Sexy Librarian Updates
May 8, 2007 11:13 AM   Subscribe

Jess does Ubuntu! I know nothing about Ubuntu, but Metafilter's own jessamyn has inspired me to try this on my old PC before I donate it to a friend. (via)
posted by ObscureReferenceMan (75 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
I just glanced at the words in your first link and thought that it said "Jesus does Uhura." Needless to say I was pretty disappointed when I clicked on it and it was about library computers in Vermont.
posted by ND¢ at 11:19 AM on May 8, 2007 [1 favorite]

Hunh, far less cursing than I expected... but it would be a gazillion times better with some Yakety Sax or Maple Leaf Rag.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:20 AM on May 8, 2007 [1 favorite]

I've been using Linux for ages but I no longer have the time/desire to mess around with the internals. Ubuntu is great for me. But is it for regular Joes? My 8 year old has had as little problem messing around on his desktop as he does on our old Windows 98 machine, so I guess the answer is "yes".
posted by DU at 11:22 AM on May 8, 2007

Jessamyn walks really fast.
posted by Dizzy at 11:23 AM on May 8, 2007

Very cool.
posted by fallenposters at 11:24 AM on May 8, 2007

Neato! My dad installed ubuntu on his computer just the other day.

And if I see the cutline theme on one more blog I'm going to flip out. I use it on mine but I mean ::tsk::, I liked it before it went all mainstream. Gawd.

posted by CitrusFreak12 at 11:27 AM on May 8, 2007

Jessamyn: next, please "Jess does Ubuntu as bootable USB key live persistent drive." that one is giving me problems.
posted by rxrfrx at 11:27 AM on May 8, 2007

And if I see the cutline theme on one more blog I'm going to flip out. I use it on mine but I mean ::tsk::, I liked it before it went all mainstream. Gawd.

Your favorite blog theme sucks.
posted by fallenposters at 11:28 AM on May 8, 2007

One of my co-workers was having no end of problems trying to get a new install of an operating system on a laptop. I suggested that he use my Ubuntu live CD to go in and format the drive so that he could start from scratch.

On a whim, he actually installed Ubuntu. It is apparently good enough that he is no longer going to even bother installing the original system.

And like a viral agent, the CD is back in my desk drawer.


Eventually, I'll convert them all! [bwahahaha]
posted by quin at 11:29 AM on May 8, 2007 [3 favorites]

the "Metafilter's own" thing reminds me of Newman's own foodstuffs, and for some reason, "Metafilter's own jessamyn" made me think of Girl Scout cookies.

Metafilter's own jessamynt thins.

posted by boo_radley at 11:30 AM on May 8, 2007 [1 favorite]

I do lurv me some Ubuntu. Not 100% there for each and every little tidbit, but honestly, what is?

Been using it at home on a couple of old machines for about a year now.

Don't miss Kubuntu if you want the KDE interface instead. The regular Ubuntu install uses Gnome.

If you really want to squeeze even more out of an old machine, try Edubuntu. Same gnome interface but bundled with a lot of little educational apps for a huge variety of ages.

I put Edubuntu on an old Inspiron 3500 with 256MB of RAM and a 600MHz Celeron in it, and yet I was able to use VLC to get it to playback full screen DVDs and Divx videos without a glitch. Amazing what you can do with old hardware when you get the right OS on it.

(Of course, I got 10.4.9 on a G3 500MHz Pismo Powerbook last week and got it also playing full screen Divx avi files as well using VLC player and just the right version of Divx codec - 5.2.1 it turns out. I've got a thing for extracting usefulness from old computers. I think I might be crazy.)
posted by smallerdemon at 11:31 AM on May 8, 2007 [1 favorite]

Hey, shouldn't she be in AskMe deleting my comments?
posted by found missing at 11:32 AM on May 8, 2007 [5 favorites]


I think that the lighter version is xubuntu. Its logo features a running mouse. I used it for an old laptop, and it works fine.
posted by nicolin at 11:40 AM on May 8, 2007

I installed Ubuntu, and I really liked it and would consider using it except for:

(1) no flash player?
(2) missing certain audio and video codecs.

Evidently this is done for IP reasons.

I tried installing these things on my own, and let's just say that I made it out alive, but Ubuntu didn't.

