Use any operating system long enough and you'll manage to find creative ways to make the experience a seamless one. On my Ubuntu system, I've found a number of useful techniques that have enabled me to overcome several common issues. These techniques are useful for more advanced Ubuntu users as well as newbies.
In this article, I'll show you how to avoid some common hassles experienced by entirely too many Ubuntu users.
With other operating systems, you would simply select a new PC based on the specs that piqued your interest. However, when it comes to a Linux distribution like Ubuntu, a little more care is needed.
Many Ubuntu users try to use a made-for-Windows PC as the target installation setup. In some instances, this translates into unique challenges when trying to install Ubuntu. While Ubuntu supports 98 percent of the PC and notebook hardware available, sometimes select sound cards and wireless devices can create frustrations.
I've found that the easiest way to avoid this is not to purchase computers built for Windows. This seems painfully obvious to me, as there are plenty of top-notch vendors available (Google "Ubuntu pre-installed") willing to sell you a computer built with Ubuntu Linux in mind. However, if you choose not to take that approach, I would suggest looking for the following hardware:
With regard to notebooks, I recommend Intel hands down. While made-for-Windows notebooks sometimes come with a NVIDIA option for gaming, overall support is difficult at best. Unless you're buying a notebook with NVIDIA dedicated graphics support and Ubuntu pre-installed from a trusted vendor, I would avoid this option. For notebooks, Intel graphics offer a stress-free configuration experience.
I recommend installing and using the official PulseAudio tool called padevchooser. This tool provides you with five tabs, four of which will save you hours of frustration. If you're using a sound card with another device, such as a USB headset, padevchooser is a must-have application. Use the Output tab for selecting your default output device. Then with music playing or YouTube running in a browser, jump over to your Playback tab and make sure your audio for that specific application isn't muted. Nine times out of ten, people I've helped with PulseAudio issues find solutions using Padevchooser.
Unfortunately, what happens half the time is that the use of the driver wrapper that make this functionality possible isn't successful. Sometimes you may find yourself connected to the wifi router, only to find that you still can't load any websites in your browser. It's painfully frustrating, to say the least.
The best approach to avoiding this hassle is to pay a visit to LinuxWireless.org. There you will find a decent list of wireless chipsets, integrated options, and external dongles that will work out of the box with most popular Linux distributions.
If using this site seems a bit overwhelming to you, then I suggest you look to Intel wireless solutions. From old to new, Intel wireless chipsets will almost always work out of the box under Ubuntu. For those looking to USB solutions, I've had success with Atheros and Ralink-based USB dongles. But you will want to look to online shopping sites like Amazon for the best results. From the search box on Amazon, try searching for Ubuntu Wireless, then click on USB network adapters. From there, look closely at the reviews. Oftentimes, you will find other Ubuntu users listing their experiences with these devices. For example, one user stated that the Airlink101 AWLL5088 dongle not only avoids the use of those annoying chipset revision numbers, but it also provides solid 802.11n speeds up to 150 Mbps depending on your power management settings.
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