Ubuntu Just Works

I recently downloaded Ubuntu 6.06 and tried it out on my laptop (an HP zt3000). It comes as a “Live CD” which means that you can insert it into a PC that only has Windows installed and when you reboot the machine it can load and run Ubuntu Linux directly off the CD to let you try it without installing anything. But you can also use the same CD to do an installation of the OS onto a machine as well.
I had thought that the laptop would be kind of a worst case scenario. I’ve heard of past versions of Linux having trouble with the unusual hardware that sometimes appears on laptops. I figured if it could handle that it could probably handle most standard hardware people are likely to see day-to-day. Graphics, audio, the touchpad, even the wireless networking hardware built into the laptop were all detected and worked perfectly. I typed in the WEP key for my network (using a simple to find dialog for setting up networking) so the laptop could get onto the network and it all worked perfectly and fast. It also had no problems browsing the file server I use (a Buffalo Teraserver) or any of the Windows machines on my network either.
You can install tons of software once you’ve installed the OS itself. Debian has always made that really easy (easier than software installation on Windows in fact) and Ubuntu is based on Debian. But the live CD has to include a set of software for people who just want to try it out and for those people Ubuntu includes some simple games, the latest version of Open Office, Firefox, a good email program, The Gimp (a photo manipulation application), and quite a bit more software to let you see quickly whether this is the ticket for you.
Update: Just since I tried this out last weekend it seems that a new version of Ubuntu has been released (6.10) with, they claim, many “exciting new features”.

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