Saturday, April 12, 2008

Ubuntu - still not there

After working with Vista for some time, I decided it was time to give Ubuntu a try. I've got this relatively powerful laptop, with a dual core processor, plenty of disk space and memory; Ubuntu should fly on this hardware! So, after some partitioning and installing, I now have a dual boot machine that runs either Windows Vista or Ubuntu 7.10.

But it hasn't been easy. Along the way I lost my MBR; it is now Grub that controls the primary boot process. Ok, fine, I can still boot into Vista, so no problem there. But after that, it got worse: installing plugins for browsers, running Second Life, installing drivers for the ATI graphics card: it's just not as straightforward as on Windows. I am a computer professional, but couldn't run Linux without Google or the command line.

I once read a popular book from Stephen Hawking, about cosmos, time, dimensions and stuff like that. He wrote that, with each mathematical formula you include in such a book, you loose half of the potential readership. Could the same hold true for command line computing? For each action you need to perform on the command line, you loose half of the potential user base?

As long as you need to go into a command line editor to install or run stuff, even basic stuff like browser plugins or graphics cards, Linux is not ready for the masses.

But hey, that's just my opinion..

1 comment:

pi said...

A tad unfair and foolish, there is a good reason to use GRUB or LILO as the boot loader, in fact you should have been asked by the installation process if you want to install GRUB in the MBR if you were left with the Windows boot loader you would not be able to boot to any other types of OS except Windows or DOS.

The restricted drivers for Ubuntu to make 3d acceleration available for most GPUs can be installed by clicking on the System on the panel then Administration then Hardware Drivers then enable the drivers and wait for Ubuntu to download install and configure the system, this is by no means more difficult than having to go search a hardware manufacturer's site read and make sure you have the correct drivers and then download and install on Windows.

Ubuntu and indeed most UNIX-like operating systems make heavy use of the command line but today a host of configurations on these systems can be done by GUIs you just pick one, and by the way there are serious advantages when it comes to using the command line to administer and configure a computer system, even on Windows which does have a command line in case you did not know that, many administrative tasks can be done from the Windows command line

It is not unreasonable or strange and indeed no fault of Linux if you have to Google to learn to do something in it, this would also be true if you were a longtime Unix user going over to windows what you have to Google for will soon be going down and as you become more proficient you will understand and appreciate the command line method a little more, believe it or not it can be easier and fun to configure things this way, just Google for the phrase “Windows commands” and you may be shocked to notice how many commands there are in Windows that you can use to make your life easier using batch files to automate many common tasks, this in itself is part of being a “Computer Professional” go here to learn some windows commands some does require you to install a resource kit.

So maybe the User base for windows will start dropping when more and more windows people find out how useful and powerful the little black command line box is that pops up when you click the windows key - r and type cmd and press enter :))

You use a GUI when it is more advantageous to do so, you use the command line when it is more advantageous to do so, true for both Windows and Linux and both methods are available on them, you must learn the art of power computing my friend, so you can help you poor little Windows colleague who believes that he or she can only point and click or that this is the best way, they may just be wasting time.