Ubuntu easier install than WinXP on Sony VGN-TZ191N

Being the person who is responsible for rigging up the computer systems for the humble users at my workplace, I am provided the awesome and rewarding opportunity to test out Linux on new computer systems.

Another interesting part of my daily work includes "upgrading" new computer systems that come with Vista installed to Windows XP. Yep, we are another one of those companies that are trying our hardest to stay away from Vista because of all the issues that have been reported about it, and the stiff hardware requirements needed to maintain performance.

So one day we received a shiny new Sony VGN-TZ191N Ultra-light/Ultra-portable laptop for issue to one of our more travel-intensive employees.

Of course since Sony no longer offers Windows XP pre-installed, but does offer some drivers to make it work(this ain't easy), my job was to "upgrade" the machine to Windows XP from Windows Vista.

What I found is that when loading Windows XP on the Sony VGN-TZ191N computer, there are many devices that don't work unless you load additional drivers from Sony, and this amounts to a really PAINFUL experience!! Especially since the network adapters don't work until you get the Sony drivers loaded. Also, since Sony provides their drivers in *.exe format, as opposed to *.inf, it's very hard to put the drivers to use unless you are using the Sony OEM version of Windows XP on this machine.

Something you should know about me is that I am a really, really COOL guy. I am really COOL, not only because I have "sick" and "trick" computer "skillz", but (and even more so) because I am an AVID Linux (and Ubuntu) user and promoter. In fact, from here on out, you can call me a Linux Evangelist.

So like any respectable Linux evangelist, I always keep a fresh copy of a popular Linux LiveCD on my person, just in case I have to lay the smack down. In this particular instance I am in possession of the Ubuntu 8.04 Hardy Heron LiveCD(fresh off the burner cuz I gave my last one away to some poor Windhoze user).

I'm always hearing people say Linux works with LESS hardware than Windows, to which, as you will see below, I say "Poppycock", it's just not true.

Here's the real deal: The Sony VGN-TZ191N actually works almost perfectly, Out-of-the-box with Ubuntu Linux 8.04, where if you want to use Windows XP, it's going to be very painful to load it up on this computer.

In fact, the only thing I could find right off hand that wouldn't work with Ubuntu is the built-in isight webcam(which is an issue that is currently being resolved by the community).

Funny how loading Ubuntu Linux 8.04 is actually easier than loading Windows XP.

The biggest problem I'm faced with to load Windows XP on this computer is that when I download and run the "XP"(.exe format) drivers provided by Sony, the driver package apparently sees that I am trying to use a Volume license copy of XP and so it errors out with "These drivers are not compatible with this model".

So I'm left to use a utility called universal extractor to extract the driver packages from Sony. Still, this is a painful process, for example I've extracted and loaded the video driver(Intel) but the screen won't let me change the resolution any higher than 1024x768.

So my point is that if Windows worked with the same philosophy as Linux, I would be able to use Windows XP with no headaches on this computer. Unbelievable.

Also, if you have any suggestions on how to get the isight camera working with Ubuntu on this computer, or if you know an easier way to "upgrade" this computer to Windows XP from Vista, please add a comment below.

Go Freedom! Go Linux!

I'll come back to this and add some pictures later.