Tasting Better With Linux
Recently, my traveling laptop’s 512 MB of RAM proved inadequate for my use, so I purchased a replacement. The replacement came with Windows Vista and a load of garbage software–shame on you, HP–that made it almost unusable. In an effort to salvage my investment, I installed Mepis Linux 64-bit on part of the hard drive. However, neither the 64-bit version, nor the 32-bit version was able to pick up the built-in Atheros WiFi card, nor utilize the USB-plugged D-Link WUA-1340 I purchased in an attempt to make it work.
Enter Ubuntu. Using the 32-bit LiveCD, it immediately picked up the external adapter, and was able to connect to the hotel’s WiFi. I flattened Mepis and installed Ubuntu. I will give myself some time using the new system first, but I will probably flatten Vista and rid myself of that headache.
I realize that Microsoft is running taste-test ads in which XP users try Vista and are pleasantly surprised. I also realize that SP1 does fix many of the most pernicious problems with Vista, including many of the built-in drivers that could not be used, because they lacked required security information. As a traveler who spends up to two-thirds of my time using hotel networks, Vista’s continuing wireless weaknesses make it entirely too unreliable for my uses. I cannot recommend Vista to anyone who connects to multiple networks. It is just not good enough.
I think that those taste-testers would have been even more certain that Vista is a flop had they used it for an extended period, for their regular day-to-day uses, on standard hardware. I intentionally bought a computer with extra RAM and found that it really did help speed the system up, but it did little to make it usable.
Avoid it if you can, resign and find a new employer if you cannot.