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Article published on:4 February 2006, 17:33
I decided to try the latest Ubuntu Linux.
I have previously tried Fedora Core 2 and before that I had some very old Red Hat, but that's all very long time ago and ... I always switched back to Windows for various reasons, such as, but not limited to: networking with Windows (Samba-fun), TV tuner configuration (I never got this close to "working"), slow Internet connection (couldn't download a gazillion of packages), getting video/audio playback and what-not. With FC 2 there were some really cool advancements: easier to configure, better package management and seriously stable Gnome (compared to what I tested on the very old Red Hat).
Installing Ubuntu was easy, but I have to say it took more time than Windows XP Professional installation (don't flame me, it's true on my system).
I had the pleasure of finding the local area connection almost working properly. I was able to access shared folders from other Windows machines in just a few minutes. Configuration wasn't a hassle at all. I said it worked almost perfect because I still had to manually edit a file, so I can share my own files on the Windows network.
Ubuntu Wiki is a great resource of information and documentation. Very easy to follow tutorials.
I haven't had big problems with Ubuntu. Everything seems to work just fine. I have removed my Windows installation and now I got only Ubuntu (one month ago). I am actually writing this blog post in Gedit :)- it's safer to have a local file.
I've got everything working properly without too much hassle (actually very little ... if I read Ubuntu Wiki, which I don't always do, because I sometimes forget :) ).
TV tuner configuration was uhm ... lets say a piece of cake. Yet, I got my TV tuner working on Ubuntu after a few weeks :P. Why? I was busy configuring other more important stuff and ... TV tuner configuration was a bit "hard": I had to search on Yahoo for some documentation about bttv. The problem: I had v4l and v4l2 working perfectly from the start, but no TV application was able to search for the channels. Why? The driver didn't detect the exact tuner type/card I have (Mentor TV). Solving the problem was a piece of cake: modprobe bttv card=78.
On Windows I was using DScaler for viewing the TV (I have no need for PVR software). It was quite a CPU intensive application (100% constantly), because it has some very good deinterlacing filters. Gladly, the Linux counter-part is much better :). I use KDE TV 3.5. It's faster than Dscaler, features-packed and very good.
The minor annoyances that affected Ubuntu a bit were:
- I had to install gcc-3.4 to be able to install kernel modules.
- Firefox 1.5 was not available in the repositories: manual install is required (not a big hassle once you read the wiki).
- Ubuntu boots slower than Windows XP. Why? Even after I removed all the unnecessary boot services. Guess what? The slow part is not the graphical boot (actually gdm and gnome start-up faster than the graphical system of Windows). The loading section until gdm starts takes the most time.
- Opera wasn't available in the repositories. :P
Movie and audio playback wasn't hard to install at all. Movie playback is actually much faster than on Windows using Mplayer with XV output. Very fast player and good one. I use VLC only for heavy duty stuff. :)
The part that I liked the most was installing PHP 5, MySQL 4.1, PHPMyAdmin and Apache 2. Much faster and easier than on Windows (of course).
Unexpected goodies of Linux: WINE, accessiblity support (magnifier, TTS, on-screen keyboard display and screen readers) and more I'm forgetting.
I've switched to Linux. Nothing more to add.
P.S. I like the Human theme. :D