Thursday, September 26, 2013

One Of Those Reminders of the Advantages of Ubuntu Linux

I am posting from the Linux box right now, a Compaq NC6000 built around 2002 or 2003, so quite ancient.  Under Windows, the maximum resolution for the displays, either on the laptop or an external monitor is 1024x768.  I never thought much about it.  Under Ubuntu Linux, the laptop will let me go to 1920x1080 on the external monitor.  This has to be entirely a function of superior device drivers.


  1. Good, good! Let the Open Source flow through you!

    A note on how Linux and Windows are different...

    On Windows a lot of people install a second hard drive (D:) to install applications to. That way their data is safely on a separate disk. Even though during an inevitable Windows reinstall you get to retain your data, the apps still have to be installed because of the registry.

    On Linux, a similar tactic is to create a separate /home directory. With very little exception everything that you work on and create will be in this directory. It can be backed up without having to back up the rest of the OS. Generally I throw in /etc to the backups too since that's where system wide configurations are stored. The rest of the OS is expendable and in case of a catastrophic outage you can install a fresh OS, restore /home and /etc, and be on your way.

    I don't recall if Ubuntu suggests a separate home directory (although I recall they offer to encrypt the /home directory) but it's an easy change during the install.

    You can even set up a pair of extra disks as RAID1 for /home and ensure you don't lose data during a disk failure.

  2. Theoretically, you should install all your data under My Documents on Windows, which simplifies restoring the data later. The big problem is reinstalling all your applications, especially the ones that you downloaded from the Internet, paid a small license fee for, and now can't find the email with the license code! But that would be a problem with Linux as well, I believe.

  3. Linux has many advantages. It's not obvious how many of the advantages of Linux are advantages of Ubuntu Linux. It's certainly not true that driving external monitors is beyond Windows. I'm currently running an external monitor at 1920X1200 portrait mode -laptop goes to the screen resolution of 1920x1080 for watching movies - and I could go higher with a more expensive monitor - there may be oddities of installed video cards and updated drivers but I can certainly remember when Linux was for hobbyists who looked at the supported list before trying to ran a given distribution on miscellaneous hardware. Not denying advantages of Linux but display drivers under Linux often lag as Microsoft and the 2 video card makers will work with drivers for video cards likely to support Windows gamers while the 2 video card makers let Linux support lag behind.

  4. Windows is certainly capable of driving much higher resolutions, but only if the manufacturer of the device has a driver for it. For this older Compaq NC6000, apparently not.

  5. "Even though during an inevitable Windows reinstall you get to retain your data, the apps still have to be installed because of the registry."

    Actually, having had to do this for a coworker recently, there are applications like Belarc Advisor that do a pretty good job of moving software including registry settings and in some cases finding your license keys.