Sunday, May 16, 2010

Resurrecting my old lap top

I have had my Toshiba lap top for four years and I have been thrilled with its performance. I have dragged it around the world with me, and I used it as a PC - far more hours than is recommended for a lap top. But over the last few months it has been driving me mad - it's been really slow and I had to keep re-booting every five minutes. So in view of the advice I received years ago that lap tops only last three years, I thought I was justified in buying a new one, which is what I did.

Ditching Windows
I have to confess that before I forked out $1000 for a new lap top, I had a chat with Wayne Mackintosh who is a strong advocate of open source and open access resources. Wayne suggested that I strip Windows off my lap top and install Ubuntu, which is an operating system the same as Windows, but it has been developed over the years by the open source movement. But I was too nervous to do that, so chose to buy a new lap top with Windows.

Testing Ubuntu
Instead of throwing out my old lap top, I thought I would have nothing to lose if I installed Ubuntu on it, just to see what it looks like and how it works. The first thing to say about Ubuntu is that it is free and was painless to install.

How I am getting on
I hate to admit it...especially to Wayne who will only say "I told you so" old lap top has a new lease of life. In fact, it is operating faster than my new lap top. I have to confess, I wish I hadn't wasted my money on a new lap top....but there you are...I'm living and learning :)

Introducing Open Office
The other advantage to installing Ubuntu is that Open Office was also installed. Open Office is a free alternative to Microsoft Office. In my next post I'll talk a little about why you should think about trying out Open Office, especially if you are a non-profit organisation or student, and in the position that you cannot afford to buy the latest version of Office.

Do you use Linux or Ubuntu? How do you get on with it?


Jo Fothergill said...

When my daughters old toshiba gave up the ghost and we couldn't reinstall XP on it we tried Ubuntu - which worked just fine - now I have it in my classroom as one of the laptops for my kids (Year 5) - I did the same with another old desktop that I scrounged up - my kids now have the option of mac osx, ubuntu or xp to use in the class.

Sarah Stewart said...

Jo: Having said I wish I didn't have two lap tops, as you say, it is good to be able to show people Wayne would's important to give people choice as opposed to imposing one single thing on them.

starpath said...

After having major computer re-arrangements, I am going to try Ubuntu on my old laptop. It has Vista which has not been as satisfactory as XP. I am running a Macbook Pro with Parallels (with Windows 7), in order to be able to run NVivo software, then also running Windows 7 on a new PC, so have all systems covered. There are so many choices. Upheavals, planned or unplanned at least require an update of newer options. But these readjustments are always disruptive and time consuming. Open source, open access and collaborative efforts are wonderful.

Wayne Mackintosh said...

Great post --- experimenting with alternate operating systems is a good example of "life-long learning" :-) --- You'll enjoy the journey not too mention the freedom you have regained for your old notebook and new friends you'll pick up along the way. Have a great weekend!

Sarah Stewart said...

Hello Wayne and Starpath

Looks like I'm going to have to do the same thing with my daughter's lap top - she's only had it for 2 years and it's in a terrible state....keeps crashing every 5 minutes.

Carolyn said...

did you delete everything off your laptop before you did this Sarah. I am wondering if it is worthwhile trying with this laptop.

Sarah Stewart said...

I took off everything I wanted to save but left everything else that was automatically wiped off and replaced with the Ubuntu equivalent. For example,I couldn't get my CD/DVD drive to work and play movies or CDs - once I changed operating system, it worked again. Talk to Wayne if you want more information.