Thursday, October 12, 2006

Might Be Time For Ubuntu ...

I've been reading and hearing a lot about Windows Vista lately, and I think I'm about at the tipping point. Between the performance pig that it is, and the fact that it's getting more and more intrusive and paranoid (I'll spare you the details ... check out slashdot or any number of tech podcasts for more scary info), I just don't know if I can stick with Windows anymore, so XP may be the last version I'll run as my full-time OS on my home machine. (Yes, there's the Mac option; I use one at work now but I really love my ThinkPad.)

As I mentioned before I was pretty floored by Ubuntu when I stuck a live CD in my ThinkPad and it detected literally everything including my wireless, ran my LCD at full resolution, etc., so thanks again to Dave Shuck for coming to the CFUG meeting with the live CD and forcing me to try it. I've also used Fedora on and off as a desktop OS in the past, but Ubuntu has a polish that Fedora still can't match in my opinion.

So when I thought more about switching, I started thinking about all the software I use on Windows. After a semi-thorough assessment in my head, I think the only thing I'd miss is Adobe Audition, which I use to edit and mix ColdFusion Weekly. After listening to a lot of podcasts about Audition I was really looking forward to upgrading to Audition 2.0. That being said, I only use about 1/1000th of what's in Audition, so Audactiy will actually probably be adequate, and it's what Peter uses when he edits the podcast so a) it works, and b) I'm sure I can hit him up for help. Or of course I can run Windows in a VM on Ubuntu, or dual boot which would probably be better for audio editing.

There's the omni-present SQL Server issue as well, but I'm not sure I need SQL Server on this machine anyway, and again, there's always VM. Napster just popped into my head as well, but again, VM will handle that or I can ditch Napster. Some other stuff like TiVo Desktop and miscellaneous other applications I just don't think I'd miss.

In terms of what I actually use 99% of the time, Firefox and Eclipse are both available, and I'm MORE than happy to quit using Outlook and go back to Thunderbird for email. Between the native availabilty of software I like and already use, the VM and dual-boot options, and CrossOver Linux, I'm starting to be convinced that the host OS matters less and less.

I was just saying the other day that I still didn't think Linux made a good desktop OS. But when it comes down to it, I'm a developer, and I'm a bit of a Unix server junkie anyway (not expert, but not dangerous!), so I don't need the hand-holding that average Joe computer users do. I also think Linux has gotten dramatically better on the desktop, even within the last year. Between these factors and the fact that I think the direction MS is taking with Vista is pretty morally reprehensible, it may be time for Ubuntu. I don't want MS controlling what I can and can't do with my computer.

So ... this weekend may be the weekend to do it. I need to do some testing of a couple of things (want to make sure my docking station works and drives my monitors correctly, for example), but if all goes well I may finally make the move. I'll either have a great success story or a whole lot of cursing in a future blog post. ;-)


I have Ubuntu 6.06 LTS in my laptop, and i'll be very happy to quit off my physical win xp partition. i like evolution, firefox , gimp, monodevelop, netbeans (mobility pack) and i'm really happy!!!

Just Try IT!!!!!!

Do it! I know you want to join the rest of us Windows detractors. ;)

I switched for pretty much the same reasons, though I have been using Unix variants for the last 9 years or so. I've long been a critic of Linux on the desktop, but I've been on Ubuntu for..hmm.. about a month now with no major issues. In fact, it's kind of annoying to me to have to use Windows at work now...

Also, academically Windows bothers me because it's one of the few operating systems that you can't find out intimate details such as the process scheduling algorithims it uses, memory paging algorithims, etc. (Yes, I'm geeky enough to tell you about most of those details for FreeBSD at least...)

It's looking good--even my Logitech Web Cam and Canon Scanner will apparently work well with a minimum amount of screwing around. I was all set to give the live CD a go last night but I can't find the one Dave Shuck gave me and I didn't have any blank CDs at home. Quite a bummer to realize that at 12:30 a.m. :-)

Go for it! I've been a Linux user since 1998 although I currently use primarily Macs. I'd probably still be pretty much using Linux if I wasn't into video. And I'm a big fan of Ubuntu as well since I started out on Debian. I use Windows XP at work everyday and can't stand it. I actually have installed VMware Server and I run Ubuntu inside of it. I just feel more productive in Linux than Windows.

