The built-in test in the printer only prints about 3 lines, which is not enough for the banding to come into play. So I did the only thing I could do... I threw Windows 98 off of one of my older PCs and installed Ubuntu instead!
First off, the Ubuntu install process is so simple a child could do it. Just burn a CD and put it in your CD-ROM drive to boot from. Within a few minutes you arrive at a desktop with an install link. Click on the link, go through 6 easy steps and then just sit back.
Now, you are probably wondering what sort of machine I'm using. It's a Dell with a 450mhz Pentium 2 and 3 128MB RAM chips in it. It also has a 10GB and 15GB hard drives. A 16Mb video card that is tied into some sort of DVD/TV-Out board and a generic sound card.
Ubuntu had no problem getting my sound card up and running nor with my video card. Though I do not know about the TV-Out properties as I have never used them...
The hard drives were another issue.
My secondary drive (the 15GB one) has been a shared drive on my home network for a long time. It's packed full of large media files and I need to be able to access it from my other computers that are on the network. At first, Ubuntu would not let me access it.
To fix it I only had to edit my /etc/fstab file but... Ubuntu handles root access a bit differently then other Linux systems I am used to.
I'm used to using su to gain root access but in Ubuntu you use sudo. Once I cleared that up it was a simple matter to add a line into the file for my secondary hard drive.
So, now I have my secondary drive mounted and things are looking good but, I want to watch one of my avi files and the default Movie Player complains about not being able to play avi files. This one threw me. A movie player that can not play avi files???
What's a man to do? Why look at the Add/Remove program in the drop-down menu. In the 'multimedia' section of the Add/Remove program I found the Kaffeine media player and install it. now I'm watching my avi files!
Another thing I like to do is use a VNC program to access my headless laptop that sits in my basement attached to the network. Why is it headless? Well, a few months ago the LCD screen died. Why not replace it? I did not replace it because I could buy a new laptop for the price of fixing the old one! Instead I just plug in a spare monitor when I need to or access it via a VNC program.
Boy was I happy to see a Terminal Server Client installed as part of the base Ubuntu package! I fired that up and in seconds I was running my Windows XP laptop via my Ubuntu machine! I did have some problems with the up/down window scrolling (both machines are set for 1024x768) but nothing I can't look into later.
Two issues down and one more big one to go... my printer!\r\n\r\nAfter plugging in the printer and using Ubuntu's 'add printer' druid I was connected and printing a test page. A perfect test page! I am now very happy! I have not tried plugging the printer back into a Windows machine to see if the banding shows up again but I wasted enough days removing and reinstalling drivers that I don't even want to know!
Now for my final test.
I want to install a light-weight window manager, Blackbox in particular. This is where I encountered a problem.
Now, I must say this first, most users will not need to install something like blackbox.I did though and it was a pain!
Not only does Ubuntu NOT install gcc (or any compiler) by default but, finding all of the development files to install took me about an hour.
I had to run ./configure about ten times before all of the dependencies were accounted for. This was a pain, and as a software developer I would prefer Ubuntu add something into their Add/Remove system labeled C++ Development that would automatically install all the gcc files and libraries.
Another problem is that I'm used to doing:
./configure\r\nmake\r\nsu - c 'make install'
when I install software on Linux. With Ubuntu you need to change the final line to:
sudo su - c 'make install'
Oh yes, I'm writing this entry with OpenOffice 2.0. It works great and looks much better then the version I run on my XP machine.
I'm greatly surprised by how well this old machine handles Ubuntu. The only thing I'm lacking is iTunes on this machine, but this machine didn't have it before either as iTunes does not work on Windows 98 machines.
I'll blog some more about this later as I explore Ubuntu in greater depth.