The Little Sister Experiment

So my little sister bought a shiny new Thinkpad SL400, preinstalled with Windows Vista. Its a decent machine for 600 bucks, but she wascomplaining about it being slow, and the wifi being flaky. She knows I use Linux, and asked me to install it on her computer to give it a try. After briefly showing her the liveCD, she gave me the go-ahead to put Ubuntu on the computer. The install of Ubuntu 8.10 went smoothly, absolutely no problems. The hardest thing about the whole install was resizing the Windows NTFS partition for a dual boot install. Turns out Windows isn’t very good at cleaning up its own filesystem, so I had to log into Windows and run some sort of windows fsck-wannabe in order to get gparted to work with the partition. Once the partitioning was done, the install went smoothly. Everything, from the webcam to the wifi to the graphics worked out of the box, which was very pleasing. My only Ubuntu installation has been on my laptop since Fiesty Fawn,  (upgrading via apt, not fresh-installing every time), so I was happy to get the chance to see first hand the progress Ubuntu has made towards becoming more of an out-of-the-box distribution. Its probably also a testament to Intel’s superb driver support for Linux, as every chipset on the laptop (pretty much) is Intel.
I threw some pink-ish GTK2 theme on the computer, tricked out compiz a bit, and put avant-window-navigator at the bottom, and it was ready to go. I couldnt find a suitable GUI-based webcam program that worked (cheese didn’t work…), but I was able to get some command line utility to take a picture for me, and the driver (ibmcam) seems to be working correctly. If you have any suggestions for webcam programs, leave a comment! By the second day, my sister was saying that she liked Ubuntu better than Vista. It’s been a week, and she hasn’t complained about anything yet. Chalk one up for open source, I guess… 😀

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6 Responses to The Little Sister Experiment

  1. tarkam says:

    Good experiment, you should post a screenhot of the desktop.

  2. stlouisubntu says:

    For webcam try UCView which works well on the eeepc

    http://www.unicap-imaging.org

  3. I find you can use Ekiga to test the camera. Just run through the initial config screens with nothing important just so you can run it.

    Skype?

    aMSN?

    Cheers and nice work. Your sister won’t look back now.

  4. Dominik says:

    It is very often like that cheese doesn’t work. In this case you should add via repository some drivers. If this won’t work look up for beta versions. Moreover there are also non-integrated drivers out there. So good luck with that.

  5. Michael says:

    What webcam software was your little sister using under Windows?

    AFAIK, there are several chat clients that will utilize your webcam such as aMSN and Skype. If I recall correctly though, there was a GStreamer bug that gave some difficulties with Cheese and some webcams. Check the forums:

    http://ubuntuforums.org

  6. peperules says:

    yay. i like hearing these stories.

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