Sunday, 27 April 2008

Bye bye, Ubuntu, Hello Debian

Sadly, the new version of Ubuntu, 8.04, didn't accept my laptop (an a few years old Acer TravelMate 290, without any strange hardware). I couldn't find any information on how to resolve the problems I ran into, so I had to ditch Ubuntu, and replace it with Debian 4.0.

This was a pity, since the new Ubuntu looked quite promising. The install is incredible easy and rather quick. Apart from the desktop background image, the new system looks and feels good. They appear to have made good choices when it comes to the pre-installed software. But this doesn't help when Ubuntu fails to shutdown the computer properly.

Installing Debian is not as straightforward, but still not very hard. It took a little longer, mostly because I used the net installer that grabs the software packages from the internet and not from the installation CD-ROM.

However, compared to Ubuntu, it takes some more fixing after the installation to get a system that your are comfortable with. For instance, the Debian people appear to think that you should prefer a web browser called Epiphany to Firefox... They don't even offer you the standard Firefox browser, but their own version, "Iceweasel". (There seems to be a totally silly reason as to why Firefox is not called Firefox.)

Worse, the default fonts did not look good on my laptop, so I had to install new fonts (by running apt-get install msttcorefonts, I think?).

A bit surprisingly, Debian supports playing mp3 files without installing additional libraries.

After a bit of tweaking, Debian feels nice. Still, I would prefer a working version of Ubuntu. It would be interesting to know what went wrong in the relationship between Ubuntu 8.04 and my laptop.

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