Saturday, November 05, 2011

Linux


So because of my downed computer, I'm using my girlfriend's laptop for the most part. In case you want to look up the specs of it, it's a Dell Inspiron 1520. It's a piece of Junk for more than one reason and I had recently installed Windows 7 in order to bring it up to date -- bad idea. The computer became unbearably slow. At first it wasn't so bad, but quickly deteriorated. Even now there are only a few programs installed and almost none on startup. I only blogged and did homework, but every step took so long that I couldn't take it. So I installed Ubuntu 11.10.
As a web developer in training, I've become familiar with Ubuntu. Some consider Ubuntu to be the 'baby' Linux (perhaps that belief continues with all Debian-based distros) because of its ease of use. Even though Ubuntu is easy to use in comparison to something like OpenBSD, it is not the joy land one might call Windows or Mac OS X. Ubuntu makes things easier by not having a root user and significantly less foolery with the terminal, but most things are far, far different from Windows and Mac. Even though the package manager and Ubuntu Software Center are easy to use, things like repositories are something to wrap your head around.  In order to update Firefox I had to add a repository. Same thing with Wine.

So, besides some of the harder things, Ubuntu is very easy to learn and use. Most people don't get beyond chat programs and Facebook, and those two things are integrated. Chrome is the default browser for 11.10 (at least I think it is, Firefox isn't even installed) and it's great. Unity does a silly thing with windows, so Chrome looks VERY silly. By default there isn't a whole lot that isn't installed and it's not too difficult to install more video and audio codecs. Unity even has a tab for your music library and Banshee (the default audio player, I'm sure there are more and you can change it out easily) is integrated into the top panel by default, along with all social functions and email.

The top panel is very Mac-esque. The tool bar (File, Edit, Help, etc..) is located in the top panel for most windows. System settings are also up there along with network connectivity, a clock and battery meter. The settings/power symbol is very well made. It's easy to tell what it is. You might take a moment to find it, but once you do you'll know how to use it. (I'm going to make a separate post about Unity, but I mention the top panel because it's been an important part of Ubuntu for a while).

The biggest part has been performance; the laptop feels like new. It's no as quick as my gaming PC, not by a long shot, but it's impressive how quick the computer feels now. Sometimes it takes its time, but I've never felt locked out like I did with Win7. Opening a browser window did all but destroy productivity. Waiting at least 45 seconds to do anything. With Ubuntu, even if the browser window takes 15-20 seconds to pop up (that's a pretty long time) I have the ability to move around and do other things while I wait. With the Humble Indie Bundle (I have donated to them all) I have access to a lot of nice games for Linux and some of theme run beautifully on this crap-top.

Honestly, I have no idea why more people (who aren't developers) don't use Ubuntu (or Fedora or Debian) because it's one of the best decisions I've made.

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