Linux on free hardware

I know all the cool kids have dual core OSX boxes, but, I am running Ubuntu on years old hardware (Dell Dimension 2400) as a matter of necessity as well as common sense (imho computers have been much faster than I needed for about 5 years now).  Good thing with that is that usually drivers and compatibility are a nonissue as older hardware is the most supported.  Unfortunately, I’ve been having an issue with Intel 865 and related chipsets because of the flipside of this equation (old bugs have a tendency to go unfixed for years).  I don’t know the reasons behind it, but, Intel Graphics hardware is buggy under Linux.  Actually the last two PC’s I’ve had would crash intermittently in Ubuntu 9X and 10X with no explanation.  After chasing down blogs, I’ve identified the issue as related to X server crashes.  There was also an issue with USB compatibility that seems to have been fixed in Lucid Lynx.

The graphics issue fix seems to be to get any type of video graphics adapter other than the built in 865GV adapter.  I got a good deal on a PCI graphics adapter from PNY at Microcenter.  When is the last time you bought a “PCI” anything folks?  Once I dropped the Nvidia 8400 GS in and went through a slight issue with setting the horizontal and vertical refresh rates I was cooking with gas.  The only bug in my ointment is that I now desperately want a second monitor as viewing everything on one monitor for app development is more cumbersome with just multiple virtual desktops.

I’m a little peeved at the Intel chipset Linux issue.  IMHO Intel should spend a few bucks ensuring Linux compatibility.  If you are experiencing any issues with built in Intel chipsets, don’ t hesitate to buy a graphics or audio adapter and disable the built in one.  The issue I was experiencing is actually a confirmed bug in 10.04, but, there is such a bug for every version of Ubuntu related to Intel chipsets.  A bug that old has to be related to the hardware manufacturer and is not likely an Xserver issue.