Ethical computing

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Andy Hamilton
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Ethical computing

Post: #48101 Andy Hamilton
Tue Feb 06, 2007 11:15 am

I am thinking of investing in a laptop at some point this year for practical reasons as well as the fact that they use far less electricity.

What to buy though, I have looked at reconditioned laptops and they are of a similar price to new cheaper laptops which have a higher spec and come with windows vista. Considering how quickly computers get upgraded these days what would be better to go for? I mean I might save one from a landfill just to have the dilemma of it going out of date and having to change it sooner that if I had bought a new one.
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Post: #48796 the.fee.fairy
Thu Feb 15, 2007 6:08 pm

windows vista WILL tell micro$oft EVERYTHING - if you try to play a CD that is not record company original (ie, a mix-cd/copy of a cd) then it will not play it and will 'inform' micro$oft of your intentions.
If you go to any p0rn sites, it will tell micro$oft to 'validate your adult status'.

So, i'd avoid vista if possible!

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Post: #48803 Kev
Thu Feb 15, 2007 7:07 pm

Hi Andy
I swapped my computer for a laptop the year before last. Like you at the time i could'nt make up my mind on what to go for, A reconditioned laptop or a new one. I was advised to buy new because you have no idea how long the refurbished one is going to last. So i went for a resonably priced new one It came with the standard xp.

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Post: #48824 wulf
Fri Feb 16, 2007 10:30 am

One thing to do is to write a list of what you want your computer for. If that is just stuff like email, web-browsing and some wordprocessing, a cheap laptop will probably be ideal. If you have more specific requirements then maybe not.

For example, I've got a laptop and it was fine when my digital camera was an old point and shoot producing smallish pictures. I've now got a fancy DSLR and the pictures are much larger, which definitely puts more of a strain on the machine when editing them. I could do with a memory upgrade but I am not sure that will be cost effective, so I am considering a new desktop system (reserving the old machine for when portability is an important asset and probably stretching out its life).

I'm entirely undecided on the merits of Vista... although whatever machine I get will be running Linux 99% of the time anyway!

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Post: #49459 quercusrobur
Thu Feb 22, 2007 5:28 pm

With the looming of Vista, now is probably the perfect time to swich to Linux. In fact I marked the launch day of Vista by oredering 10 free copies of Ubuntu to give away to friends and colleagues. I've given a few away to folks at work who were getting all excited about the prospect of paying £250 odd quid for an O/S that will most likely need a whole new computer to run it (its been said that future archaeologists will be abe to date the arrival of Vista by the layer of discarded computers that will be found in future landfill sites) and will take away their freedoms and privacy. any I don't give away to friends and colleagues I'll offer on Freecycle! In fact I may order another 10 or so purely for Freecycling!

Anyway, I switched to ubuntu from XP when I bought a new laptop last October and now swear by it! The Laptop still has XP on it as dual boot but I havn't booted into Windows for weeks now...

In terms of ethics Ubuntu is commited to freedom (both in cost and spirit), is open source and its community developed and supported, I really like the whole ethos and its 'human' feel

More info at www.ubuntu.com
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Ethical computing

Post: #49463 Karen_Grace
Thu Feb 22, 2007 5:40 pm

We bought a new laptop from Dell last year because it was really cheap, but Dell put so much c**p on it that kept popping up all the time and it ran really slowly. We've managed to clean it up a bit now, so it is better.
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Post: #49476 Shirley
Thu Feb 22, 2007 7:49 pm

quercusrobur wrote:With the looming of Vista, now is probably the perfect time to swich to Linux. In fact I marked the launch day of Vista by oredering 10 free copies of Ubuntu to give away to friends and colleagues. I've given a few away to folks at work who were getting all excited about the prospect of paying £250 odd quid for an O/S that will most likely need a whole new computer to run it (its been said that future archaeologists will be abe to date the arrival of Vista by the layer of discarded computers that will be found in future landfill sites) and will take away their freedoms and privacy. any I don't give away to friends and colleagues I'll offer on Freecycle! In fact I may order another 10 or so purely for Freecycling!