Is there a super secret black market underground "Psst! Hey, buddy..." version of Ubuntu that has all the missing crap preinstalled, and fits on a CD, not a DVD?
posted by Pastabagel at 11:42 AM on May 8, 2007

Obligatory link whenever Ubuntu is mentioned, Mark Pilgrim's Essential software (2006).
posted by acro at 11:42 AM on May 8, 2007

Pastabagel: yes! (see previous link, and install the Easyubuntu package
posted by acro at 11:44 AM on May 8, 2007 [3 favorites]

Man, I have installed Linux a gazillion times, but I never thought to make a video.

I could have been famous!

posted by teece at 11:46 AM on May 8, 2007

WTF, boingboing? Jesus. I wish I could watch YouTube videos from school.
posted by jessamyn at 11:47 AM on May 8, 2007

Ubuntu is great for me. But is it for regular Joes?
Definitely. I think perhaps even better for people who aren't familiar with Windows or Mac OS either and thus have no preconceptions.
My partner, not a regular computer user before, uses this Ubuntu box to surf, email, watch videos etc and has no problem at all.
posted by Abiezer at 11:49 AM on May 8, 2007

don't worry, it's going on slashdot next, i'm sure they'll be interested
posted by poppo at 11:49 AM on May 8, 2007

Man, I tried to install Ubuntu on an old laptop (for use as an mp3 jukebox) last night, but ran into this kernel bug. I then tried the alternate install disc, which got slightly further in the install, but complained about IDE problems.

Once upon a time (1999), I loved spending every waking minute making linux work for me, on my 486 75mhz hand-me-down. Oh, Redhat 6.1! How I miss thee. Or not. I'm definitely reminded why I moved over to OSX as soon as I could, and am content to buy a used Slimserver as my mp3 playback device.

(that said, I think Ubuntu is totally sexy, and as soon as I do a DIY fix to my G3 ibook's shitty video card, I'm installing it as fast as I can.)
posted by god hates math at 11:56 AM on May 8, 2007

I wanted to use Ubuntu and use it as a server, but darn if there isn't some issue with an eMac and the video. Oh well....
I'll try again in a few years.
posted by cccorlew at 12:02 PM on May 8, 2007

I have an old laptop that has Windows 98 and is totally corrupted. My dad is sick of using Webtv, is it possible for me to install Ubuntu on this computer and give it to him to surf the web? I've been really worried about letting him use a computer since I fear getting calls from him every other minute because his computer is frozen - will Ubuntu be easier to use than Windows? I'm very un-tech-savvy when it comes to operating systems but I'd love to try to install it.
posted by any major dude at 12:03 PM on May 8, 2007

Yakety Sax

is this the next release?

just upgraded to "Feisty Faun" and magic! no sound on my asus laptop.

try typing "feisty asus" 15 times into google and it turns into "feisty anus" real quick...
posted by geos at 12:03 PM on May 8, 2007

Internet folk-hero and librarian Jessamyn has inspired me to try this on my old PC, too! &, she taught me how to pronounce Ubuntu, which is really fun to say! Yay! Ubuntu!
posted by taosbat at 12:08 PM on May 8, 2007

Holy cow, she signed up for a mefi account and everything!

How'd she get that low user number, though? eBay?
posted by cortex at 12:12 PM on May 8, 2007 [1 favorite]

I have an old laptop that has Windows 98 and is totally corrupted. My dad is sick of using Webtv, is it possible for me to install Ubuntu on this computer and give it to him to surf the web?

This is the kind of machine I was describing above - an dell inspiron 7000 laptop.

My complaints aside, ubuntu looked and worked great. recall that Win98 had some odd legacy-based limitations that linux didn't have even.

It may even be overkill - if you want to avoid support headaches, and all he's going to use it for is internet or checking web-based email, you could try a live CD. My personal favorite is SLAX. On the aforementioned Inspiron, with 128MB memory, it was very fast (faster than win 98). And the great thing about a live CD is that because it is on a CD, the OS can't get screwed up. It is impossible to write changes to the OS. It runs exactly the same the 1000th time as it did the first time.

