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Sunday, November 8, 2009

I'm hooked to Linux

These days I "celebrate" 1 year since I switched to Linux as my main operating system. Before I continue, I have to say that I still use Windows XP at my office (older PC) and occasionaly at home (mostly for existing Texnic Center projects and Microsoft Excel).

I started using Ubuntu on a daily basis about 1 year ago (by upgrading from the until-then unfrequently used 8.04 to 8.10). I used Linux before but just to see what's new in it:

  • starting in 2002 with Mandrake 8 (I started by formatting by mistake the entire disk instead of the future home partition);
  • moving then to Mandriva Free 2004 (former Mandrake);
  • tried Ubuntu 6 (that I got from Tudor);
  • returned to Mandriva Free (2006, I believe);
  • played with Fedora (which I didn't like because I wasn't fond of Gnome);
  • tested Kubuntu 7.10 (because of KDE);
  • moved to Kubuntu 8.04 (which I didn't like because of KDE 4);
  • installed Ubuntu 8.04 (but didn't used it much);
  • upgraded to Ubuntu 8.10 (and switched to Linux).

I liked Ubuntu because I found it very easy to install applications on it. Since I do a lot of development, I also use the terminal quite frequently and the command line completion features also helped me a lot in my first days (and they still do). Overall, I'm very happy with it, although it requires more RAM than Windows XP to run smoothly (especially when you start Office applications). Currently, my 1GB RAM (don't laugh!) is doing it's job, but I ordered more RAM on eBay (that's also a premier for me). I had my ups-and-downs with Ubuntu (like getting Skype to work), but it's been fun to learn. Some things (like getting the webcam to work), I didn't figure out until now and I'm still wasting time trying to fix it.

Since I switched to Ubuntu, I kept on looking to other distributions, too, but I always returned to Ubuntu:

  • Xubuntu - I like it (especially because it's simple UI), but i find it limited (e.g. mousepad vs. gedit) and buggy (on my Dell Inspiron laptop it doesn't allow dual-displays, on my Maguay office PC is allows 800x600 pixels, etc).
  • ArchLinux - didn't finish installing it: I'm a techie user and I used more or less many OSs (including CP/M, MSDOS 5, Windows 3.1, Windows 95, QNX, etc), but I never liked doing more task that are required (these days, this means typing long cryptic commands that are hard to figure out or reproduce unless you use them daily or you have a wiki page in front of you)
  • LinuxMint - I liked it a lot especially because the launch menu (Ubuntu System Panel), but except for that, it felt too close to Ubuntu to make the switch. Instead I installed its launch menu in Ubuntu.
  • openSuse - nice but less friendly than Ubuntu. It also has a nice launch menu which looked cool the first time I tested it, but last week I checked it again and it felt just annoying (just like Vista and KDE4's menu). Too many clicks to open an application.
  • OpenSolaris - No, no, no. I don't have that much RAM to throw at the OS. I need RAM for my applications. Unfortunatelly, it's like comparing Visual Studio with Eclipse. One is fast and memory efficient, the other is not (but I use Eclipse).

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