The Ubuntu Experience: Adventure in Motion

Discussion in 'Computer Science & Culture' started by Tiassa, Dec 20, 2011.

  1. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

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    The Ubuntu Experience: Adventure in Motion

    It occurred to me that I had a decent Dell box sitting in my closet waiting to be used. Presently, it is partitioned to Windows on one drive and Hackintosh OSX on the other. The Hackintosh idea is problematic, since any system update requires one to find new drivers.

    So I decided to go with Ubuntu. Why not? I'm always whining to my friends about what Apple is doing to their desktop units, so ... right.

    I have a gorgeous ASUS flatscreen waiting to be used, too. Correct me if I'm wrong, please: I'll be undertasking the monitor, I think, insofar as it has a DVI input, but I'll be using VGA out from the Dell to the Asus VGA in.

    Meanwhile, there is not much for technical questions, unless someone wants to tell me right now there are no VGA-DVI cables, but I have to get out to the store shortly, anyway.

    Fun, fun. A new operating system. I'm one of those in-betweeners; I am not a proper techie, but neither am I helpless. This should be ... well, interesting.

    I would tell you the specs on the Dell box, for instance, but I forget what they are.

    Will update as this potential disaster progresses.
     
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  3. Syzygys As a mother, I am telling you Valued Senior Member

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    I had a few threads about my experiences with Ubuntu on laptops, you might want to read them. All our laptops are dual booted but we don't really use Ubuntu. It is just in case of disaster, if Windows dies and I still want to access the files.

    On the other hand, even for that purpose, it is an overkill, because with a special cable, even from a dead computer one can get the data out of the hard drive.

    The only real advantage would be if you want to mess with porn/hacking stuff and you don't want to worry about getting viruses....Also, old machines and systems (XP) are signifficantly faster running Ubuntu, this isn't true with Vista and 7. So if you have an older laptop running XP, it might give it a new life....

    Oh yeah, also if you have a small kid or grandpa learning the internet and you don't want to worry about them crashing the system or downloading shit, Ubuntu is a safe way to let them alone with the computer...
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2011
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  5. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

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    Stage 1: Successful

    After only a couple of brief hiccups, Ubuntu 11.10 is installed on a Dell Optiplex GX620, which is perhaps the dumbest name I've heard for a PC model yet.

    At any rate, I still need to go through and make everything look the way I would prefer, but for now, hey, it's something.

    Note to anyone installing in the future: It's always good if, like me, you have a functioning, networked computer available to browse through help files online while performing the installation. Answering the questions that come up during the installation is quite easy if you have another unit on hand.

    Stage 1 is successful.
     
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  7. Chipz Banned Banned

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    'Making it look how you like' is one of the most important features of the desktop to many average users. There are a few alternatives and two major players, unfortunately, with exception to OpenSUSE (using KDE) all default to GNOME. This was the result of a free software dispute which should have 'technically ended' a bit less than 15 years ago as both are approximately of equal license. That said-- end users don't like change and distributions like to keep end users so the default of GNOME as stuck.

    I use Linux every day at work developing, more than 8 hours a day most work days and I use it on the weekends at home. At work and at home I use KDE. What's great about KDE is it doesn't tell me how I should work, it has an enormous number of features of which on any desktop (I've configured) I used maybe 5% or less. That said, at home this 5% is not the same 5% as at work. GNOME today tells me what to do nearly as much as Windows.

    If you really want to free your desktop, use KDE.

    sudo apt-get install kubuntu-desktop

    after doing that you will have both options in a drop-down menu at login. You can remove which ever one you like through synaptic package manager.
     
  8. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

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    Where's My Windows? Who Cares?

    Interestingly, I seem to have cut myself off from the Windows partition. Not really a problem, as I haven't bothered to go out and read the literature on this issue. Indeed, I probably overstate the case. Originally, the system gave me an option to choose between Windows and OSX. I just figured it would do the same again.

    Nope. Oh, well.

    In OSX, there is a Startup Disk option tucked away in the System Preferences. I haven't yet found the similar button in Gnome, but neither have I looked. Presently, I'm running a shite-ton of updates; I wouldn't be surprised if some of them are redundant, but I didn't feel like picking and choosing between 277 items. At any rate, I'll be dealing with that tomorrow.

    Hell, I'm only keeping the Windows partition around for ... er ... um ... right. I don't know why.

    So far Ubuntu is almost laughably easy to get along with. I suppose that leaves me wondering when it's going to bite me in the ass.