Ubuntu also has a LiveCD distribution which you can try without having to wipe the old OS first.
posted by Pastabagel at 12:13 PM on May 8, 2007

I want to thank BoingBoing for giving me a better term to use for my geeky internet idols than "Internet Celebrities"; "Internet folk-heroes." That is awesome.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 12:16 PM on May 8, 2007

What's the song?
posted by 0xFCAF at 12:17 PM on May 8, 2007

Does Cory Doctorow have to describe how every post is applicable to his personal life? Jesus fuck.
posted by joseph_elmhurst at 12:19 PM on May 8, 2007

Did she buy the Ubuntu disks with a gift certificate?
posted by inigo2 at 12:26 PM on May 8, 2007

1. I definitely recommend wiping a drive and doing a full install rather than trying to run from just a live disc.

2. Be sure you've got a wireless card that's going to be supported.

3. Be aware that OO Writer sometimes formats funny in .doc
posted by chuckdarwin at 12:27 PM on May 8, 2007

i've been happily using ubuntu going on 2 years. feisty is the bestest. it's come a long way baby. this past week i installed FreeBSD / Gnome for giggles and at first was amazed at what i took to be a generally borked implementation of gnome. foreign volumes not recognized, usb device insertion ignored, silent as a stone, no sidebars in nautilus. i've since learned that all these shortcomings are simple to remedy (simple, not intuitive) - the functionality is all there, one must enable it.
posted by quonsar at 12:29 PM on May 8, 2007

The song is Eunice Two-Step by Beausoleil.
posted by jessamyn at 12:33 PM on May 8, 2007 [1 favorite]

I installed Ubuntu on my old box last year and love, love, love it! It worked from the get go with very little problems and everything I want to do with it I have been able to do, although sometimes I needed to Google a few things here and there to get everything working correctly. But I find it much more stable than Windows and I know a lot more about the internal workings and ways of my OS than I did before.

As a matter of fact, I am out of state visiting my mother and using her Windows box and I really miss my Ubuntu!
posted by LeeJay at 12:38 PM on May 8, 2007

Yay zydeco!
posted by hydatius at 12:51 PM on May 8, 2007

"Internet folk-heroes." That is awesome.

I don't know, to my ears (of course, I'm a non-native English speaker so ymmv) it sounds too much like a Woody Guthrie thing, Internet folk-hero to me sounds like someone with a big acoustic guitar, overalls & a laptop. but I agree that "Internet Celebrity" is lame, too. somebody has to come up with a better term, I just don't think folk-hero works.
posted by matteo at 12:59 PM on May 8, 2007

Okay, curious -- as a Debian user, I'm not looking for the world's easiest install. So what's the benefit for me going to Ubuntu instead (as it's Debian-based)?

I figure it's better to ask here, where answers might be about practical use, rather than in a more technical place where little people can't see the forest about these things.
posted by davejay at 1:00 PM on May 8, 2007

If you have a bunch more old PCs you can save yourself the time of installing stuff & just do this instead.
posted by miss lynnster at 1:17 PM on May 8, 2007 [1 favorite]

davejay: Not really any benefit at all -- The main difference will be that the packages in their repositories have been modified a lot more, and documented a lot less. If you really know what you're doing with *nix, Ubuntu's just going to piss you off. It's User freindly, not Admin friendly. It doesn't even fucking ship with an SSH daemon!
posted by blasdelf at 1:20 PM on May 8, 2007

I started using Mandrake (now Mandriva) right around the time Windows XP came out. Not a coincidence. I got increasingly annoyed with its horrible packaging and other problems, though, and switched to Ubuntu last year. I haven't looked back since.

I do still double-boot, though: Lightwave 3D and Morrowind do not run in Linux. (Yes, I've tried Wine and I have a subscription to Cedega, but those don't help.) If I ever get a way to have Linux-native versions of those programs, I will never touch Windows again.
posted by jiawen at 1:49 PM on May 8, 2007

davejay, the benefit I think is that if you have hardware specific questions 'my broadcom wireless card xxxx doesn't work', it would seem that you are more likely to find a post somewhere with a clear, usable answer.
posted by acro at 1:51 PM on May 8, 2007

Metafilter: LOOKS LIKE WORD.

