tech sidetrack – my linux experience

A New Beginning
i am a ‘new’ ubuntu user. why the quotation marks? well i have been dabbling in ubuntu intermittently but my current foray with this linux distro may be the one that i finally settle down with. i am a windows poweruser. my 1st pc had windows 3.1 on it. subsequently i ran windows 95, 98 and then windows me. sometime last year i switched to xp. i have tasted all the different flavours that bill gates cared to throw at the masses. in april last year i began to hear about this linux os and decided to give it a spin on a lazy sunday afternoon. i have never dreamt that i would one day actually install a whole operating system on my own and you could imagine my nerves at that time. the installation went well besides a few anxious moments when i had to partition my hd and i did not know what the hell was written on the screen. unfortunately when it came time for me to reboot my pc, x server failed! luckily for me i had my handy ibook and a wireless router and managed to go into the ubuntu web forums. after poking around i got a quick fix solution to my problem (some incompatibility issue with my graphics card and the video driver in ubuntu breezy badger).

Brown Is The New White

with the brown gnome desktop sitting in front of me, i spent the next few days getting video and audio running in breezy. the forum members were in full force holding my hand while i waded through hours of software updating and configuration. i was a happy camper for the next month of so once i got everything up and running. at that time i was still dual booting between winxp for some program like itunes seeing that i could never get gtkpod or banshee to work with my ipod mini and nano. and also i missed my games in xp.

Breaking Wind

after the initial novelty, i started to neglect breezy and found myself turning back to winxp more and more. finally breezy was left sitting in a dark corner of my hard disk uncared for. to add salt to the wound, i also read a posting in another forum that referred to the ubuntu gnome desktop as ‘child-like’ . for some reason i found this less then complimentary remark apt and felt that ubuntu’s ranking as the most popular distro in distrowatch unfounded and over rated.

The Green Gecko

my pc finally gave up the ghost end of last year and i had to purchase a whole new desktop. this of course came with the ubiquitous winxp preinstalled and that was that. in april this year on another lazy sunday i decided to try out suse 10.0. this time i was less scared seeing that i have had some experience with my last ubuntu installation. everything went smoothly but again no multimedia capabilities out of the box. another few days went by and with the help of members in the suse web forums i got everything up and running. the suse kde desktop was an improvement over the ubuntu gnome desktop. it had a more professional and grownup feel to it. after a few months suse 10.1 was announced and i dutifully downloaded the iso’s and installed it on another partition ( i was now tri-booting!)

The Evil Brother
all my hope for a shiny new fully functional linux os was dashed when i ran into problems with the zen updater which came with suse 10.1. i was inundated with strange errors and unexplained alert messages while trying to update. i came away with a bitter after taste in my mouth. on the positive side i was now well on my way to becoming a linux convert. at least the ‘terminal’ now does not look so alien to me and i was no longer in mortal fear of it.

Dapper Drake To The Rescue
enter ubuntu 6.06 LTS codenamed dapper drake. at the expense of looking like a linux slut (sleeping with every distro that was available and willing) i again took the plunge and downloaded this new ubuntu not knowing what to expect. i have to admit that i was getting tired with suse and was itching for new experiences. of all the distros i have toyed with this was the best installation i have had. smooth as butter and everything went by flawlessly. updating the os was a breeze and after my recent encounter with suse and zen this was a definite plus point. in order to get multimedia, flash and java working in firefox i again relied on the cool folks at ubuntu web forums and within hours i was up and running. to my delight, this time gtkpod and banshee picked up on my ipod and i was able to transfer mp3s to it. a few days ago i even managed to install and set up compiz/xgl in dapper.

In Love Again

my initial reservations about gnome was largely unfounded. i now appreciate the intuitiveness and sensibility of this powerful desktop and wouldn’t change to kde even if i was offered a lot of money.
it may have something to do with the better specs of my new pc but dapper feels much snappier and faster when compared with breezy.
of the two that i have encountered this is the better version of ubuntu. having read through some of the threads in the ubuntu forums many people would even argue that this is the best version ever.

Some Lizard
but of course for the past few days the entire linux community at large has been stumbling over each other to download the latest edition codenamed ‘edgy eft‘. poking around the forums, i see a lot of red and angry faces ranting about how the new upgrade has royally screwed them with broken x servers (an example of an irate customer can be had here) and what have you. as for me i started the download but then stopped it midway. perhaps let the people at ubuntu iron out the bugs first before i take the plunge. i am a cautious one. Link


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