It’s gone!! Gone-diddly-gone.

It’s a bit late – but, hopefully everyone had a Merry Christmas, and also is enjoying the new year.

For years I was glued to it, and couldn’t find enough drive to get rid of a really bad problem of mine. But, just as last year was coming to an end, I managed to get rid of the bad rubbish.

I finally, after years of contemplating it, made the change from a Windows Desktop to a Linux based Desktop. I loaded up the mirror site, found the ISO, downloaded it, burnt it, and installed it. Ubuntu for x64.

I was concerned mainly about my RAID setup (2 x 250GB configured as 500GB). I am capable of recovering data off a partition, or off a drive in many (not all) cases where there’s been no to low physical damage. Spreading the data across two drives, isn’t very good for a recovery aspect – if one fails, the data could well be gone!

So, I reinstalled Windows, as I was going to anyway to drop the RAID. After windows was installed, I also thought about the second drive and concluded I should place Linux on the other drive.

I didn’t place much thought into software replacements for my regular applications, such as Outlook, Office, and Dreamweaver. I also placed little consideration into hardware compatibility. I figured – if it doesn’t work, I’ll use Windows some more and work Ubuntu out later – at the very least, I’d have the fall back environment for work.

Much to my extreme amazement – Ubuntu was really quick to install, around 15 minutes to XP’s 1 hour. I then tested my hardware – video is a key aspect, as I use a dual head video card, and have 2x 19″ monitors attached to this. It wasn’t difficult to set that up at all. Then, sound – can’t really listen to anything or do anything without sound – so I tested – it works!

I also have a TV / FM Tuner – I figured, if anything was going to be difficult for it, this WILL be it.. I fired it up, configured TV Time, and … it worked! FM Tuner – “gnomeradio”, works.

Compatibility is vastly improved from the years ago when I was attempting Red Hat 3! Now, that was an awful experience. Ubuntu have really done a great job at making Desktop Linux absolutely user friendly.

Software replacements – I couldn’t port my PST files from Outlook, and since Email is a key function, I investigated an alternative. It just so happens the good folk behind Mozilla Thunderbird import emails automatically – and I did exactly this. Now, I run Thunderbird, works MUCH (i can’t stress this enough) faster than Outlook.

I have all my rules established, and where Outlook failed ‘randomly’, Thunderbird is very efficient at filtering the thousands of emails a month automatically.

There is only one ‘minor’ issue with, I suspect, Thunderbird, which relates to the mouse no longer able to click anything when a certain activity occurs (not sure yet), but it’s survivable.

I then looked for an alternative FTP program, and an alternative PHP editor. PHP editor came quickly – gPHPEdit, a nice light replacement for dreamweaver – it’s not as integrated ‘site’ based as it is, but I don’t really mind this anyway.

Browser is of course, Firefox. And this works really well.

Currently, I’m using aMSN for MSN messenging. It’s also not without it’s setbacks (unable to change sounds for messages and online / offline) but, again, I can adapt to it.

The system itself is great – performs fine. I’ll admit – there’s an issue with the TV Tuner card, when I try and place the system in a ‘suspend’ state – the system comes back, but a repeat flashing ‘shutdown’ applet window appears.

I’ve managed to isolate this, with help from the Ubuntu forums to my TV Tuner card, because it doesn’t occur when unloading the kernel module, but I can recover the system and work around this for the time being by unloading and reloading the radio module.

I have had to go back to Windows TWICE after the installation. The first, to export emails from Outlook to Thunderbird for use in Thunderbird on Ubuntu. The second, was to recompile a VB application for someone. The Windows install is still not completed, and I’m not sure I will spend the somewhat day and a bit to fully restore all applications. Ubuntu is ready for me now, and has taken very little time to get running.

I also recompiled my own kernel to use the performance enhancements available to Core2Duo (in an effort to see if the suspend issue was going to be easily resolved).

Windows isn’t all bad though – it’s got support for some games, but I’m hardly a hard core gamer. I found new Ubuntu games, and now play more Poker and BZFlag (great game).

The initial impressions before install were ‘expect a challenge’ – after install, I found it’s actually relatively easy for MOST, if not ALL users to move to. If I were Microsoft, I would be scared – the OS, after the short install, comes with everything you need (even an Office application). There’s really not much that Windows does, that Ubuntu can’t do as easy, if not easier, and the mountain of entertaining games (I’m really tired of Solitaire) makes the switch just that much more worth it.

Back to Ubuntu 8.10.

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