I recently installed Ubuntu Linux 9.04 on my girlfriends lovely new EEE Netbook (I highly recommend the 1005HA + EEEBuntu), but left the original Windows install intact, because, well, I’ve always had a need to go back to Windows for 30 minutes at some point for some reason or another.
The one problem I foresaw with this Ubuntu install was that if she ever had to use the Huawei Mobile Broadband modem I have, she’d have to boot into Windows. I’d read a year ago that Ubuntu supported it, but when I tried with Ubuntu 8.10, it failed miserably.
So today I was using her netbook and needed mobile broadband, and was about to boot into Windows, when I thought “what the hell”, and tried it in Ubuntu first, fully anticipating the same failure as before, or at least 10 hoops that had to be jumped through before I could get it working.
But no – I was presented with a list of operators for my country (Ireland), asked if I was bill pay or pre-pay, I clicked once and I was connected! No install required, unlike with windows, just enter your PIN and away you go.
The main argument against Ubuntu, and Linux in general, is that it doesn’t have enough driver support, making it impossible for non-computer literate people to simply plug in their devices and do what they need to do. It’s great to see that the community is adding in new drivers at a great rate, and that things like cameras, wireless (which is also vastly improved recently) and now mobile broadband now “just work”, and in this case work much better than Windows.
My girlfriend, who is in no way interested in computers or open source, now complains about having to use Windows in university, because Ubuntu is so much easier and faster to use. I can imagine the same story is playing out all over the world. Hopefully at least :-)