To be honest I still find Rhythmbox to be fairly ropey at the best of times. Fortunately it has decided that it doesn't want to randomly eat my library file for the last 6 months.
I've tried a similar thing over the last 12 months, and the following has been my experience. Please note that this is purely anecdotal and I'm not here to slag off Linux or any operating system for that matter.
I decided, quite randomly and for a challenge, to see if I could use Linux as my primary OS so when the time came to format the computer I held back installing Vista and went with Ubuntu 9.04.
For the first 24 hours it was fine... then the system froze and the problems began. After many hours of re-downloading the .isos and checking the hashes, trying 32/64bit/KDE/Gnome/XFCE versions and many hours on Google I came to the conclusion that 9.04 was just not going to work for me. I knew my hardware was fine - I'd been running it for a couple of years previously and it never skipped a beat.
Anyhow I was determined not to be beaten at the first hurdle (even though I've not seen instability like that since Windows Me) so I decided to go with one of the LTS releases and installed 8.04. This ran fine and I quite happily used it for 6 months. Then the Windows 7 beta arrived and I decided to try that out - at this point it brought into focus quite a few things that had been bugging me subconsciously about Ubuntu.
Firstly, MS Office is just better than Open Office. Don't get me wrong, I'm a big fan of OO and use it on all platforms, but it's just not as good. Some people might say it's slow and I should use abiword or something for a word processor, but speed wasn't an issue for me it was functionality and efficiency.
Secondly I realized I was forgiving far more of Ubuntu than I would normally of a Windows system. Firefox would continuously forget font settings and sizes, Flash player was just bad (admittedly a third party problem, but a problem nonetheless), my wireless adapter (checked beforehand for compatibility with Linux) would just refuse to work after waking from sleep (I had to disable and re-enable the driver every time I woke up the PC), sometimes waking from sleep or hibernate would just not work and require a hard reset, occasionally the audio drivers would bum-out for no apparent reason, Rhythmbox had the most horrendous memory leak I've ever seen... etc. etc. Suffice to say Windows 7 has remained on that system and, to coin a phrase, it "just works".
Determined not to throw in the towel, I decided to continue my Linux experiment on my works laptop (a Lenovo N200). Ubuntu just flat out refused to install on it (it just dropped me into a shell I can't recall the name of.) So I tried Linux Mint 7 (based on 9.04) which, to my surprise, installed and worked quite well. It didn't detect and install my card reader which was annoying but hey at least it was up and running.
I've painted a pretty bleak picture of Linux so far, but I'm happy to say I did have some positives with Linux Mint 7. I was pleasantly surprised at how well it interacted with the Server 2003 network. File shares worked first time and I nearly fell off my chair when it automatically installed a driver for the network printer (which takes 15 minutes to do on Windows XP!) - I thought that was very impressive. Unfortunately it wasn't without it's niggles - the most frustrating one was a bug with the "graphical sudo" prompt which required a reboot (this happened far too often.)
I kept this set up for a while but the time came when I needed to rejoin the domain for various reasons and I've found myself booting into XP more and more often. I currently dual boot my work laptop but I think when I start testing Windows 7 on myself Mint 7 will bite the dust.
So, that is my experience with Linux so far. Even in the light of the headaches it has given me I still quite like it. For a server (file, proxy) or firewall I would choose it in a heartbeat. The compiz effects are amazing. To be fair in general I think Linux is quite amazing, things like the sheer choice of filesystems and how quickly new protocols are adopted. It really is a credit to the community.
But would I recommend it to friends and family? No, perhaps with the exception of "Grandma" who will literally only browse the Internet and word process. For me the desktop and day-to-day experience is not there yet. Yes, I know a lot of problems are with third party companies and I sympathise with the fact that some manufacturers throw a binary blob in your general direction and never give the community the chance to fix an issue, but you have to suck it up and face the fact that some things just do not work not matter what the reasons behind it are.
That said, I will definitely be back in a couple of years time to try again. I'm looking forward to seeing what Google bring to the table. And I've just realised this post has turned into an essay - I must have needed to get it off my chest!
I started out tinkering about a year or two ago. Got Ubuntu (7.10 i think) installed on my HP laptop. Worked fine apart from the broadcom wireless card, however after much searching I got it up and running. Dual booting with XP but only really used XP when simulating/troubleshooting other peoples problems.
