Re: Not quite happy with Ubuntu... What should I try now? (long response)
- From: Peaceful Bill <snails.pace@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Thu, 20 Nov 2008 17:31:33 -0600
Couple of things that bug me about Ubuntu.
First, and this may be true of Linux in general, I don't like the file
browser. I like the way Windows Explorer works, except for the
inability to tell which phyiscal drive each logical drive is on.
Linux is supposed to be better at this, with their logical drive
naming, but Ubuntu doesn't use it.
Second, you can install utilities from the repositories that require
you to be root to use, but since there is no root, you have to jump
through hoops to run them.
Also, the latest version, 8.10, just seems to have been done badly.
(Admittedly, this problem could be a badly burned cd.) I tried it on
my dad's computer, and it took really long to load, and locked up the
computer when I went to shut it down. On my own computer, it wouldn't
So any suggestions on which distro I should try now?
I should mention that when I first decided to try Linux about a year
ago, I intended to install at least three distros on my system, and
replace ones I didn't like with other distros as I went. When I got
to the third one, which started with a d, I think, it made the first
two unbootable, because it expected me to know more than I did. And
all I got with it was a command prompt. So I said, the heck with
this, I'll stick with Ubuntu for now.
Thanks in advance for any help.
Like with any computer / user, it depends on what you want to do. If you're going to use the basic tools on Windows and looking to just replace Windows, I can share my experience below.
My definition of basic computer use includes: email, web browsing, games, music, maybe watch a dvd, download photos from a camera, a little word processing and spreadsheet work, Google Earth, maybe Skype with or without webcam, some basic games.... Typical home user without any heavyweight MS-dedicated apps.
My impression of Ubunto 8.10 is similar to your conclusion - seems to have been done badly.
I tried several different distributions over the last six months or so and settled on Mandriva 2009.0 installed from their "One" live CD. The only hurdle for me is that I need to add a line to the system configuration file to get my internet speed up to acceptable levels. (YMMV)
IMHO, using 2009.0 with Gnome is the best alternative I have seem to Windows anything. Though I have not completely migrated over, so far, I am much happier with the system than I was with Windows.
The "root" issue for software updates that you mention is handled a little differently in the Mandriva version of the Linux Control Center. It does require the root password to login via a simple login screen, but once there, it handles all the software and driver updates, and software installation efficiently without having to reenter the password a lot.
I mostly use Gnome Commander as a file browser. Its available through the Linux Control Center if you look in the file management software. Its not that great, but gets the job done. I still go back to File Browser for some things. The Microsoft File Manager is a good fit for their system.
The standard file browser for Mandriva is probably the same as for Ubuntu. I tried Ubuntu but was not as favorably impressed as with Mandriva so I probably didn't get around to looking at its file browser.
Longer description of apps I've installed and used:
Through the Linux Control Center, there are other software options. I selected Thunderbird as a newsreader and email application since I used it in Windows. It will make email account migration easier (my last step in completing migration.
Google Earth installation requires a little more than a double-click, but it went smoothly following the instructions that were on the software download page.
Skype installation and use seems pretty close to Windows though the Skype application seems a bit more spartan. Everything works including my Logitech webcam and mike. Paltalk is available through their webpage. Chat apps are abundant.
Java runtime was available through Linux Control Center. Adobe Acrobat Reader and Flash were downloaded from the Adobe site and installed very easily.
Movie Player software is part of the basic package but needs some additional software downloaded to make it work. It took a few minutes to install but works fine. I have not installed any CD/DVD ripping software yet.
CD or DVD buring works fine from ISO images. Haven't tried burning other options.
Downloading photos is straightforward as is playing music from downloads.
The OpenOffice apps I've tried - Writer and Calc - seem to me to be as easy to use as MS Office 2007 and have a look/feel more like Office 2000 (IMO, a good thing). And they read / write MS formats so that there's cross-compatibility.
Basic games are MUCH better than the piddly things that come with Windows. There are real card games, board games including backgammon chess and checkers. Some action games, but I'm not into that.
Haven't really found any showstoppers for basic computer use except that competition replays from the Beijing Olympics available on the www.nbcolympics.com site is restricted to Mac and Windows users.
I particularly like the multiple workspace concept under Linux. I use six different workspaces and toggle between them depending on what I want to do. I have multiple applications running in some of them. Its much better having those organized workspaces than a single workspace in Windows loaded with all the different apps. The Linux workspace concept is like being able to have multiple Windows computers available through a single keyboard, mouse and display.
I have had problems implementing 3D Desktop Effects. They work when initially installed, but the system does not want to boot.
That's pretty much it. I didn't have great luck installing Mandrive 2009.0 from the Free version CDs or DVDs (either 32-bit or 64-bit). Rather, I downloaded 2009.0 One Live CD with the Gnome version. Booted it up and installed from the desktop workspace. Works great and had all the drivers I needed. The rest of hte software that's on the "Free" versions is available for download through the Linux Control Center.
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