Ubuntu first impressions

Using Wubi, I installed Ubuntu onto my Vaio laptop over the weekend (Ubuntu is a Linux distro – an open source operating system).

Apart from some nervousness on my part about losing any info from my Windows partition, the install was completely painless.

Ubuntu Screenshot

The interface is really slick – it is obvious that lots of time and thought went into the look and feel of this OS.

It is also incredibly fast (despite being installed into a single file in the Windows partition as opposed to a normal install). From a standing start to being able to open a web page Vista took four minutes thirty seconds on this machine. Ubuntu took one minute fifty seconds on the same machine.

I’m trying out Evolution now (email client) and I will start trying other apps as well to see how they compare. For now though, I am impressed.

20 thoughts on “Ubuntu first impressions”

  1. “From a standing start to being able to open a web page Vista took four minutes thirty seconds on this machine.”

    Under 40 seconds on my machine and under a minute on the older machine. I’ve found each generation has a faster boot time. 1 min 50 for Ubuntu? Holy crap. Is it a 286?

  2. Tom,
    By default Ubuntu initialises wireless networking at boot time. This is unnessary, as network manager handles this once the environment is up.

    Resolution is here:


    This should knock half the time off boot.

    My own experience of performance gains are dramatic, I have dual boot and scripts I run in windows vs ubuntu can be 6-7mins vs 20-30secs.

    Other aspect I noticed is wireless performance. I have 8mb smart broadband. In isp speed tests get the full 8mb on ubuntu but its maxed out at 4.5mb in windows. Only if I plug a wire in can I get the full 8mb on windows.

  3. You should check out optimizing the kernel. There are loads of tutorials for it. I have an 800mz machine and i am getting much better times than you…one or two changes will make all the difference.

  4. Guys,

    this is on my laptop and I mainly use wireless Internet access on it.

    It is a Sony Vaio 2ghz dual core with 2gb ram.

    The times reported were for startup from off, log in, double-click on browser and finish when Google displays.

  5. @John – I edited the file as instructed in the article you link to and my startup time has remained the same.

    Remember, I am measuring time from cold start to displaying an external web page in a browser.

    If you think this is still excessively long (1min 50sec) it may be explained by the fact that I used Wubi to install Ubuntu.

    Or maybe the kernal optimisations Jonathan referred to might help. Jonathan, do you have any links for those?

  6. I have used Ubuntu in the Past the Ubuntu Ultimate rehash of it and have found it pretty good, but looking at this wubi Application i’m amazed, this is something every Linux distro should be using to try get into the public consciousness..

  7. I’ve been using it for quite some time now on a spare pc. I think it’s a great operating system, much easier to use than some of the other linux flavours.

  8. Go Ubuntu! I have it on a P3 512mb RAM’ed Dell and while the boot is quick, the overall performance is sluggish. Still beats Windows generally speaking….I’m off to convince my boss to take the plunge.

  9. Tom,

    Restart the machine, then press escape to go into the grub menu. Chose the latest kernel option (recovery mode). YOu will log in as root into the base system.

    Type exit press return.

    You will then be at the main login graphical prompt. LOg in and fix your files. Not sure how you messed up the laptop, just review the files you edited and make sure you didnt make any additional changes besides the ones noted above…

  10. Tom, the Wubi distro doesn’t come with ndiswrapper which means I can’t install the Windows drivers for the Broadcom wireless adapter on my AMD64 laptop. Oh, and a download of ndiswrapper won’t install for some other reason.

    Am I wrong in thinking Wubi works best on Intel?

  11. hmm comment took away the rest of my response.

    sudo apt-get install build-essential
    sudo make
    sudo make install

    then follow the instructions to install your driver…

  12. Jonathan – the problem I had took out the Windows partition as well so the laptop was completely bricked!!!

    Luckily the Vista repair tools got it back working again with no data loss.

    I decided at that point though that it would be better to have Ubuntu in its own partition so I uninstalled Wubi and installed Ubuntu from the Live CD using the Partiition tool on the CD to shrink the Windows partition by 32gb.

    I created a 2gb swap partition and a 30gb partition for Ubuntu. I installed, updated and am back up running again.

    Now I just need to look into optimising it (more carefully this time) once more.

    Primal Sneeze, I honestly couldn’t tell you if Wubi is better on Intel. My machine is an Intel and it worked well. Having said that, I’m uninstalled Wubi and went for a straight Ubuntu install.

  13. By the way, now that Ubuntu is on a partition of its own and I have instituted John Ward’s tip above, my start time is 1min 10 secs (from cold to displaying a web page).

  14. Tom,
    I am sure you’ll find yourself spending less and less time with windows. I did, to the extent I’m planning on removing the dual boot.

    If I need windows VMWare works just fine for the applications I need.


  15. I’ve had a few reasons to go back into Windows since moving to Ubuntu last January, and each time it irritates me more, in part because it takes forever to load, the fan on my Acer notebook starts immediately, the antivirus has to be updated etc. I’m not saying that Ubuntu is plain sailing for a novice (I’ve had a few steep learning curves), but the help that’s available from Ubuntu users is constantly amazing. So to second John, if I could sort out disk space issues, and get a workable OCR package, I’d wipe XP and never miss it.

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