Moving to Linux from FreeBSD on my Armada M300


My Armada M300 FreeBSD notebook, circa 2008
I really got attached to my FreeBSD Xfce desktop environment, think I should be able to recreate it in Linux… if I end up settling on a distribution!

UPDATE: My inner control freak was scared by Xubuntu, so I’m installing Arch Linux after all! I’m also giving serious consideration to Gentoo after reading Scott O’Brien’s comments. To tell the truth I haven’t used it since 2004! Will keep you informed!

As much as I love FreeBSD and praised it’s performance on my Armada M300 in the past, unfortunately I’ve come to realise that it’s simply not workable when it comes to using it as a portable machine. It boots faster than any other operating system I’ve installed on it, and it’s clean file system and ports collection made it a snap to install drivers and software, but there have been too many glitches with the wireless cards I’ve tried, and a few other tiny but nagging issues I haven’t been able to resolve.

For this reason, I’ve decided to make an important decision: I will use FreeBSD on desktop computers and servers, and GNU/Linux distributions on my non-Apple notebooks. Currently I have only one working non-Apple notebook… so a distribution will be going on it!

Tux!The question then becomes… which one? If I had more time to tweak and play around with it, I would install Slackware with pkgsrc, Arch Linux or Draco Linux in a heartbeat on it, but given my time is tight right now for studies I’d prefer to have something I can install and run right away.

Debian GNU/Linux frustratingly continues to elude me; on every system I’ve ever tried to install it on it hasn’t found one critical piece of hardware, and this Armada M300 has been no exception. Despite repeatedly telling it to use the Intel Pro 100 Ethernet card driver in the installation wizard, it refused to detect it. Given FreeBSD and Arch Linux in the past were able to automatically detect this device without any input from me whatsoever, I decided to pass on Debian.

I’m currently downloading Xubuntu because it has my favourite desktop environment installed with it out of the box. Given it has a 120GB hard drive in it, I’m going to partition the drive in half and leave 60GB unformatted so I can try other distributions without affecting the one I may be using for lectures and so forth.

As far as earth changing events go, choosing a Linux distribution after relinquishing FreeBSD’s control over a computer you own is HUGE! I will be informing you all of my progress.

Heck, I may learn something along the way.

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Ruben Schade is a technical writer and infrastructure architect in Sydney, Australia who refers to himself in the third person. Hi!

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