I've looked at this distribution in the past and this time I decided to have another look. One reads so much about Ubuntu - on a rough count, about 2 out of every 10 Linux-related articles seem to be about Ubuntu - so I thought I needed some education about the new messiah as well. After all, I do occasionally write about Linux.
But for me there's been nothing but disappointment. I disturbed an existing Mandriva installation on my spare computer - admittedly an old machine - to have a look at Ubuntu. If anything installed on this machine runs slowly, I have no complaint - but if someone tells me that the hardware isn't Linux-compatible, they would be very, very wrong. I've run Slackware, Debian, FreeBSD, Desktop BSD, MEPIS and Mandriva on this old faithful over the past seven years. For one year it even ran Windows!
Booting from the Ubuntu CD - I used version 7.04 which is supported uptil 2008 - posed no problem and after a cursory look, I used the installer which is very conveniently positioned on the desktop. The installer is neat; just seven steps and all of them easily understandable even by someone like me.
After leaving the installation to run overnight, I rebooted the machine first thing this morning, took out the boot CD and waited. All I get is a message: "GRUB loading, please wait... Error 18."
A web search tells me that the error in question is generated because the hard drive cannot boot because of the age of the BIOS. Or "This error is returned when a read is attempted at a linear block address beyond the end of the BIOS translated area." I know how to fix it. But that isn't the point.
Any distribution that's positioned as the easiest to install, the one for beginners, the way to get into Linux, shouldn't have these errors. Not on a machine which has run - and continues to run (I'll be reinstalling Mandriva soon) Linux without any problem.