Recycling an old laptop

I have a stash of old kit that needs dsiposing of, but I have never got around to doing anything about it.

I have been trialling usb-stick boots on the Asus eeePCs and this led me to thinking – how about an install of Ubuntu on a laptop to see if it was any good?

Equipment– Dell Lattitude D600 Intel Centrino, 2Gb Ram, 40gb hard drive. Previous had XP SP2 and ran like a dog!

Software – Ubuntu Intrepid Ibex 8.10 (includes OpenOffice, Firefox, Thundebird and Evolution mail client), Filezilla and Opera (for a change)

Installation – downloaded latest version from Ubuntu site and burned to CD (just fits). A nice feature is the ability to run as a Live CD so can try it out before wiping the machine. Installation is very straight-forward and takes about 1 hour max.

Configuration – wireless connection at home was very straight-forward, but only WEP (yes, I know!). Firefox needs quite a few add-ins and there is still a problem with reporting the wrong version of Flash on some sites. Failed to get Thunderbird to connect to Exchange 2007, but this is an issue that is awaiting a new plug-in. Evolution connects via IMAP OK but calender doesn’t show up! Back to OWA for now…

Updates Рpleasantly surprised after earlier experiences of update manage and Synaptic Package manager. Ibex is much friendlier, even down to the toolbar icon indicating updates are available! Packages in debian format install automatically, and I only had to resort to the command line once  Рan that was for a converter to import Outlook pst files.

Performance – now to the crunch, will Ubuntu make an ancient (5 years old) laptop usable? Well having used it for two days for all home and work use, yes! It flies – no egg-timers, no hang-ups (yet) fast boot and ¬†shutdown (though the hibernate doesn’t seem to work).

Conclusion – amazingly, as I type this on the old Dell laptop, I am happy that this is faster than my expensive Vista Machine with oodles of Dual-core machinery! I would love to try Ubuntu on the new laptop, but will need to clear some space first!