Archive for Ubuntu

My Wife’s Thoughts on Linux

Custom Wedding Cake Topper made by Esther Taal:

Right after the start of August, my wife finally had enough of Windows. Her computer crashed, and it was the last straw. I convinced her to try Linux (Ubuntu specifically).

A couple of days ago, I asked her to write me up a small little blurb on what she thought so far. I thought that what she wrote was perfect, so I’m just going to paste let it stand on it’s own merits!

My first impressions of Linux (on my computer)

To start with a little bit of a background, I’ll tell you a little bit about the reasons why Linux has taken up residence on my desktop machine, and what sort of “prior” experience I had with it. I can’t say that I was ever 100% delighted with Windows, and despite the frustrations I’ve experienced with it, Windows has done what I needed and it was there (i.e. it came installed on my computers, ready to go). My games and other applications ran on it. A few things I bought “after market” for my computer, like a TV capture card or somesuch had to be tinkered with a fair bit, but they worked eventually in Windows. It has been this way for me for nearly two decades.

Fast forward to the past 9 months or so. I bought my newest computer when the one before it up and died (in all actuality, the motherboard probably went out, but it was about time for a new one, so why not). It started out that my internet connection would cut out from time to time. That got really irritating after a while, and when my computer died again (with it being less than 6 months old), it was replaced with a new motherboard and all was supposed to be right with the world. Wrong. My internet would still go in and out, and it looked like an issue with the wireless internet adapter. That was, until Mike suggested I try out a Linux bootable CD just for kicks and giggles. And the internet never went out. Shocking.

I’m not afraid of Linux. I know better than to think that Linux is all command line, all intentionally super user-unfriendly, and only designed for computer techy geeks. I mention those preconceived notions because when you mention Linux to someone who has no idea what it is, they just assume that it’s non-graphical and does something really weird. So, again, I’m not afraid of Linux. I’m lazy. I’m too lazy to change off of what was just there and what was working. It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, because I had to put a lot of work into making things “go” in Windows, so why would I be afraid of putting in the same amount of work to making things “go” in Linux? I saw my husband with Linux on his machine, and he began playing all of the games that he’d had in Windows. He was starting to sell me.

The breaking point was when my Windows side was not holding a connection to the internet, and it was becoming more of a pain and a time suck to get basic tasks done. Knowing that I wasn’t totally ridding myself of the Windows side, I just said…do it. Mike…do it. Put Linux on. Make it work. So he did. Now here are my perceptions.

Speed: Yeah, there really is no contest. My computer booted Windows pretty quickly (usually), but it boots Linux even faster. I didn’t think that was possible. It loads just about everything just as quickly, if not more so, than Windows. In terms of speed, it also doesn’t seem to slow down when I stress programs out. I’m notorious for having 20-30 different Word/word processing documents open at the same time while grading. Simultaneously having at least a dozen tabs in Chrome going. Throw in a couple of PDFs and maybe a spreadsheet, and that usually slows things down on the Windows side, but I don’t notice a whole lot of slow down on the Linux side.

Programs/Applications: There are a lot of spiffy little applications that go with my Linux side. I think they’re actually a lot easier to get a hold of than something that would be an equivalent in Windows. Little widgets, things for desktop customization and things to make your desktop more streamlined and clean. Honestly, my desktop has never looked so clean (and no, it isn’t because I just haven’t cluttered it up yet!).

OK, now on flip side of things, possible negatives. Ubuntu comes with (I think) Libre office, which has had some quirks (as in, it isn’t Microsoft Office, and although close, it has mangled a few documents, made speakers notes invisible in some presentations, just to name a few). I play a few games, and I know my husband has figured out ways to make them work, those modifications aren’t on my system (yet), and they took a bit of research to figure out. As I said, I play a few games, and rarely, but it could be a bigger problem for those who have a bigger variety of games that they play (that were designed for Windows primarily).

Interface: It doesn’t look like Windows, and there are some differences for those switching over from Windows. Nothing major. There’s no big Start/Windows button. I use alt-tab a lot, and that does work, but a little differently (I actually like the Linux function better). That’s all I’ve got there.

So my initial impression is that it works. That is more than I can say for the Windows side. The speed is faster, the interface is cleaner, and the ability to customize things to look how I want them to look is there and easy to play with. Only downside I see now is that I want my Star Trek Online, The Sims, or Civilization V to run, but no big deal.

Mike asks how it is working for me, and I can see how giddy he is waiting for my response (because he’s converted another…LOL!). I’m not one to get all super excited about my operating systems, but he should know that he’s got a winner on this, even if I’m not going all crazy excited about it on my system now. I’m glad it works. If it makes my husband all happy inside, that’s an added bonus :)

Ubuntu 12.04

Mark Shuttleworth has just announced on his personal blog that version 12.04 of Ubuntu will be known as Precise Pangolin.

Oneiric Ocelot – Alpha 1

So tonight I fired up for the first time Ubuntu 11.10, or what will become Ubuntu 11.10 here in a couple months.