    (A note to Chipz: Yes, I probably will, at some point, get around to trying KDE. In the meantime, I need to familiarize myself with the file system and directory hierarchy. I've gotten so accustomed to Apple's way of organizing things that looking at a Windows tree for more than a few seconds at a time can render me catatonic. I still have no idea what the Linux trees look like, as I've never had a reason to care. So I suppose I should probably get to know the OS a bit before I start stapling on a bunch of bells and whistles. But yes, KDE does look pretty keen. Thanks for the recommendation.)
     
  9. prometheus viva voce! Moderator

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    2,045
    I would be a bit careful installing KDE on top of ubuntu - I never managed to get that to work very well. If you don't mind losing a couple of hours, a clean install of kubuntu will give you a much nicer KDE experience.
     
  10. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

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    Mint is the most popular distro now, keep up with the times GOSH

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    http://distrowatch.com/

    Ubuntu is now the new Debian and Debian is now the new Red Hat.

    Also I ran Gnome and KDE together and did not have any problems, but that was several versions ago.
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2011
  11. Chipz Banned Banned

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    Seems like you have no idea what you're talking about.

    Prometheus is right; I didn't think about it -- Getting KDE installed on Gnome isn't as straight forward as it should be. All kinds of issues appear, especially when you try to remove one of them. For example; often the KDE desktop won't include the KDM and some implementations for allowing KDE do nothing more than overlay KDE and require the GNOME for fallback. And when I think of it, I recall Kubuntu actually being more buggy than its Gnome counterpart when I last used it. Same wasn't true on my Fedora desktop.
     
  12. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

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    Abusive ad hominem is so abusive! I posted the Distrowatch link what more do you want?
     
  13. Chipz Banned Banned

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    838
    I have no disagreement to your citation of Mint moving past Ubuntu as the most used distro. That said... Ubuntu is no Debian...and Debian is definitely no Red Hat.
     
  14. Syzygys As a mother, I am telling you Valued Senior Member

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    Linux fanboys fighting

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    On the other hand Ubuntu takes you to the same old internet (although in a safer way)....
     
  15. Stoniphi obscurely fossiliferous Valued Senior Member

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    *golf clap*

    Good points though, both of them.

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  16. firdroirich A friend of The Friends Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    565
    The 'usual suspect' desktops are too heavy-handed nowadays. I still prefer e17 or LXDE aka Lubuntu
     
  17. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

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    34,667
    The next adventure

    Since I have an obsolete Apple G4 tower sitting around ... well, last night someone reminded me that I could install Linux on that, and probably expect it to run okay.

    I know Ubuntu has a PPC version.

    Is there a Linux distribution package favored for G4 PPC installation? It's not the most impressive G4 chip, probably 700 MHz, and will be running with at least 1.2 GB RAM. But it sounds like a fun endeavor, and since I've tried Ubuntu, I thought maybe I would try another package.

    Anyone? Anyone?

    (Thank ye.)
     
  18. superstring01 Moderator

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    12,110
    I have a two year old laptop from Gateway. All the bells and whistles. 64 bit. 6GB ram. 500MB HD. But I never use it since I built my new desktop. So, I installed Ubuntu on it.

    I want to be "that guy". I really do. Linux has a "coolness" about it that I can't describe--like I've extricated myself from the world of Microsoft (if only for a little while). I really want to like Linux and know all about it.

    It's just that . . . . that . . . . I really fucking hate it. I hate the UI, I hate how it looks and I really don't even have the slightest clue how it works. I bought Ubuntu for Dummies, and I've barely cracked the cover.

    So, tell me what's so good about it. I wanna' be able to say, "OH, yeah, sorry. I have a Linux box." And be a total dick when people ask me about my Windows OS or Mac OS (though, on my desktop, I'll secretly keep Windows 7 Professional installed--I'm an IT guy, I have to have it on there).

    ~String
     
  19. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

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    Merit and Need

    What's so good about it depends on one's needs.

    The most basic consideration is that Linux shells are supposed to be as near to bulletproof as one can get.

    As to the UI, perhaps a different Linux shell will suit your needs better; I'm expecting to run xUbuntu on the G4.

    I've found that with Ubuntu, I need to revise my idea of what counts as "intuitive" for the UI; after years of using Apple, it takes some getting used to—even using the standard 104 keyboard is a fundamental change for someone like me.

    But beyond basic, intuitive functions, the popularity of Linux packages is the idea that it is free, as compared to the $175 for the OEM Windows (XP, I think) ROM I just saw the other day at a friend's while trying to diagnose her hard drive failure, or whatever Apple charges for a box copy of OSX. And there is a pretty good library of free software, as well.

