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30 Days With Ubuntu Linux 852

Posted by Hemos
from the making-the-switch dept.
jkwdoc writes "Vexed by Vista's hardware requirements and product activation issues, many have claimed on various boards that they plan to 'switch to Linux.' [H] Consumer spent 30 days using nothing but Ubuntu Linux to find out if this is truly a viable alternative for the consumer. Linux has indeed become much more than the 'Programmer's OS.'"
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30 Days With Ubuntu Linux

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  • Re:retromercial (Score:4, Informative)

    by Stanistani (808333) on Monday March 05, 2007 @11:48AM (#18237816) Homepage Journal
    It's my small contribution to the dialogue between the prematurely old and the young.

    From the wikipedia entry: [wikipedia.org]
    Another famous advertising campaign from the early 1980s took the viewer inside various gourmet restaurants as a voice-over whispered, "We are here at (insert name of four-star restaurant), where we've secretly replaced the fine coffee they usually serve with Folgers Crystals. Let's see if anyone can tell the difference!" Of course, no one ever did.
  • My quest to "switch" (Score:4, Informative)

    by fed0up (963179) on Monday March 05, 2007 @12:03PM (#18237994)
    I have been meaning to try out Linux for years, but never ventured. Thanks to reading /. (can't remember how long; should be 3+ years) I finally decided to take the plunge two weeks ago.

    I chose openSUSE, simply because it got some Press(Read: Novell).

    I have XP on Toshiba Laptop and wanted to have a dual boot on it.

    I used GParted [sourceforge.net] for partition, though openSUSE came with partition manager. GParted was very easy and "Windows like"

    The installation went smooth and openSUSE recognized all hardware. I chose GNome as the desktop, simply because Firefox came with it.

    I played around and customized to my liking. Opened the Terminal and played with the vi editor. It seems like vi skills are etched in memory(I used to program in C years ago).

    I hit the road block with wireless network. The installer recognized Intel 3945 wireless card, but would not connect.

    Doing a Google search(are you happy now Google lawyers?), I found I am not alone. I tried ALL solutions offered on various forums.

    1. Using Intel's Linux driver - This required a kernel version of 2.6.8 or greater. openSUSE 10.2's kernel is 2.6.16 or something. It is only sensible to use the native driver right? I hit the wall again and again.

    2. ndiswrapper - Grudgingly I tried this as a last resort. Same result.

    Time spent: Few weekday evenings and a weekend (to the dismay of spouse)

    I absolutely love the shiny OS. Unfortunately I can not use it without an wireless internet connection.

    So it sits there unused.(I changed the default OS to Windows in GRUB).
  • by Teresita (982888) <badinage1@@@netzero dot net> on Monday March 05, 2007 @12:08PM (#18238056) Homepage
    Yeah, I never understood the appeal of Ubuntu and am diehard Fedora. The sudo business was very odd to me. You can run a command as root by using "sudo", but you enter your *own password? What gives?

    Sudo gives you root access for the purpose immediately at hand, and then takes you back to your account. It lets you get in, get out, and not have your fanny hanging out there on the net in admin mode for someone to burn you.
  • by phazer (9089) on Monday March 05, 2007 @12:10PM (#18238082)
    None of the two computers have an ATI video card. Allegedly the ATI drivers sometimes even work, but I have yet to see this for myself.

    The author has a HP Laserjet standing around? Nice. Good luck with a Canon "software" printer or other GDI printers though.

    One or the other would've made the report much more interesting to me.
  • by MBGMorden (803437) on Monday March 05, 2007 @12:14PM (#18238128)
    Even if you just want a dirt cheap PC you can still usually build one for cheaper than what Dell does. The main thing you get with Dell is: support, and a single stop for your warranty. Most people who read Slashdot are without need of the very basic support Dell can offer (good for the clueless, but overall their support guys know less than most technophiles). The warranty is nice, but even building your own you usually have a warranty on all the components, you just have to do more work (contacting individual manufacturers) in order to use the warranty if needed.

    Personally though, while the upfront cost is nice, I found it beneficial a LONG time ago to stick with homebuilt PC's, simply because they all use fairly standard equipment. My first x86-based computer was a Packard Bell 486, and it pained me as that thing got old that there was very, very little I could do with it to keep it updated (everything was proprietary). So my next PC was one of those "screw driver" shop ones from a local store where they built them with everything off the shelf. That was circa 1996 or so. Since then, I've never actually bought an entirely new PC. Don't get me wrong, my current computer is absolutely zero components in common with that system (and I've been through countless iterations of unique configurations), but all of that has been done through an upgrade here, an upgrade there, etc. With almost any major manufacturer's systems, you eventually just have to dump it and start again.
  • by Just Some Guy (3352) <kirk+slashdot@strauser.com> on Monday March 05, 2007 @12:14PM (#18238130) Homepage Journal

    4) Commands to diagnose the problem won't run.

