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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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  • by suso (153703) * on Monday March 05, 2007 @11:31AM (#18237600) Homepage Journal
    From the article: But what about power users, such as the typical audience of HardOCP - those who know how to build their own computers, but not compile their own programs?

    IMHO, anyone who wants all the control of building your own computer, reads a website which has overclocking in the name and thinks Linux/FreeBSD/Open Source is either misguided about the benifits of Linux or is just lazy. Putting your own computer together these days with all the options, choices to make, etc. is getting harder than it was 10 years ago. Meanwhile, Linux has been getting easier. So I don't see where the challenge is for these people.

    It is nice to see that non-Linux people are continuing to give Linux a try. Most things in the world only get one chance and then its over.
    • by MontyApollo (849862) on Monday March 05, 2007 @11:44AM (#18237754)
      It seems to me that often people who build their own computers and worry about overclocking are doing so to get the most bang for their buck for gaming purposes. This would not be necessarily be a target audience for Linux.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 05, 2007 @11:44AM (#18237756)
      Building a computer today is easier than 10 years ago? O RLY?

      Maybe you don't recall IRQ conflicts or undocumented jumpers. Perhaps you don't recall 'Plug and Pray'. To say nothing of cases wherein their manufacturers believed human hands were made of some steely, unbreakable substance and by no means needed protection from sharp metal.

      I can slap a computer today very nearly by accident in comparison to the annoying foibles of yester-year-- saying it has become more difficult simply smacks of an unwillingness to become familiar with new technologies. That doesn't really play well in this community, sir.
    • by faloi (738831) on Monday March 05, 2007 @11:50AM (#18237840)
      So I don't see where the challenge is for these people.

      The challenge is in the purpose. AFAIK, people don't just got into the guts of their system to crank everything up for the joy of theoretical numbers to throw around. Generally, they're after the biggest, baddest box for a reason. A big reason for a lot of people is gaming, after all...it's what consumes the most horsepower. And gaming is currently where Linux falls short. I think if more games (that people want to play) were available with native Linux support, more people would be willing to switch.

      Distro's like Ubuntu are great for non-technical users to have a solution to hop on the Internet, check email, do word processing, that sort of thing. In short, all the stuff that a non-technical user is likely to do with a computer anyway.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by teh_chrizzle (963897)

        AFAIK, people don't just got into the guts of their system to crank everything up for the joy of theoretical numbers to throw around.

        talk to a hardcore seti addict sometime. they will drop $1500 on a new liquid cooled rig to push them up to the next user class. the guys in the top 20 are even worse. i had a friend who once misappropriated a whole software test lab over a 4 day weekend to see a boost in seti rank.

    • by BJH (11355) on Monday March 05, 2007 @12:24PM (#18238266)
      Putting your own computer together these days with all the options, choices to make, etc. is getting harder than it was 10 years ago.

      I call bullshit on that one (and yes, I was putting together my own PCs ten years ago).

      Then: A dozen different video card manufacturers, twice that many chipsets, equal variety of drivers.
      Now: Two major manufacturers, two unified drivers.

      Then: IDE=slow. Master? Slave? Cable? WTF is this?
      Now: SATA - plug and go.

      Then: Set up your modem to connect to your ISP and hope you don't get any incoming calls. Firewall? What's that?
      Now: ADSL. Wireless routers. Built-in firewalls.

      Then: Scanner? SCSI (and don't forget your terminators). Printer? Parallel. Video in? Forget it.
      Now: USB and Firewire.

