The Ex-XP Experience

April 8th, 2014

Being that it’s XP End of Support Day, I made sure this past weekend that there is no more XP in my home environment.

I still have Windows 7 Ultimate on my trusty yet crusty Dell 9400 and Win7 Pro on Clare’s Lenovo SFF desktop, however the one remaining XP instance was the kitchen machine, a venerable IBM T60 Thinkpad with 2G RAM.

The kitchen machine is used for general web browsing, Yahoo Instant Messenger, Skype, RDP/VNC client and sometimes playing music. I needed all these things to work just as easily as before, including the cheap USB webcam and mic, and the wireless network.

I installed 32-bit Ubuntu 12.04 LTS Desktop by downloading the ISO image to my Macbook Air and burning it to a DVD with my USB DVD drive, then booting up on the DVD. I used all defaults except for system name. When the system came up for the first time I used Firefox to download the Chrome package, installed it with the package manager, and then did the same with Skype. I used Pidgin to connect to Yahoo Messenger. In about 45 minutes and with a minimum of fuss, I had everything working. I set up accounts for my family, connected to wireless, and left it on the kitchen counter.

So far the only problem I have is that the video driver will only do 1024×768 and not the full native 1400×1050 that the T60 allows. This is not a big issue since Clare and I both need reading glasses now. Skype video is even clearer than it was on XP. My daughter started playing music with Grooveshark and it just worked. There are Office-compatible programs installed by default. Remote desktop access works great for both RDP and VNC hosts.

I heartily recommend Ubuntu 12.04 LTS Desktop as a great XP replacement with a fantastic out-of-the-box experience. You may also want to try Linux Mint.

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