Feeling Dapper

Rikki Endsley

ROSE Blog: Rikki's Open Source Exchange

Feb 26, 2008 GMT
Rikki Kite

If I wrote a Letter to My Body, it would be more of an official apology for spending so much time at the computer this past weekend. I'd close the letter with a promise to run right out to the gym and lift weights in an effort to relieve my regular neck pain. I'm confident, however, that my letter would be sent back to me unread and marked, "Return to Sender." It will be a while before my neck will forgive me for my recent laptop overdose.

Last weekend, I devoted myself to two projects: speeding up my kid's laptop, and writing a team research paper on OLPC in Nigeria for my International Marketing class. I spent much more time than I'd planned on both the OLPC research and installing Xubuntu onto my daughter's antique iBook.

In the end, installing Xubuntu turned out to be the least painful of the tasks. I have a long list of reasons why I'd put this task off, but finally I decided to mark this one off the list. Like so many other things in my life, installing Xubuntu on our old, creaky, pea-brained Mac wasn't pretty, effortless, or fast. In fact, I'd almost decided to give up, hand my laptop to my daughter, and buy myself a new Asus Eee PC.

My 11-year-old daughter uses a computer for two things: word processing and the Internet. Her old hand-me-down Mac did the trick for word processing. In fact, she's up to 24,000 words in the novel she's writing. Her computer was painfully slow on the Internet, however, which means we often fought over my laptop.
I was hopeful that Linux would speed up and breathe new life into the kid's old laptop, and I'm happy to say I was right.

Hours and errors and frustrations later – no doubt because I'm impatient, don't like reading instructions, and I was juggling my article editing, paper writing, and a million other household tasks – we were up and running. Any installation questions or issues I encountered were pretty easy to resolve thanks to Google searches, Ubuntu documentation, and the fabulous online open source community.

As soon as the laptop was speeding along, happily running Xubuntu, I marked this one task off my list and eagerly called my daughter upstairs to inspect her new and improved laptop. She walked over to the laptop, took a close look at her shiny new desktop, and had one thing to say: "What happened to my tree frog wallpaper?"

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