      Then: Steel case weighing 20kg, built out of razor blades.
      Now: Complete kit with rounded internal edges, fans in the box, you name it.
      • Shopping. (Score:3, Interesting)

        by pavon (30274)
        For me what has changed the most is that the reliability of hardware is much harder to predict. 10 years ago there were good brands and as long as you stuck with them you would have a reliable machine. Now-a-days it isn't anywhere near as clear-cut. Every brand is trying to aim for the low prices and thus has it's occasional stinkers. And the hardware review sites are no help because they only test for performance not reliability. Pricing has also more time consuming as half the online retailers advertise a
    • by CPNABEND (742114) on Monday March 05, 2007 @12:25PM (#18238268) Homepage
      I have been building my own rigs for more than ten years, and I have KUBUNTU up on one of the boxes on my LAN. I have a stumbling block trying to understand the LINUX file system. It's like I download something like Firefox - and can't find where it went. I have been searching for a book that could walk me through everything, sort of like a translation of M$-speak to LINUX-speak. Then, I would be more than happy to kiss Windoze g'Bye.
      • by jalefkowit (101585) <jason@jasonlef k o w i t z . n et> on Monday March 05, 2007 @12:59PM (#18238872) Homepage
        OK, I'll try.

        You know how Windows has "My Documents", right? And that's the default place for downloaded files to go?

        The analogous concept in Linux is the "home directory". It's called that because each user account on the system has one, and that user has complete power to do whatever they want there, unlike most of the system which requires admin privileges to make changes.

        The home directories, logically enough, are all stored in the /home branch of the filesystem. So if your user account name was "cpnabend", your home directory is probably /home/cpnabend

        The home directory is where the system is going to store lots of stuff -- configuration files for applications, downloaded files, you can even install applications in there (if you're the only user who needs them). In this way the "home directory" concept is more expansive than the "My Documents" concept, which is only for document files (your configs are in the Registry, your apps are in Program Files). It's also why the home directory is more useful than My Documents -- if you regularly backup your home directory, you will have nearly everything you need to bring your Linux box back from the dead in case of emergency.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by VGPowerlord (621254)
          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. Onl
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by nostriluu (138310)
        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
  • by Stanistani (808333) on Monday March 05, 2007 @11:32AM (#18237616) Homepage Journal
    We've quietly replaced his copy of Windows XP with Folger's Coffee Crystals. Let's see if he notices any difference.
    • We've quietly replaced his copy of Windows XP with Folger's Coffee Crystals. Let's see if he notices any difference.

      For me and a guest speaker, we made the switch and he didn't notice.

      One of our social groups (not business) had a guest speaker. He requested we provide a computer and projection system for a PowerPoint slide show. The newest laptop I have is a Windows 2K/Ubuntu machine running Office 2K & Open Office.

      He came and spoke and complained that his slide show wasn't working properly. The text
  • by 0racle (667029) on Monday March 05, 2007 @11:35AM (#18237652)
    Look what happened there. People that might be interested in Linux or OS X will try Linux or OS X. People who aren't, won't. In the end, very little will change.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Erwos (553607)
      I first seriously got into Linux when I found out about XP's activation system back in 2001 or so. Until then, I had used it for home server applications (like a web server for PHP testing, and a cheap NAT/firewall router) and a development environment for college programming courses, but the news of the crazy activation scheme drove me to actually using it as my primary OS, with the intention of phasing out Windows 2000 at some point.

      I still use Linux (Fedora Core 6) as my primary OS, and I'm pretty happy
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Coryoth (254751)
      I think it is worth noting that similar stuff was said about XP before it's release. Once XP was out it became pretty clear that the uptake was going to be very fast. Here we have slow uptake of Vista and comments made about switching after the release. It isn't entirely wishful thinking this time - though wishful thinking clearly come in to it to some extent.

      The other point is that Linux has come a long was since Windows XP was released while Windows has... well, just look at Vista. The difference between
    • by ukemike (956477) on Monday March 05, 2007 @12:32PM (#18238394) Homepage

      I remember similar stuff said about XP. Look what happened there. People that might be interested in Linux or OS X will try Linux or OS X. People who aren't, won't. In the end, very little will change.
      Not entirely true. Windows XP was actually eagerly anticipated by most of the windows using world. The possibility of a stable OS that would work with existing applications, games, and be compatible with the stuff we use at work, was exciting. It's easy to forget the dark years of Win9x (especially for me since I held out using DOS/Win3.1 until 1 year before XP came out) but they were terrible with BSODs every day. I remember how a computer could not be left on overnight and be expected to run well in the morning. I remember that even if you setup password protected logins you could bypass all of that by clicking 'cancel' at the login prompt. Windows XP was a HUGE improvement. It was massively adopted upon release.

