A new home for a new(er) computer

The Pavilion is officially gone now, delivered to my neighbor with a complete dual boot system installed, with all the necessary updates to both XP and Ubuntu, a nifty screen selection thanks to GAG, and an acceptable wireless signal through the fallout-proof walls of this apartment building. In all I think it’s been a success.

Rebuilding it was worth the effort. The startup screen has XP and Ubuntu as cute options, with a timer that ticks down from 10 seconds before starting Ubuntu (I didn’t ask which one was the preferred operating system). Both systems are default and clean, and I warned the new owner that a virus scanner or malware scanner or spyware scanner or system backup management suite … whatever … is needed for XP. Ubuntu is ready to roll, with all the updates and lots of fun stuff already installed.

I also got to give a rousing pro-Linux speech before taking a bow and making an exit. I was preaching to the converted in a way, since my neighbor had borrowed that laptop for about a week and used only Linux the whole time. Handing over a machine with an identical system, plus a scratched out spot for a bare XP install is kind of like handing someone the keys to a new car they’ve been driving for a week already … and a tricycle, as a bonus.

(Actually, I say identical, but I left out some of the glitzier features of Compiz, et al., and kept it stock and stable. I also didn’t enable the “proposed” or “backport” repositories, since some of that stuff might not be trustworthy yet. Better safe than sorry.)

Anyway, in retrospect, here’s what I learned from the Pavilion.

Originally I wanted a faster machine for cross-compiling and for experimenting with newer hardware. I was interested in that particular computer because I had used it under Dapper, and I knew it was less than amiable. So I had the added bonus of a slightly curmudgeonly computer, and the newer hardware that would be interesting to play with.

Unfortunately, it only filled part of those roles, and only partly satisfactorily. I never did cross-compile with it, even though I had plenty of opportunities in both Crux and Arch. I just never got to a point where I wanted to try it, get it all set up, and give it a shot.

Hardy did everything Dapper couldn’t, and with no effort either. The hoops I tried to jump through on Dapper didn’t even exist in Hardy. Accelerated graphics? Click. Broadcom wireless? Click. All done. And really, that’s a good thing. But the challenge was gone, and I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that the challenge was something I had been looking forward to.

And with the exception of the SD card reader, which is useful for my digital camera, there’s nothing on there that isn’t available on another machine. So aside from that, and maybe some convenient USB 2.0 ports, I couldn’t really see anything unique about it.

Using it was less than enjoyable at times too. As I mentioned elsewhere, I disliked the keyboard feel, I disliked the position of the touchpad, and I thought the screen resolution was too low for the dimensions. At 1280×800, I felt like I didn’t have any screen space to work with.

And last, and probably least convincing, is that I’m using a machine now that’s rated at half of what the Pavilion could do, and starts in 14 seconds. I know my perspective is skewed, but why bother with a 2Ghz AMD64 when your 1Ghz Pentium III performs so spectacularly?

In the end, like I mentioned before, it was a good computer. It did a good job with what I asked of it, and I had fun with it. It had some annoying quirks, and I don’t know if I would pick an HP out of a lineup. But at least I can say that I’ve used a zv6000, it does much better with Linux now than it used to, and it’s a worthy machine. Let’s leave it at that. :)

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