Inspired by the mention of Ubuntu’s anniversary in this week’s Ubuntu Podcast, I thought it would be fun to dig out my original disk of Ubuntu 4.10 (codename: Warty Warthog), blow off the dust and give it a spin.
I’d resisted trying Ubuntu until quite late in the Warty release cycle. My fingers had been burned trying to install Debian (which, if I remember correctly, required debootstrapping from an existing distribution). At the time, most Linux software seemed to come packaged as RPMs. Despite the horrors of RPM dependency hell, moving to debs seemed like a regression. Nevertheless, constant nagging from colleagues on a little computing forum persuaded me to give it a go. Within 10 minutes of using
apt-get I was sold forever!
Now, in 2019, I’m not going to be daft enough to try to run this on a real machine. I’ve probably got enough old bits of hardware lying around to make a box which would boot with an ancient kernel but I’m not sure it’d be all that much fun. Instead, I’m going to use Virtual Machine Manager to do the job.
A single core and a gig of RAM would seem more than adequate for a vintage distribution.
I’d forgotten how beautiful the design was on those early releases. The earth colours are calming and the interface is simple.
The default app selection is fairly comprehensive:
Sadly, the ancient version of Firefox is almost useless in the modern era of https everywhere, as the certificate authorities and cipher suites have moved on over the years.
Bizarrely, Google is one of the few sites which still allows the old algorithms to churn, but it is funny to see the browser warning me I am about to connect to an encrypted site!
It is a bit of a chuckle playing with some of the vintage apps like xchat, but at the end of the day an operating system without a web browser or functioning app repository just isn’t much fun.
So it is time to say farewell to the plucky little Warthog and pack the CD away for another 15 years.