by Jeff Langr

May 21, 2008

I finally got up the energy to spend several hours cleaning and doing a reasonably full backup of my (inexpensive) laptop, which had shipped with Windows Vista. Glutton for punishment that I am, I figured it would be a good idea to learn enough about Vista to survive when working in a place where they happened to use it.

Well, it turns out that no one is using it, or at least no one really wants to use it, as far as I can see. And enough is enough–I learned what I need to know, which is that Vista adds almost nothing to the advancement of operating systems or the user experience, as far as I’m concerned.

So after backing up, I decided to load Ubuntu, which I’d previously installed the prior weekend on my son’s machine. Tim’s machine had been running Windows XP, but somehow got screwed up, at which point he realized he did not have a Windows install disk (and images were nowhere to be found on the machine). The experience was surprisingly better than my last attempts to install Red Hat or Debian–up and (mostly) running in less than an hour.

Still, it reminded me why Ubuntu is far from being something that I can recommend to anyone other than a computer geek. I thought Vista was annoying with its continual interruptions; at least it didn’t require me to enter a password everytime I su’did something (maybe there’s a way around it, and it had better not involve removing the password).

The bigger problem is that no one, except us of course, wants to muck with the command line. Having to deal with my son (who’s not stupid and is on the computer all the time) who is frustrated over figuring out to configure his machine reminded me of that. Finding the right drivers, doing chmods as appropriate, sudoing things where necessary, and so on. God love it and ’em, Ubuntu is not for anyone but a geek. I’m glad I switched–Ubuntu is great, and I guess that makes me a true geek.

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Jeff Langr

About the Author

Jeff Langr has been building software for 40 years and writing about it heavily for 20. You can find out more about Jeff, learn from the many helpful articles and books he's written, or read one of his 1000+ combined blog (including Agile in a Flash) and public posts.