    Oh, and:

    5) If you act like a spoiled jerk on a community-driven forum, stamp your little feet, and absolutely refuse to try any of their troubleshooting ideas or provide them with the information they repeatedly ask for, then they probably won't help you.

    Yeah, I read the thread [ubuntuforums.org] where you "tried" to get help. Your take on the episode doesn't have a lot to do with what you actually posted at the time.

    Moderators, before you mark me down, actually read the Slashdot thread he linked to. I'm not the one who initially pointed out his tantrums and complete refusal to help fix his own problem. I can't believe that he uses that thread as supporting evidence of why Ubuntu is broken.

  • by mackyrae (999347) on Monday March 05, 2007 @12:15PM (#18238150) Homepage
    It also means that if you're an admin and there are many users, you can avoid giving out the root password. You can set it so only specific people can use sudo, and you can monitor everything they do while in sudo mode. So, if something goes wrong, you know which person did it rather than a general "someone with the root password did it" and every guy's pointing to the guy next to him going "he did it!"
  • Re:Get the mono (Score:5, Informative)

    by denis-The-menace (471988) on Monday March 05, 2007 @12:18PM (#18238180)
    (Not the caulking...)

    http://www.mono-project.com/ [mono-project.com]
  • by Doctor Crumb (737936) on Monday March 05, 2007 @12:25PM (#18238278) Homepage
    It depends on what you mean by ".NET framework". If you mean the *Actual* framework, as in the thing that takes your c# code and runs it, then yes, you can easily use Mono (which is a competing implementation) in ubuntu.

    If, however, you mean Visual Studio, then there may be issues. There are several nice IDEs in linux (Eclipse, KDevelop, etc), but none are exactly the same as Visual Studio, and I don't know how well any of them deal with .NET.
  • Re:ya but (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 05, 2007 @12:29PM (#18238340)
    Sim City 3000 (happy penguin pay)
    Tremulous: http://tremulous.net/ [tremulous.net] (Repositories free)
    Legends: http://legendsthegame.net/ [legendsthegame.net] (download free)
    Uplink: http://www.uplink.co.uk/ [uplink.co.uk]
    Darwinia: http://www.darwinia.co.uk/ [darwinia.co.uk]
    Defcon: http://www.introversion.co.uk/defcon/ [introversion.co.uk]

    Don't assume they're all rubbish till you've actually played them. Preferably on Linux. (Except Sim City. Thats rubbish.)

  • by skiman1979 (725635) on Monday March 05, 2007 @12:29PM (#18238348)
    Check out the Mono Project [mono-project.com]. Mono is a .NET implementation on Linux. You will need to make some source code changes to get it to work in Mono, but a lot of the code should work out of the box. I used Mono to port an in-house application we use here at the office into Mono. Our aplication is in C#, but I believe mono will also do ASP.NET. Someone correct me if I'm wrong? I only had to do some minor code changes to get a majority of our .NET application to work under Gentoo and Ubuntu. Some features had to be disabled, like ActiveX of course. I don't believe ActiveX is supported.
  • by cyana (998582) on Monday March 05, 2007 @12:31PM (#18238372)

    I recently decided came to the exact same conclusion as the article supposes some people will--Vista was not getting on my computer and I didn't want to continue patching XP for the next 5 years. I have almost no Unix experience and the command prompt is something that I have never been comfortable with. But I had a lot of faith in The Community since I'm a regular /. reader and I figured that I could learn.

    I use my computer for a couple of things:

    1. Most importantly, media server, synchronizer of iPods and center to my home entertainment center.
    2. Email, browsing, messaging.
    3. Office documents.
    4. Warcraft III.

    Setting up Linux was difficult, I won't lie. I went with Fedora 6 after not really finding any distro review sites that I could understand what they were talking about. I don't "blame" the setup difficulty on anything--I expected it to be difficult for me. Configuring a dual-boot system took me 4-6 hours to figure out, setting up the right partitions (making sure nothing on my windows partitions got erased) took me wayy too long (screwed it up twice). Figuring out how to move from firefox 1.5 to firefox 2.0 was surprisingly difficult. I don't really understand why that particular thing isn't part of the yum update process but that's just an outsider's perspective. The other thing that was surprisingly hard was the browser plugins--I have an x64 chip and none of the plugins have x64 versions that I could find. So I had to install some firefox extension that creates cross-compatibility.

    I haven't figured out Samba yet--this seems like it should be easy but so far it's not. Honestly, I'm inclined to believe that this is the fault of Windows Networking. Regardless, it's hard. As for Warcraft III, one day I'll set it up to run under Wine, but for now I'm happy dual-booting. It encourages me to play much less, which is definitely a very good thing.

