Test driving the
“Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.”– Mark Twain”
I know you might be confused. What is Ubuntu? And why are you considering this?
Let’s step back a moment. I been running two computers on a local network – behind a router. Both have been running Windows 7, which is a good operating system. But then Windows 8 came out. Windows 8 encourages you to buy new hardware. If you want to use the latest features – use the latest hardware.
But not everyone is jumping on the Windows 8 bandwagon. For example, in my local area:
- The College of DuPage (COD) is running Windows 7 Enterprise.
- The Carol Stream Public Library (i.e. where I live) is running XP
- The local PC repair shop encourages customers to run Windows 7
Ubuntu is a popular version of Linux. Now there are spin-offs – like Xubuntu, Kubuntu and Lubuntu. But the first is the most established. They are used on around 20 million computers and backed by the company Canonical.
A good article I found is Linuxed – Exploring Linux distros . It tells me what I need to add:
- Adobe Flash
Experiences and setbacks
Ubuntu is fairly easy to use. I had a PC workstation running Windows 7, which was created around 2009. It’s an ideal candidate to Duel boot.
But I didn’t know what to expect. There were some minor glitches. This is from a guy who used to work with both Windows workstations and Sun Unix servers at Motorola.
- The first time after installing Ubuntu via the Windows installer, I had to reboot the machine. But the screen was blurry the first time. I thought the system was broken. Apparently, it was doing some stuff in the background.
- My second computer took a while to connect to websites. It’s connected via my wireless network. Perhaps it’s confused with the Linksys router being connected to the main computer.
- I’m taking the Duolingo Spanish course. I did have about 2 years of Spanish at COD – a few years back. I had trouble in FireFox with the audio files. For one thing, it didn’t recognize my speaking when asked to record a Spanish sentence. I remedied this via speaking into Skype to their Echo service. This corrected the microphone speaking part. The audio output was no longer streaming. I had to choose either VLC or Windows Media Player to play the streaming sentences in Spanish.
- The first thing missing was the Flash player in Ubuntu. The Ubuntu Software Center Icon had an install available.
- The other stuff like Cheese, Scribus, VLC, and Gimp are part of the Ubuntu software install options. So is Skype – if you check the Canonical partners, Skype is an option. But I can’t get it installed though the Ubuntu software center or even using the superuser option to install in a terminal Window. A search of Google shows others have this problem.
- Even though you don’t need an Anti-virus, I did install Bit Defender and ClamAV, but I just kept ClamAV. After all, it is open source and Ubuntu does have installs for it and the GUI.
- Ubuntu comes with FireFox, Mozilla Thunderbird and LibreOffice. But I did add Google Chrome (Also Chromium- a Linux based derivative) and Opera browsers. Not sure why folks do try to install IE and Safari on Ubuntu. Or why they bother with non-popular ma and pa size software browsers.
Plans for the future
I plan on running Ubuntu and Windows 7 for a few months. If Ubuntu is a good alternative (so far, Skype install is the only big hangup), then I will do this:
- Buy a good PC labtop that’s configured with Ubuntu. Some companies like System 76 sell these. But you don’t need to buy a new one every 2 – 3 years. Then buy a second laptop that you can buy for 3 to 4 hundred dollars at Walmart. You can upgrade these at a more accelerated pace, with the latest Windows operating system.
There’s an article I came across entitled Tips for dual-booting Windows 8 on Macs. Then I wondered if you could triple boot on a Mac? There’s an article How to Triple-Boot Your Mac with Windows and Linux, No Boot Camp Required. But I noticed the software recommended hasn’t been updated since 2010. Perhaps one can duel boot a Mac and Windows, at the same time running a PC with Ubuntu with more horsepower.
Only one thing about Apple: the stores are a bit of a drive. With Windows PCs, there are many stores that carry them – Walmart, Costco, etc. There are also many local area PC repair shops.