Friday, February 6, 2009

Open up

We have a desktop iMac back in our bedroom that has slowly been going out of date and losing its functionality. For awhile we let the kids use it to play flash games on the web, but somewhere along the way Shockwave and Flash stopped working, and no amount of downloading and reinstalling seems to help.

Right now we use it only for a shared USB all-in-one printer. And even that has stopped working well, since I can't get the scanner software to run, so the printer is now limping along on one function. I haven't reinstalled the operating system because I haven't the heart to dig through my discs to find an installer.

Something Jeremy said during his presentation on alternative, open-source software made me remember our old iMac. He mentioned that in eastern Europe, where he spent part of last summer, many people have turned to Linux because it runs better on older hardware.

If I installed Ubuntu, I imagine I would get browser functionality back. But could I still print -- maybe even scan? A little Googling about configuring Ubuntu to share a printer with a Mac network reveals some pretty scary hacks needed to make it work. Maybe I should attach the all-in-one to our Airport Extreme and use it that way. Would I be able to scan by installing the scanner software to any computer on the network?

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