Friday, April 23, 2010

A Linux Client at Work

If you didn't already know, I am in the computer repair business. Normally, people come in with either PCs or Macs, and request repairs that are really rather simple. Occasionally, I'm called on to do large installations, or set up servers, but that's rare. What's even more rare is having a Linux client. I did just happen to get one though. The first I've ever had.

A gentleman in his late 50s came through the door to the shop. He soberly told me that his laptop (a Gateway MX3228) wasn't booting. He turned it on that morning, and it just refused to cooperate. As luck would have it, he was running Windows XP, which tells me that he likely had a registry error that was preventing the system from booting. This would mean inserting the Windows XP Pro cd, and booting to the recovery console. A switch of the software hive, and we're in business. I told him I would have the machine ready in two hours, but then he asked something that really shocked me. He asked if I knew anything about Linux.

He had been listening to Clark Howard, and Clark had mentioned Linux on his show. This peaked the man's interest. His thought was "if I can run my computer without Microsoft's products, that's what I want to do." I then had the pleasure of telling him that I am both the Linux and Macintosh departments of the business. I proceeded to tell the man what the differences are and he became even more thrilled. No viruses? Really? No cost, really? Over 10,000 programs free for download? Oh boy! So, I pulled out the Mandriva 2010 disc, and went to town. In one hour, he was ready to go. He has told many people about the system, and the phone doesn't seem to stop ringing. Awesome for me, and for my boss. Their revenues saw a slight rise, and I now have some reasonable job security. How cool is that?


fredbird67 said...

That's what I'd love to be able to do, and in fact, I use Linux Mint on my desktop computer at home, but for the life of me, I could swear that I have NEVER run across a laptop running Linux where wireless worked out of the box. :-(

Tom said...

I've installed Linux Mint and Ubuntu on older IBM and Dell laptops and everything seems to work out of the box. If you set up the right keyboard map even the volume and screen dimmer functions work. It's pretty amazing.

Glenn Greenfield said...

Awesome to hear Ford! New Linux users can be every bit the fanboi that a Mac user can and help spread the word that you really don't have to suffer any more.

fredbird67 - Wireless out of the box? How about Atheros? Works for me as does 3D w/ Intel graphics chips. Times are a-changin'

Morten Juhl-Johansen Zölde-Fejér said...

Mandriva is a good sale, too - it is a company-backed, well known with a good user base.

Grant Johnson said...

I own a Dell D600. It is dual boot Linux and Windows. My trouble is that in Windows, I can only do WPA, and not WPA2. Also, the internal speakers and headphone have only one volume control. In Linux I can do WPA2, and I can change the volume of each output independently, even playing both simultaneously if I want to.

I actually have BETTER hardware support in Linux than Windows. Especially with the wireless.

Todd said...

also here I've seen plenty of laptops with wireless out of the box, pretty much the more standard the adapter the better support in Linux. said...

My aunt got a hand me down laptop with no valid windows license so I installed Ubuntu 9.10 on it about 5 months ago. She has been very pleased. In fact she called the other day asking if she got a new computer how she could "get that Linux on it". Pretty awesome.

lamapper said...

I wonder how many companies like yours are missing a HUGE opportunity by not marketing either Linux or MacIntosh as a replacement to Microsoft Windows.

How many more customers might they receive if only they advertised their expertise. Talk about an opportunity.

Anyone who has not looked at Linux in the last 6 months, much less the last 4 years is really missing out. Its all plug and play today with Linux...that use to be the only complaint. Everything just works out of the box day 1.

If you are worried that proprietary vendor hardware might be a problem for you, do yourself a favor and only purchase from Linux vendors.

If you live near this guy...visit him and buy your systems there. If you do not live near this person, no worries, both System 36 and ZaReason will ship you a computer at prices below most big box retail stores. Why, simple, as ZaReason says, "Building Linux hardware so you don't have to"

IT really is that simple.

Another very important fact, there are more device drivers for Linux then any other operating system in the history of man. That is a FACT, many are unaware of.

Jay Greene said...

Truly inspiring!

David said...

Windows has always boasted plug-n-play and MANY users believe that they (Windows/Microsoft) own that field.

I find that very amusing since almost anyone can recite a horror story of trying to find drivers for their Vista/7 installs. Even in XP (and XP was stable and widely supported) I can speak from experience when I say that you add new hardware and the first thing you have to do is pull out the driver disk and install them... is that plug-n-play? NO! In my mind plug-n-play means I install and go, the OS handles driver installs and setup without my knowledge (behind the scenes). I have never seen that in Windows outside of a few USB devices (thumb drives, HDD, etc..) and maybe your internal Hard Drives. I do know of an OS that *does* do that though... LINUX!

That's right run Fedora 12 or Ubuntu 10.xx or even Mandriva 2010 and plug in a sound card, network card, or even a video card. In most cases you can boot up and use them right then and there... no driver install on the users part.

Sure there are devices (nvidia video cards, etc..) that you can get better drivers for and install. There are even devices that are less main stream that you may have to download and install drivers on your own to get working. The difference is that Linux never made the claim that it was "Plug-N-Play". It just usually is even when Windows is not!

revlarry said...

Mint 7 worked perfectly, including wireless, from the start, on my Toshiba A205. What amazed me was that the laptop came with Vista, and the hibernate/sleep function didn't work after the first month or so. Works fine with Mint 7. Now I am using it on my office desktop, and have people I know giving it a try, too. Goodby, Microsoft!

Thomas Mc. said...

My WiFi worked @ install in both LinuxMint, and LinuxMint-LXDE. The LXDE version was the ONLY LXDE distro that wifi worked on install with that computer.

I think Linux has finally grown up to the point where it really could be competitive with MS Windows (barring Microsoft retaliation against any computer company who dares to distribute it), with the caveat that a lot of software still has very crappy-to-non-existant documentation. It is very frustrating to try and configure a new program, when all you have is a blank config file, and absolutely no clue what the entries in the config file are supposed to be. If you do an entry wrong, the program won't even run.
I have run into this time and time again.

Doc said...

fredbird67 I have installed linux (Fedora) on Dell, HP, Acer, Gateway, and Lenovo, and have yet to have an issue with the wireless. But I have had other issues such as the wrong video driver loading, but not networking.
I am a long time user of linux ( since 1994).

madpuppy said...

I have installed PCLinuxOS-lxde on HP and Toshiba Laptops and it does wifi "out of the box" as it were, with no problems what so ever.

Ford said...

That usually means that you are using a Broadcom chipset, and considering that most people are not using 5xxx chipsets in laptops just yet, you are most likely using a b43 chipset. In which case, I think you need to check out the following website:

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