Anyway, I switched to ubuntu from XP when I bought a new laptop last October and now swear by it! The Laptop still has XP on it as dual boot but I havn't booted into Windows for weeks now...

In terms of ethics Ubuntu is commited to freedom (both in cost and spirit), is open source and its community developed and supported, I really like the whole ethos and its 'human' feel

More info at www.ubuntu.com


I've got a copy of Ubuntu on cd but haven't as yet built up the courage to give it a shot. I'm frightened of my computer just giving up :S
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Post: #49485 Martin
Thu Feb 22, 2007 8:37 pm

me too! - I've got the "image" downloaded onto my computer, but haven't even burnt the cd! The destructions on their website are sorely lacking, and it mutters things about "the disc will be wiped" or having to create partitions.............unlike some linux releases that will happily run off the cd - like you, I'm blowed if I'm going to risk stuffing my workaday laptop running XP just to try it out! :wink:
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Post: #49507 quercusrobur
Fri Feb 23, 2007 1:32 am

The CD image should be a 'live' Cd that will run from the CD without installing or changing any of your present configurations, that way you can check that your laptop/Pc will run it, also that it will support your hardware, and indeed whether you actually like it. You then get an option to 'install', you can then either let it wipe your entire system and replace your current O/S, or else will walk you through setting up a seperate partition so that you can install Ubuntu but still retain your previous O/S. it's really dead easy, even I was able to set up the partition and install and have never regreted it. There are also plenty of support forums to give help and advice, including on issues such as installing and partitioning, see http://www.ubuntuforums.org/. As I understand the next version of Ubuntu (due for release in april) will make the instalation process even more user friendly.
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Post: #49515 Muddypause
Fri Feb 23, 2007 2:39 am

quercusrobur wrote:With the looming of Vista, now is probably the perfect time to swich to Linux.


I've been experimenting with Linux for a little while now, but I have to say my experience with it is not plain sailing. I'm trying Fedora Core 6, ATM. I had a go with Ubuntu, but couldn't make it co-exist with Windows as a dual boot system.

I've not found any Linux to be a work-straight-out-of-the-box thing (though it's getting there), and have had to wrestle with computing in a way that is not natural for a brain of my sort. There is also the problem that a whole armfull of important Lotus 1-2-3 files are going to be a lot of hard work to convert to the Open Office equivalent.

And now, just to compound things, I am struggling with a boot failure that looks like a complete reinstall will be needed.

I've not given up yet, and I hate the idea of giving Bill Gates even more money (he has ten times more dollars than there are people on earth - how can this have happened?), but I can see why people do.

Martin and Shirlz:

Ubuntu do a Live CD version, which you can run from CD, though I found it terribly slow and not very practical on my old machine.

As an alternative, if you are worried about creating the partions during the install, download a copy of the GParted Live CD iso file, and burn it to CD (you will need burning software that can deal with iso files, CDBurnerXP will do it and is free). This version of GParted runs from the CD, and actually uses a stripped down version of Linux as its temporary operating system. Make sure your computer's BIOS is set to boot from CD, so that when you insert the CD, it will boot straight into GParted. You'll need to answer a few setup questions, like language and keyboard type. For the others you can accept the suggested options.

It will show you graphical representations of what partitions you have, allow you to move them around and resize them and delete them. You plan it out first. Nothing will happen until you click the final confirmation. It will be clear when you are at the point of committing to the changes you have planned, so don't worry about accidentally destroying data (but obviously make a back up of anything valuable before you even think about playing with your partitions).

I found it pretty easy to use. All you need to do is resize your Windows partition(s), leaving you with some unformatted free space for Linux. When you come to install Linux, choose the option that will install it onto the unused space on your disk. Doing this will not interfere with your Windows setup.

Having said all that, I unplugged my Windows hard drives and got hold of an old drive to do a trial installation on, just to get clear in my mind what I was doing first, before putting it on my proper drive.

