Ubuntu Linux saved a Compaq Presario 2100 from certain death last weekend. Here's the horror story and the happy outcome. For all of you with aging, slow-running Windows systems, I hope this quick blog post inspires you to breathe new life into the system by installing Ubuntu.

My brother in law (Ronnie) was ready to throw out his aging Compaq Presario 2100 laptop. The system was overwhelmed by viruses, worms and other Windows-related problems. Security packages from all the major software suppliers (Symantec, McAfee, etc.) failed to clean up the system. Plus, the security software only made the Presario run more slowly.

Frustrated, Ronnie purchased a Dell laptop to replace the Presario -- and he was ready to throw the Presario away. That's when I stepped in, asked to borrow the system, and loaded Ubuntu 8.04. The entire install took approximately 30 minutes. And as you know, I'm not just talking about the operating system. OpenOffice, FireFox and all the other open source bonuses also landed on the laptop as part of the Ubuntu install.

Ronnie's mouth dropped when I showed him the Presario running Ubuntu. And running it FAST. Then he started asking questions:
  • How much does Ubuntu cost? (Free, Ronnie)
  • Will OpenOffice work with Microsoft Office files? (Yes, Ronnie)
  • Why isn't Linux available on consumer PCs?(It is, Ronnie. You just have to look hard)
  • What's the catch? (There is no catch, Ronnie)
Admittedly, Ubuntu isn't perfect. I'm still trying to get WiFi working on the Presario. But the system links right up to Ethernet. And Ubuntu saved it from a landfill -- and Windows.

I realize Windows Vista and Windows XP will have strong followings for years to come. That's fine. But I hope users who are ready to pull the plug on their aging Windows systems will consider a new direction: Install Ubuntu.