Installing Umbuntu for the first time and i need to know some things



im installing Umbuntu on my grandparents old PC, its running windows 98 currently



CPU: Athlon 2.2GHz dual core

Memory: 2GB


Graphics card: Old generic ATI Card



I know that isint very specific, but my main concern is about drivers. i have almost no dought in my mind i can install it and get it going, but finding the drivers may be hard. hell, i dont even know if the hardware is all compatible with linux

im not shur if much of that made any sense. Im pretty clueless about linux

And im only relising this now. Ubuntu*

The drivers for that hardware are probably already included.


Most hardware is already natively supported in Ubuntu, and if it isn't, may be installed from a windows driver disc. I had to do this to be able to use my wireless g dongle.





- Most hardware drivers are part of Linux itself, few is part of the actual GNU/Linux distro.

- Linux is not like Windoze, Microsoft and it's thralls still spread the disinformation that GNU/Linux distros are compatible with less hardware, BUT, since Windoze 7 and Linux kernel 3+, that is certainly not the case, quite on the contrary, Windoze 7 has rendered a lot of hardware obsolete because they have lifted compatibility, while Linux has only added compatibility.

- In 99% of cases in Linux: plug in hardware, within 1 second it's all ready and configured without pop-ups or messages or whatever, WHEREAS in 99% of cases in Windoze: plug in hardware, watch the HDD LED go crazy and the computer slow down to a halt, wait for a minute or so, watch a window pop up that Windoze has detected hardware and is looking for drivers automatically, starting with Windoze Update, ... keep watching that window while your work is waiting but your customers are not, and then... just before the point you reach insanity because of all the waiting while your pc just should be working, there pops up a message that windoze couldn't find any drivers or whatever... lol

- Ubuntu prefers tainted, and it uses jockey to scan for proprietary drivers for hardware. In many cases, this will be a modem, a wireless card, or a graphics card. AMD has deprecated all pre-series 4000 cards in it's proprietary linux driver, so your PC will probably only work with the open source driver, which is not a bad thing, because the catalyst drivers never worked well with the older series anyway. As far as wireless cards go, Ubuntu is not the most compatible GNU/Linux distro out there, but I don't expect any problems as long as you stick with 12.04 LTS. Using the Windows drivers for wireless cards is not necessary anymore these days.

- there are much better GNU/Linux distros for older hardware like yours, Ubuntu is a very specific distro that is not very representative of the power of GNU/Linux. If your computer feels sluggish, give Manjaro linux a try, it's very easy to install and to use, it's based on Arch linux and therefore compatible with anything and configurable as anything, and it's much faster and more powerful than Ubuntu, especially on older hardware. If it still feels sluggish, give Vector linux a try, it's based on Slackware, still easy to install and to use, and it makes really old hardware faster than other OS's on new hardware. Have a machine with only 375 MB of RAM and a Pentium III CPU, sure you can run GIMP and edit your snapshots quicker than with Photoshop on an i5 with 8 GB of RAM... with Vector Linux.

About the only thing your going to need to go driver wise maybe on linux is 3d video card drivers. Which is purely optional and is again built into ubuntu for the most part. Go with 12.04 version of ubuntu or 12.10 if you want a little fun. If you want it simple for your GP's leave it to automatically login.

If you do know nothing about linux or even what a distro is ubuntu is a safe way to go the forums at ubuntu are very helpful with most issues ranging from my youtube video not working to how do I config my email settings in?

Another thing very easy to use is the software center that is rich with free and open programs to use.

Make sure you get gparted, restricted extras, and google chrome in the ubuntu software store.

Easiest way to get chrome is open firefox surf to and click the install button on the right side. Thats pretty much it.

