Ubuntu and Associated Distributions/Ubuntu and hardware compatability

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Question
I picked up an old Dell Dimension desktop that someone in my office building was throwing out the other night.  It originally came with Windows XP on it, but the hard drive had been removed.  I'd like to install a new hard drive and try Ubuntu (or Kubuntu or Mint), but I'm concerned about whether all of the existing hardware on the PC (disc drives, graphics card, card reader, etc) will work properly with Ubuntu.  Should I be worried about this?  I'm only familiar with Windows, but would rather not have to spend the money on buying a retail version of Windows 7 when I can get Ubuntu for free.

Answer
This may be the easiest thing you can imagine.  I've had no trouble doing this with Dell, HP, Sony, Toshiba.  You can skip the disk drive though, while you figure out if it works for you since running from a live CD, DVD or USB.  (The Ubuntu, Debian, Knoppix distros have been used to create many choices).

USB will be fastest.

The only two causes of unhappiness are: dead hardware or inadequate ram.  For the former, I'm referring to bad optical drives, bad peripheral hardware (bus controller chips) and the like.  RAM is adequate if the machine runs what you want it to run and it does so, fast enough.

You should have no trouble.  There may be exceptions of course, but this reflects my experience.  Generally speaking, anyway.  For pen testing, vulnerability scanning and such I've found that most wifi hardware isn't quite what I'm after.  But there are plenty of USB adapters that are, so this is a work-around.

- John

Ubuntu and Associated Distributions

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John Crout

Expertise

The command line, configuration files, recompiling the kernel, maintaining a system, hardening a system, package managers, browsers. Questions about Debian, Ubuntu, KUbuntu, MINT, Knoppix, CentOS, Red Hat Enterprise, Linux Wifi, embedded Linux, Live CD, forensics tools, vulnerability and pen testing tools, virtual installations.

Experience

LiveCDs, Debian, Red Hat, CentOS, Running on VMware, MINT, Ubuntu Studio, NIST Working Groups,

Organizations
Association for Computing Machinery Information Systems Security Association (ISSA), United States Coast Guard Auxiliary, ISC2, ACM

Publications
RTCA/DO-178B, "Software Considerations in Airborne Systems and Equipment Certification", (member of SC-167), RTCA/DO-160C, "Environmental Conditions and Test Procedures for Airborne Equipment", (member of SC-135) Student Doctor Magazine EE Times Network World blog Navy CIO blog Medforum CGAUX groups and CGAUX National Staff groups Analytic Bridge LinkedIn

Education/Credentials
Master of Public Health (Epidemiology and Biostatistics) Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering (Computer Engineering Option) Digital Forensics Basics, Texas Engineering Extension Secure Software, Texas Engineering Extension Network Security, Texas Engineering Extension Infosec Basics, Texas Engineering Extension Information Assurance Awareness, Department of Defense Information Systems Security, United States Coast Guard Online safety for parents and children, Fort Collins Police Department Spear Phishing, Defense Information Security Agency, DISA Spear Phishing, United States Coast Guard, USCG Meeting the Media, Testifying, Presentations, Arch Lustberg FEMA (ICS-100, -200, -210, -700, 800) United States Coast Guard Defense Information Systems Agency United States Coast Guard Auxiliary Crosby Quality Workgroup Facilitator Trainer Crosby Quality Education System Wisconsin University, ISSA training workshops

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