    Everything else has been pretty reasonable. It hasn't been easy, but it was more or less what I would expect moving from one platform that I've been using for 8 years to a totally new one. After 2 months, I'm now up and running and can use my computer for basically everything I want. I love the feeling of security I have in the system. File security is so easy and I love the fact that everyone doesn't log in as administrator. And I'm no longer terrified of viruses.

    I'm very glad I invested the time and would encourage others in my position to do the same. Just keep at it--the answer is always there on a message board somewhere :)

  • Re:ya but (Score:5, Informative)

    by Jaktar (975138) on Monday March 05, 2007 @12:35PM (#18238450)
    actually you can get quite a few newer games to work. Unreal has had Linux distros for a while. Wow can be made to work under WINE. The problem with most of these games is the setup time required to get it to run. Why spend an hour or two attempting to get WoW set up under linux when you can spend 5 minutes installing it under windows?

    It's a catch 22. More people would use Linux if the games were there. But the games aren't there because not enough people use linux.

    For the record (before I get poo pood) I've had ubuntu and mandrake on 2 seperate comps. My laptop (3-4 years old) runs everything just fine. My desktop (2 years old) did not have driver support for what I have in it, and most likely will not receive driver support (Soundblaster X-fi sound card). Not to mention the config editing I had to do to get the Nvidia 6800 to work.

    As a hobby Linux is fine. You won't get the gaming freaks to switch over any time soon.
  • by Torp (199297) on Monday March 05, 2007 @12:35PM (#18238456)
    sudo /bin/bash...
  • by paving-slab (893290) on Monday March 05, 2007 @12:43PM (#18238606)

    If you were competent enough to be trusted with a root account you would know it is trivial to achieve what you require on Ubuntu.

    The sudo program used in Ubuntu is the same as used in every other distribution, so all you have to do is provide a password for root, edit the sudoers file to your taste and your good to go.

    If you don't know how to do this are you sure a root account is a good idea?

  • My Ubuntu Experience (Score:4, Informative)

    by alexgieg (948359) <alexgieg@gmail.com> on Monday March 05, 2007 @12:47PM (#18238676) Homepage
    I'm also trying Ubuntu Linux on my desktop. I'm liking it a lot, although I didn't remove Windows yet. This is my 3rd install (1st one got wiped when my previous HD crashed, 2nd one I managed to destroy by running Nautilus sudoed and making all the files owned by root.root), and after some tweaking with Automatix and Automatix Bleeder, and uninstalling the older OpenOffice available in Edgy and installing the newer 2.1.0 one, everything so far is working well.

    What I really miss in Ubuntu is a good and simple file manager. Nautilus is okay, but doesn't work in the intuitive way Windows Explorer works. Some annoying usability problems I have with it:

    a) The tree view on the left panel doesn't answer to keyboard commands that work on folders and files in the right panel, such as pressing Del to delete a folder. Windows Explorer is consistent in this regards.

    b) It doesn't get updated properly if I use a bookmarked folder to jump to a folder, I must press the Reload button for the tree structure to appear correctly. The same feature in Windows Explorer works as intended, with the tree instantaneously opening to where I jumped.

    c) When I delete a folder I'm inside by right-clicking it in the tree folder and choosing Remove, it moves both the folder and the fact I'm inside it to the trash, thus making me lose the position I were in the tree. Windows Explorer deletes the folder and put me in the folder directly below the one that was deleted.

    d) I can't move a file or folder with the mouse right-button. Windows Explorer allows this by showing me a context-sensitive menu when I release the button, offering options such as move, delete, create link, and other features integrated into the shell.

    e) Lastly, even though Nautilus recognize some oddly named text files as such, double clicking them is an exercise in guessing: sometimes it will offer me a window asking me whether I want to run it (when it doesn't have the executable attribute set) or open it, other times it'll simply open it in GEdit, and others still it won't allow me to open them in GEdit, forcing me to right-click and choose the "Open with Text Editor" option. Windows Explorer, on the other hand, allows me easily select a default action for files with this or that extension, and it simply works.

    If someone knows of a Linux file manager that works in intuitive ways, if possible a Windows Explorer clone with Gnome integration, please tell me. I'll start using it right away.

    PS.: Interestingly enough, I play World of Warcraft, and while it started breaking in my Windows XP installation, showing latencies of up to 15000ms and disconnecting, in Ubuntu with Wine it works almost flawlessly. One more reason to keep Ubuntu running. :)
  • by boyko.at.netqos (1024767) on Monday March 05, 2007 @12:49PM (#18238716)
    (I'm the author)

    I would have loved to test ATI, unfortunately, neither of the computers had ATI cards - that's just how it worked out.

    I do have an HP Laserjet 1020 - it's a small little number, a personal-sized laser printer, NOT a full-sized behemoth. It's what I had to test with. And if you read the article, you'll notice I did have quite a few problems with it (but eventually it worked.)

