Sunday, July 13, 2008

Trying out Linux

I'm looking to get a new computer soon, and that computer will need a "new" operating system. I've been using windows xp since before it came out, and am frankly more than a little tired of it. Vista, I've learned, from the few baleful encounters I've had with it, is a great big steaming pile of worm infested dog crap. Microsoft seems to have taken all the worst from xp, added enough glitter and sparklies to attract the ADD crowd, then shoved it down their, and everyone else's throats. With xp not being sold any longer, it is only a slow road to its eventual demise, and as I just stated, vista isn't even an option. This leaves me with one option, as I see it. Linux.

BSD, & Solaris as the next largest operating systems, that I know of, they just have too small a user-base for my liking. I have tried live cds of both and have nothing against them, but they just aren't for me when it comes to my everyday machine. Hacintosh does deserves an honorable mention though. Unfortunately, having to fight an OS onto a system it doesn't want to be on is too much hassle for me consider using it as my primary. I wish that Apple cared more for expanding their userbase, than they do for selling their over-priced hardware.

So, Back to linux. Ubuntu seems to be the popular distro dujour, and heaven forbid I wander from the crowd, I chose it as my first foray. (Disclaimer: I have tried a few distros in the past, but I was never serious about switching. I would say 'just think of them as one night stands', but even I'm not that much of a loser) I can easily see why Ubuntu is very popular right now. Aside from one issue I will go into later, it was remarkably stable. This coming from someone who really does know what he's doing on windows and has beaten the beast into submission as best he can. I still, can barely get a day without it bluescreening for some reason or other(one of the main reasons I'm looking for a new pc.) I push my systems hard and can't wait for a nice multi-core processor that can keep up with me. Anyways, I stuck with the basic everyday tasks for my test.

That, and I just couldn't help but play around with compiz-fusion. I can't even imagine using something like compiz fusion on windows with out bluescreening it. Here's a video I pulled from youtube showing off the incredible eye-candy.

I know, I complained about vista being dolled up for the ADD set, but fusion isn't standard on Ubuntu. And truthfully I wouldn't be using it on an everyday basis. I care more for speed than looks, and disable most visual stylings as a matter of course.

So, back to those basic tasks. I spend most of my time on the computer entertaining myself, I have extensive libraries of music, movies, tv shows, books, magazines, and comics. I had little to no trouble accessing all of my media. The only real complaint was with Amarok, I had heard good things about this music player being an itunes killer, but it was slow and buggy on my system. Rythmbox, the standard Ubuntu music player ran great though, so it all evens out. There will always be buggy programs no matter what system you're using. Movies played great on VLC, a great little media player which has a windows port I've been using for years. My only complaint about video playback stems from my use of two monitors. I've grown used to being able to play video fullscreen on my tv (the second monitor) automatically. I can still clone the video window in Ubuntu and maximize it on the second display, but this is far from perfect. I have read that KDE handles multiple monitors much better, and once 4.1 comes out of beta I will be sure to try it. Until then I can deal with the work around.

I had no problems with any of the other media files, but there was there was that one re-occurring bug I mentioned earlier. This one little bug is a deal killer though. See, key-presses would get stuck on repeat at random. So, I would be typing along anddddddddddddddddddddddd something like that would happen. Now, if you've gotten this far you can tell I like to type. I was able to fix this a couple times by disabling key repeats, but more often than not, I had to resort to a reboot. There are multiple bug reports about this, but nothing has been done yet. I just can't see a major operating system letting a basic input problem get so out of hand. Is forcing a key-release signal after 30 seconds of continuous input so hard to think of? Not the cleanest solution I'll admit, but it is a decent workaround until they solve the real problem. I do hope the developers fix this soon, I really would like to use Ubuntu everyday. Anything to get away from windows.

╬▓eta, out.

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