Monday, September 13, 2010

Trying Ubuntu

I’ve always heard a lot about Linux and the Ubuntu flavor of Linux.  I love that it’s a completely free operating system.  I love that you can run it off a CD or a USB drive.  After reading Makeuseof’s article about why every Windows user should have an Ubuntu Live CD, I was convinced to download the ISO and burn one for myself.  Of course, I had to try the OS out myself from that CD. 

That led me to finding out about the program Wubi last week.  Wubi is a neat way to install Ubuntu on your computer without partitioning your hard drive.  It creates a virtual disk on your main drive and run the OS off of that.  Give it enough drive space and it will run as smoothly as a regular installation.  I tried that out this weekend and was very impressed.  However, I’ve decided that Ubuntu, while cool, is really not for me after all.

Why is that?  One word: Winamp.  You can’t generally install Windows-only programs on Linux unless they have a Linux version.  You can also try using Wine, a program which can convert some Windows programs to Linux format.  I tried it with Winamp, but the Winamp Media Library doesn’t work.  I tried finding another music program for Linux that could do most of what Winamp can do, but the program that came closest stopped working for me.  Therefore, I’m back to Windows 7 again.

Oh, there are definitely things I like about Ubuntu.  Finding and installing (most) software is a breeze.  I really wish Windows had a similar capability.  Linux makes it easy to try out different pieces of software.  I also like the way the desktop is organized with multiple information bars.  I like the split  between menus, especially the ‘places’ menu.  I like the fact they’re available with one click instead of several.  I really like the idea of having several desktops, although I’ve discovered that Windows has similar programs available (I’m now using Dexpot for this purpose). 

If I wasn’t so picky about programs I’ve used for a long time, I could definitely make the switch to Ubuntu if I so chose.  It’s just a little harder to use than Windows, but not so hard that a good Google search or question in the Ubuntu Forums can’t set things right.  For average, everyday computer use, I think it would be perfectly great.  It would be especially great for someone who doesn’t want to pay over $100for an operating system.  Just take a little time to learn it, and you’ll be rewarded.

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