    And I will let you know that the HP Laserjet 1020 does not work in Vista, at all.
  • by nofx911 (634100) on Monday March 05, 2007 @12:53PM (#18238766) Homepage
    Below is a PC for $332 - including Microsoft Vista. The price would probably be around $280 if I used multiple companies for the component parts. All of this is, is from NewEgg.

      Qty. Product Description Unit Price Savings Total Price
    1 Rosewill R103A Black SGCC Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case 350W Power Supply - Retail
    Model #: R103A
    Item #: N82E16811147010

    Return Policy: Standard Return Policy

    In Stock
            $30.99 -$5.00 Instant $25.99
    1 Foxconn K8S755A-6ELRS Socket 754 SiS 755 ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail
    Model #: K8S755A-6ELRS
    Item #: N82E16813186068

    Return Policy: Standard Return Policy

    In Stock
            $36.99 $36.99
    1 MSI MX4000-T64 DDR AGP 2X/4X Low Profile Video Card - Retail
    Model #: MX4000-T64
    Item #: N82E16814127128

    Return Policy: Standard Return Policy

    In Stock
            $23.99 $23.99
    1 AMD Sempron 64 2800+ Palermo 1.6GHz Socket 754 Processor Model SDA2800AIO3BX - OEM
    Model #: SDA2800AIO3BX
    Item #: N82E16819104244

    Return Policy: Processors (CPUs) Return Policy

    In Stock
            $27.00 $27.00
    1 WINTEC AMPO 512MB 184-Pin DDR SDRAM DDR 400 (PC 3200) Desktop Memory Model 35145588-P - Retail
    Model #: 35145588-P
    Item #: N82E16820161615

    Return Policy: Standard Return Policy

    In Stock
            $33.99 $33.99
    1 Western Digital Caviar WD800BB 80GB 7200 RPM IDE Ultra ATA100 Hard Drive - OEM
    Model #: WD800BB
    Item #: N82E16822144102

    Return Policy: Limited 30-Day Return Policy

    In Stock
            $40.99 $40.99
    1 LITE-ON Combo Black IDE Model LH-52C1P-187 - Retail
    Model #: LH-52C1P-187
    Item #: N82E16827106058

    Return Policy: Standard Return Policy

    In Stock
            $23.99 $23.99
    1 Microsoft Windows Vista 32-Bit Home Premium for System Builders Single Pack DVD - OEM
    Model #: 66I-00715
    Item #: N82E16832116202

    Return Policy: Software Return Policy

    In Stock
            $119.99 $119.99
    Subtotal: $332.93
  • check first! (Score:3, Informative)

    by oohshiny (998054) on Monday March 05, 2007 @12:57PM (#18238846)
    You can't expect Linux to run on some random piece of hardware; no other operating system does that either. In fact, genuine Microsoft Windows frequently doesn't even install on supposedly supported hardware--you need the vendor's preinstalled image. In comparison, Linux works like a charm.

    If you want no-hassles installations, buy a laptop that's know to work with Linux. Even better, buy a Laptop with Linux preinstalled, and it will work out of the box.

  • by BJH (11355) on Monday March 05, 2007 @01:03PM (#18238924)
    OK, let's see how you acted [ubuntuforums.org] on the Ubuntu free support forums:

    Before you make this even more frustrating for me:

    Nice way to ask for help. Sure makes me feel like giving you a hand (or maybe a boot up the ass). Mm-hmm.

    I should never have believed all that crap about "providing access to all".

    Useful information? Missing. Needless slagging off of OS you're purportedly trying to convert to? Check.

    Thanks for any assistance you can provide in helping undo the damage Ubuntu has done.

    I guess there wasn't quite enough needless slagging off yet.

    I thought -- probably because of all the liberation/openness rhetoric of Ubuntu -- I wouldn't need Microsoft software to get Ubuntu to work.

    And I guess he thought you were actually interested in recovering your PC instead of trolling the forums.

    So in other words, you didn't read my first post, in which I said that the disc is fine and I've tried reinstalling multiple times. This just makes my day.

    If this is how you act towards people you've never met who are trying to help you, I'd hate to work with you.

    Don't see what difference that makes, given as I can't even get into Windows, and the problem is obviously due to GRUB. Seems like a fishing expedition there.

    How about just giving him the fucking information he asked for? Too much to ask for some people, I guess...

    Just yesterday I thought I knew what chutzpah was.
    "Starting on the right foot" would include "not getting locked out of my computer because I installed a OS billed as 'Linux for Human Beings' ". "Starting on the right foot" would include finding instructions that answer the frequently asked question of "how do I set up a new partition and install to that partition?". "Starting on the right foot" would include an Ubuntu forum that doesn't take me a week of trying to access from different computers and connections before it consistently loads.
    Stop making excuses. So I wouldn't answer what Windows version it is. Can anyone think of any reason why one version of Windows over another would cause GRUB error 25? No? Okay then.
    The problem is not the devices, or the Windows version, or getting the latest install CD, or scratches on the install CD. The problem is the boot loader. The problem has already been diagnosed. You just want to chase all these wild geese because you don't want to admit that maybe this "access for all" OS has a serious problem.
    Would somebody just tell me how to edit, modify, fix, whatever, the boot loader? That's all. It should be really simple, given the rigorous testing that they would put a software capable of locking you out of your computer through.


