Vista and Ubuntu peaceful coexistence
- From: "msdos622wasfun" <synth.virtuoso@xxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Tue, 13 Jan 2009 22:15:16 GMT
I've seen a fair amount of definite friction in here between the
resident Vista supporters and Ubuntu supporters. Me, I have them both
installed on my main system, and I dual-boot between them (although I
admit, Vista is my primary OS).
When you think about it, the OS and/or platform wars are a little
silly. At least, they are when they become overly heated and inflamed
(but I admit, it makes for some great, entertaining reading material).
But at the very least, there should be *some* debate, because I think
it's an important issue, and we need to get to the core truth so that
we as technical experts know what to recommend to others and can give
I really want to be as open-minded as I can -- that's why I experiment
with Linux, and I also own an iMac.
Working with Linux is pretty interesting. It seems very powerful,
sophisticated, flexible, and secure. Not to mention stable -- I don't
recall it ever crashing on me and then presenting me with something
similar to the Blue Screen of Death in Windows. Ubuntu seems to have
practically everything a person needs in order to do their
general-purpose computing, and the 3-D Compiz Fusion desktop effects
are a delight. Ease of use has come a long way -- when I plug in my
portable USB hard drive, it's recognized right away, mounted
automatically, and an icon for it appears on the desktop. Malware?
You don't really have to worry about it that much, if it all. There's
also this intangible "fun" factor that I sense, because it seems like
I'm in charge of everything that's going on with my machine -- I can
stay on the surface where it's safe if I want, or I can get my hands
dirty and dig down deep into the nuts and bolts of the system.
But it's the ... well, shall we say, "challenges" that one encounters
with Linux that are hard to avoid and be tolerant of. In my case, when
I recently decided to put Linux back onto my system and dual-boot
between it and Vista, it took multiple attempts at finding a
distribution that worked properly without issues and snafus. I went
from Ubuntu, to Kubuntu, to PCLinuxOS, to Mandriva, and then back to
Ubuntu again until I was finally successful. Installing the Nvidia
driver so that my 9800 GTX video card would be properly utilized was a
bit more of a stressful and troublesome undertaking than it was in
Vista. (And the FIRST time that I ever ventured into Linux several
years ago, it was the same deal -- a lengthy hunt for a distro that
worked for me until I finally settled with Fedora, and even then it
definitely wasn't perfect.)
Installing applications is another typical scenario. Yes, in many
cases all you have to do is visit the Synaptic Package Manager or the
Add/Remove Applications utility, do a quick search, click one or more
checkboxes, and then you're essentially done. But then there are those
cases where you have to extract the *source code* to the application
you want to install, and then compile it, and then hope that you aren't
missing a bunch of different dependencies in order for it to actually
work (which has happened to me). I was, however, finally successful at
accomplishing this, so now I can proudly say that I know how it's done.
This effort that is required, though, might be a turn-off for some
Recently I tried to watch a DVD in Ubuntu, but then I discovered that
it doesn't support DVD playback by default (and based on my research, I
assume no Linux distro does, but I could be wrong). This is something
that I take for granted in Windows. Of course, I am aware that it can
be made to work -- you just have to Google the issue and follow the
proper steps. And I don't want to unjustifiably criticize Linux in
this regard, because as I understand it, there are philosophical and
technical reasons why the Linux platform doesn't allow you to do this
out of the box. But again, I have the feeling that these types of
"barriers" might be some of the reasons why a person might choose the
plug-and-play nature of proprietary Windows over the free, open-source
values and appeal of Linux.
Then there are other potential problems ... the cryptic nature of some
of the certain aspects of the OS come to mind. After all, I think, for
example, that it can be argued that the vi editor is not as intuitive
as the Edit utility that you can launch from the Windows command-line.
And the directory structure -- ordinary users might not understand why
folders are named "/usr" and "/etc" instead of something
self-explanatory like "Program Files." Furthermore, "mounting" drives
might seem more intimidating and confusing than the alphabetical
concept of drive A, drive C, drive D, etc.
And Vista ... heck, I'm not going to say that it's perfect, or the best
thing since sliced bread, or the best OS that Microsoft has ever
released. But for the most part, I've been happy using it. Have I
ever run into problems? Yes -- I've seen the BSOD a few times on
certain rare occasions, and I've encountered a few bugs. UAC can get
in the way sometimes. And some of the design changes seem arbitrary.
I mean, when you want to delete a file in Windows Explorer, you do, of
course, have several options -- dragging to the Recycle Bin,
right-clicking, or pressing Delete on your keyboard. The new
"Organize" menu is also now at our disposal, which I guess Microsoft
thought would be the most consistent, logical, and self-evident means
of doing basic file manipulation. But then, why would they remove the
ability for the user to put custom icons on the toolbar? After all,
personally, that's what I did back when I was using Windows XP -- I put
a Delete icon there, and I found it to be a very useful shortcut.
Maybe they'll bring this back in Windows 7.
But, despite some of these headaches, Vista -- for me -- works *most*
of the time. It runs my software and devices, lets me do the things I
want to do with my PC, looks pretty, and allows for some great gaming
with DirectX 9 and 10.
I apologize for this lengthy article, because I know this mainly is a
newsgroup for discussing general Vista problems. I just wanted to shed
some light on the Vista/Ubuntu struggle and make some sense out of it
via my own personal experiences.
All in all, I just hope that all consumer OSes continue to get better
and better. When Microsoft tries to improve upon Vista with Windows 7
and the developers of Ubuntu (and Linux in general) try to incorporate
features that make it more appealing to the masses, then we can all
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