Back in my CompSci days the computer labs were Sun machines running Solaris, so I picked up a sprinkling of UNIX knowledge whilst completing various C and ADA assignments. Other than that and a brief dual boot install of BeOS, I’ve been a Windows user since finally admitting that the Amiga wasn’t going to take over the world, and buying my first PC in 1994.
Fast forward to 2010, Ubuntu 10.04 LTS gets a great write up on The Register, so I’ve decided to have another look. I’m not quite brave enough to go for a true dual boot, but using WUBI to achieve kinda the same thing.
First impressions are great, the installation runs without a hitch and all the hardware on my laptop is detected and works. It’s much faster too than Windows, helped no doubt by not having to run anti-virus and all those task tray programs.
Software wise Firefox is up to date and it was simple to get Flash working. Being a Chrome fan I installed Chromium but it seems to render a lot of text too bold for my liking so I’ll stick with Firefox which seems to run faster than I remember, but that could be down to not having any add-ons installed. Gwibber and Empathy take care of the social networking side of things and I like the built in broadcast feature (now that I realise what it actually does).
The compatibility issues between OpenOffice and the corresponding MS Office apps have been well documented elsewhere, but it seems perfectly fine for my needs.
I admit have an ulterior motive for looking at Ubuntu; as a C# web application developer by day I want to mix things up for my hobby programming, so I’ve decided to learn how to make Ruby on Rails apps. I get the impression that it is easier to get things set up on Linux.
Having said that I’ve been so impressed with Ubuntu and how fast and stable it is that I’ve been using it daily as my main OS for the last couple of weeks. I’ve also replaced the XP install on my wife’s incredibly slow netbook and it now runs like lightening so double win.
I still dip back into Windows to sync my iPod with iTunes and when I need Visual Studio, and I’ll keep it for Picasa (for now, there is a Linux version) . I’m converted though, even if I won’t be saying goodbye to Windows just yet.