Two weeks ago, CR needed a new computer, and I had a spare, but I couldn't find my Windows XP disk. So I set up an Ubuntu box for CR with the new 8.04, aka "Hardy Heron." It had all he needed, OpenOffice, Pidgin, Skype, and the basics. It also had "wobbly windows" which I love.
On my main Windows box, I had a dual boot with an older version of Ubuntu, 7.10. CR asked me why I didn't use Ubuntu, and there was a pang of geek guilt there. The truth was, for the last 4 years, I have been trying to have a Linux desktop, but it was never quite all there. I try Linux as a main desktop from time to time, but usually stop within a day because it won't do something I need, or hangs for no good reason, or just feels funny (fonts, colors, or window behavior).
So I logged into my Ubuntu, and did a distro-upgrade expecting the usual broken libraries, corrupted Xorg session, or whatever. But it went smoothly. And when I rebooted, not only was everything back, but it all worked. I have been using Ubuntu now exclusively for a few days at home and I have been both shocked and delighted that I can do pretty much anything I could do in Windows on the new version of Ubuntu. It even played trailers on Apple's Quicktime site, and that almost ALWAYS fails. But everything has been working great.
Wobbly windows and all.
Besides wobbly windows, there have been a few unexpected benefits: I noticed my samba connection from Ubuntu to my main CentOS linux server has been so fast, it's been hard to believe. It's on a GB connection, but when I used Windows => Samba, it took about 10 seconds to do a GB of data, and on this, it takes less than 3. All downloads seem much, much faster, even from the Internet.
I have had a few issues.
- Sometimes sound stops working. It just cuts off and stops after the box has been on for a while (like over a day). It's cured by a reboot, however, the box has been up this time around for over 2 days, and the sound still works, so it's a mystery what's been cutting the sound off.
- A few times when I used OpenGL applications, the entire box freezes and I have to do a hard reboot. CR has also reported this.
- I am not sure how I could make this work with my job when I am on call. I need Cisco's VPN to connect, and IIRC, there is a Linux
version, but I am not sure how it works.
- Mapping to a share makes it add a link on the desktop, even if you already had one. This may be a setting I can change, though.
- I prefer KDE over GNOME. But KDE doesn't have wobbly windows working quite right yet. Rats! But I can use KDE apps, I suppose. Why whine about it?