Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Ubuntu @ Home

I am finally running Jaunty Jackalope Ubuntu 9.04 at Home on my Dell Vostro 1000 laptop and am really very happy to be rid of the terrible virus / malware ;) called Windows !

Even though I was the founder member of the Calcutta LUG ILUG-Cal, I had been very reluctant to move fully to Linux. My dear friend, ILUG-Cal co-founder and current Coordinator Indra prodded me relentlessly to move towards using more linux, but to no avail.

WinXp started to drag on my laptop even though it was provided with 2 gigs of RAM and an AMD Athlon x2 64 processor. Apart from this, viruses kept coming (and going courtesy of AVG / CA). So I decided to format the HDD and do a fresh install of Windows in the hope that my machine would become fast & responsive. But God had something else planned for me as I was unable to install WinXp even after multiple attempts on sleep deprived nights. This is not the first time I was applying this strategy to speed up my machine so I was baffled on my inability to get it up & running with WinXp.

It was during this frustration that I looked towards Ubuntu as my saviour and have not looked back since! I asked my friend to download the latest installable desktop version of Ubuntu and give it to me on a flash drive. Made the USB a boot option and booted through the Ubuntu on the flash drive and installation was a breeze.

Everything worked out of the box and I did not need to struggle with anything at all - at the least not yet! Synaptics Package Manager is very good and I was able to install all the utilities I required through this. The Update Manager does a good job of keeping my installation up-to-date.

Recently I needed to use Remote Desktop to log-on to a Windows server and the included Terminal Server Client did a decent job of solving that. Included and pre-installed OpenOffice is also very good and can open up all Windows Office files. I was easily able to download, install & use Firefox, Picasa, FileZilla & VLC. Found an app called Barry for backing up the data from my BlackBerry. Was also able to get my Brother MFC to work perfectly - more on that in another post later.

Some of the things that I did not like are the unavailability of my favorite text editor EditPlus on Ubuntu. Ubuntu version of Picasa has also some quirks and is not as good as expected. A good application manager for BlackBerry is something that is needed urgently. Also, OpenOffice was not able to play some of the macros / animated GIFs embedded in one of the Word Docs that I had recevied. But hey, only very few small complaints compared to the huge list of positives - thats quite impressive for software that is free & open source!

I think everyone should check it out and make it their OS of choice!

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