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By R343L (Sun Feb 11, 2007 at 06:13:18 PM EST) ubuntu, linux (all tags)
Ubuntu is pretty nifty. See inside for some random comments on linux finally being for the desktop. I will certainly annoy and/or infuriate at least one person with this entry.


The last time I attempted to use linux as a desktop was 2001-ish using some variant of Red Hat (this is before they went after the server/enterprise market over the desktop and fedora did not exist). It was okayish .. if you didn't want sound or printing. Lots of stuff required me to go build stuff or track down rpms or just plain fiddle for hours. At the time I didn't mind so much. It was kind of a hobby. Later, I wanted a computer just as a tool and was not interested in administering them. So I gave up on it.

The new ubuntu install (edgy upgraded to "unstable" feisty) on a 64-bit laptop is pretty much "just working".

I had to fiddle with wireless settings on the command-line, but this is no different than windows. Instead of reading a man page and figuring out what options to set, I'd be randomly clicking on GUI interface elements trying to figure out the magic incantation that got everything setup right.

Shockingly, my 4+ year old printer worked without incident ("add printer...oh wow, it's right there!!) Every piece of software I could want (many of them I like over the windows equivalents and have installed the win32 versions before) are just there (or quickly there via the GUI package manager Synaptic).

I have a full build environment available. I can build my company's software on it and actually do work (rather than having to share a pricey server with 4+ other developers).

Some things in ubuntu/gnome are just better than the way windows works. For instance, I went to take a screen shot of a window (alt+print screen). The GUI notices this and pops up a window prompting me to save the file to disk .. which is what I always did in windows, only I had to open up an image editing program and paste it in. Plus, I forgot just how configurable the user interface can be .. and now you don't even have to occasionally fiddle with text files just to move some bar somewhere. I missed being able to setup all these interesting things out of the proverbial "box".

One thing does not work and that is suspend/hibernate. When I tried it, it hung. Oh well, I knew that going in. Perhaps a few more updates will fix that. At least it boots pretty fast. Tomorrow I will be testing multiple display support and may be disappointed again.

Some random other comments:

  • gparted (for the custom repartitioning) is really cool compared to what linux install disks came with before (e.g. fdisk). It's just a lot more friendly (ooh, a slider bar!)
  • I can share my thunderbird profile between windows & linux. Good thing I moved from Outlook (company default) a while back.
  • gaim was installed by default ... I was kind of wondering what I was going to do for messaging (on yahoo's system as a bunch of my co-workers are).
  • Can you believe I have flash working in a 64-bit browser when there is no 64-bit flash plugin? Turns out there is this cool thing called a ns plugin wrapper. Of course, it would be nice if there was just a native 64-bit version. This is one of those cases where I decided to fiddle despite my better judgement (do I really want to boot windows just to view youtube??) .. and it worked. Course it would have been nicer if Adobe/Macromedia had deigned to just port it to 64 bit linux.
  • I'm a little annoyed there is no Opera for 64-bit linux. I might try getting it to work chroot, but that's a lot of fiddling. Making do with Firefox for now.
That is all.
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switched to ubuntu | 17 comments (17 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
about Opera (and then a rambling segue) by Phil Urich (2.00 / 0) #1 Sun Feb 11, 2007 at 07:03:55 PM EST
It's a bit arcane, but have you tried downloading the .deb file from, say, the i386 Ubuntu repositories and running it with "dpkg -i --force-architecture"?  For some programs that little trick (ie. just telling the program to install anyways) will do the trick.  Also, maybe install linux32, damn useful.  Weirdly enough I could never get 64-bit flash quite working right with that ns plugin wrapper, so I just cheated and installed a 32-bit version of firefox for when I need to look at YouTube or just generally be compatible with the proprietary side of the web.  Personally I use Kubuntu and I've become so enamoured with Konqueror as a web browser that the loss of Opera hasn't been a big deal.

From myself and people I know, having multiple displays either words awesomely easily (my experience) or very hit-and-miss (some of my friends) but in every case it's always worked out in the end.

Ubuntu is probably the #1 distro right now as far as making inroads into, well, normal people using it.  Hell, the major retail store I work for recently had someone bring in a laptop they had just installed Linux on, the guy (who was very average in his technical literacy, and I don't mean geek-average, I mean he really was just some random bloke off the street) couldn't get his pcmcia wireless card to work.  He didn't know enough to properly upgrade, so as it turned out he had installed 5.04...which is a version that still gives me nightmares, honestly.  So I steamrolled over it with 6.10 and got xubuntu-desktop on it.... Xfce is kinda cool, in it's own way, and it runs about 300x faster than gnome on this rickety-old Toshiba of his.

