Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Another New Ubuntu User

I'm still on my 100 person crusade. My goal is to convert at least 100 people over to Ubuntu. Today I didn't add another person to that list. I added a business!!!
A local home center that is owned by my relatives were having major problems with viruses and spyware in XP. More about that later.

My nephew finally had enough. He had heard me talk about Ubuntu numerous times and asked if I could convert them over. Yep! No problem. I'll be down to do it.
And today it happened.

I got there and using my flash drive, I saved their documents. Then I popped in the new Ubuntu Ibex Cd and restarted the computer. Started Ubuntu as a Live Cd and checked out the hardware. Everything was detected and worked. Also to my relief, the printer they use is an HP. Opened up Firefox and went to HP's site to make sure it was supported. Found that it had full support. Good! Now to click the install link and start the process.

The system this was being installed in to is an older Pentium (1 Gig) CPU with 512 megs of Ram and using 32 megs of shared video. Not something that would be conducive to a Vista upgrade. Besides, the idea is to have a system that is immune from spyware and viruses.

The install was painless and took about 30 minutes. Once it was fully installed and I did the customary reboot and remove the Cd I was back up to their newly installed Ubuntu desktop. And I was also starring at the Updater blaring the Updates Available message. 68 of them including a kernel update.
Clicked on it and about 25 minutes later I was restarting the computer due to the kernel update.

Now I have the full system updated and ready to go. I still have some stuff to do. Get their bookmarks into Firefox and test out the printer. Everything works and looks good. Next I install VirtualBox. Huh!??? Why???
Well one of the sites they use to submit orders requires Internet Explorer because it uses ActiveX plugins to handle the login and displaying the catalog.
Talk about a security risk! Why anyone would require ActiveX to handle passwords is beyond me.
I also believe this was one of the backdoors that caused them problems with viruses and spyware.

So I install Virtual Box and XP from the Cd that came with their system.
The PC was a local computer shop build that came with a real XP Cd. But being a custom system presented it's own problems later on. I got XP installed in Virtual Box and got online with it.

Went to HP's web site and grabbed the XP drivers for the printer. Installed them, rebooted the XP and went to test the printer.
What The!.........
No printer is found! Checking around I find that there are no system drivers installed to support the USB for the motherboard.

Motherboard. What make is it? Don't know??? Nothing that identifies it. But from Ubuntu I see the audio drivers are Alsa drivers for an SIS motherboard.
Okay. Time to run some Google searches while I'm kicking myself in the arse for not bringing along my multi-driver Cd's.

Found a likely driver candidate for the USB and popped it in. New Hardware detected.
That's a good sign. Get it installed and now have a USB bus.
It's at this point I need to mention that XP had me very annoyed. Not only did it not have drivers for the USB unlike Ubuntu but everything I installed including the printer driver required a restart!

Got the USB drivers in then had to uninstall and reinstall the printer driver which required 2 more restarts! Grumble.......
Finally I got it up and running. Set up the security in Internet Explorer and shut down XP. Then I took a snapshot of the Virtual Box XP as a way to get back to a clean slate should anything happen.

I then advised them to only use XP and IE for only that site.
That using Firefox in Ubuntu will keep them clean and secure.
The job was finished.
Ubuntu install was nothing compared to the hassles I encountered with Virtual Box.

And before anyone screams foul, I will mention right now that I am not an XP newbie. I was an XP junkie and power user. I used to hack the shell and even rebuilt the dll controlling the animation for files being transferred to the trash. My version had a stick figure guy wiping his butt with the paper then put it into the trash bin.
I know my way around XP and had been using it for years.

Today was a triumphant day due to me converting a business over to Ubuntu but was also an eye opening day. I saw Windows in all it's ugliness and all I can say is I'm glad I made the switch from it.

I'm sure they will have a few questions as they get used to Ubuntu but at least they won't be calling about virus problems. And if they do, it will be in the Virtual Box XP and that will be fixed with one or two clicks.