I like and share some ideas of the open source / free software (OSFS) movement, although I am not an OSFS freak. After much discussion and finger waving of my OSF freak friends, who swear by Linux and have nearly convinced me that Ubuntu would be usable even by my mum, I decided to give it a go.
So I downloaded the current Ubuntu desktop release as an ISO file, created a brand new Virtual PC 2004 virtual machine, and fired up the installation. After a nice menu with some flashy graphics where I choose the option to install Ubuntu, the screen goes blank (i.e. black) and the message:
Uncompressing Linux... Ok, booting the kernel.
appears on top. Nice. After a few seconds and no perceptible CD or HD activity, it pops up:
[ 40.487708] isapnp: checksum for device 1 is not valid (0x89) [ 40.495012] isapnp: checksum for device 2 is not valid (0xbe)
And that’s it. Nothing happens. 30 minutes later and still the same.
First reaction is to think “bloody Linuxen and their cryptic messages”. Second thought is “I knew my mum could not use this. Even I can’t use this. What the hell are device 1 and 2? Is the install program continuing or is it hung? What can I do?”
Third reaction is to google for the error message, and by doing this I find multiple reports of people obtaining the same messages as me. Some are related to Ubuntu and some are not. Some occur on top of Virtual PC, some do not. Most list lengthy chunks of boot-up sequences or configuration options. Not for my mum. And not for me.
My first experience with Ubuntu has been short and disappointing. It is not only that it does not install on my machine. It is the fact that it says nothing that can help me diagnose the problem.
The old myth says that Linuxen are hard to install (and use), much harder than Windows. The advocates of OSFS try hard to debunk this myth and convince others that this belongs to the past, and modern Linuxen have the usability of Windows, if not better. Well, I’ve never seen a Windows installer behaving like what I’ve just described. And I’ve seen quite a few of them!
Shame on Ubuntu.