Ever since I got a new HP Pavilion, I've been planning what's next for my Dell Dimension 8300. I decided it's probably best to retire my somewhat hosed Fedora Core 3 box (Dimension 8100) and replace it with a new Linux server. After talking with a good friend, I decided to go with OpenSuse 10.0 or Ubuntu 5.10. Steve was a good enough friend to burn me DVDs of both. Yesterday, I bought a new 160GB hard drive and last night I tried to install Ubuntu. I went w/ Ubuntu b/c Steve tried them both and said he liked Ubuntu a lot better. I've never used Ubuntu, and I have used Suse a fair bit - so I figured I'd try something new.
When I started installing Ubuntu last night, I figured it'd be a breeze. I have a DVI KVM Switch hooked up to a Logitech cordless keyboard/mouse, and Ubuntu immediately recognized them both. However, at 44%, it failed to install gstreamer0.8-jpeg and the installation bailed out. I was able to login to the desktop and (seemingly) get stuff working, but I'm always a bit leary about a failure in the middle of an OS install. After an hour of futzing with it, I tried again and got the same error. Around 1 a.m., I said "screw this" and threw in the Suse DVD.
I had the same good results with Suse, where my keyboard and mouse were recognized. However, when I got prompted for the root password, my keyboard quit working and I was up shit creek. I started the re-install process before going to bed at 2 and picked it up again this afternoon - after a beautiful day of skiing at Copper. I got almost everything working on Suse this afternoon, and just as I was about to call things good - the keyboard problem came back. Pretty disappointing since I'd just gotten my Apple Cinema Display to work.
As I speak, I'm trying Ubuntu again, without the KVM switch. I suspect there's probably a piece of hardware I have that's causing the failure, so hopefully unplugging things will solve the problem. If I don't get it figured out in the next hour or two, I'll probably just go with Suse, setup VNC - and get a wired keyboard for when I need direct access.
24 hours later: It's interesting to see that almost the commentors on this post are recommending Ubuntu. After posting this, and receiving a comment from Brett, I tried the Ubuntu Live DVD. What I found was that Ubuntu recognized my cinema display, but it entered into a non-stop flickering loop that I couldn't solve. Therefore, I threw in the Suse DVD and tried again. This time, Suse recognized everything flawlessly (including my HP OfficeJet G85). So I'm sticking with Suse - mainly because it seems to recognize my cinema display, printer and DVI KVM switch the best. With apt-get working on Suse, it's been a breeze to get everything setup.