    Sheesh. You actually expected that to make people want to help you more than they were already?
  • by MBGMorden (803437) on Monday March 05, 2007 @01:06PM (#18238966)
    I'll bite. Below is the cheapest system I can find on Dell's site, with all options at their lowest levels:
    AMD Sempron(TM) 3400+
    Genuine Windows Vista(TM) Home Basic
    512MB Single Channel DDR2 SDRAM at 533MHz - 1DIMM
    80GB Serial ATA Hard Drive (7200RPM) w/DataBurst Cache(TM)
    16X DVD-ROM Drive
    No Monitor
    NVIDIA GeForce 6150 LE Integrated Graphics GPU
    Integrated 7.1 Channel Audio
    Cost: $389 ($359 plus $30 shipping)

    Below is a quicker perusal of Newegg. Note that I could slightly downgrade some of these specs (such as going with a Sempron 3000 instead of 3400 to save money, an option which isn't available from Dell), and I could also shop around and likely come out cheaper than Newegg, but it's a good place to through lots of stuff together:

    AMD Sempron 64 3400+ Manila 1.8GHz Socket AM2 Processor Model SDA3400CNBOX - Retail $69.99
    Microsoft Windows Vista 32-Bit Home Basic for System Builders Single Pack DVD - OEM $94.99
    Patriot 512MB 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 533 (PC2 4200) Desktop Memory Model PSD251253381H $33.99
    Western Digital Caviar WD800BB 80GB 7200 RPM IDE Ultra ATA100 Hard Drive - OEM $40.99
    LG Beige E-IDE/ATAPI DVD-ROM Drive Model 8164BI - Retail $17.99
    PC CHIPS A33G V1.0 Socket AM2 SiS 761 GX Micro ATX AMD Motherboard (w/ integrated video/network/sound) - Retail $46.99
    POWMAX CP808PL-1 Beige Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case 450W Power Supply - Retail $20.99
    DCT Factory KBJ-006UB Black USB Standard Keyboard - Retail $3.99
    Rosewill RM800P Black 3 Buttons 1 x Wheel PS/2 Wired Optical Mouse - OEM $3.49

    Total: $362 ($334 plus $32 shipping)

    Savings over $27 on building yourself. Not huge, but it is a savings, and at these costs that's darned close to 10%.

  • by nostriluu (138310) on Monday March 05, 2007 @01:07PM (#18238982) Homepage
    You shouldn't be installing things like Firefox manually. Any decent distribution (Ubuntu/Debian, Fedora, etc) have much better application management than Windows (or the Mac). They handle finding, installing, and updating mainstream apps for you.

    If you really want to know where an application is, and are using the shell (command line), use the "which" command.

    $ which firefox /usr/bin/firefox

    If you want the basics, as another poster said, everything that is yours is in your home directory, which means when switching computers you just copy that directory and you're done. Otherwise, you might want to scan a document on Linux file system layout standards, but for typical desktop uses you probably don't need to.

  • by cortana (588495) <sam@robots.orYEATSg.uk minus poet> on Monday March 05, 2007 @01:07PM (#18238986) Homepage
    Why don't you just do 'sudo -i' or 'sudo -s'?
  • Re:ya but (Score:3, Informative)

    by iogan (943605) on Monday March 05, 2007 @01:13PM (#18239038) Homepage
    It also runs stuff such as Flightgear (http://flightgear.org) which kicks Microsoft Flight Sim in the ASS. Not because of nicer graphics, but because you can do such cool stuff with it because it's open. Like use a webcam to get headtracking (instead of buying a $200 IR device) and just about every other cool thing you can think about.

    I think we need more linux game developers, and for them to develop games that truly surpass anything available under Windows.. as soon as we have really cool stuff that's not available under windows we can get the hardcore people to at least double boot.
  • Re:ya but (Score:3, Informative)

    by theantipop (803016) on Monday March 05, 2007 @01:22PM (#18239166)
    I'd agree with your sentiments. At home, Linux is a hobby that I indulge in on a secondary machine that is primarily use as a HTPC. At work, however, I would love to be running Linux. I had the pleasure of developing exclusively on a LAMP workstation a couple years ago and I was easily twice as efficient in Linux as I was in Windows. What really made the process a breeze for me was the ease of remote operation for pushing test code to the development server.
  • by Lugae (88858) on Monday March 05, 2007 @01:22PM (#18239170) Homepage
    Personally, I'm a spatial Nautilus user, but Thunar [xfce.org] is another file manager that works with Gnome and has tree views. You might check that out.
  • by cortana (588495) <sam@robots.orYEATSg.uk minus poet> on Monday March 05, 2007 @01:24PM (#18239226) Homepage
    Your points A, B and C are good--have you considered filing bugs about them so that the Nautilus developers know about these shortcomings?

