Ubuntu/Linux 18.04 LTS from the Layman

Hello everyone,
I post reviews of products that are done in a sort of “blind” manner. I don’t know the specs of what I look at, I find that influences bias. I just get right into it. I’m not even told what software I’m using in terms of updates, if it’s an old OS, or a new one. I just test these things first and then afterwards look at the internals. Only have a few reviews, not sure if it’ll lead anywhere but let’s see!

TLDR: Linux will give your machine new life but there is a learning curve, less-so if it’s going to be just media-consumption but moreso for a daily driver/main device. It’s nice to use and tinker with but I wouldn’t recommend switching from Windows to linux if you’re in the middle of a project or if time is an issue. But old hardware with 2 GB ram or an Intel Atom/Celeron/Core 2 Duo will get a new lease on live and work very well as Linux is very skinny on resources.

This review is on a Dell Laptop, a Latitude E6410. It has 8 GB ram and an i7 quad-core. I had stopped using it some time ago because it was overheating like a furnace. But going back I think it was because it hard a hard drive and I didn’t know about SSDs when I was using it. It also probably doesn’t help that I didn’t know graphics cards were a thing and used it to play Prototype by Activision and other games that were probably more suitable for a computer.

So it had Windows, not sure which but I think 10 or Vista. It’s been around for like 6 or 7 years. It usually stays in storage until someones computer breaks then they use it till a proper replacement arrives. I decided to dust it off a week ago and install Ubuntu and see if it made a difference.

My findings

If a computer is slow-Consider upgrading the Hard Drive to an SSD. This will make improvements, moreso than uninstalling random programs that are slowing you down, or installing a skinnier operating system. An SSD will make a difference. Next, more ram. Once the hardware is upgraded, then look at the software. I say this so no one things that Linux is the magic bullet. I first installed Linux with the Hard Drive and found it was faster, yes I’d say maybe 20-30% faster. Chrome was faster. But besides Chrome it didn’t have a lot of applications in common with Windows. There was some sort of Linux-variant of Office but it wasn’t as intuitive as Office or even Google Docs so I lost interest. This is why I say don’t just switch unless you have time. The app store is easy enough to navigate. I used it for a whole day doing various tasks, installing and uninstalling applications but I found that it was still sluggish after a while and still getting hot. I opened it, threw in a WD Blue 250 GB SSD and reinstalled Ubuntu off the USB I had made it on. It was much faster, and makes me wonder if it was even a windows issue at all, or if I could have gotten more out of my computer with Windows.

I think Ubuntu is an amazing OS. It’s very nice to not have to install drivers or worry about security. And the settings are simple enough. But there lack of familiar apps is a concern. The taskbar on the side will throw you off. The reverse placement of the Maximize/Minimize/Exit buttons takes getting used to. But at the end, it’s a nice mix of all the right stuff. I did find out after that the laptop specs were quite amazing, i7 and 8 gb ram but I can say that the performance with the SSD was amazing and worth the time.

I hope this was a helpful review and I can answer any questions you have. Good day!