Ubuntu 7.10 – Gutsy Gibbon

OK, so I have spent the last week strictly using Ubuntu at home. It has been quite nice learning my way through the installation and configuration.
I’ve gotten the advanced desktop working – you’ve probably seen the videos online of people using it and having a cube of desktops to spin through. I’ve got DVD playback, DVD ripping, software to sync my iPod with my music collection, and a way to share my files with my xbox media center.
I’ve read a lot of stuff about converting to Linux over the past several months, even over the past few years. Linux and the experience around it is improving quickly. I showed my mom the desktop effects on my computer, and she quickly said, “I want mine to do that!”
The articles out there that explain switching their mother, grandmother, or aunt over to Linux are missing out on a very critical point. They are the person that got it set up for their friend or family member. The articles make me want to install it for myself, so I can enjoy the ease of converting.
Therein lies the problem… I installed it myself, and it isn’t as easy as they said it was. My computer has an onboard Realtek network card that apparently has a problem. When Windows shuts down, it disables the card until Windows is restarted. I had to spend approximately 2 hours searching forums before I found out that all I had to do was disconnect the power to my computer for a good 15 seconds and then boot into Ubuntu to have a good network connection. Sure, it was my computer’s network card that caused the problem, but it was something that held up my work on the rest of the system.
I could enable the advanced desktop. Then I had to figure out how to activate the restricted drivers. Then there was installing the yet to be named video settings tool so that I could activate and set options for the advanced video card drivers.
For every thing that seems simple in Windows, it takes an average of an hour to set it up in Linux. Sure, maybe next time it will be quicker, but for the people who aren’t used to searching online forums all the time for code to make their video tool play DVDs or make something work just right are just going to give up and go back to Windows.
My PC is only a year old. The hardware is great. It just doesn’t fit into the specs of an ideal Linux candidate. I do a lot on my computer, and I have to make sure that everything I do works before I can make the full commitment to Linux.
So far, everything works, but I’ve had to put a lot of time into figuring out how. The Samba share was one of the dumbest things ever. I changed setting after setting, until I finally found a reference to a samba.conf file that I decided to read to see if there was a problem. Sure enough, six little semicolons were the only things standing in the way of what I was trying to do. I deleted them, saved the file, and all of a sudden I could see the folders from my xbox.
Ubuntu has come a long way in a short amount of time. I am going to continue using it at home until I find something that I cannot do that I need to do on my PC. Gutsy Gibbon is a strange name, but in the Linux community, they need the humor to keep them going.
If you really want to try Linux, try out a Live CD. Ubuntu distributes Live CD images on their website. The CD loads in memory so that your hard drive isn’t affected. Once you determine that you want to install it, they put a nice little icon on your desktop that says “Install”. It’s real easy up to that point. If you have any questions, I’ll be happy to try and answer them. I have a little experience.

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