Following my computer problems of a few days ago, I decided to go ahead and make room to install a distro of Linux on my laptop alongside XP and Vista. I have to say, it was a lot easier than the last time I triple-booted. I installed XP first, then Vista, and finally Ubuntu. I installed Ubuntu’s bootloader to it’s own partition, which allowed me to use Vista’s bootloader to load up everything (configured with EasyBCD). It all works perfectly.
I took the chance to try out the latest beta version of Ubuntu, which is due to be released in about 8 days (as you can see by the nifty counter in the sidebar). Compared to past versions of Ubuntu I’ve used, 8.04 is amazing. Sure, the actual interface doesn’t look or act much different (it’s a little shinier, perhaps, and the new search function is pretty cool), but the main difference I noticed is that I didn’t get a debilitating error upon start up. See, with older versions of Ubuntu installed on my Dell laptop, the wireless and graphics cards would not work, and the alternate drivers Ubuntu tried to use would break the system, forcing me to drop into a command line interface to install a special script. But with 8.04, everything actually worked upon start up, displayed in my native resolution of 1280×800 (instead of a rather blurry 1024×768). I had to do some minor configuration to enable the non-free graphics and wireless drivers so I could use my graphics and wireless cards to their full extent, but it was much less work than before.
I’m definitely pleased with this version of Ubuntu. I still doubt that I’ll like it enough to abandon Windows, but at least I haven’t needed to wrestle with it just to make it work right. Hopefully it’ll just get better once it’s out of beta next week.