    I also noticed a large number of specialized applications available for Ubuntu insofar as, if I was a scientist or mathematician, I would be in Heaven.

    So it may be that part of the Ubuntu rage is the idea that if I have a very specialized need, there are, for many of those, good free applications that will suffice. For general need, such as home use, it might be a bit more of an open question. I'm currently experiencing an issue with the Thunderbird mail client, but that is likely user error; I've spent maybe ten minutes fretting about it, since I'm still getting my email on my Apple client. It should be easy enough to figure out once I put my mind to it, but yes, it's a bit frustrating to be having the problem at all—the default settings for a Gmail account don't seem to be correct, and my one attempt to manually set the POP server has failed. I'll restore the defaults and work from there.

    I'm enjoying the Ubuntu experience so far because I'm always a step behind the Apple technology curve. I can't afford a brand new machine, so friends who can always cycle me their former systems, which is how I ended up with a G5 tower in the first place. Meanwhile, Apple is still trying to apply Intel-based updates to my PPC configuration, which creates all sorts of headaches; the fix there is to revert to earlier versions and never update. Which, of course, is simple enough, but something about the whole, "F@ck off, Apple!" is, I confess, satisfying. (I get that iPhone and iPad are their current foci, but it's getting to the point that I'm not sure why they're bothering with desktop units anymore. I presume that if I was current on the Apple tech curve, I wouldn't be asking that question.)
     
  20. Chipz Banned Banned

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    838
    http://distrowatch.com/table.php?distribution=yellowdog

    This is RPM base rather than DEB and is a Red Hat Derivative rather than Debian. It's a bit different of a distro than Ubuntu. I don't have a PPC so I can't attest to it, however I use Fedora from which its based on.

    Judging from its releases it appears to actually be dead now.... so I'd look towards something else but know it's out there I suppose.
     
  21. Rav Valued Senior Member

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    2,422
    It's free. It's ridiculously customizable. You can venture into the deepest darkest dodgiest places on the internet without fear of catching a nasty digital disease (please don't read into that too much, I'm actually a pretty normal guy). In other words, you don't have to do things like spend time perusing av-comparatives.org in order to figure out what anti-virus software you should be using these days. Spyware is also a non-issue. Software is stupidly easy to install, and when you're looking for a particular application, you don't have to worry about potentially wasting your time installing something only to find out that the developers definition of "free" was actually synonymous with "crippleware". Further, hunting around for drivers is, the vast majority of the time, unnecessary. That's just some basic stuff for starters.

    Linux is, for me, about freedom. Freedom from a long list of annoyances, but more than that, just freedom in general. I like to tinker, and I take issue with anyone who tries to dictate to me how I should be using my PC. Now that I've experienced this freedom; now that I've embraced it, there's just no way I could go back. No way at all. And given that Linux and it's associated software have matured to the point where the available desktop environments are both very usable and visually appealing, I don't feel tempted to in any way, shape or form.

    That said, I've been using Linux since Red Hat 5.1, so I've got enough experience to fend for myself in the Linux world. The inexperienced user on the other hand will almost invariably, at some point, end up staring seemingly insurmountable challenges in the face in the course of trying to solve some particular problem, which might (understandably) put them off. But solutions are out there, and the community is, for the most part, a really good one in terms of offering assistance to new users. If you want to give Linux a real shot, for whatever reason, you just need to be prepared to dig in for a while. Some of the best rewards are on the other side.
     
  22. Syzygys As a mother, I am telling you Valued Senior Member

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    Today I just got a friend's old (5+ years) laptop for repair. It was pretty much a goner. HD is very noisy. I couldn't restart it in Windows XP, so after 10 minutes of trying, I installed Mint 9 on it. Ubuntu had some problem running from the disc, so that's why I went with Mint. It is going to be used only for internet browsing via wire, so I am not worried about teaching the friend about the tricks and whistles of Linux (not that I really know)

    A quick speed check gave 20 Mbps and I was very happy with that. The whole thing took 30-40 minutes. Now the friend has a renewed laptop that might work for another year or so...

    Oh yeah, during installation it couldn't find another OS on the laptop, so I guess my decision not to try to fix XP was the right one.
     
  23. Syzygys As a mother, I am telling you Valued Senior Member

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    I already answered that above, but let's repeat

    The rest (whistles and freedom) is just bullshit. If some people like to tinker, so be it, but most users want usability, not a hobby.
     

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