I just built a new linux dev machine and decided to go Ubuntu this time around to see what all the excitement is about. I had been a Redhat/Fedora Core desktop user since 1999 and only recently switched to Centos for my servers.
On the hardware side, I’ve been a big fan of the Asus Vintage line of barebone machines and have a number of them doing simulator duty for Full Motion Racing. They’re a great machine for the money. The box I ended up with was the Asus Vintage V2-P5945G. Another clean and simple design.
I had everything assembled in no time and popped in the Ubunto 6.10 CD. It booted into the Ubuntu Live desktop, i.e. a fully functional distro running straight off CD without any HD requirements. On the desktop was an “install Icon” which ran a very simple wizard to take care of installation. All around a slick, easy and trouble-free process. Well, almost. I had no network connectivity. It didn’t even see the network device nor did I get a link light.
After some research I discovered that this mobo (along with a bunch of other Asus mobos uses an Attansic Gigabit Ethernet device that isn’t supported by the current Ubuntu. For that matter it only made it into the general kernel in January. So I tried again with Ubuntu “Feisty Fawn” and this time everything went of without a hitch.
We’ll see how I like Ubuntu in time, but the install experience is certainly one of the slickest I’ve seen to date, more newbie friendly than Windows or Mac. Granted, the inability to find my ethernet adapter should have been handled a bit better, if only to give a warning that none was found. Really, if you can’t find an ethernet device, chances are it’s a sign that something is up.