In keeping with Quercus' suggestion, if there is anyone who wants to experiment with Fedora Core 5, I have all 5 CDs burnt here (several hours downloading), so PM me your address, and I'll post them off to you. I've even got Fedora Core 1 (3 CDs) if anyone is interested, thought this is prolly getting a little outmoded by now.
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Post: #49529 wulf
Fri Feb 23, 2007 8:26 am

Linux does require a different way of thinking about computing. Mind you, that could also be said about using a Mac or some other operating system as well. I've been using Linux and Windows for sometime now and have no hesitation about sticking in the Linux camp if I had to choose.

It has certainly got to be one of the most ethical options; based on concepts like building what you need then freely sharing that with others. It will take some time to get used to but then so do most other things that are worthwhile!

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Post: #49542 quercusrobur
Fri Feb 23, 2007 10:18 am

I agree. I came to Ubuntu as a total 'newbie' (horrible term, but there you go) with no knowledge at all of Linux, but got used to it very quickly. Personally I'd always liked the idea of Linux and open source, and been uncomfortable with Microsoft for some time, but had thought it for 'techies' and 'geeks' and far too complicated for a mere mortal like me. To use an analogy, I consider myself a reasonably good driver, but haven't got the first clue about car maintainance, nor have any great inclination to learn. Ubuntu however actaully has the mission statement of making linux user friendly, which is why it appealed and motivated me to take the plunge.

A couple of things were confusing at first, but I got my head around them pretty quickly. What I do find now and hadn't previously been that aware of (like a machine humming in the background, you don't actually notice it until it stops) was just how intrusive Windows is, with little boxes popping up all the time asking me if I want to upgarde this or that, or that my desktop icons need to be tidied up, or trying to sell me something, or 'helpfully' telling me that it thinks it knows what I'm tryin to do and do I need any help... A prime example is my USB drive, when I plug it in under Linux it becomes another drive, instantly recognised. When I plug it into the same computer running XP it sends me mesages that new hardware has been detected, tries to install or run software that the drive manufacturer thinks I should have, tries to sell me stuff like dictionaries and other tat and generally makes me jump through a whole load of time consuming and irritating hoops and genrally patronises me. Something is surely wrong when one finds oneself being patronised by a USB drive!
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Post: #49608 Muddypause
Fri Feb 23, 2007 6:30 pm

I wasn't meaning to knock the concept of Linux, or the amount of work that goes into making it; I am seriously impressed with the time and effort people put into it, and the way there is an extensive support community. I think the whole concept of open source software has radical implications that could make many aspects of the whole world better.

But my practical, first hand experience with it has been a steep learning curve beset with frequent obstacles. This has just (two days ago) been brought into sharp relief by a seemingly insurmountable boot failure - the best advice I'm getting is to do a complete reinstall. To describe this as a little frustrating is an undersatement. I fully intend to persevere, but this is the sort of thing that makes me despair. I don't think I'm a total idiot with computers, though they're not my natural environment, and I've put a lot of work into figuring out how to make Linux work on my computer; now I have to start from scratch again. Realistically, I don't think many other people would put up with this.

I may take this opportunity to try another distro - maybe I can get the latest Ubuntu to work. But my experience with both Ubuntu and Fedora is that it is still not an application for numpties; that may be because I am one. Much as I would like to, I don't yet see how I could make it my first-use OS.
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Post: #49611 Muddypause
Fri Feb 23, 2007 6:48 pm

Here's a suggestion - Martin, Shirlz, and anyone else, get yer fingers out and install Ubuntu. Then we can compare notes; swap advice; with Wulf and Quercus, have a bit of an SS-ish Linux users support group.
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Post: #49614 quercusrobur
Fri Feb 23, 2007 6:57 pm

Unfortunately I'm sort of in that ex-smoker just-kicked-the habit mode about Windows at the moment so forgive me if I over-evangelise about Ubuntu! It'll wear off soon, honest!
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