    For D, try dragging with the middle mousebutton. When you release the button you will get a menu offering the choice of copying, moving or creating a symbolic link.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 05, 2007 @01:36PM (#18239384)
    Ehh, not quite. If you don't trust your cat, I strongly recommend _not_ granting her those rights.

    sudo lets one user run commands as another, but the second user has to give that privilege to the first user. This can be handy on a large system with multiple administrators, if you care about separation of duties or anything.

    The reason it asks for your password is so that your cat (untrusted) couldn't sit down while you (trusted) are logged in and type "sudo rm -Rf /" without knowing your password. And obviously it asks for your password instead of root's because if you knew root's you could bypass sudo. Blocking administrative changes without knowing a trusted user's password is just one reason Ubuntu forces sudo.

    Read more at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sudo [wikipedia.org]
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 05, 2007 @01:42PM (#18239492)
    I've been using Ubuntu for about 30 days myself now and I'm not switching back to Windows XP / Vista. I've been a Windows for over 10 years - I am a computer programmer though.

    Here are the things I've had to do / got me confused:
        Had to edit my fstab in order to mount a partition which wasn't added by default. I found the switch to the Linux filesystem style a bit of a mental shift, but there's tons of information online on what to do. Although, I did make a mistake and Ubuntu booted into the command line, but I just copied the backup I'd made over the original file. Couldn't editing the fstab get a GUI?
        Tried to access my Windows XP installation (NTFS) - still can't get it read/write even with NTFS-3G, but I'm not bothered anymore.
        Had to enable Universal mode in the package manager in order to get DivX and Mp3 support etc. Standard movie player still doesn't work (and I can't un-install it) but VLAN works great.
        KTorrent seems a lot slower than uTorrent and sometimes the icon appears in the wrong place, but I don't really care.
        Didn't like the built in text editor, but that's OK, I'll get another one!
        I successfully repartitioned and formatted a FAT32 drive to a size greater than 32GB with QTParted. That's not even possible in Windows.
        Easy to get quality software with the package manager.

    The hardware support has been better than XP. No need to download the drivers for my HP Deskjet printer, my scanner just worked, no need to drag out a floppy disk drive in order to install Serial ATA drivers to install the OS (like on Windows). Graphics card worked at correct resolution and correct colour depth out of the box. I really can't complain at all about that.

    Clicked on a PDF and it just opened (didn't have to wait an hour for Adobe acrobat reader!).

    My wife doesn't like it because as she says "Everything is slightly different." so she's got her XP partition. I'm sold though, I can do everything I want / need to do for free, without the irritations of Windows.

    There are some other minor niggles with Gnome, but in general, I'm very impressed and can't wait for the next version.
  • Re:ya but (Score:3, Informative)

    by clark0r (925569) on Monday March 05, 2007 @01:49PM (#18239580) Homepage
    Not to mention Doom 3, Open Transport Tycoon Deluxe, Neverwinter Nights (both) and don't forget Tux Racer :p
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 05, 2007 @01:51PM (#18239602)
    For a, b and c I don't have an answer, but for d you can use the middle button of the mouse; it gives you the context menu you are looking for. For e, nautilus uses the shared-mime-info http://www.freedesktop.org/software/shared-mime-in fo [freedesktop.org] database. You can customize the behavior by right click on the file, and in "Properties" select the "Open With" tab and choose the default application. After that, it will use that as the default application for all the files of the same type.
  • by nofx911 (634100) on Monday March 05, 2007 @02:06PM (#18239776) Homepage
    As I said in the original post - all of this was a quick search. The drive listed above is CDR / DVD Rom. Its specs are:
    LITE-ON Black 16X DVD-ROM 52X CD-R 32X CD-RW 52X CD-ROM 2MB Cache IDE Combo

    Secondly, if you wanted a Serial ATA drive you could have one:
    Maxtor DiamondMax 20 STM380211AS 80GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM
                Cache: 2MB
                Features: Robust design for system reliability Great value RoHS compliant
                Form Factor: 3.5"
                Labor: 3 years limited
                Parts: 3 years limited
            * Model #: STM380211AS
            * Item #: N82E16822144095
            * Return Policy: Limited 30-Day Return Policy
            * In Stock
            * 3 Business Day Shipping $5.94
            * Move item to Wish ListMove To Wish List
            * $42.99

    Its just $2 more expensive (And, yes, the above listed motherboard has 4 serial ATA slots).