      Now Vista on the other hand has elicited nothing but hand wringing for several years. For what I can tell it has little good to offer except eye candy. On the downside the OS has DRM in it's DNA, it has a ridiculous security sceme. It fails to run lots of current software. It claims but fails to be more secure (can't use 3rd party anti-virus). It has extreme hardware requirements. I built my last new PC within months of the release of XP. I will not build a PC for Vista. I will not buy a PC with Vista. I do not look forward to the day that I must start using Vista at work.

      The big question is this: Linux or Apple? I have an older PC in the house running Ubuntu. It's great, and it also sucks. It has tons of free software. It can't legally play DVDs. It is supremely stable and runs really fast on very antiquated hardware. Getting it to do something out of the ordinary (like using the midi keyboard I got for my son) requires navigating a byzantine maze of forums, scripts, command lines. It fit nicely with my philosophy. You can build your own. On the other hand, Apples "just work." They cost more. You don't get to build your own. Since I don't have as much time as I used to I'll probably buy an Apple for 90% of my use, and I might have a 2nd PC with linux for doing stuff that requires high end software that I don't care to buy.

      That being said, am I a typical user? Hardly. I've been on the internet since 1988. I built my last computer myself. I know enough to know how little I know. Lots of people think I'm some sort of computer guru. I realize that I am just barely competent. I would never recommend linux to my Dad or a computer-clueless friend. I tell them, "Go buy a Mac. They just work." When they get their Apple, they are happy. I'd rather USE a computer than ADMINISTER one.
  • Commendable but... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sobrique (543255) on Monday March 05, 2007 @11:51AM (#18237850) Homepage
    The place where Linux really needs to start to shine is the workplace. People run PCs at home, mostly because they run PCs at work. There's exceptions, but this is definitely the majority.

    What's really needed is some 'professional' IT organisation to sell a definitive Linux solution for a whole workplace. And support it. And point out that actually it a) costs less to support and b) is way cheaper.

    Personally, I think it's viable, and I can see IBM gradually moving that way, and perhaps Sun too. But they'll have a lot of work to do to overcome the 'No one ever got fired for buying Microsoft' attitude that's ingrained into most of the workplaces in the world. (I'm still somewhat stunned at the complete lack of understanding of the mere existance of Unix that I see in my current, IT company).

    *shrug* I look forward to a day when every business desktop runs Linux. I think there's a lot of people who's talents are wasted being support monkeys for cranky windows bogosity. But at the same time, I can't see it happening, simply because it'll put a lot of people out of work.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Stamen (745223)
      I'm old enough to remember a time when you would get laughed at if you suggested Windows would be used in the office, this was around the Windows 3.0 days. Novell ruled the smaller server space, and Word Perfect and DOS were king.

      Windows started to penetrate the desktop first with Windows 3.1 (IIRC) and Office. Then Novell made some serious mistakes, like making it hard for Windows desktops to connect to Novell servers (actually Microsoft did this, but Novell could of done much better), and not supporting
  • by parc (25467) on Monday March 05, 2007 @11:54AM (#18237898)
    I switched my 80 year-old grandmother to Ubuntu 6 months ago. I won't pretend there were no problems, but they all revolved around user interface. Specifically, things didn't EXACTLY match Outlook/Internet Explorer's interface. Once I explained that and she used it for about 2 weeks, she has no problems whatsoever.

    She DOESN'T do any DVD editing. She DOES use digital photography (in that I send her pictures of her great grandson and she views them). She's even managed to solve minor problems on her own. She writes documents, receives documents (both word and excel), and has had no issues to date that could not be solved in 10 minutes on the phone.

    Her only major complaint? It's not the user interface. It's not the multifunction printer/copier/scanner. It's not the funky colors. It's not the email. It's that she can't make the computer wit more than 2 hours before hibernating.