It’s pretty much what you’d expect to see in any alpha release software. BUGS. Everywhere. I did manage to check on a couple things before I turned the machine off, and I see that LibreOffice is still the default office suite. The installed version is 3.3.2, but look for that to change before the release version, probably in alpha 2 since 3.4 is already available. Firefox is still the default browser, and of course, Unity is still the default interface.

I honestly didn’t see a lot of changes in the interface. There was some graphical changes to the icons and my default wallpaper didn’t come up at all. The title bar looked the same as it was in 11.04.

All in all, not a whole lot has visibly changed yet, but I do expect that to change before to very long. I’m looking forward to seeing what Alpha 2 has in store for us.

It’s all Linux’s Fault!!

I just got done reading Day 3 of Tony Bradley’s 30 Days with Ubuntu Linux. Day 3 and he’s already kinda pissed me off.

Day 1 wasn’t even a day with Linux. It was his announcement that he was going to be doing it. If you’re going to be doing 30 days with Ubuntu Linux, at least really do 30 days.

Day 2 he installed the OS. A process that takes all of a half an hour. On top of that, he used wubi. Now, wubi is all find and dandy if you’re planning on going back to Windows regularly, but if you’re actually going to be using Linux for 29 days, it’s worth your time to do a native installation. Of course, if your plan to start off with is to half-ass your way through “29 Days of Ubuntu Linux” and go straight back to Windows anyway, then you’re fine with wubi.

Day 3 he goes straight to iTunes. This is something that every person critical of Linux will do at one point or another. Let’s get this straight, iTunes is a proprietary application written by a company that doesn’t write Linux software.

The author states, “If Linux wants to be taken seriously as an alternative desktop for the masses–not just Linux gurus–then things have to just work without requiring so much effort.”

This is after he had it installed and mostly working, despite the fact that there is no Linux version of he software.


So much effort?

You just installed an application on an OS that it’s not written for. Can you do that in Windows without emulation? Nope. Score one for Linux.

Further, the fact that iTunes doesn’t have a Linux version is not the fault of Linux. It’s the fault of Apple, who chose not to write a version for Linux. The people who have worked long and hard to make Linux everything it is today can want to be taken seriously all they want, but it doesn’t make Apple write software for their platform.

The same goes for Microsoft Office.

Linux doesn’t run Microsoft Office. Why? It’s not because Linux is in any way lacking. It’s because Microsoft doesn’t sell a Linux version. If there’s someone to blame for that, it’s Microsoft.

Blaming the platform because a particular company (and a company that competes with Linux btw) has chosen not to write software for it is flat out stupid.

This kind of thing frustrates me to no end.


Let me tell you how the rest of the 29 days are going to go.

He’ll play around, toy with things, and in the end, he’ll point out all the things that don’t work (which he knew they wouldn’t when he went in) like running applications that aren’t even native to the operating system, as a fault of the OS, and say with a gentle sigh that Linux just isn’t ready for the mainstream yet. That really seems to be the intent of this 29 days anyway.

Why don’t we just skip to the end Tony?


My First Week (and change) with a Natty Netbook

Pretty much immediately after the release of the newest Ubuntu (Natty Narwhal), I downloaded it and replaced my existing version of Ubuntu (Maverick Meerkat) on my Netbook.

There’s been a lot of discussion regarding whether Unity was a good choice or a very bad thing since it appeared on Meerkat. I’m not going to pretend to resolve that issue, but I will say that I don’t mind it on my Netbook. It was present in Meerkat, and it’s present in Narwhal. I can say that it’s greatly improved since Meerkat, and if you didn’t like it there, you should probably give it another shot before passing judgement.

The OS speed improvement for me was drastic and obvious in Unity as well as in the rest of the OS. Applications seemed to fire open where they were poky to say the least before.

The Operating System improvements are nice as well. Upgraded software versions, and changes to the media player are welcome.

There are some things that I would like to see some improvement on as well.

First of all, Unity doesn’t let you move the bar. While the screen size of your average Netbook definitely loans itself to having the bar on the side, it would be nice to have the ability to move it on my Desktop, and I might just want to have it on the right instead of the left? Maybe?

The other thing that I’ve been trying to do is change the wallpaper on my login screen. Seems like it should be a pretty straight forward and easy thing to do right? But no, I’ve tried every utility I can find, copied files here there and everywhere. Nothing works. If anybody reading this can give me a heads up as to how this is accomplished, I would gladly take that advice.

Walk through of Natty

I ran across this nice little walk through of the Natty Narwhal release of Ubuntu that we can be expecting in the next month or so. As it’s pointed out several times in the walk through, Natty is still in Alpha, so there are things about it that don’t work all together well. Many things still cause crashes, but we’re expecting them to get ironed out here before the final release.

Personally speaking, I kind of like the Unity interface. I imagine as a “Power User” I’m suppose to like the standard interface, but the Unity interface cleans things up quite a bit, and I like that. What do you think?