Ubuntu: Linux for human beings.

Lately I’ve been very frustrated with M$ wanting me to buy a legal copy of Windows XP. They refuse to let you use Firefox to download windows updates, and if/when you use IE to do it, they scan your computer to see if you have a valid product key. Who knows what else they are scanning for. I’m sure Bush gave them a little extra to help find “terr’ists”. He don’t need no warrent, God gave him the right to do whatever the hell he wants when He made him president.

To get away from old BillG and W, I’ve been thinking about going to linux. BUt my experiences in the past have been so/so. My main concern was a lack of drivers. Every time I’ve installed some flavor of linux, my network card has not worked, and I would have to go online to download drivers (if I could find them) But to get online, I had to have my network card working! So I would boot in Windows, find the drivers, then reboot in linux, try the drivers, find out they didn’t work right, re-reboot into windows, look up why the drivers didn’t work, re-re-reboot into linux, but by that time I would be tired of all the rebooting, and just stick with windows, which pretty much works out of the box.

So somewhere I heard about Ubuntu, Linux for human beings. It was supposed to be really easy to use, and “just work”. I decided to try a “live cd” first, to see if I really like it. There are 2 flavors of Ubuntu, regular Ubuntu, and Kubuntu. The only difference is the Kubuntu uses KDE for the desktop instead of Gnome. I had heard that Gnome was a little bloated and slow, so I tried the Kubuntu version first. (This was going to be for my laptop with limited resources)

I popped the cd in, went through the language choices, and waited (linux boots a little slower than windows. the thought is that you won’t have to boot often, since the system won’t crash) It goes through the “detecting hardware” phase, and says “detecting network hardware” Yeah right, like my el cheapo Fry’s wireless card is going to be detected. I had a hard enough time getting it to work in windows. The next screen says “searching for wireless networks” What?!? It actually found that card AND installed the right driver? At this point it wasn’t able to connect to my network, because I have WEP, and it didn’t ask my for the key, but at least it was trying.

Once everything is up and running, the desktop looks pretty nice, it’s stable, but still no network. I go through and try to put in the WEP key, but it’s still not connecting (I have the same problem with windows some times) Finally I decide to turn off WEP to see if that is the problem. Sure enough, it detects the network and connects automatically.

Now I decide to go through and change some settings to personalize my desktop. The dialog box is so big that the OK button is off screen. How the hell am I supposed to click OK? I search through a bunch of forums and find out that this is a common problem with KDE at 800×600 (which is the best my laptop will do) I like (K)Ubuntu enough to keep it, but I can’t deal with not being able to hit OK. So I decided to try regular flovored Ubuntu with the Gnome desktop. I like it. Gnome doesn’t seem any slower than KDE, and most importently, all of the dialog boxes are the right size.

So now my laptop dual boots XP and Ubuntu, although I don’t think I’ll be using XP very often. I’ve got Wine if I need to run any windows programs. Try Ubuntu, I think you’ll like it.