Sunday, June 07, 2009

I admit I was wrong about Ubuntu... going back to Windows

I'm not sure how long I stuck with it, must be about 6 months since I switched from Windows to Ubuntu on my laptop, which is also my desktop at home and in the office and on the road, so basically my only computer. (Actually my employer's computer. But they are cool with technology people testing out technology, the CEO uses Ubuntu, as do several developers. And this is not, and need not be, an issue, unlike some prior employers thought... but I digress...)

Unfortunately I have to concede defeat.

I can't stick with Ubuntu because Dell, Nokia, and Nvidia don't support it well enough. It doesn't run MS Office (well enough) and Open Office is only 90% there if you are a heavy user. The screen and docking station were a daily nightmare. Constantly booting Windows in VMWare a real drag. There were some devices and apps I never got to work - webcam, Skype with voice, VPN to the office, printing on my home network.

There were good times too.

Times I could boot, reboot, and shutdown about 4 times faster than Windows. Times when Windows under VMWare was faster than Windows running natively (don't know whether to laugh or cry about that one). Times when having posix command line meant I could do twice the job in half the time. Also, it was cool. I have to admit that.

But it is an OS for geeks. Still, after all the compromises and ease of use features, unless your PC is built and tested for Linux and has built in all the apps you need (i.e. a netbook) then it is just too complex. I like command line and editing text config files, but whenever I did it I thought, "there's no way I could talk my Mum through this on the phone".

So back to the loving embrace of Bill's progeny I go. (A process that might take more than one weekend).

Of course I could try Apple's MacOS... but what I need is a real operating system running on a real computer, not an expensive dvd player and a lobotomy.

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Blogger Ted Potter said...

linux/unix is not for everybody. However I switch over years ago and the money saved is something to consider. My skype and web cam work fine, I use google docs so I don't really need the suite but if I do it is there. Not that I produce much paper - prefer email for most things. Since I make my living fixing computers the people I help most are windows folks. If you really want to transsistion I find it best to stop trying to make linux like windows - that was the key for me. Good luck with Windows 7

12:52 a.m., June 08, 2009  
OpenID BaU3HWEKj5gitwTklLToRWaOYpG1xXk- said...

Hi Mark - Sorry to see you go. If you need solid support for MS Office, then yes, Linux isn't for you. I've used CrossOver Office (MS Office in commercial Wine) and it was painfully unreliable. Don't go there!

Remember that you can have the best of the posix shell under Windows with Cygwin ( and if you have a Ubuntu box somewhere on the network, Cygwin/X (

Other options to get the best of both are TightVNC ( if you have one screen or Synergy ( if you have two. These two options give you seamless copy-and-paste between a Windows desktop and a Linux desktop. I've used both for extended periods. My preference is Synergy - works well if you have two monitors and don't mind two boxes under your desk.

2:52 p.m., July 05, 2009  

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