Enjoy your linux journey.:)


as Tebbler stated "The drivers for that hardware are probably already included."

but what question I have is why that pc is runnig win98? as you stated that computer has dual core cpu and 2GB of RAM that thing is overkil for win98.

wish you luck. 

u can have windows and linux side by side on one system just pick the option of running them side by side

install this, you'll thank me later

For that kind of hardware, I recommend a lighter version of linux. You will notice speed and hard drive space improvements over ubuntu.

light distros:


Xubuntu <- I use this one

#! Crunchbang

Wow time flies when you are ignoring a website because of boring forum posts. Anyway, onward to a more suitable topic: drivers and compatability issues. Let me be entirely clear, I stated a fact that is easy enough to understand. Most hardware has a built-in driver in standard Linux distros. This is generally accepted as fact because Linux has a massive support community of people that really should be getting paid for the level of intellectual prowess they exhibit when trying to create components of an operating system to avoid having to spend money on one that is more difficult to customize to suit. Basically you have a lot of people that either have degrees in the field, or should seriously consider doing so, who write things like drivers for Linux so that they can use whatever hardware they have or desire. However, given market precedence for Microsoft, many companies don't even bother to create universal Linux drivers for their product, instead just bundling in one for whatever the last couple of Microsoft OS iterations happen to be. Because when you are on so many computers, and you happen to actually have money to throw around to developers, stuff happens to draw your favor. Stuff like companies developing drivers for you. Conveniently, the last time I installed Ubuntu, I discovered that it has this amazing capacity to run hardware via a driver originally intended for Windows. This amazed me, and also gave me intermittent internet access (the driver was fairly unstable even in Windows.) 

What I'm trying to say is this: although your points are valid, they are also unnecessary. But two can play this game.

Developers for the linux kernel are getting paid, and getting paid very well (I'm betting many closed source devs are wishing they would have gone the open source route!), look at the names of the maintainers, most of them are people with a good position at Intel, IBM, RedHat, Novell, universities, research institutions, etc... and linux kernel people are hardware people, they don't even touch userspace, they make sure the linux kernel, which is by far the most used kernel on the planet, infinitely more used than any other kernel, is compatible with as many hardware as possible. This is done by submitting code to be integrated into the kernel, not by making separate drivers. The ONLY and RARE exceptions to this rule are SOME CONSUMER GRADE hardware parts, mostly "gaming" parts, like certain graphics cards, "gaming" input devices, cheapest tier consumer grade inkjet printers or multifunctionals, and pretty much everything from the consumer product range by nVidia and Canon. This is because of Microsoft license deals mainly and because of old fashioned market protectionist policies, while even technologies that are basically touching EAR rules (open source cannot feasibly be subject to EAR, of which the main chunk was encryption technologies, which are classified in the US as "munitions" since WWII, but since the early 1990's, open source encryption technologies have become the prevalent standard, and the whole restrictions debate has become pretty useless for mass market products), like GPU acceleration functionality that is optimised for encryption/decryption functionality, or encryption accelerating CPU technology, is just as well supported by the linux kernel as technologies not touched by EAR. Some WiFi chip manufacturers however, have refused to provide headers and/or driver code for some Wi-Fi chip models that were mainly made for consumer devices because of economic reasons. Instead of submitting code, they have opted for developing new chips and submitting the code for those, because the technology evolved very quickly in the 2000's, and they needed more resources to develop new chips than to make linux drivers for older chips, and most of these affected chips were pretty unstable, like you said, and had already cost much more than anticipated just to be able to make the windows drivers work. In the mean time though, most older chips are also supported by the linux kernel, through the use of firmware packages, and there are very few exceptions. It took a long time for manufacturers to see that linux is not only for business use. Even Asus will be releasing its first ever mass produced line of laptops with Ubuntu preloaded instead of Windows this month, for 100 USD less. The linux kernel supports infinitely more hardware than Windows. And it has done that for a very long time. I don't know where the misconception comes from that the linux kernel is less hardware compatible than Windows, because it obviously isn't, most hardware is natively compatibel with the linux kernel, without need for a separate "driver application" like in Windows. The Windows kernel is in fact only compatible with a very short list of hardware, and needs externel drivers for pretty much everything, including elemental things like USB ports, etc.., notwithstanding the fact that the windows kernel is several times larger than the linux kernel. The linux kernel only needs external drivers for graphics cards and printers, and some isolated older consumer hardware items. Even exotic things like controllers for industrial robotics, sattelite systems, etc... are all natively supported by the linux kernel. It will be hard to even find stuff that can be hooked up to a computer (and not only an x86 computer, but any platform), and that is not natively supported by the linux kernel.

I don't quite understand your last paragraph, I don't see what you mean.