Charged him a mere $25cdn, which flustered some of the other computer department folks, but I was way too happy to see this first sign of a potential linux flood (fingers crossed?) or even just any normal person at all willing to try it out.  I even sent him on his way with testing disk three for the Kubuntu incarnation of Feisty, for him to try out on some hardware a bit more modern.

Oh, going back to making 32-bit stuff work on 64-bits.... if ya wanna get Wine working, there's a script that a guy on ubuntuforums wrote that really illuminated it for me.  I guess it'd be a bit different for Feisty, but I had to edit the shell script myself to point towards the latest versions of the packages needed anyways.  Was a bit intensive in a sense, I mean it would have looked such to someone peering over my shoulder, but it was really quite quick and honestly all I did was copy paste some URLs and bam, I've got Wine running.  I opened Notepad and went "whee!" and then realized I couldn't actually remember why I needed Wine in the first place ;)

some more rambling by R343L (2.00 / 0) #2 Sun Feb 11, 2007 at 07:18:10 PM EST
I have all the ia32 compat libs installed (needed for nspluginwrapper to work). So maybe I can try just forcing install. I've been memssing with the chroot stuff and for some reason can't get debootstrap to actually put any files in the target chroot dirs. I'll have a look at the script. The only thing I found on the ubuntu forums wasn't a script but instructions (I admit I didn't try very hard after two different sites, one pointed to by opera, had essentially the same instructions and neither worked).

I'm hoping not to boot to windows except, maybe, to mess with itunes. But I don't use it much, so I should just find something else to sync my ipod (use to use winamp so I'm not opposed to change). Fortunately, there are no mandatory windows apps I need to use. Well, I haven't tried to visit my bank yet (which never worked in opera).

Rachael

"There will be time, there will be time / To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet." -- Eliot

[ Parent ]
Amarok is my own choice by Phil Urich (2.00 / 0) #3 Sun Feb 11, 2007 at 08:33:08 PM EST
Again though this is me being a KDE-centric person.  I remember seeing . . . yeah, here's a thread about Amarok replacements, so, yaknow, a replacement for an iTunes replacement, I guess ;)  Personally I think in its own way Amarok is quite a bit better than iTunes, but I never did like iTunes that much (I was a partisan for Winamp3...yeah, I tend to like the oddballs, but so many little bits of functionality in Winamp3 were just never surpassed or even equalled in Winamp5, I was quite sad that with each new iteration of Windows and its service packs Winamp3 got less and less stable).

So yeah, I'm not sure how desirable it would be to run Amarok in Gnome (I remember some issues on a friend's computer a couple of versions ago), but if it works out for ya I'd highly recommend it as a player.  It's also one of those rare apps that just keeps on its feet; every update I go "whoa, hey!" and something cool and new has appeared, quite rare in the update cycle of things.  As long as ya install the proper ipod stuff...err....wait, though.  The way I do it is with the ipodslave package, which is again a KDE thing (it lets one use ipods as kioslaves), maybe something like gtkpod-aac would be better for ya in Gnome for just managing the ipod?

But oh, banks....that's pretty much why South Korea is entirely Windows-based, everything important there on the web is ActiveX based which screws over anything that isn't Internet Explorer.... then again, though, a surprising number of sites work just fine as soon as one sets the browser to claim to be another browser :)  I know that gmail throws a fit if I try to view it with Konqueror normally, but as soon as I tell Konqueror to identify as something else (hey gmail, I'm running Firefox 1.5 on XP SP2, wink wink nudge nudge) all sins are forgiven.

[ Parent ]
tested the bank site a little while ago by R343L (2.00 / 0) #4 Sun Feb 11, 2007 at 09:00:50 PM EST
Works in firefox. Actually, it's entirely possible they added Opera support a while back, but I just never bothered.