I switched when Ubuntu Dapper came out - the live CD detected all my hardware so I made the plunge. I recently trashed my WinXP drive and haven't looked back since. I run Eclipse no problem, I have WinXP on a VMWare install but rarely use it... The only problem I have is my screensaver locks up my computer but I haven't really looked into that - I just don't run the screensaver :)

When I switched I bought a new drive to install Ubunut on - I'm not a big fan of dual booting - been burned a few times doing that... drives are cheap and when I was ready I just formatted my WinXP drive and added that to the mix.

Hey, that was me who brought you your CD!!!

And for what its worth, I haven't looked back once I switched to Ubuntu as my one and only OS.



Sorry Aaron--I didn't mean to give Dave undeserved credit! All the reinforcement is great so unless I see any major roadblocks I'll probably take a stab at it this weekend. I'll let everyone know how it goes.

Also, on the Ubuntu installs I have done dual-head displays weren't enabled automagically. BUT! there are tons of easy to follow HOWTO's that detail exactly what to change in your xorg to start using duals.


Come on, you should have titled this post "Hasta la Vista, baby"

What amazes me about Windows Vista is the number of different editions they are offering. I thought Win XP Pro vs. Win XP Home vs. Win XP Media Center was too much, but now there's like twice as many options. It just seems like this would be a tech support nightmare for MS.

Support Person: "Tell me again which edition of Windows you're on?"
Microsoft Victim: "Vista".
Support: "But which version of Vista?"
Victim: "Uhhh, the Premium Home Ultimate Enterprise version? No wait, Professional. Or is it Windows M.E.?"

And as the family/friends computer guru, which version do I recommend to them when they ask? Maybe the Ultimate pirate version. :)

Bravo Matt--that's by far the most clever blog entry title I've seen in a long time!

To elaborate on why Vista is Evil with a capital "E", first, if you don't want cripple-ware you have to buy at LEAST the Ultimate edition, and even if you do, you can basically install it two times *on the same machine* and that's it. My annual Windows hard drive wipe would be out the, uh, Window. (Not as good as "hasta la Vista" I realize, but I'm trying.)

Second, Windows Genuine Advantage is apparently a huge mess in XP and it's only going to get worse. There's way too many false positives going on, and having to call MS and beg them to let me use a product that I freakin' paid for just because they mistakenly think I'm a pirate. Apparently if you DO get flagged, you're more or less locked out until MS deems you worthy and lets you back in.

Sorry MS, but I own my computer, not you, and MS having that much control over my machine just ain't gonna happen.

And another thing! Actually a friend of mine mentioned this, but I was thinking about this last night as well. Flash Video is making the move to Linux way more palatable than it would have been a few years ago. No longer do we have to care about whether or not they have a Real Player or Windows Media Player for Linux--it doesn't matter. As long as Adobe keeps up with a current Flash player for Linux (and Adobe, if you're listening, please keep up with a current Flash player for Linux!), Flash Video solves that problem in a very nice way.

Google buying You Tube was a big boost for Adobe, and I think a bit of a stealth shot to MS. The OS is starting to become more and more irrelevant as we move forward. I could go on about Flex as well, but I'll save that for another time. :-)

Matt, at least you know you have a good support group! For what it is worth, I installed Dapper on my laptop the 1st of June. I have not had to do any serious reconstructive surgery since. It has spun like a top and has only made me appreciate it more and more as I have used it.

Here are some links from my blog that might be helpful.

I installed Ubuntu last Year and was exited... But it also took my around 3 weeks and really a lot searching in forums to get my dual monitor setup running... with an ATI card...

than I had issue with my usb audio interface which never could be solved.

Next big issue was flash player... to do any flex stuff - also learning at home - a desperatly needed flash player 9 on linux.

Maybe somebody has news when FP 9 for Linux will appear...

Don't misunderstand me, I really, really like ubuntu and the philisophie behind it... but be aware of pitfalls.

Absolutely Daniel--it definitely takes more manual work to get Ubuntu up and running as compared to Windows because of the widespread hardware support for Windows.

I'm going to do another post on the process, but yesterday I installed Ubuntu on my ThinkPad T60p and so far, so good. I had to tweak my X11 configuration file to get the laptop screen to run at 1600x1200, and my middle button on my trackpad doesn't work, but other than that all the hardware was recognized fine (including my wireless chipset).

Software-wise the only problem I ran into thus far is a problem with SSL-enabled SVN repositories with Subclipse in Eclipse. I can get stuff from a term window just fine but Subclipse bombs. ColdFusion installed fine other than the Apache connector so I need to work on that today.

Today I'll be figuring out more of my peripherals like my USB headset, docking station, external monitors, scanner, mp3 player, etc. so I'll relay any info related to that as I get things going.

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