Linux - First impressions

I have been hearing a lot about Linux lately, so I decided to try it and see what all the fuss was about. I thought it would be a good idea to post my initial experiences here, so as to give an accurate description of the “windows user” perspective, when placed (for the first time) in a Linux environment.

I decided to start my Linux experience with “Ubuntu” (Drapper Drake 6.06), which is a Linux distribution, or more commonly referred to as a “distro”. As you may or may not know, Linux is actually just the OS framework and a “Kernel” upon which “Linux Distributions” are built, to resemble a desktop environment (usually using Gnome or KDE as a driving application system).

Installing it was easy. All the tools you need to do any kind of installation task are presented to you on the spot. For example; if you wanted to re-partition your main HD and make new partitions for the installation (so you could dual boot), you would just use “Gparted” (Open Source Partition editor), which is active as a step within the installation process itself. I found this to be very accommodating, even more so than windows (“which really doesn’t even come with it’s own partitioner”)

Even though the installation was easy and neat, I found the “post-installation” configuration to be much less so. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t boot directly into console. I was given a nice shiny desktop environment, but I quickly realized that I couldn’t do all the “regular things” I took for granted on windows. Going to and trying to listen to one of the Internet radio stations didn’t seem to work. Hardware acceleration on the GPU was not available. Several devices that worked automatically on windows now spat out a bunch of errors I have never even heard of.

It’s a little intimidating to say the least, but with a little research and a few (frustrating) IRC discussions later. I was able to solve all these problems. The Internet radio stream required a new package called “gstreamer0.10”, and the GPU problem required a little knowledge about Synaptic (which is the service used to menage your software) and how to set up your repositories to download “partial copyright” software (such as the proper Nvidia drivers). The rest of the problems I am slowly ironing out, but from what I have seen so far, I’m not wasting my time.

A little frustration is a small price to pay for all the free software that is offered on Linux. The community is vast, and you can customize almost any aspect of your system according to how you want it to behave and run. You are presented with a much greater set of options when compared to windows, to the point where it’s kinda hard to get a grasp on it all.

The only catch is: you have to spend time configuring your system to do what you want it to do, and to play nice with the hardware. It won’t just work from the get go (unless you are really, really lucky), but that is the price of freedom.

And believe me, it’s well worth the price.

Well, Most GNU/Linux distros don’t come with proprietry codecs and things (the ability to play mp3s, for exapmple) due to legal complications. A fresh windows install would probably be as bad or worse with the graphics drivers and other devices.

It is goo that you have had a positive experience, and I hope it continues to be good.

Your complaints about configurations have been taken care of. Check this out:

It can take care of the mp3 issue, graphic drivers, dvd playback and more, in just a snap. :slight_smile:

One point that you mention is the post-install configuration. You have all my (and many more peoples’) sympathies there. Most Linux users like to point out how quick it is to install any Linux distro, however it does not compare to a Windows istallation where most (usually all) your hardware get sorted out with the installation.
Just a point of irritation, personally. Like you say, it is the price of freedom and well worth it.

I just migrated to Ubuntu a few days ago and I have been happy with my decision. I had no big problems with hardware. Easyubuntu helped a lot. Automatix is an alternative for it though.

When I stumbled into problems, i found the solutions with bit of googling. Also ubuntu channel at freenode was helpful.

I am really impressed with Linux these days. It was much better than I had hoped it to be.

Indeed, also available with similar functionality is Automatix

Both make life easy for “first timers” who want to get Ubuntu up an running and then go back and learn a bit more about the system.

Social, congrats on “hanging in there” and ironing out your first few problems. As you say, it’s a different approach to windows but very rewarding.

I must say I have always had more problems configuring windows.

Every time I tried Ubuntu, everything worked. It is only proprietary stuff that doesn’t work right off, for me at least. For instance I had to search for a very long time to get my printer or digital camera working on XP…

IMO it is much easier to install anything on a good Linux dist, isn’t it? If you want the nvidia drivers you just type a command, or start up synaptic if you’re running Ubuntu… In windows you have to get them manually in many cases. For windows users it appears difficult, but in reality, it’s much simpler.

I have to agree, you should try EasyUbuntu, it gets a lot of things for ya. And in my experience, it is better than Automatix.

Indeed post install is a problem for a lot of OS’es, windows included. But there is a bigger problem.

There are a lot of web site that only work in IE, and there are new codecs that are tied up in more leagal stuff than you can shake a stick at. So you are not allowed (in the US anyway) to use it on Linux. Yep its Illegal in the US to watch a DVD on Linux, however most countires are a little more resonable.

The problem is choice. We need to be able to choose between the different OS’es. I’m glad you made a choice to try it out. The more ppl that do the better.

But you need to be awear of the potental problems. DVD’s, itunes and media player are the doggy areas.


ps I don’t even own a windows box.–hehe at work here we have 30 machines and no windows…

Microsoft gets is judged to pay $$ because they thought they made efforts to eliminate other companies from the market. The US on the other hand, makes it illegal to watch DVDs and what not on linux. It’s ridiculous.