Rachael

"There will be time, there will be time / To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet." -- Eliot

[ Parent ]
Unless amarok has gotten better by barooo (2.00 / 0) #11 Mon Feb 12, 2007 at 07:52:02 AM EST

I could never get it to import my library.  It would chug along for a while, then crash, and when reopened, it would be empty.  Something I aquired from somewhere had a name or an ID3 tag it didn't like and didn't check for liking it before trying to import it, and didn't gracefully handle not liking it.  Same thing with whatever gnome's jukebox is called.  iTunes is fine though.


man, i need a beefy taco now.
-gzt
[ Parent ]
I do remember some weirdness back in the day... by Phil Urich (2.00 / 0) #15 Mon Feb 12, 2007 at 02:54:07 PM EST
but that was just as I was starting to use the program.  They've entirely overhauled the mechanics behind the library (especially the updating) at least twice since then, and one of the latest bits is the (admittedly way-too-long coming) quick update so that it just scans for new files instead of scanning everything again.

iTunes is a bust for me regardless since I have alot in ogg and FLAC ;)

[ Parent ]
*Really* hot chicks use OS X by ammoniacal (4.00 / 1) #5 Sun Feb 11, 2007 at 10:07:03 PM EST
or occasionally, *BSD.

Just sayin'.

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

and the *BSD chicks by martingale (4.00 / 1) #6 Sun Feb 11, 2007 at 11:16:26 PM EST
sometimes sing songs too, although I'd hope they never hum while munching on biscuits.
--
$E(X_t|F_s) = X_s,\quad t > s$
[ Parent ]
i've set up multiple display by 256 (2.00 / 0) #7 Mon Feb 12, 2007 at 05:31:11 AM EST
on a handful of ubuntu machines.

it has always required a little bit of diving into text configuration files (xorg.conf specifically). but, if you don't mind doing that, it's pretty painless.
---
I don't think anyone's ever really died from smoking. --ni

Question by ucblockhead (2.00 / 0) #9 Mon Feb 12, 2007 at 07:14:23 AM EST
Since you've admitted doing this, I have a question:

Is it possible to have a secondary monitor hooked up to a laptop and have the secondary monitor be the primary screen and the laptop screen be a secondary extension?
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[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman

[ Parent ]
sure by 256 (2.00 / 0) #10 Mon Feb 12, 2007 at 07:18:36 AM EST
if you have more than one screen, they are all considered equal.
---
I don't think anyone's ever really died from smoking. --ni
[ Parent ]
hmmmm by ucblockhead (2.00 / 0) #12 Mon Feb 12, 2007 at 08:20:46 AM EST
I was never able to get it to work. I could never get Linux to put, for instance, the login prompt on screen 1 instead of screen 1
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[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman
[ Parent ]
i'll have to look into that..... by 256 (2.00 / 0) #13 Mon Feb 12, 2007 at 08:27:44 AM EST
i'm pretty sure i have done that before with gdm at least.
---
I don't think anyone's ever really died from smoking. --ni
[ Parent ]
Christ by ucblockhead (2.00 / 0) #14 Mon Feb 12, 2007 at 08:44:33 AM EST
I'm an idjit...of course its a gdm setting.
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[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman
[ Parent ]
The problem is by debacle (2.00 / 0) #8 Mon Feb 12, 2007 at 06:55:55 AM EST
Even "I had to fiddle with wireless settings on the command-line, but this is no different than windows." is too much for most users.

Most people do not use their computers enough for their OS to matter. Because Windows is the default for most people that buy PC's, it will be what they use.


IF YOU HAVE TWO FIRLES THOROWNF MONEY ART SUOCIDE GIRLS STRIPPER HPW CAN YPUS :OSE?!?!?!?(elcevisides).

oh yes by Phil Urich (2.00 / 0) #16 Mon Feb 12, 2007 at 03:17:07 PM EST
and working at a retail semi-tech store, I've seen waaaay too many people bring their entire computer in and shell out $20 bucks or more just to get a wireless card installed that they can't figure out.  Of course, it's kinda a pain to get someone's wireless card set up without their wireless network....

(that's why when that guy came in, with essentially the same issue but he was randomly trying out Linux on his old laptop, I couldn't bring myself to charge him normal retail rates for what I did....I was desperate to get the guy past the initial "this new OS is weird" phase, because he was interested in Linux.   And I do claim he was an ordinary person, and one might think with due cause "why in the world would a normal person care enough" but there is one big issue which Linux can have a positive impact with the most computer-illiterate and ennui-filled of people: money.)

[ Parent ]
I agree actually by R343L (2.00 / 0) #17 Mon Feb 12, 2007 at 07:19:20 PM EST
I wanted the gui to work, but the reality for me (someone not scared of a command-line) it isn't actually any more work than I would do in a windows GUI. But that's just me.

Maybe Vista will backfire on MS, and manufacturers will put some weight behind some linux distribution?

Rachael

"There will be time, there will be time / To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet." -- Eliot

[ Parent ]
switched to ubuntu | 17 comments (17 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback