I’m writing this blog post while running Ubuntu!  The migration is now (more or less) complete and it had some delights and some frustrations.

After spending a bunch of time trying, unsuccessfully, to re-partition my hard disk I decided to throw in the towel and just start from scratch with a complete overwrite.  To my surprise, though, Ubuntu installed itself automatically into a dual-boot situation.  And, even more delightful, it was smart enough to import my user settings (such as Firefox bookmarks) across the divide.

From there, though, things went downhill.  Networking was flaky and, after appearing briefly ended up disappearing for a few days.  It took several sessions of poking and prodding to get the network connection running.  I’m still not sure what I did or if it’ll still be there the  next time I reboot.

A similar problem occurred with the video drivers.  My laptop has a native 1280×800 resolution, but the computer was running at 1024×768, making the screen appear blurry.  Many more sessions of poking and prodding got that fixed, but again — I’m not quite sure what did it or what’ll happen the next time I reboot.

The only remaining major issue is that the monitor’s brightness is turned way down.  This laptop’s screen is kind of dark to begin with, and it’s kind of hard on the eyes when the brightness is at its lowest.  I managed to boot once into a bright screen, but it didn’t last and I’m not sure what did (or didn’t) work in that situation.

So now, I’m recompiling the kernel with the hope that I can enable some toshiba extensions or something that’ll turn on the brightness hotkeys.  Hopefully it’ll work — I’m mostly stumbling around in the dark.

Overall, I’d say that this OS is a long way away from prime time.  Linux is still far too arcane for even an intermediate user.  One of the more frustrating problems is the sheer number of variants and revisions that are out there.  I’d find several solutions to my problems online, but then I’d never be sure which, if any, applied to the version I was running.

Once it’s up and running satisfactorily, I expect Ubuntu will meet all my needs as a communication platform (email, chat, web browsing), multimedia platform (playing music and videos, and editing and managing photos) and as a web development platform.  At this point, though, I must admit that my confidence level is quite low.

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