the upgrade, to almost 10 minutes after the upgrade.  It was so bad, that I stopped using it, and kept using my Macbook Pro instead.  Since the new notebook is mine to do with as I please, I decided to install an SSD and load a different OS on it.

When I had more time years ago, I used to cruise Distrowatch trying different flavors of Linux & BSD.  For this project, I decided to download Ubuntu Desktop LTS 16.04, put it on a bootable USB stick, and installed it on the new SSD.  Boot times went from 8 to 10 minutes running Windows 10 Pro, to less than 15 seconds!

Granted, I have a bunch of stuff, (Dropbox, Adobe Creative Suite, MS-Office Pro, etc), that loads into Windows 10 Pro when it boots.  But a new Dell I7 laptop SHOULD boot faster.  And yes, I could have installed the SSD and loaded Windows 10 on it, but to be honest, I am not very impressed with Windows 10.  The final straw was how long it took to do “updates” to Windows 10.  Again, I know part of it was my fault for not using it all the time, so that it wouldn’t have to “pile on the updates”.  I took the Dell laptop with me on a business trip as a backup, and it took over 24 hours to update the damn thing!  Good thing I didn’t have to use it during that time.

The Dell laptop is now a pleasure to work on, (yes the touchscreen works), and I plan to start using it more and more.  If you have an older or even a newer laptop, I would encourage you to get a spare drive and install a Linux distro on it and have fun!


Mepis 8.5 OS 64bit

This morning I downloaded the new Mepis 8.5 OS 64bit version, and installed on the Dell Inspiron 1501.  I had the original 80GB SATA Hard Drive that came with this Dell, so I installed it on that drive to test it thoroughly.  Over the years I tried a lot of different Linux distributions, but I always come back to Mepis, as it seems to be extremely reliable and stable.

After installing and configuring the wireless adaptor, I was quickly on the Internet and downloading a few patch files that were needed.  For a long time, most Linux distros have quite frankly been a pain in the ass to configure a wireless connection to the Internet.  Starting about 2 years ago, most of the popular distros have simplified the configuration process, so that now it is a no brainer.

I don’t seem to be having any screen issues with this version of Mepis, as some of the current distros, (Ubuntu and Fedora included), want to “freak out” on the ATI video chipset that is built into this notebook.  Everything seems to work “right out of the box” which is comforting for novice users.  Linux has always had an uphill battle competing with the two “for profit” operating systems, Microsoft and Apple.  Linux doesn’t have millions to spend on marketing and lobbyists, or for convincing the public that it needs the latest and greatest bells and whistles.  What it does have is large grass roots support from individuals, software developers, and smart corporations that don’t want to be tied to a particular vendor for their computer operating systems.

If you have an older computer, either a desktop or laptop, try downloading a Linux distribution and playing with it.  Start at DistroWatch, do your research, go to the particular distro website, do the download, and try it out.  Most distros have a “live CD or live USB key” option, that allow you to “try out” the distro before installing it.

A side benefit of running Linux as your operating system, is that it makes it impossible to infect your computer with Windows based viruses or malware.  Have fun playing with your new Linux box and enjoy the freedom of open source software!

BTW, I wrote this post using the Dell laptop running Mepis.

Easy Peasy

A couple of days ago, I was on Distrowatch and noticed a Linux distribution called Easy Peasy.  It’s a distro that’s specifically written for netbooks using Ubuntu 8.04.  Since we have a netbook laying around, I decided to give Easy Peasy a try.  After downloading the ISO and downloading the installer for a USB stick, and I booted the netbook, ( an Acer 8.9″, about 1 1/2 years old, with an Intel Atom 1.6ghz cpu and 1GB of RAM).  It ran fine straight from the USB stick, even finding our wireless network, so I thought about installing it on the hard drive.

Today, I backed up some pictures that Carolyn had stored on the netbook, (it was running Windows XP Home).  I stuck the USB stick back into a USB slot, and booted the OS up, and installed it to the hard drive.  Easy Peasy has an extremely smooth install process, and I was finished in about 10 minutes.  I rebooted the netbook, removing the USB stick, and was really impressed by how fast the boot times off the hard drive are.  After customizing the “look and feel” of the interface, I surfed my favorite websites using the preinstalled Firefox.

Easy Peasy has done a great job remastering Ubuntu to run on a netbook.  I give this distro a solid 2 thumbs up!