Even experienced computer users can have a "bad day." Two weeks ago I managed to mangle my desktop OS when something hiccuped while downloading several updates to the networking software. Kernel panic. CPU went to 100 percent. System wouldn't shut down. To condense the next several minutes of troubleshooting into a single sentence, it looked like the easiest way to resolve the issue quickly was to spend 15 or 20 minutes and reload the OS.
That's not as drastic as it sounds. First off, I had a fresh backup of the home directory from the day before. Even better, since the home directory and all the current files were on a separate partition, so I could reformat and reload just the partition with the OS without harming the other working files. I might not even need the backups. Once the decision to reload was behind us, the next question was what version of the OS should I install?
The desktop was originally running Ubuntu 9.04 when the confusion started, which was about a year old. I could have reloaded with Ubuntu 9.10, released in October 2009, which is running very smoothly on my laptop. I had already been hearing good reports about the next release of Ubuntu, 10.04, nicknamed Lucid Lynx. Ubuntu 10.04 is still only available as a Beta version for testing, and not recommended for a production computer in daily use. Having had good experiences with previous Ubuntu Beta's, I decided to take the plunge and move forward - not backwards.
Downloading the 10.04 Beta, I burned a copy of the OS to a CD and within 30 minutes was looking at the test version of Ubuntu's "latest and greatest" operating system. It booted right up and seems to have given my aging desktop a vitamin shot. The new version 10.04 boots noticeably faste...
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...ntu, can be a very rewarding experience. If you're willing to invest in yourself, then the learning process can be as much fun as the feeling of accomplishment as you master any new skill or any new OS.
From my own experience, this new version of Ubuntu, 10.04 - Lucid Lynx - may be the Ubuntu version that makes me change my mind about the minimum skill level needed for most people to use Linux. The Ubuntu system of regular improvements, delivered on schedule, has provided great advances in usability. This LTS version was built for stability. Throughout the process, the Lucid Lynx version of Ubuntu has been easy to use and shows great potential for wider acceptance by hardware manufacturers and by consumers.
I may be a little behind on updating the three websites that I help maintain, but I've got a new, stable computing platform that I can use to catch up.