For those who asked, the new computer that my friend bought the other day will be running Ubuntu, without the preinstalled XP in place. I did mirror the drive with Clonezilla before installing 9.10, so if there’s an issue it can be flashed back onto the system and returned in an identical state as when it left the store.
I am rather proud of my friend for picking up Ubuntu a year or two ago, and sticking with it over three different machines now. I offered to make a split system, but apparently the one alone was good enough. There are still a few idiosyncrasies — the driver for that ATI card might be flaky, since even with Compiz “turned off” in the appearances menu, there are occasional artifacts from transparent pop-up bubbles (I hate those things) or in some applications, like the Gnome system monitor.
I will check and see if a reinstall is necessary, or if there is some fix for those early Radeon cards that will rid the desktop of scrambled, shadowed windows. It should be fixable.
The biggest surprise (shock?) to me was the stark contrast between performance with only 256Mb of memory, and performance with 512Mb. I tease the Gnome crowd a lot for being chubby, but I didn’t realize that the weight problem had exceeded 256Mb. That’s not overweight, that’s clinical obesity.
I wish I could’ve seen what was going on inside that machine while it was operating under duress. I can’t imagine all the garbage that must’ve been swirling around while it was trying to load, swap, display a desktop, manage a network, and so forth. Putting in another 256Mb stick was an act of pity, not generosity.
But still … a desktop environment that can’t control its own bloat, to the tune of forcing swap with as much as 256Mb on board. …
Quite clearly I’ve been working with machines with no more than 192Mb for too long. And running an entire system on under 20Mb on a daily basis has my perspective skewed. So if you’re a Gnome user and you’re bristling right now, feel free to remind me that my expectations are too far gone to make comparisons. Tell me I need to move out of 1996. Tell me it’s time to look for a real desktop, and not a hacked, whacked arrangement of console programs on a framebuffer screen. Tell me it’s time to face reality.
Ah, who are we kidding? I wouldn’t listen anyway.