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. Continue reading »

PC Hardware

Chapter 8.After selecting the 4 candidates and their testing order, it’s time to move to the real deal: an actual computer. The remaining distributions will be judged by their ability to simply install and recognize the hardware. But also how well they use the hardware.

The computer I will use to conduct these tests, is in fact my brand new PC. So no old hardware here, components include a Solid State Disk, several hard disks, dual monitors, a new ATI graphics card,  a Z68 chipset motherboard and 2 network interfaces (one onboard, 1 plugin card). This was one of the reasons I wanted an up-to-date operating system: it has to recognize the hardware.

So there are some real challenges here. Will the Solid State Disk work on full speed, will the distributions be able to use the graphics card to power the two screens, will all feature of the chipset be available and will Linux be able to handle itself when spread over several hard disks? Continue reading »

Oct 262011

Chapter 4.Over the years I have tested and used a lot of distributions. For the “Switching to Linux” article series I wanted to pick the distribution that suited my needs best. Usability was the primary concern. A close second was looks, I have always been a sucker for eye candy. Things like installation and configuration where less important.

I consider myself (fairly) experienced in Linux, having setup a good number of servers and desktops. I have been using Linux as a secondary desktop for a number of years now. So I did not expect much problems in the distribution step towards my ultimate goal: a perfect Linux desktop, suitable for everyday use both professional and private. Continue reading »


Since version 11.10 (release October 2011), Ubuntu uses Lightdm as its main login screen. In the standard version this screen comes with a fairly nice Ubuntu background and an Ubuntu 11.10 logo in the bottom left corner. If you want to personalize the login screen to your liking, change the logo or both, this can be easily done

This involves changing 1 configuration file and copying 2 images to a folder, that’s all. There are however a few things that you need to take into account or you’ll end up with a black screen without a logo, or in worst case the inability to login to Ubuntu.  And we don’t want that.

Continue reading »

© 2011 Techfocus [dot] be Site powered by Wordpress and Suffusion theme