It's the glorious open-source counterpart to the w-w-w-windows-windows-386 video.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:58 PM on May 8, 2007

Don't forget there's the lightweight Xubuntu install if you have a really old system. I have it on my iMac DV 450 Mhz, although the PPC distro will be in maintenance mode soon, if not already....
posted by Scoo at 2:04 PM on May 8, 2007

No way. A GIRL installed LINUX?

Eat your heart out, Jennifer Ringley!!
posted by drstein at 2:23 PM on May 8, 2007

Now all you need is the wobble wobble .
posted by Industrial PhD at 2:51 PM on May 8, 2007

I have it on good authority that she selected ReiserFS for the filesystem.
posted by Mayor Curley at 2:57 PM on May 8, 2007 [1 favorite]

Your scientists were so pre-occupied with whether or not they could they didn't stop to think if they should.
posted by acro at 2:57 PM on May 8, 2007

-- IndustrialPhD
posted by acro at 2:59 PM on May 8, 2007

I just don't think folk-hero works.
geek goddess?
posted by madamjujujive at 3:01 PM on May 8, 2007 [1 favorite]

"Person of Internets"
posted by cortex at 3:04 PM on May 8, 2007

captains of meme
posted by acro at 3:06 PM on May 8, 2007

"Jesus does Uhura.”

pix pls

That ask me thread was damn helpful. Although I’m a bit too slow on the software end to load this stuff m’self.
posted by Smedleyman at 3:19 PM on May 8, 2007

I agree with the FPP title: That's an inexplicably but undeniably sexy librarian...official notice of crush. And I liked the zydeco soundtrack.
posted by pax digita at 3:38 PM on May 8, 2007

Pastabagel: There is a flash player. System->Administration->Synaptic Package Manager then hit Search, type in flash, and select flashplugin-nonfree to install it. Easy peasy.
posted by jmhodges at 5:57 PM on May 8, 2007

That's on Feisty, of course. Anything earlier and you'd have to enable the "universe" repositories. Which is easy, but an additional step.
posted by jmhodges at 5:58 PM on May 8, 2007

Abiezer: My partner, not a regular computer user before, uses this Ubuntu box to surf, email, watch videos etc and has no problem at all.

OOooooo er.

You aren't talking about the kitty are you?
posted by gomichild at 6:14 PM on May 8, 2007

I heart Jessamyn. I'm jealous of Ubuntu 'cause she's doing err Ubuntu.
posted by Eekacat at 6:22 PM on May 8, 2007

I ♥ librarian-folk-heroes!
posted by taosbat at 6:29 PM on May 8, 2007

the follow up where she deletes ubuntu is even better.
posted by sgt.serenity at 6:58 PM on May 8, 2007 [1 favorite]

I meant my business partner of course gomi. Y'know, that "none of your business" I run.
posted by Abiezer at 7:04 PM on May 8, 2007

You.. you didn't just... call out gomi? zomgdeadmanposting
posted by coriolisdave at 7:13 PM on May 8, 2007

She'll never reach me from that far aw...
posted by Abiezer at 7:28 PM on May 8, 2007

somebody has to come up with a better term

Small-Pond Tuna, or Puddle Leviathans.

Either that, or "Person Who Is Sort of Famous, But Not Actually Famous Because My Grandma's Never Heard of Them".

Can YOU find the REAL celebrity?
[ ] Kottke
[ ] That Guy With The Hole That He Dug
[ ] That Other Guy With The Hole, That Presumably Some Other Guy Dug
[ ] Charley Pride
[ ] Serious Cat
[ ] The Late Abiezer

posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:55 PM on May 8, 2007

She doesn't look strung out enough to be a librarian. Junkies and libertines, all of them.
posted by stavrogin at 9:13 PM on May 8, 2007 [1 favorite]

It's gotta be the cat. This is the tubes, it's ALWAYS the cat.

Although if one were to go for synonyms, that opens up a whole other can of Brito-Sinoitic worms

posted by coriolisdave at 9:16 PM on May 8, 2007

When she leaned in to speak to the webcam sotto voce, I totally flashed back to Justin's breakdown. Am I bad?
posted by dhartung at 12:00 AM on May 9, 2007

Am I bad? Someone's crazy...
posted by taosbat at 12:13 AM on May 9, 2007

I've spent the past week playing with Ubuntu, Kubuntu and the KDE Kiosk tool, the fomer on my personal box and the latter two on a couple of old boxes destined to be used as (very) simple Internet Kiosks.

