I’ve been exclusively using Meego on my netbook and I was moderately happy with what it provided. So I did what any self-respecting hacker would do - I tried to make it better. Well, we all know how that usually ends. I managed to uninstall every single kernel in the system and rendered the system unbootable. Taking this as an opportunity I decided to try a grown-up OS. Enter Ubuntu into the picture.

I’ve heard nothing but great things about Ubuntu and I fuckin' hated it. Why? Because it was stealing all the limelight from the ever superior Mandriva (my favorite distro). So I got the installation process going which was smooth but surprisingly it didn’t give me the option to keep my old partition, it was an all or nothing approach (grown up OS my ass). I had all my “stuff” backed up, so I decided to repartition my disk. It even detected my Broadcom wireless card and offered to install a proprietary driver for it. Wireless was working and the visual candy was stunning. I’ve never seen such a beautiful font set on my computer before. All the visual components looked hand crafted and the notifications were done with style. It was just a gorgeous piece of artwork. Visually stunning (if you didn’t get that part already). 

I was quite pleased with the decision to go with Ubuntu and was having some fleeting thoughts about replacing Mandriva on my desktop. Around 15 minutes in my playful prodding and poking, I was notified that Software Updates were available. After it successfully installed the updates and rebooted the computer (some Kernel updates were involved), I couldn’t connect to the internet anymore. The network icon wouldn’t show up on my system tray anymore. After some googling I managed to find the “Additional Drivers” program which installed the Broadcom Drivers once again. But this time it would show me the available networks but wouldn’t connect to any of them. The system update had successfully screwed over the authentication routine for connecting to WPA2 networks. I tried to plug in my network cable to the ethernet port only to find out the system hadn’t recognized the existence of an ethernet port. Are you kidding me? Have you heard of a little thing called hot-plugging? I’ve been spoiled by Mandriva that can automatically choose between the wireless card and the network cable on the fly, depending on which was available. Now I had to muck around the network interface files to even get my ethernet card detected. How hard is it to develop a Central Control Center that can manage your hardware? After getting that to work, I tried at least 10 different methods described on various forums to get the wireless chipset to work again without any success. I gave up after 10 hours of tweaking and started trying other OSes. Here is a list:

  • Fedora looked nice but wouldn’t connect to internet. Same problem as Ubuntu, but this time, it wouldn’t offer to download proprietary drivers.
  • Mandriva image hangs up in the middle of booting (I’m personally embarrassed by this). Btw, Mandriva has to be the ugliest of all the OSes. Seriously man, you gotta up the ante a little bit if you want to stay in this game.
  • Mint OS same as Ubuntu, only it looked even more gorgeous. I might try this out in the future.

I should’ve tried Arch Linux but I was too tired at this point. So I did what any self-respecting hacker would do….. I re-installed Ubuntu and rejected the offer to auto-update my system. Now I have wireless internet and a usable desktop that looks pretty.

Ubuntu had so much potential. I will always remember today as the day I almost replaced my desktop Mandriva with Ubuntu. Maybe next time.