And Ubuntu gets seven out of ten

Last week, it was clear my parents' ageing XP box needed some attention - in fact, let's be honest, it had been crying out for a zap-and-reload since last year.

This time, though, I was determined. With my sister safely moved off onto her new laptop, there should be no reason not to migrate the box to Ubuntu. The only things in use on it were Firefox, Thunderbird and how hard could it be?

Five days on, I'm in a position to report that the answer is "harder than it should have been" - here's what happened:

Problem 1: Audio CD autoplay

Dad wanted the machine to start playing his CDs automatically when he put them in, much like Windows does. Seemed perfectly reasonable to me, as I blithely assured him it'd be a matter of a few mouse clicks.

It wasn't.

Much Googling and swearing later, this hack (fifth comment down) seems to do the necessary, though I had to bump the sleep interval to six seconds.

Problem 2: No matter how close KPatience comes, it's not "real FreeCell"

...largely because, despite generating the same deals from the same numbers as the Windows version, it counts every loss of the same game number as a loss in the stats, whereas the Microsoft one counts them as one loss.

Fortunately, freecell.exe runs fine under wine, so copy it across and save yourself the bother.

In conclusion

Other than the above minor niggles, all seems well, and hopefully the machine should now do a few more years' trouble-free duty.

So, as the title of this post says, Windows XP has now been deposed as my OS of choice for "real people". Whoever would'a thought it?

Update, 18 July 2009

I forgot to say that probably the most impressive feature of the switch was that Ubuntu flawlessly detected and printed a test page on our trusty old Epson Stylus C62. That's the sort of slickness we like to see.