tyler butler

Playing With Ubuntu

I finally got fed up with XP on my laptop. I don’t use it much for games anymore, so I decided that it was time to try Linux again. I had previously loaded Suse 9.1 on it over the summer, but I could never get my Linksys WPC54G PCMCIA wireless card working, no matter what I tried, so I gave up. I didn’t want to shell out cash for a new card, and a laptop without wireless is a pitiful thing. Also, I used to like KDE, but it looked really bad on my laptop, and I simply didn’t feel like going through all the hassle of trying to get Gnome up on a KDE-centric distro. Finally at that point I was still using Outlook (gasp!), and I didn’t relish trying to convert everything into Evolution again. So I went back to XP for awhile.

Then I made the switch to GMail, and based on some high praise that Ubuntu was getting from Patrick and others, I thought I might as well give it a try. I needed to reformat my laptop anyway, and I figured if I didn’t like it or it didn’t work, I could always just put XP back on there.

Well, I am proud to say that Ubuntu up and running on my laptop. I was able to very easily set up my wireless card using NDiswrapper, and there was even a helpful guide linked to on the Ubuntu website. It doesn’t allow me to monitor link quality and everything, but at least it works.

I have never used a Debian-based distro before, but I really like it so far. The package management has been great, and using alien I’ve been able to load up some RPM’s as Deb packages as well. I’ve got Tomboy running, which is cool (I’m using it for notes about my upcoming novel), and I am installing Beagle as we speak. I like the overall polish of Gnome, but the “spatial browsing” is driving me nuts. I want an address bar! I suppose I’ll get used to it - it’s my only major complaint right now. Well, that and the fact that there’s no IE for Linux (haha). I need it for work - Firefox doesn’t render the application we use for ticket management correctly. I have to use RDP and log into my server to enter tickets. And I’m still having problems getting Samba and Web Folders shared between my Windows boxes and Ubuntu. But hopefully iFolder will help with that.

Anyway, overall I am very pleased with my new setup so far, and have not yet found any truly compelling reasons to switch back to XP. Here’s hoping I don’t. I’m certainly learning a lot more with Linux.