I installed Ubuntu 9.0.4 on an old Toshiba Satellite Laptop last night. There is nothing remarkable about that: the install went smoothly and required no fiddling or coaxing. Everything worked. It's slow, but it works.
I was doing this for a neighbor who had been given this for free. I don't know how old this is (it's a model 1905-S277), but it at least has a DVD drive so it must be from this century. The previous owner wiped the hard disk clean, operating system and all. That's why it ended up in my hands.
I suppose there is a way to get Windows back on this thing without spending a lot of money. The XP Home product key sticker is still on the bottom of the unit; all he needs is a CD and whatever Toshiba-centric drivers might be necessary. Maybe he can even get that from Toshiba and honestly - he probably should.
I put Ubuntu on because he needed something for NOW. He said something about wanting to take it to a meeting tonight; I presume he wants this to take notes with. The Ubuntu will certainly meet that need. It would also meet simple browsing/email needs, but it's going to confuse and frustrate him. I know that, so it feels a little strange to do this at all.
This really is the nub of the Linux desktop problem. If he'd never used any computer ever, this would be fine. Heck, it would be better than fine: it would be fantastic. But this is someone who is accustomed to Windows. Ubuntu won't be fine, it will be strange, awkward, troublesome. He won't like it.
Oh well.. if he wants to buy that recovery CD we can put Windows back. Too bad - Ubuntu looks good on that screen.
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