I put a dual boot Ubuntu 8.10 and later 9.04) with XP on my work machine. Didn't use windows for around 4months, decided to save my docs and reformat.
Now I've got Linux Mint 7 running on my work machine (Dell Optiplex 360) and it just works fine. There's no OpenGL stuff, but I'm not playing games here so no worries.
late last year a friend of the family dropped off 3 laptops with me. He said he needed 2 up and running for home use and I could keep the third. One was ok spec (got XP put back on it as per request) One didn't have an XP key, so he got Ubuntu 8.10 and the last one (which I kept) got Ubuntu 8.10 (now 9.04) and sits in my parent's kitchen. My mum uses it to do all her online shopping (Sainsburys etc).
I've now got a netbook and it has ubuntu 9.04 and I'm thinking of going over to Mint 7 with it.
A couple of helpful pointers
1) Linux Format Magazine > Very very useful, lots of tricks and tips.
2) When installing try to partition your drive manually using around 10GB for root (/) 1GB for swap and as much as you want for /home. This means you can reinstall the OS without losing your documents and settings (mostly)
My conclusion is that Linux can work, if you are willing to work with it. It doesn't have quite the same finish as MS and does some things better and some things less well. I've found it suitable for most of my day to day admin tasks.
I have been with Linux for well over 10 years now and I agree with some of the comments.
I find that if some people bought or conned into buying Apple mac and they prefer their old xp, after relising they have wasted a lot of money they tend to stick with it ... most get so used to a different way of working they never go back to windows.
With Linux its free and they give up and reinstall xp.
I run a local LUG ( Linux User Group) have any of you tried them?
You be surprised how useful they are if your stuck on something there always someone who will help out.
Sometimes someone who show how its done is far much better than reading it on a forum also we all are not windows experts and its great to get tips from them aswell not forgettting mac users aswell.
I use Linux 99% of the time at home only boot into windows if I need to recreate the problem people are having and find way of solving it. and my 9 to 5 job is windows only.
I bought two Mac's because I really like the way they work. Yes they are expensive but the complete "package" that they offer between hardware and software, is exactly what I was looking for. I don't regret my decision for a second and am currently looking at renewing both my MacBook Pro, and my Mac desktop.
I use Windows as well for work, but everything I do at home for "personal" use is done on a Mac - and I find it so easy. I use both systems to a fairly high level and don't have any problems at all switching back and forth.
My Linux experiment is literally a chance for me to try and get to know a little bit more about Linux and how it works so that I can utilise it in the future.
I have looked at the Linux user groups, but to be honest I don't see myself becoming a full time Linux user - so have left them alone for now.
SC-UK I hope you don't think I thought you were conned or whatever... just few people I know.
I like reading your linux experiment and happy to read that you were determined to make it work but to be honest at the end of the day its what you prefer.
If I had the money I would definatly buy a mac
I wouldn't be surprised if people came up to you with a *broken laptop* a linux suse enterprise netbook (prob a mobile phone deal with a free netbook thrown in) asking you to fix it cos your a "pc expert".
I could see this happening and some trying out linux to see if they could fix the problem in future.. (if you get my meaning?) thats perhaps some of us need to think about in future?
I have the same thing with people asking me to fix their mac of course I tell them I am unable to and suggest a few people I know that might be able to help.
Envious that you were able to do all 3 think I will start convincing my wife that we need a mac but any excuse to why we need one is gratefully accepted
I realised a while back that I knew "nothing" about Linux at all. With more and more things either running Linux or using it in some capacity or other (web servers etc), as an "IT Professional", I think I should do what I can to find out a little bit more about it - forcing myself to use it for a while seemed to be the best way to make me learn!
I know what you mean about certain people and Mac's though. I love my Mac's but only because they genuinely are the right systems for me. The amount of people that buy them however, because, they look pretty - and haven't got a clue what they are doing, still amazes me!
I would like to learn a bit about macs, my mac experience to date isnt too good infact i chrashed the thing and had to remove the bettery to get it to turn off. and that was cause a friend asked me to look cause im the only IT Professional she knows
I've had a ASUS Eee PC thrown at me because the wifi didn't work. But that's all. It's still 99% virus infested XP machines here.
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