My only complaints are that
  1. getting my Linksys Wifi dongle to work via ndiswrapper seems to be currently impossible on the 64 bit version and was only slightly less of a pain in the ass for the 32 bit version. [you may insert rant about hardware vendors not supporting *nix here]
  2. locking down the kiosk user has proven to be a nice little exercise in hand editing a vertiable assload of configuration files, despite the niftiness of KioskTool. And am still rather paranoid that I've missed something bloody obvious.
I've played around briefly with Suse 9.x before and Redhat/CentOS to a greater extent via VPS, so I'd hazard that I'm around 50% newb when it comes to dealing with Linux. (also known as: knows just enough to be dangerous to self). Ubuntu seems to be pretty nifty though, and the next time one of my friends requests PC repair/assistance, I think I'll try to convert a few people. OR at least show the few Mac diehards I know the similarities in the behind the scenes cogs of their shiny OS.
posted by romakimmy at 4:10 AM on May 9, 2007

One should NEVER, NEVER install any Linux on an older box.

Install Windoze on the older Boxes and Linux on the shiny, new powerful ones!

So many people think Windoze "is just as good or better" than Linux because where do you find Windoze? On the new boxes! And where do you find Linux? On the older recycled boxes! It creates a great misconception and does a disservice to Linux.
posted by nofundy at 7:08 AM on May 9, 2007

It creates a great misconception and does a disservice to Linux.

Er, is that your only reasoning for not installing on an old box? Because I'm finding that *nix runs faster on said old boxen than WinWhatever. Or is there some big technical 'DUH-everyone knows that' reason I'm missing?
posted by romakimmy at 7:23 AM on May 9, 2007

Can I still install Linux on older boxes in the privacy of my home, if I promise not to tell the neighbors or my staff sergeant?
posted by cortex at 7:53 AM on May 9, 2007

I installed Linux on an older box because I had never used it before and wanted to experiment without worrying that I would screw something up major. Now that I know how simple it was I wouldn't hesitate to put it on a brand spankin' new computer.
posted by LeeJay at 11:02 AM on May 9, 2007

//insert [Some Linksys Wifi use the Broadcom chip, and Broadcom has continued to fail to supply opensource developers access to the firmware... There's an opensource driver out there, but still uses ndiswrapper, or something that cuts the firmware code from the Windows driver for use in *NIX. ] With DELL doing the Linux laptops this might creat an incentive for Broadcom.
posted by acro at 4:40 PM on May 9, 2007

With DELL doing the Linux laptops this might creat an incentive for Broadcom.

Here's hopin' that it creates an incentive for *all* hardware makers. I didn't really need WiFi before, but now that the SO & I have moved in together, a bunch of ethernet cables all over the flat are rather unpractical.

I purposely chose Edgy as the Wifi support seemed to be a bit more stable/fleshed out from my premlinary research. The Linksys was actually the 2nd of two choices - I have an Edimax USB adapter as well - Atheros chipset. Unfortunately, MadWifi doesn't support USB and trying to use alien to create a deb package from the Edimax rpm's kept throwing a frickin' error.

Then began the Linksys fun (nb - not the Broadcom chipset). Of course, the day I'm tinkering around with this, the seemingly only place on the net according to Google to find x64 Win drivers to work with ndiswrapper is down for the count. :| I got the lights to flash once, then on a reboot it died again, methinks due to something with that nifty feature with limiting power to USB devices not being properly disabled. After ripping my hair out all day, and the SO asking if I was going to sleep with him or my computer that night, I threw out the Edgy 64 version, installed the 32 bit version, and started over.

I don't even want to think about what I'll have to do to get the printer working via WiFi. Blargh.

Anywho the point of this ramble is that A) hopefully the Dell deal pushes hardware drivers to make better/more/some *nix drivers because B) I'm not that big of an newb idiot on the keyboard and I found the hoop-jumping for working Wifi to be a pain in the ass. With WiFi's ever expanding popularity, your typical Mom & Pop end user are gonna have kittens and/or go back to the 'safety' of the Windows.
posted by romakimmy at 2:50 AM on May 10, 2007

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