I rediscovered an old yet surprisingly powerful desktop PC which had been cast aside because it had Windows Millenium on it and the thought was that it had been infected by a virus of some description, ‘cos apparently it ran slow and kept crashing, meaning it was consigned to a spare room whilst the original user moved on to laptops.
Dunno why I decided to, but on discovering this sad, unwanted and discarded machine, I fired it up to establish that it didn’t really seem to do much apart from slowly open in a ‘Safe Mode’.
Now then, in other aspects of my life, I am ‘content’, or is that a ‘sufferer’, of Windows operating systems. I use Macs when necessary, as there are a few things they can do more cheaply than their PC equivalents, but I am also a Google anorak, especially of the ‘cloud computing’ concept and Chrome. I am even an early adopter of Chromebooks.
It occurred to me to try to install a version of Chromium onto this poor old machine, as part of my fetish for Chrome and all things Google and open source.
Some hours later I was still sitting there wondering why nothing was happening. The process was annoyingly long to produce a boot-up usb, discover nothing would happen, then try all over again. I gave up.
Wondering if it was the computer itself, I decided to do something I’d never done myself before, and that was to venture down the Linux route to see if I could at least get that to function. It did, first time.
In just one attempt I managed a clean install of the latest Ubuntu, and after a bit of fiddling about to get the correct drivers to get the audio to work properly, I produced a fine functioning machine.
As I said, this is my first venture into the FREE world of Linux, and seemed the way to go rather than try to install a cracked Microsoft Windows package or, worse still, have to pay for it! Indeed, the latest Windows versions probably wouldn’t install on the machine, needing far much more memory. Or if they did install they’d run at slower than a slow man from slow land.
Where have I been all these years? Ubuntu is very cool. Since the world functions on the cloud these days, my rescued machine is a perfectly fine internet browsing machine (using Chrome, of course), and, for those with a fetish for offline document editing, it comes with Libre Office, which is identical to Open Office, maybe slightly better, and provides all the main functions of Microsoft Word, but for free.
Indeed, my finished refurb’d machine is now being used again, to write a few scripts and things on and to surf the net and do all the ‘cloud’ stuff. It’s not fast enough to play games, and a bit stuttery on Youtube, but then I think Youtube was invented long after it was, so more memory is needed, but it’s perfect in every other way. It certainly serves its purpose and is a convenient and FREE workstation that certainly boots-up fast.
I excitedly chattered about my adventure on a few sites (Anorak Nation, Google+) and found that I was entering a world that others had been in for many years. Whoops, better late than never.
Certainly, Ubuntu or other Linux variants, will be the way I go with any further old machines that I would otherwise be retiring, guaranteeing them a new, and maybe even better, lease of life than they’d had as Windows machines.