Friday, October 19, 2007

Friday Tech Blogging, II

So I downloaded Ubuntu 7.10 yesterday, and installed it last night. I don't exactly have copious amounts of spare time, so what follows is based on a very, very brief overview. But basically, es muy bueno.

(For those who don't already know, Ubuntu is a free, open-source operating system based on Debian Linux.)

I'm having some issues with installing new programs, but I think that in this case it's because of my internet connection, not Ubuntu's fault. Upon installation, 7.10 automatically detected my video card and installed the proper drivers. I also found, joy of joys, that Compiz was automatically installed and working. No previous Ubuntu installation had found my video card (even the immediately previous version, 7.4) and as for installing Compiz, fuhgeddaboutit.

(Compiz adds all sorts of neato shiny desktop effects, making Ubuntu pretty instead of ugly-ass.)

There's been a few problems about actually getting Ubuntu to play music and movies, but again this is more problematic because of my dodgy ethernet connection than because of anything on Ubuntu's end. I'd almost say it's slightly more annoying to download codecs for Ubuntu than it is for Windows, only because Ubuntu makes a big deal about notifying you that, yes, these codecs are proprietary and yes, you still want them anyway. But -- and this really is important -- Ubuntu is really good at automatically finding the codecs you needs once you've told it that you want them.

One of the reasons I was eager to try installing Ubuntu was that I already have a Windows laptop, and my old desktop was sitting there gathering dust on my desk. I'm going to spend a bit of time over the next little while (school and my jobs permitting!) toying around with Ubuntu, and seeing what I can make it do. But I'm already impressed and pleasantly surprised. Linux partisans have been saying for a while now that Linux is ready for the desktop, but I've never really thought it was ready for the desktop user until now.

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