Personal Stories – I konquer Linux!

I earlier reported the demise of my computer. In summary, the system went kaput, I installed Ubuntu Linux, and I found out that bugs kept me from unleashing the full power of open source software. Bugs be damned, the full power has been unleashed. Let me just make a brief note as to why you should care. You are using a computer to read this blog. Hence, you are a computer user. As a computer user, promoting open source software, like Ubuntu Linux, is in your best interest (period).

A week or so ago, I upgraded my video card driver so I could change my screen resolution. When I rebooted, I was greeted with a black screen of doom. It is like the blue screen of death only without the indecipherable message letting me know how FUBAR my computer is. Thankfully, my dear wife has a fully functioning iMac. With the help of a few community forums, I was able to enter enough commands to restart the system. I'm talking old school style terminal commands as in "would you like to play a game".

I felt lucky to have a working computer and declared never to change anything ever again. A week later I thought, hmmm, I wonder if Compiz Fusion will work with the new drivers. I tried it. It did. No black window bug. No FUBAR events. It just worked. Check out the above screenshot of Ubuntu running Compiz and a program called Avant Window Navigator.

Before accidentally getting Compiz to run like some kind of idiot savant I experimented with a "windows manager" called Enlightenment. A windows manager is like Windows 3.1 for those old school computer users like myself. It is just a program that makes pretty. I actually installed a windows manager/desktop environment hybrid called OpenGEU. It was Ubuntu like I know and love with a some awesome looking effects. Best of all, it runs great on outdated and underpowered computer hardware. Too bad Enlightenment is full of bugs and things that cause "SEGV'D" events. Nevertheless, for anyone with old hardware and a thirst for office chair adventures, I recommend Enlightenment powered distributions OpenGEU or gOS Rocket. Enlightenment is a truly unique and beautiful computing experience.

It may appear from my screens shots that the the ultimate goal of Linux is to replicate the Mac OS. That is not exactly the truth (although it is pretty close to it). Apple certainly hit the proverbial nail on the head with Mac OS X. I tell my wife how unfair it is that she has been using a fantastic desktop environment for about eight years while I had to suffer through Windows ME.

Huzaa to not leaving well enough alone!

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4 thoughts on “Personal Stories – I konquer Linux!

  1. Soup April 16, 2008 at 12:56 am Reply

    Ubuntu is basically the best thing to happen for PC users in years. It's finally making open source computing accessible to even the least experienced users.Thanks for the top on those programs, too. They're pretty sweet, and I dig 'em!

  2. jayd April 17, 2008 at 3:15 am Reply

    Two Questions to test out your assertion of best interest:
    1) What is the percentage of modern apps that will run successfully on Unbutu?
    2) What is the percentage of modern hardware that is currently supported, without knowing a boatload about Linux (or modifying your own drivers)?

  3. bioadam April 19, 2008 at 10:38 am Reply

    Jayd,You are likely asking the wrong guy. Before running Ubuntu I was fresh off of Windows ME, a broken OS from the year 2000!. Anyway, to answer your questions:1) 100% of the modern apps I have running on Ubuntu will successfully run on Ubuntu. Seriously, This is from the Ubuntu FAQHow much software is available for Ubuntu?
    About 1,000 pieces of software are installed by default, out of the
    basic fully supported software list of 1,300 packages. In addition to
    that, there are more than 16,000 packages which are available to you
    immediately, and more software is available from third parties. You can
    read about the complete Ubuntu software repository and its structure here.2) This is like that Bob Dylan song: "how much Linux knowledge can fill a boat before users will get frustrated and go back to Windows". My laymen's knowledge indicates all modern hardware is good to go in terms of hardware support. The trouble comes from running Linux on old stuff like my Dell Inspiron 8600 laptop.

  4. Soup April 19, 2008 at 3:23 pm Reply

    Yeah. I've had a lot more trouble running it on older hardware than on new hardware (in fact, Dell actually makes new machines with Ubuntu pre-installed on them). Also, if you have something really unusual (like built in parts that require a bunch of weird proprietary drivers, for example), it might cause problems. For example, I still haven't figured out how to make the two buttons on the side of my 5-button mouse work properly in the same way they will on a Windows machine. And my Nintendo DS wi-fi USB connector doesn't work at all. On the other hand, on Ubuntu, almost everything works right out of the box. There's no need to install all your drivers before you can connect to the internet or anything. You do have to install most of your proprietary codecs (mpeg and mp3, Quicktime, Real, etc.) yourself, however. And also, Flash on Ubuntu is a bit spotty and unreliable.As for software, if it's open source, there's probably a Linux version. And if there's a Linux version, Ubuntu is widespread enough right now that there's typically a package specifically for it. This is the case, I'd say, about 85-90% of the time. As for commercial software, however, there isn't much. It's still pretty far behind on gaming, too.I don't have exact stats on either of those things (all this blabbering is from experience), and really, your experiences may vary. Ubuntu isn't perfect, but I would say it's absolutely a viable alternative to Windows and Mac. But it's for people with different needs (and maybe different personal principles, if you're that kind of person) than those systems tend to provide for.Hope at least some of that was helpful.

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