    Perhaps these "reviews" of "typical users" should evealuate what a real "typical user" actually is.
  • It's the Internet! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by frieko (855745) on Monday March 05, 2007 @11:59AM (#18237952)
    I 'switched' to Linux several times in the past, only to get frustrated and switch back. But Kubuntu has stuck. I'm Windows free for a year now. The reason it stuck this time is simple - with Firefox, Flash 9, Acrobat Reader, and w32codecs, the WWW is now as good on Linux as it is on Windows. I'm surprised more people don't make a bigger deal about this. For me it's huge.
  • 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).
    • check first! (Score:3, Informative)

      by oohshiny (998054)
      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.

    • I just installed Kubuntu Feisty Fawn Herd 5 on my new ASUS laptop with Intel 3945 wireless. It recognized it immediately on the default install and let me connect to my home router. Didn't have to do anything else!

      Kubuntu rocks, try it! :)
  • by br00tus (528477) on Monday March 05, 2007 @12:06PM (#18238038)
    Ubuntu is derived from Debian. I had qualms about making my main desktop Linux for various reasons, but in 2005 an attempt to have my Windows do wireless screwed up the whole system, and then I needed to use that OEM Windows CD crap, which not only mucked with my C drive but erased my whole D drive for some reason. I got tired of it and switched to Debian.

    I thought I would miss some things in Windows but I didn't. The thing I thought I would miss most was Microsoft Word, but Abiword did fine. I was always concerned I would have to modify my resume and send it out in a nice Word format that Linux wouldn't have, but that was never a problem. I never missed Windows for anything. They talk about Windows having better hardware support, but my (then) 802.11b wireless was a hell of a lot easier to install on my system then Linux. I also liked the ability to open a shell and just be able to do stuff - do an awk or sort or whatever on a file, have multiple windows and so forth. It had all the nice user brain-dead stuff of Windows, but I could drop to a shell and actually do stuff, instead of getting some MS-DOS prompt crap. It's much better nowadays than my old days when I had a Linux kernel version 1 running fvwm as one of my work desktops (the other desktop at that time was a Sun IPX running SunOS 4.1.3_U1).

  • by Programmer_In_Traini (566499) on Monday March 05, 2007 @12:08PM (#18238050)
    I'm a long time windows user, from the DOS days and I've always remained on the windows side of things mainly because at work its all we use. I never saw any point of switching of linux at home knowing that knowledge would not serve me at work.

    I'd usually spend efforts trying to improve on things that would help me at work.

    Anyway, now im starting a web hosting and web design (very) small company. I'm not really impressed by the direction MS is taking nor by the fees its charging. Vista smells like a truckload of overhead shit that i have zero interest in even trying out. The 2003 line of servers from MS is just too expensive just to avoid mentionning i hate the notion of online activation/tracking.

    I've installed Ubuntu and other distros of linux at the time and while I've always got stuck with the file structure and various command lines to learn, i feel this is something i could get the hang of over time.

    But what brings me back everytime to windows are my own limitations regarding programming. At work, we do ASP and ASP.net. Not c#, vb.net. I can read c# but i don't really program with it.

    I have no interest in learning php, ruby or other languages despite all their advantages. Because at work that's not what we use and I'd rather re-use my skills rather than split into a new branch just because im having something on the side.

    so, my question is, is there any (easy) way i could be running the .net framework on ubuntu ? no virtual machine if possible, no emulation, just run .net framework on ubuntu ?

    I know its pretty contracdictory but i dont want to install overhead on my server just for the benefit of running .net, I don't think its possible otherwise but that's why im asking to people who knows more about this.

    So, is it possible ?
    • by pembo13 (770295) on Monday March 05, 2007 @12:16PM (#18238160) Homepage
      When one invests their time in platform dependant skills, one has to live with the fact they will be forever tied to that platform. I'm pretty sure that what you want is not yet legally possible.
    • 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]
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Doctor Crumb (737936)
      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: (Score:3, Informative)

      by skiman1979 (725635)
      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
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mdielmann (514750)

      Because at work that's not what we use and I'd rather re-use my skills rather than split into a new branch just because im having something on the side.

      No offense, but I've never understood this statement. A spreadsheet's a spreadsheet, whether it be 1-2-3, Excel, or whatever. How long do you expect it to take to be able to pick up the basics of it? After that, learn what you need to get things done. I went from MS Works to a shareware clone of 1-2-3 for DOS. Guess what? Most of it is the same, any serious stuff takes some different commands, but they all do pretty much the same thing.

      I feel the same way about word processors, GUIs, and programming

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Procyon101 (61366)
      My comment has nothing to do with your solution, but...

      As a fellow programmer, I have to put in a plug for using your time at home to learn other languages you don't use at work. Picking a new language and then forcing yourself to do a project in it will seriously make you a better programmer in your primary language, and will make your life much easier at work. When you dive into a language that is substantially different than your original you learn completely new ways to approach problems, many of whic
  • by LWATCDR (28044) on Monday March 05, 2007 @12:14PM (#18238134) Homepage Journal
    Well the list is typical I am afraid.
    1. No 64 bit Flash. Or the lack of support in the X64 version of Firefox for 32 bit plug ins.
    2. You can not watch DVDs you buy at the store with out breaking the law... Thank you US government...
    3. Drivers specifically the fact that it is IMPOSIBLE for a manufacture to put a binary linux driver on a disk and stick in the box with his product.

    The first part the Linux community really can not do a lot about. I guess that the distros could ship the 32 bit version of Firefox as the default until Adobe catches up.

    The second issue is a legal fiction and can only be fixed by lawyers... And that is never a good state of affairs.

    The third is my least favorite problem because it could at least be helped by the kernel developers. If they would just put in a stable binary driver interface then it would be possible to put drivers an a CD. Currently they don't want to put one in because they feel it would encourage closed source drivers. They will use excuses about performance but the simple truth is it is all about politics.
    This article was a great example. The new network adapter didn't have a driver in distro. In this case the driver hadn't made it to the kernel yet. Even if the manufacture had produced a FOSS driver there would be no way to put it on the CD. There would be no way of knowing if it would work with the users kernel. They would have put a bunch of source code on the disk and maybe a script to compile it... If the user has a development system installed and the right headerfiles...
    I hate technical problems caused by politics.

  • by crush (19364) on Monday March 05, 2007 @12:27PM (#18238308)

    I was impressed by the author's attention to detail and clear specification of the tested systems and the steps involved in using them.

    One useful correction would be that programs are just as easy to install on .rpm-based systems as they are on .deb-based systems. The default tool on Fedora Core 6 is called YUM [fedorafaq.org] and it does all the dependency resolving necessary. There are even simpler front ends to it such as Pup [oreillynet.com] and Pirut. Package installation, deinstallation, upgrade and update are just as easy as they are with Aptitude.

    The problems that the author experiences with 64-bit Flash are unfortunately a result of there being insufficient pressure from GNU/Linux consumers on vendors to supply Free software. A similar problem is experience by many Ubuntu users that rely on the non-Free drivers produced by Nvidia for their graphics cards, or the various non-free binary blobs used for some dodgy wireless hardware. This will continue to be a problem as long as distributions like Ubuntu facilitate the manufacturers of this hardware in evading one of the central principles of Free Software. The manufacturers can't do a good enough job of staying current with the kernel and so GNU/Linux will always be a second class citizen as long as we accept this. Fortunately there are manufacturers, such as Intel [intellinuxgraphics.org] that provide Free software for their 3D graphics cards and their wireless chipsets and so it's worth choosing their components when building a new system. (I used to buy ATI stuff because the Free 3d drivers were better than the Free Nvidia ones, but apparently the nouveau [freedesktop.org] project is opening up the list of working Free Nvidia cards. I'll probably be giving Nvidia and ATI both a miss in favour of Intel though).

