Ubuntu - why bother ?
I don't know why I bother - playing around with Ubunto 8.10 again and yet again more problems - can't create a desktop shortcut without it getting its knickers in a twist. Then I install Google Earth, download the .bin, chmod, open it up and install and it fires off [ after giving me yet another error message ] - Could not create the cache directory... it then informs me it will use another set of file paths for the cache - click ok..... and then lets me continue for all of 3 seconds and then closes without any error messages !!!
If you can't install a program like this without problems then no wonder people still go with the other options of using windows.......
I've been trying Ubuntu again during Easter too.
I've got it running on a laptop for general surfing, and my wife's' PC.
From what I've seen it's improved in leaps and bounds since I last tried it a few years ago.
I did have issues with Google Earth - there's a bug and you need to delete libcrypto* file from the google-earth directory. (Source: Install Google Earth - Page 31 - Ubuntu Forums)
The offical forums are a God send.
I've managed to get everything I want working (even IE (for OWA) and Office 07 through CrossOver) including wireless, Xvid and DVD playback.
Looking forward to the new release next week.
Bare in mind though it is still awful for gaming. I'm now (right this second actually!) rebuilding my wife's PC to dual boot XP/Ubuntu purely for running games when she wants to.
If they ever sort that aspect out a lot of folks will ditch Windows.
After using Ubuntu as my main desktop OS for the last 6 months I can agree with you Matt about some of the little annoyances. Most stuff is nice and easy but other stuff requires skills that the average computer user would have no chance to fix.
Sadly this is still a common story, even amongst Ubuntu (actually I would say more common, because it is the perceived newbie distro, so tends to get people having their first Linux exposure using it).
I think a big difference is that there's no close support network - yes, the forums are great, but with Windows if it doesn't make sense you ring a mate who comes round and shows you face to face. There simply aren't enough people in a position to do that yet, which is one of the big stumbling blocks.
Edit: London has several Linux User Groups, who hold regular lectures, socials, drop-ins and workshops and are friendly people. Might be worth dropping in to see them and get some face-to-face pointers. I'd also always stick to packaged software (apt and the repository really are excellent tools) to avoid problems, at least while you're getting the hang of how everything fits together. I don't know if GEarth has an official package or not.
Yes - I'm trying some Open Source Linux distro's to, I've got Ubuntu and Sun OpenSolaris installed under Sun Virtualbox on my XP PC just to have a fiddle around with - both are quite similar. Both are really easy to install - which was the main stumbling block for older versions of linux (I seem to remember giving up trying to get RedHat to install 10+ years ago!!)
I think I am going to have take the plunge, and install OpenSolaris as my main desktop OS because at the moment if something seems to be a bit difficult to get working I tend to just do it on XP to save time - losing XP will make me learn much faster. In at the deep end's the best way!
I don't really think there are any apps that I will really miss on XP - all I really use my home system for is browing the web, email, MSN, MS Office (will move to Open Office!), Photoshop (will move to GIMP), iTunes (not sure about that one!).
I suppose I could always set up an XP virtual machine for any little bits and bobs I REALLY miss!.
The real reason I have not pushed further with this so far is because when I get home I just want an easy life with XP! No nonsense. I think though that learning about Open Source software at home will help in school as I can see us moving towards that direction over the next 10 years.
As a OS I think its great - it just really annoys me the basics that are wrong. I've always been a fan and moved over to Ubunto after Mandrake really went down hill & before that I used Red Hat on older PCs.
I'll try and crack the Google Earth problem later - thanks for the pointer.
It has improved etc I agree - got it working on my NAS box and other windows shares. Getting it to play my Xvids & DivXs now works [ after installing the libraries ] & the support for wireless is MUCH better.
I'll keep my fingers crossed for future versions.
9.04 is due for release at the end of next week, that might be worth playing with too :)
I saw an article about consumer NAS boxes recently, where the chap laughably suggested that you need an engineering degree to understand RAID. Most amusing for me, as my wife has a degree in Engineering and knows nothing about RAID while I have no degree and use it all the time...
Anyway, someone posted something about his alleged compatibility problems basically saying that any Linux users would be able to figure out how to use a NAS box because the fact they're using Linux indicates that they enjoy that sort of thing.
As a Linux user, one of the things that I enjoy is the challenge of getting certain things working... and the fact that you can change the operating system in any way you want. It's one of the reasons Linux is so much more powerful! Ubuntu these days is brilliant, if you think it's awkward to use try installing Gentoo!
I think you've got to either want a challenge or be a big fan of the open source philosophy (come on, just the fact it's free makes it very attractive) to really get into Linux. I really recommend you stick at it. It's worth it, you'll be a much better techie once you've got your head round it - I speak from experience.
I also agree with what was said earlier about using apt/synaptic as much as possible. Ubuntu has thousands of packages ready to install, and if you use the package manager you'll get all the updates when they're available. I can't think of any apps I've used recently that I couldn't get this way, and often when the app is not available from an Ubuntu/Debian repository it's quite easy to find and add a repository where it is.
Persevere... it's worth it!
I have a machine, with 4x 500gb HDD's hooked up via IDE connections, and it is ubuntu server and works wonderfully as a server!
I have SAMBA installed and each machine in my house has a dedicated harddrive to there own needs. I havent had the need to fiddle with it or switch it off yet!
Only thing is that it took some while to build!
The fix mentioned for Google Earth worked for me.