I use ubuntu dapper drake too. Its a very friendly distro. And its a good start for beginners or for those who only want to try it with a a live cd.
I have used Windows for about 12 years (Linux 6 years now) and it took me 2 years to migrate everything to Linux.
I must say most is running far better with much more control and flexibility. That what doesnt run well I had to give up or use via dual boot (actually only some games), but I dont miss them :slight_smile:

A good system has everything you want. And nothing you dont want (or use)

Linux doesnt have 2 things.

Day of Defeat

Mechwarrior 4

Other than that its awesome.

GNU/Linux isn’t hard, it’s just different.

So the “time” which you consider as “frustrating” is in fact the transition time, that’s it.

Blender has also its transition time: At first, you cry to do something like in Max, after transition time: you regret to have told that and admit how Blender is better! :slight_smile:
So, Windows->Linux, this is the same business.

Pretty simple arguement, but fine :slight_smile:

Well, I wouldnt say that all frustrating times are just transition times.

For example, when you are trying to install the Nvidia drivers, and its telling you that a package needs to be updated, but it wont update because of dependencies that CANT be met without pretty much reinstalling the whole system, I dont think that counts as transistion.

But yea, most of the frustation IS transition.

Well, honestly windows doesn’t offer that either out of the box. Even if perhaps Media Player is able to stream right away in XP (dunno never really used XP, but assuming it works), you would still need audio drivers, perhaps even a new DX installation and some new drivers for your GPU. No real difference there imo.

PS. Long time Secret Agent listener here! =]

I got Debian and had the opposite experience. I had to re-install it twenty four times just to get the GUI working, and then it only ran at 800x600 maximum. My computer didn’t have internet, so I couldn’t get new drivers. It didn’t support my Thumbdrive, so I couldn’t get drivers that way. It was the only computer with a CD burner in the house, so I couldn’t get drivers THAT way. Basically the whole thing was useless unless I wanted to do nothing but use Blender, which worked slower than it did with Windows in my case because of graphics drivers.

I still have it, but I only have it to play around with, and since my computer’s motherboard burned out, I havn’t used it since. Any help for me? I actually noticed it rendered faster, and I’ve heared good things about Debian, so I want to keep it, but I also want the right drivers.

By the way, I only had 7 of the 14 disks because my dad couldn’t find the rest, so maybe that would solve my problem, but I just don’t know.

I have ubuntu and I love it but I have to share my computer with my wife… that would be no problem but we have a TV tunner card and I can’t make it work with ubuntu. I also used to have xine on manrake distros and I don’t have it on ubuntu… I know those problems can be solved but I just don’t have enough time to spend on that…
What I’m trying to say is for some of us this is a Windows word and can’t spend 6 hours configuring a Linux OS if you spend 13 hours a day working on Windows…
I hate windows ¬_¬

Duke, the Ubuntu forums have a tutorial somewhere on setting up MythTV. Most cards are pretty well supported and it shouldn’t be too big a job to set it up.

An alternate is to try out democracy. Here

Instructions for edgy (prob. compatible with dapper) are at macewan’s blog here

Nice to hear so many people trying and using Linux. If it keeps up maybe we can shake this monopoly for good. I had hardware problems switching to Linux. I actually bought a different printer. I didn’t mind because my inkjet kept drying out and I got an inexpensive laser that was certified for linux. I had to buy an external modem also. If enough people use Linux, those things will be in the past because companies will supply Linux drivers like Nvidia and ATI do now. It was worth it to me. Microsoft is an abusive monopoly that has been pushing it’s weight around for too long.

i’ve been using linux for ~month and so far the only real problems i’ve had is with 1. no sound 2. slower graphics drivers everything else is way better but i still have windows on sual boot cause it gas games and other stuff like blender runs faster on it and my brother uses it cause he dosnt know how to use linux oh yeah and i had to reinstall it about 5 times to get it to this state

Actually, Apple is the Monopoly. They make you buy all their hardware just to run the OS. Microsoft only sells software, and it’s popular so everyone else makes their software for Microsoft’s OS’s. If you think about it, if Microsoft were trying to make a monopoly they would do what Apple does and make it so you HAVE to buy their hardware if you want to use they’re software. Linux is just a free alternative to Windows just as Blender is a free alternative to 3D Studio Max and Maya. Autodesk doesn’t make you buy their own OS (they don’t have one anyways, but this is just an analogy) or hardware, and Microsoft doesn’t either They even make their products for other OS’s (IE for Mac, though I havn’t seen IE for Linux yet). Don’t say Mictrosoft is a monopoly, just because you don’t like to buy something.

I do beleive Linux is much better than Windows and that it is easier to use (as soon as I understood how to install it properly I understood everything and it all made sense) but untill there are enough people using it, Microsoft will be on top, because other companies will always make software for the OS that is the most popular. It has nothing to do with what Microsoft does, except that they advertise.

Most people I mention Linux to scratch their heads and ask, “What’s that?” and if I say Windows they know what I’m talking about. It’s just more popular.

Don’t worry, more and more people are getting lazy, and more and more people don’t want to buy things. Eventually Linux will overthrow Microsoft, or Microsoft will try to open scource themselves for protection from the mobs. Just not yet.