    Unfortunately Mark Shuttleworth is a short-term thinker who is pushing [desktoplinux.com] many of the Ubuntu developers into including binary, closed blobs that work until you update your system. This is the tired old "I'm a pragmatist" line which has been releiving the pressure on manufacturers to open their drivers and on users to choose non-closed hardware while purchasing new systems. It's anything but pragmatic and leads to the sort of frustrations seen in the article.

  • 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 :)

  • 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. :)
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Lugae (88858)
      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.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by cortana (588495)
      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 argent (18001)
      As someone who uses other sustems more than Windows, but with quite a bit of Windows experience as well, I have to agree that you've hit one of the places where Windows actually shines.

      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.

      Consistent keyboardability was one of the things that impressed me in Windows right from the start... and the first vers
  • by Cloud K (125581) on Monday March 05, 2007 @03:51PM (#18241240)
    I ask that instead of automatically going "OMG he went with Microsoft he must be stupid / evil / a troll / whatever" - you think seriously and constructively about the pros and cons of each platform and why the MS route was more suitable for me. And perhaps, how Linux can cater to my type in future.

    I've been interested in Linux for a long time, but as yet I haven't found it suitable to be a *complete replacement* for Windows; and unfortunately because it's so inconvenient switching back and forth, I might as well use the platform which works for me. I find myself facing Compromises quite a lot with Linux, and this is fine for a secondary machine but not a primary one. The compromises are fully understandable - most of the software is written by unpaid volunteers in their small amounts of free time, there are patent/DMCA issues holding back certain areas and many hardware and software manufacturers simply refuse to develop for Linux. However the fact remains that there are still compromises to be made - and ones which I'm not willing to make when I can pay £67 and do everything and never have any compatibility problems, compromises or headaches.

    I have a long log of my experience with Ubuntu somewhere, but basically it boils down to this:

    - Installation itself was ridiculously easy - on par with Vista. It was after installation that things went downhill...

    - It didn't recognise my 1Gb network port (Asus P5B) so I had to use the 100Mb one until I *recompiled the kernel with patches* (messy, and getting the bits together for compiling it was a bitch)

    - I never got wireless networking going, it would see the access points and connect to them but not get any data through and signal quality read '0'. I knew what I was doing and it was clearly a bug. Even ndiswrapper with the win98 drivers didn't work. There were endless other people encountering exactly the same problem in the Ubuntu Forums (network section) but nobody coming up with working answers. I am not willing to accept "well you have a wire connection, use that" as an answer.

    - I got bluetooth kind-of working, although it was flaky to say the least (to be fair, the same usually applies in Windows. I only know of Macs and other non-PCs that have decent, reliable bluetooth support)

    - Getting something other than 60Hz on my monitor, required hacking xorg.conf manually... I can do this so it's not a problem, but really I shouldn't have had to. A flaw with Ubuntu rather than Linux itself (and a long standing flaw as I had the same problem with early versions) as other distros handle monitor detection and configuration perfectly.

    - Getting things like java, flash, etc were a ballache, as ever, due to all the licensing/patent issues.

    - World of Warcraft didn't work in WINE or Crossover when I tried it. I didn't get around to messing with it much, to be fair, but I expected the latter to work as it's advertised as one of their primary supported products.

    - I'm a keen photographer, and photography in Linux is "pants", to say the least. The only decent, configurable RAW converter (not dcraw, which only does the basics) was the commercial Bibble, and even then - due to it not using Canon's SDK - it's not a patch on Breezebrowser Pro or Canon's own DPP in Windows when the results are put side by side. Photography was essentially the deal-killer with me: there are many things I'm willing to compromise on or 'live with' - but I am not willing to compromise on my photos, otherwise I wouldn't have bought a 30D.

    - What with all the other bits of software and games for Windows which are not ported to Linux or supported in WINE, and the sheer amounts of time you *still* have to invest in getting anything out-of-the-ordinary working (not nice after a hard day at work when all you want to do is spend the few available hours having fun) I'm afraid I went with the horned devil. £67 (Home Premium OEM) seems like a very reasonable amount to pay after all the wrestling with Ubuntu :)

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