My journey into Ubuntu and the state of desktop Linux August 21, 2006Posted by rjdohnert in Opinions, Reviews.
With LinuxWorld just passed, and lacking the excitement of PDC, I decided to give Ubuntu a tryout considering it recently had a sign on the highways of California and how everyones touting it as the best and the brightest star in the Linux universe. Well after two days of trying, I finally got it installed. Wireless networking was giving me a fit. So I installed it on my trusty experimental laptop, IBM Thinkpad A20m with a Linksys G wireless card. I had to disable the card even though it was natively supported by Linux because of the driver, apparantly in Ubuntu 6.06 its bad so I used NDISWrapper to get the card running. Overall its performed rather well and I do like the plethora of packages in Synaptic. GNOME is so much slower than KDE and you can tell as PC-BSD has run on this laptop and was much faster. Since Ubuntu is one distribution that takes the “Everything should be free and proprietary software sucks”you basically have to go get the drivers and software that make it really usable such as win 32 codecs, MP3 playback, DVD Playback, Java, CrossOver office, Real Player 10, nvidia drivers etc. I may move over to Kubuntu just basically to get rid of the Medieval looking interface of GNOME, although it does have some cool apps, like Rythmbox, F-Spot, Beagle (when it works) and Gnomebaker.
Now is Linux ready for the desktop? Its usable as a desktop, nothing more, nothing less. Its got a good application base, and with some familiars like Picassa and Google Earth making its way there the base is picking up. But its still for techies ultimately. What that means is I wouldnt suggest it to a non-technical user as with Linux its still stuck in the early 90’s. Configuring things like Wireless and Webcams and it entails you know a lot about the system, and not everyone cares about computers that much, while the desktop may be modern the approach is archaic. Remember having to edit you Autoexec.bat and Config.sys files to get your hardware working in Windows 3.1, well its like that in Linux except the files are spread out and located in every part of the system and not in the root directory. The Linux community still needs to work on creating tools that will make hardware and software configuration as effortless as on a Mac or Windows. They need to stop with the proprietary software is illegal angle, its not illegal and if you want the help of software developers and big software development houses you need to drop the bullying and the RMS, bullshit rhetoric. Its not working, its not helping and ultimately you will find its simply counter-productive and for god sakes guys, STANDARDIZE ON ONE PACKAGE FORMAT!!!!! PLEASE!!!!! Its not rocket science and it makes it easier if everyones ducks were in a row. As for users, stick with Vista if you dont know much about computers and/or the Mac. For the average user Windows or the Mac remain the best choice.