Monday, January 08, 2007

Cutting-off Windows - 7 months later




It's now been 7 months since my decision to cut-off Windows. This is actually an update to my previous blog post aimed at providing guidance to those who may be contemplating the thought of shutting down their Windows PC's and booting up to a new, free, safer, and faster, operating system - Linux.

You can read the start of my 7 month Linux experience here. I'm still using Ubuntu and have upgraded from 6.06 to 6.10 code named Edgy Eft. Now, since this is aimed at prospect Linux users, and with so many different Linux flavors to chose from, I think you may find the following paragraph of interest and value in your decision making.

Last week, I actually installed Novell's openSuse 10.2 over Ubuntu. "The grass is greener on the other side" they say. So I thought...boy was I wrong! Not to bad mouth Suse but it failed miserably in speed, stability, and ease of use when compared to Ubuntu. Having tried openSuse and Fedora, I now join the multitude of Linux users in saying that Ubuntu is by far the most user-friendly distribution available.

Now, after my disappointment with openSuse Linux, I actually blew the dust off my Windows xp cd and loaded it into my cdrom. Once I got to the part of formatting my drives, I paused...and like a scene from a movie where a character's life flashes through their minds in a matter of a seconds, the thoughts of my previous life with Windows drove my finger to the F3 key and aborted the installation. I thought about the never ending threats of malware, spyware, adware, trojans, etc...I thought about the firewall I was going to need and the anti virus too. How bad is the security issue that revolves around Windows? Bad enough to where the NY Times published an article recommending the use of a "non-Windows based PC".

So now I'm back to Ubuntu. And if you too decide to go with it as your Linux distribution of choice, here are some links and tips to help you save time in getting it set up for everyday use.

1. For playing MP3's and DVD's get Automatix2. This is an easy to install package that provides a graphical user interface for installing various useful applications...codecs being one of them.
2. Install Mplayer (you can get this through Automatix2 as well) for playing various types of media files; Windows Media being one of them.
3. I found this website to be very helpful: http://www.psychocats.net/ubuntu/sources
-You can get the flash9 plugin by following the step by step tutorial.
-If you have a Windows drive on your computer, there's a tutorial on mounting NTFS, FAT32 drives.
4. Lastly, if you want some cool desktop effects, go here and follow the steps for installing Beryl.

In conclusion, although Ubuntu will offer you a fully operational system after installation, it does require a few tweaks to get it fully configured. Be patient and simply google for anything that doesn't work. Trust me, you'll find tons of useful websites with answers. The Ubuntu community is large and very actively involved. Until my future "1 year with Ubuntu" post, good luck and God bless!