    As I stated this was just a quick search. If I were actually trying I could build a much, much, cheaper box.
  • by BJH (11355) on Monday March 05, 2007 @02:06PM (#18239782)
    Since GRUB was apparently having difficulty in stage 1.5 (where it tries to read from the disk), it's possible that it was looking for the bootloader in the wrong place (since you had three hard drives, a fact which you failed to mention until halfway through). The location of the bootloader would be affected by the Windows version. Depending on whether you're running Windows 95/98/Me or Windows NT/2000/XP, the bootloaders that are installed are completely different.

    Now will you shut the fuck up, you loudmouthed waste of oxygen?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 05, 2007 @02:07PM (#18239802)
    You've never tried to get warranty service from Dell, it seems. The one time I did was also the one time I got into dueling tech support (with Microsoft!). It wasn't even a personal purchase: it was at work! I recommended against Dell at the time, but Policy overrode me.

    Also, every OEM product I've bought has come with a warranty.

    I hate to throw accusations around lightly, but you sound almost like a Dell FUD lackey.
  • Re:ya but (Score:3, Informative)

    by menkhaura (103150) <espinafre@gmail.com> on Monday March 05, 2007 @02:31PM (#18240164) Homepage
    Yeah, the usual ones: all the stuff from Id Software (Quake 1-4, Doom 1-3, Wolfenstein), UT2k3, Neverwinter Nights (the original, and its expansions), Darwinia and Uplink, and the run-off-the-mill patience, majhongg, tetris, sokoban &c., besides the ones ported by Loki (Soldier of Fortune, Kohan I [GREAT RTS], Rune &c.) and by Icculus (America's Army up to version 2.5.0 among others).
  • Re:ya but (Score:3, Informative)

    by bigbadwlf (304883) on Monday March 05, 2007 @02:32PM (#18240180)
    Why spend an hour or two attempting to get WoW set up under linux when you can spend 5 minutes installing it under windows?

    Whoah. You obviously haven't installed WoW under Windows. It's 5 CDs for WoW, 4 more if you have Burning Crusade.
    Then there are the patches. When I installed on my notebook, there were at least 3 of those. The first was in the neighbourhood of 500MB.
    In reality, you're looking at a couple of hours.

    My point is that the actual copying of the files from CD is the big hassle with installing WoW, regardless of the OS. At least configuration is better than watching a mind-numbingly slow install, waiting to be prompted for the next disc.
  • by eldepeche (854916) on Monday March 05, 2007 @03:14PM (#18240754)
    Unfortunately, you didn't follow the suggestions that could have helped. You also assumed that you knew the solution to the problem, which is pretty much never the case, especially when you're troubleshooting an installation of an operating system you don't have much experience with.

    You absolutely don't need proprietary software to install GNU/Linux. You, quite unfortunately, didn't download the desktop CD. I'm not sure why, but that had a pretty big effect. If you had downloaded the desktop CD, you could have booted a working system and examined what was going on. Since you didn't have one, and refused to try to burn one on another computer, it was suggested that you find your Windows disk so that you could repair your computer to boot Windows.

    I admitted, right from the get-"go", that this was my fault. Did you read the "It's my fault, really. I never should have ..." bit? That wasn't sarcasm.
    I don't suspect it was, but it was pretty chode-tastic. The end of that sentence was basically "trusted all you fucking assholes." I wonder why they didn't really want to help you?
  • by VGPowerlord (621254) on Monday March 05, 2007 @03:24PM (#18240906)
    Windows has home directories. In fact, My Documents is a subdirectory of it.

    X:\Documents and Settings\username\My Documents is the real location of My Documents (replace X: with the system drive and username with the user's login name).

    The thing is, most people don't know about it because new users on Windows 2000/XP on non-Windows/Netware domain systems have administrative privileges by default.

    Fun fact: User home directories (AKA User profiles) can be stored on a central server in a Windows domain. Only the Local Settings part of the user information is not stored in a roaming profiles system.

    If you're a limited user on Windows, you have permission to write to your home directory, the All Users\My Documents directory, and the HKEY_CURRENT_USER part of the registry by default. That's it.

    Application developers should code around this, but they haven't been. They are just finding out now how to write apps that respect Windows' security model due to Vista's annoying UAC dialogs, despite the same security model being around since Windows NT 3.1 came out over a decade ago.

    In case you're wondering, Windows makes these paths available to programs through environment variables. To be exact, they have USERPROFILE, APPDATA (to store program settings, usually %USERPROFILE%\Application Data ), and ALLUSERSPROFILE (to read common settings, although most of this area is only writable by administrators).
  • Re:Too many choices? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Bacon Bits (926911) on Monday March 05, 2007 @04:11PM (#18241454)
    I've not seen any *nix distro use anything but /home for years, with the exception of the superuser wich always uses /root. The last time I did was about the time Microsoft changed from %windir%\profiles (the Windows NT 4 directory) to Documents and Settings.

    Additionally, you can use the '~' shortcut. '~' is current user's home directory. It's equivalent to %userprofile% in Windows. '~fred' is user fred's home directory. Also, 'cd' with no directory always changes you back to your home directory (it's the same as 'cd ~').

    Linux's unified directory structure is very confusing especially compared to the Windows system (everything is a file, logical to physical mapping is not obvious), but home directories are one of the easiest things possible. The most complicated thing for me was figuring out the difference between /bin, /usr/bin, and /usr/local/bin (and then /sbin and it's contemporaries). It boils down to needing to learn the FHS (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Filesystem_Hierarchy _Standard), and then learning the history of the directories. For example, /opt and /srv are still rather new, so a lot of systems still use /var.

    If you think about it though, Windows's directories are also rather complex. Windows doesn't install in C:\Windows. It's really in C:\Windows\System32. Program Files is supposed to be read only, and it's one of the reasons so many apps only work when you're an admin. Documents and Settings, while an accurate name, is filled with hidden directories where the OS is trying to keep the user from breaking it, but you still need to get into them from time to time. pagefile.sys is the system pagefile, hiberfil.sys is for hibernation. NTLDR is the bootstrap, and the bootloader is kept in the volume MBR and is completely hidden since all it does is find NTLDR and run it. Most systems have an \i386 directory copied from the CD since Windows wants it from time to time. There's also \RECYCLER which is the recycle bin, and \System Volume Information which contains information Windows itself uses as well as where it store the Restore Points. %userprofile%\NTUSER.DAT is the user's registry hive, while the other registry hives all live in C:\WINDOWS\system32\config. %windir%\system32\config\systemprofile and %documentsandsettings%\.Default user also exists on most systems, containing information on the default profiles. %windir%\system32\drivers is filled with kernel-mode code (real mode, mostly drivers) and %windir%\system32\dllcache contains protected-mode code (user-mode apps). Then there's 5 or 6 different temp directories, and storage locations for Group Policy, security objects, system logs, etc.

    IMX, none of that is half as well documented as the Linux stuff.
  • Re:almost but... (Score:3, Informative)

    by jedidiah (1196) on Monday March 05, 2007 @04:54PM (#18241984) Homepage
    For just about everyone (even those of us building MythTV backends), the difference between the IDE drive and the SATA drive is going to be completely negligible.

    The filesystems you use will make more difference than the whole IDE vs. SATA thing.
  • by Laurence0 (832251) on Monday March 05, 2007 @05:36PM (#18242630)
    You say that (not needing a floppy drive), and I thought the same when I built my new computer a couple of years ago... Turns out though that Windows XP required drivers for the SATA controller from a floppy during the install process, so I ended up having to pull a hard drive out of an old computer, just to install Windows. In fact, the disk with the Windows drivers on it is still in my drive (poking out), despite me having been using Ubuntu full time for about 6 months now. So, whilst I agree that floppy drives are almost never required, it can come and bite you!
  • Defcon for Linux (Score:3, Informative)

    by tjwhaynes (114792) on Monday March 05, 2007 @05:37PM (#18242636)

    Did I miss the press release or isn't Defcon still Windows-only?

    You missed the press release. Download the beta (direct link) [everybody-dies.com] or place an order with TuxGames [tuxgames.com].

    Cheers,
    Toby Haynes

  • Re:ya but (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 05, 2007 @06:57PM (#18243742)
    Blizzard already DID do this. However, they apologized and said that they supported people running WINE under Linux.
  • by Rocketship Underpant (804162) on Tuesday March 06, 2007 @05:49AM (#18247910)
    "Mac doesn't manage dependencies at all. So everything is a monolithic glob..."

    Which is perfectly fine. Cocoa and Quartz APIs do most of the functions that programs share in common, and in this era of cheap hard disk space, I'd rather have self-contained globs than fiddle with correctly installing foo-gnome-lib-24.35.23.b-x86.lib which might conflict with foo-gnome-lib-24.35.22.b-x86.lib or whatever.

    "or you have to manually install some other required piece of software."

    I've never had one piece of software depend on another one like that.

    "Mac doesn't manage system wide updates at all. For every app, you have to hope it has a 'check for update' option, somewhere. "

    Amazingly, most of my apps work great out of the box, and I'm not in dire need of updates to make basic stuff like copy and paste work. That said, many or most Macs apps do check for updates automatically, and following a confirmation prompt will upgrade themselves without you lifting a finger.

    "Finally, Mac apps and updates are often lazy, and request the system is restarted."

    Um, that *never* happens unless it's a major Apple app and involves a bug fix to an OS X framework.

    "I don't know what your Linux package management experiences are, but I've rarely had any issues installing, updating and removing apps,"

    I gave Mandrake a shot not too long ago when it was still one of the major distros. I managed to successfully install fewer than 50% of the apps I tried installing, and while I'm no Linux guru, I'm better than the typical computer user. I have *never* failed to install a Mac app. I just download it and drag it to my Applications folder; it couldn't possibly be easier.

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