Rediscovering Linux (via Ubuntu)

I had an old Dell 8250 sitting around (after purchasing a new Dell E521) and I decided to install Linux to see how the distributions were doing these days.

I have played around with Red Hat and Suse in the past but was never really very satisfied with the whole installation/configuration process nor with the usage of the system. I always liked the idea of using Linux and the Open Source mentality, but could never really see Linux as a Desktop OS because of the perceived difficulty in setup, maintenance and use. I think I’ve changed my mind now that I have tried Ubuntu.

I installed Ubuntu about a month ago on the 8250. After some initial problems with upgrading the Ubuntu version that I started with (I installed Dapper and upgraded to Edgy) I began to feel like I could really get used to Linux as my daily machine. I did run into some minor problems and wasn’t completely happy with the Gnome desktop so I decided to start over.

I downloaded OpenSUSE and installed it…I liked it…but when I used the “Update” feature and restarted the machine, I couldn’t get past the boot process….so I started again…this time going back to Ubuntu.

After doing some research I found Xubuntu, which is Ubuntu with the Xfce Window Manager and installed the Beta version (Feisty Fawn…aka 7.04) on the Dell 8250. I was actually quite amazed that the installation was flawless and the ‘beta’ version of Xubuntu is rock solid with no issues so far.

Some of the biggest things I like about the Xubuntu flavor of Ubuntu are:

  • Xfce is a fast window manager that works much better than Gnome did on this machine.
  • The ability to do an “apt-get install program_name” to get just about any software I need (at least software available via Open Source licensing methods).
  • The ability to do a search on the web for any problem and more times than not finding an in-depth answer.

I have spent a lot of time reading about Linux and Ubuntu and playing around the system….much more time than I ever have on a Windows machine. Some people may see this as a negative but I enjoy it…I feel like I know what the operating system is doing and I definitely feel like I can solve whatever problem pops up with this machine.

Linux, or more accurately, the Ubuntu distribution of Linux, has won over another person. I feel as though Linux finally has the potential to grab a little bit of the desktop share over the next few years…especially if it keeps heading toward Ubuntu-like ease of install and use.

Contrast this with my recent experience with Windows Vista (see Buying a Computer – Revisited) and I can see myself (and others) moving over to Linux full-time.

[tags] Ubuntu, Linux, Xubuntu, operating sytems, moving to linux [/tags]

2 responses to “Rediscovering Linux (via Ubuntu)”

  1. Matthew Flaschen Avatar
    Matthew Flaschen

    You might want to look into Kubuntu, which is Ubuntu with KDE (the same desktop environment as OpenSUSE).

  2. Eric Brown Avatar

    Thanks for the tip. I’ll look into Kubuntu.