Decision time

I played a wee bit last night.

The GIMP opens much faster in Ubuntu than Windows. (I also messed about with it too and it’s not so bad!).

gFTP. Open. Move to Workspace 2. Open connection and set WP to be uploaded. Flick back to Workspace 1. Wait a minute or two. Flick back to Workspace 2. It’s crashed. Tried that 3 times and it happened every time. Given that this is touted as the leading GUI FTP program, and that I use FTP daily, this is a no-no.

I didn’t do it side by side, but I think FF is faster in Ubuntu.

Booting and closing Windows is faster. By a long way – and that’s on a machine with a slower processor (1.8Ghz) and less ram (384 as opposed to 700+).

I really like nano – but I can use that on any machine with shell access.

Thunderbird. I’ve thought Id’ been going mad since I installed Ubuntu – though I did not connect the events – because I could hear random beeps. Now I know it was new mail. I assume this is a workspace thing but why not use an icon like liferea and change it’s appearance like the Windows version ?

Firefox. It’s much uglier in Ubuntu. (Is there a geek fear that if they make something look nice they will be scorned ? That’s as much a genuine question as anything else because nothing I have come across yet has been ‘pretty’ – except for the screensavers, some of which are fantastic. I want them for Windows).

Those bits apart, I looked again at what I need this machine to do and what Ubuntu was offering me.

  1. It has no spyware / virus worries but that doesn’t count as I use the machine decently anyway.
  2. Speed …. I couldn’t compare properly as this machine hasn’t been messed with to the same extent as it’s the ‘family’ computer and even it is it a wee bit faster, that’s no real reason to change.
  3. Software …. hmm. Aesthetics aside what I have used has been unstable (Konqueror crashed too, and Krusader threw errors). The lack of a GUI ? makes the curve steeper. I think it was midnight commander I tried again and I looked through all the settings. One option was the keys to use – and apparently the setting was on ‘Intuitive’ – that really made me laugh. So I went looking for instructions – and they too assumed a level of familiarity with things your average desktop user would not know. Here’s an example from a different scenario – phpmyadmin. When I first used WP, the only page that dealt with phpmyadmin was this one in the old wiki. What it says is true, but it’s not friendly. Even the MySql page is lacking. That’s not a criticism – but if all the help at stayed at that level, arguably WP wouldn’t be as widely adopted as it is. So you need to look at help / instruction – and I find very very little. Not good. If people research a blogging tool before choosing one and they look at support, then I’m certainly going to do that before investing heavily in an Operating System. I do not feel happy with what I found. You might, I don’t.
  4. Stability. I honestly cannot remember when Windows or any program crashed on me. Really.

The time away from it, along with losing lots more NDS MK to P (she is very good) and the longest dog walk yesterday meant that I calmed down and tried hard to think objectively about what the move will mean. Obviously I’m biased – but no more so than anyone who has commented here. Today is the fifth day it’s sat in the machine and today – while on another long dog walk because you have to pick a time to make these decisions – I’ll make my mind up.
Can ubuntu do what I need and want ? Yes, of course it can. Am I prepared to climb the curve when, at the end of it, I will be in the same place ? Will the scenery on the way be worth it ? Will any new skills be worth it ? Could I enjoy it ? I shall ponder while trudging through mud.

4 thoughts on “Decision time

  1. I’m sure your decision has been made by now, and forgive me if I do sound like a biased user, (we all are as you’ve pointed out previously…)

    But, on points 3 and 4 above – I do think that a lot of the problems you’ve experienced are purely related to Ubuntu, so I hope that you won’t shy away from Linux in the future. As far as aesthetics are concerned – that’s what you get with Gnome. Gnome isn’t known at all for its beauty. KDE is quite pretty with tons of themes and such. For stability, I think that too has something to do with a conflict of packages or libaries with Ubuntu. Since you started using gFTP, I installed it with apt-get on my Suse system and have been running some tests and it hasn’t crashed a single time.

    Good luck with whatever you choose!

  2. I loved KDE and hated the KDE FTP client, KBear or something like that, but I loved GFTP and never had a problem, much prefer it over something like SmartFTP for Windows. I dunno though, Ubuntu was the easiest to use of all the Linux distros my husband has installed. At least for me, I know he didn’t prefer it but that is because his geekiness far extends Ubuntu lol.

  3. Pretty screensavers mean cool code (generally they are very cool bits of maths and such) whereas pretty applications need designers.

    Unix software has very, very, few designers… but a lot of coders. When GIMP is hailed as a good UI in Unix, you know there are problems.

  4. Heather Anne told me you were experiencing trouble with Ubuntu and I wasn’t all that surprised. While Ubuntu is one of the easier-to-use distros out there, Linux isn’t really ready for the desktop IMHO.

    So far as ftp clients go, none of them work that well. Try FireFTP for firefox. I was always a command line junkie, so I used ncftp.

    The GNOME desktop is pretty and all and has smooth lines, but lacks a cohesive group of apps to really pull it together. I would strongly suggest KDE over GNOME for the new Linux user. It’s apps all seem to work together and the documentation is often better.

    If you want to use Kubuntu (Ubuntu w/KDE) instead, try this:

    sudo apt-get install kubuntu-desktop

    That should get the latest KDE desktop and appropriate files.

    On the server side of it, I had real issues when I tried to run Apache, PHP and MySQL alongside my desktop install. I don’t know if it was just that particular installation or not, but as soon as MySQL and Apache were running, the desktop began to crawl rendering it all but unusable. I’ve heard from friends running Ubuntu that they never experienced that same issue, but I had never had that problem with Gentoo linux.

    If you ever have any questions or need assistance, advice or an ear to listen to you rant, drop me a line.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *