Switching To Linux: Ubuntu, The Surprising Winner
Chapter 9. When I started the testing I would have never expected that Ubuntu would be the winner. Asked for odds I would have said Arch (5), Mint (3), Xubuntu (1) and Ubuntu (1). I really liked Arch, it ran very well in a virtual machine. But on real hardware only Ubuntu could shine.
It was the only distribution that appealed to me and that I could see myself using for months. I’m sure other distributions work just fine, they just did not for me. Ubuntu had one advantage: version 11.10 was brand new and thus up-to-date. On the other hand, since both Arch and Mint are rolling distributions they are or should have been up-to-date too.
The appeal of Ubuntu is hard to explain. It’s also very personal, just like the choice of a window manager. A large part of the choice are the looks and Ubuntu certainly has them. The functionality of Unity is a great source of discussion. For me it works, sure there are still a few minor bugs to iron out, but at least I got it running on my computer.
Now I’m going to start getting used to Linux. Using Linux as a second OS is not the same as using it fulltime. There a still some major hurdles I have to take. I will also have to change some of my habits. But that is not a problem, in fact I’m looking forward to it.
Installing some Software
Most software included with Ubuntu gets the job done, but there where some programs that I did not like or had to adapt
- Banshee: nice if you have a small music library, but quickly became unusable when adding a larger collection. I found Clementine as an alternative
- Thunderbird: basic functionality is very limited (compared to Outlook) and I had to resort to extensions and quite some config to get it working the way I wanted
- Firefox: my long time favourite browser has some nasty custom settings. I have been slowly drifting away from Firefox and this was it for me, I changed to Chromium
- Chromium: added some extensions and got it working just the way I wanted
- Virtualbox: this was a surprise to me, works even better then on windows (where I had constant problems with USB devices in VM’s)
- Aptana Studio: the standalone suite requires xulrunner, which is no longer installable in Ubuntu 11.10. Installed Eclipse with the Aptana plugin and that works fine
- Liferea: is a nice discovery for me. I plugged all my news site in there and am as up-to-date as I want.
- Luckybackup: rsync based backup. Gets the job done, I backup to my NAS.
A few “problems”
Of course there are a few things that I have not found a solution for:
- There is no VMWare VSphere management software for Linux (same goes for Xenserver management)
- The Belgian EID (Electronic Identity Card) software does not work on Ubuntu 11.10
- I wanted to be able to fallback to Gnome 3, but the menu bar is all garbled when I log in which makes it pretty much unusable (this appears to be a bug in the ATI driver)
Switching to Linux series:
- Chapter 1 >> Switching To Linux: The Start
- Chapter 2 >> Switching To Linux: My Reasons
- Chapter 3 >> Switching To Linux: The Software List
- Chapter 4 >> Switching To Linux: The Distributions
- Chapter 5 >> Switching To Linux: The VirtualBox Setup
- Chapter 6 >> Switching To Linux: Expectations and Criteria
- Chapter 7 >> Switching To Linux: Distribution Testing
- Chapter 8 >> Switching To Linux: Testing Distributions On Real Hardware
- Chapter 9 >> This Article
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