Dell tries Ubuntu, I buy a laptop

So, today I got my first laptop in the mail. It’s a Dell Inspiron E1505 preloaded with Ubuntu Linux. I must say, I’m quite a fan of it. Here’s my whole experience thus far:

  1. DHL delivers the laptop a day before the expected delivery date.
  2. DHL guy makes no effort to ensure he delivered the laptop to someone who actually lived at the residence. My brother “signed” for it by tapping the pad and just happened to be in the front yard when the guy pulled up.
  3. The laptop came unharmed with all accessories as I ordered.
  4. I open the box to find a multi-language product guide that describes the hardware only, a quickstart guide explaining the buttons on the laptop, and contrary to other reports I’ve read about these new pre-loaded systems, an ubuntu cd with a sticker to let me know it was already installed.
  5. After hastily removing the laptop from the “don’t put on head” bag, I popped it open, plugged in the power and ethernet, and turned it on.
  6. The bios screen had a EULA I didn’t read. Just pressed space bar.
  7. Ubuntu boots.
  8. A quick quiz about what language I speak, where I am, what keyboard layout I have, and what my name is and I’m booting to a desktop.
  9. Hostname is dell by default. Changed immediately.
  10. Restricted drivers are already installed for wireless and… modem? /me checks back of system to find a modem. Wow… legacy.
  11. Restricted driver manager lets me know I can install nvidia drivers, I do. No issues.
  12. Updates are available!
  13. After updating, I reboot.
  14. Grub begins to load and BAM! System fails to start, can’t boot to partition. GRUB error #17 cannot mount selected partition.
  15. No problem, I’ll just boot to the previous kernel and figure out what happened.
  16. Previous kernel has same issue.
  17. Hrm.
  18. I use the built in system reinstall utility that’s quite painless.
  19. System comes back up.
  20. Repeat steps 7 through 13.
  21. Same issue.
  22. I check the boot options on the kernel and the recovery partition. Kernels are set to (hd0,0), recovery to (hd0,1). Seems normal to me.
  23. Turns out someone at Dell goofed when working on the /boot/grub/menu.lst file. Kernels should go to (hd0,2). Big fucking goof and something that would send a normal user into the realm of windows forever. Fix this NOW Dell!
  24. Manually change everything (hd0,0) to (hd0,2) and everything works great. Can’t get the scripted fix from the wiki to work, so fuck it.
  25. Installed amarok, then automatix and some of the things it makes easy.
  26. Beryl now, works well but a bit choppy.
  27. No issues with resolution or hardware at all. Things just worked. Ubuntu’s come a long way since I last did a clean install on modern hardware… mostly upgrades here. I’m liking it more every day.

All in all, I’m really glad Dell is doing this. Only one issue is spectabulous, but it’s a show stopper. I’ve heard of people spending 6 hours getting a new Dell with windows where they wanted it, only took me 2 and I’ve got EVERYTHING I use on my desktop. Thanks Dell for providing Ubuntu, and please please PLEASE fix that grub issue with your image!

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