If you’ve got an old laptop lying around not seeing any use or if you feel like a change then why not try using Ubuntu as your operating system? The great thing about Open Source software is the wealth of knowledge contributing to it on a daily basis. For photographers this can be a real time and money saver. There are plenty of capable photo editing applications available on Ubuntu including Photoshop and Lightroom equivalents. There are applications available that will let you edit RAW files directly.

I had some serious issues lately trying to get Ubuntu to install on my old Acer Aspire One netbook, mainly due to my own incompetence and the fact I was using a SanDisk USB drive. The thing had been sitting around for a few years gathering dust so I managed to dig it out and get started with installing Ubuntu on it.

Here are the steps that I took for creating a bootable USB drive using OSX for use on the Acer Aspire One.

1. Firstly format and partition your usb drive using Disk Utility in OSX. In the Partition tab choose single partition (Partition 1) and in Options choose the MBR (third option). Go ahead and partition.

2. Launch terminal in OSX. Run the following command to find out what disk number you should be using: diskutil list

3. Run the following command fdisk -e /dev/disk0 (substitute the 0 for the correct number from the previous step. You should now be in fdisk.

4. Run the following command; f 1

5. Run the following command; write

6. Run the following command; exit

7. Use Unetbootin to create the bootable Ubuntu install on your usb drive. Download the Ubunto ISO from here : http://www.ubuntu.com/certification/hardware/200908-3469/

8. Follow these instructions on the Unetbootin website : http://unetbootin.sourceforge.net/

If you have problems with syslinux hanging on bootup then read this : http://kb.sandisk.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/826/~/removing-u3-launchpad-on-a-mac

On a 4 year old Acer netbook the whole process took around 2 hours. But those two hours you’ll make back in the long run simply due to how fast and responsive Ubuntu is. I’m already loving it.

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