Ubuntu Linux on the laptop
You may not have gotten up this morning wondering; “What is Linux up to these days?” But while we weren’t looking, it began seriously kicking windows’ ass. Or at least Windows XP; my laptop doesn’t meet the minimum requirements for Vista.
My laptop is a tiny, tough little Lenovo X40, designed to run XP and survive hard use. And it has done both: for almost four years it’s been bouncing around in my backpack as I bike all over Normal. But a few months ago Windows began to drag so I erased the hard drive and reloaded it. For a while, it ran OK, or so I thought.
That was because I didn’t have anything to compare it to. Recently I installed Ubuntu Linux on it – the same OS that works so well on my desktop machine at home. But the desktop has a dual-core processor, and my old laptop is just a P4 Centrino with 1.5 gigs of ram. I set it up with a dual-boot configuration so it will run either Ubuntu or Windows depending what I’m working on.
Here’s what happened: when I run Ubuntu, the old laptop is lively – it does what I tell it to do, right away and without complaint. But there is an unexpected side-effect: lately when I boot into Windows I find myself getting frustrated. Another hourglass! What is it doing? Oh crap, it’s frozen again! Arrrgh!
Not everyone has this experience – Les Jenkins over at SEB has had poor luck with Ubuntu, so your mileage may vary. But he may be running different applications. And Windows handles multimedia more smoothly than Ubuntu (and less smoothly than a Mac, from what I’ve seen.)
There certainly was a learning curve. And there are still a lot of things I know how to do in Windows (system and network administration, mostly) that I don’t know how to do in Linux. There are some applications for which I have not found perfect Linux equivalents. My Linux wish list includes: Linux-native versions of XnView, Notepad++, and Picasa.
On the other hand, you don’t have to use the current incarnation of Open Office before you start to find Microsoft Office annoying. Kinda like Linux and Windows.
Have you used Ubuntu? What was your experience? What’s on your wish list?