Ubuntu'd, you're getting a Dell

Posted by NoDough on Jun 20, 2007 7:18 PM EDT
LXer.com; By Lane Beneke (aka NoDough)
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The perfect high school graduation gift – a new computer. It'll be a God-send for my daughter when her college starts up in the fall. But what to buy? Seeing that I've been running Linux systems for over a decade, I really wanted to introduce my daughter (a non-geek, I guess she didn't get the gene) to Linux as well.

The perfect high school graduation gift – a new computer. It'll be a God-send for my daughter when her college starts up in the fall. But what to buy? Seeing that I've been running Linux systems for over a decade, I really wanted to introduce my daughter (a non-geek, I guess she didn't get the gene) to Linux as well.

Dell's decision to start shipping consumer systems with Ubuntu pre-installed was perfectly timed. My daughter's graduation ceremony was June 9th. Dell's announcement in May gave me time to order and receive her new Linux laptop before then.

I logged onto Dell's site and walked through the configurator. Starting with the base E1505N at $599, I upgraded to a Core 2 Duo processor and a nine-cell battery to conserve power and keep her running during those long study sessions in the library (or wherever.) I also bumped up the RAM from the standard 512meg to 1gig, so she can work in multiple applications without worrying about disk swapping. My new total was $798.

The next day, I logged on to check on the status of my system. Hmm, still processing. No big deal. I was an early adopter, so a little delay is to be expected. Then a brief moment of panic. The expected ship date is June 8th. How can I give my daughter her gift on the 9th if it's still in a truck somewhere? My worry was for naught. The system shipped and arrived well in advance of the published ship date.

Now comes the difficult part. I had a brand new Dell Linux laptop in my hands, and I couldn't open the box. Well, technically I could have, but I wanted my daughter to enjoy the experience of receiving her system brand new and UNOPENED. So, for me, it was one week of being the kid before Christmas that looks longingly at the presents under the tree.

That feeling was pushed way into the background as I watched my daughter accept her diploma. I wouldn't want to brag (yeah, right) but she earned several honors. This was made evident by the brightly colored sashes and cords she wore over her robe. She graduated twelfth in a class of over 240. Of course, I could go on and on, but I digress.

That evening, at her graduation party, I finally saw the box opened. It was relatively sparse of documentation, but that didn't matter. The documentation was tossed aside as she went straight for the laptop. Within five minutes it was powered up, her information was entered, and she was viewing the Ubuntu desktop for the first time. I watched as she checked out the games and other applications. No hesitation, no learning curve, just straight to it.

The only occasion I had to intercede was getting her connected to the Internet. She and a good friend were trying to figure out how to get it to see my wireless network. I pointed her to the icon, which listed my network when clicked upon. In no time, she was accessing her email and IMing with her friends. I stayed close by, waiting for the inevitable moment when she said “Dad, how do I get this to work?” Or, “Dad, how do I do that?” That moment never came.

I've watched her using the laptop in our living room several times since then. She's watched videos, listened to songs, played online games, etc. So far, no calls for proprietary codecs (or anything else) have been heard.

Since then, I've had only one opportunity to use her laptop. I used it to check my email. It was fast, and beautiful, and hers. That's right, I had to give it right back to her.

My little one has grown up. As much as it hurts, Linux no longer needs me to support non-geek users.

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» Read more about: Story Type: Editorial, LXer Features; Groups: Linux, Ubuntu

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