Friday, February 23, 2007

Nine months in Linux, no more Windows

It's been exactly nine months since I moved to Ubuntu linux and it hasn't been like giving birth or anything. Pretty painless Actually.

It started as an experiment and an attempt to cut in Microsoft licenses costs for Windows and Office both in my own software company, and in our customers.

I always kept a Windows partition though... just in case I needed to go back, something doesn't have a replacement, or I must use a windows only tool that a customer demands... Well, after nine months I'm happy to report this morning I had a strong cup of coffee and after a meeting I decided to go ahead and erase my Windows partition. My whole computer only boots in unix now, and I don't see any reason to go back.

What I'm running, Ubuntu 6.1 with the KDE shell (kubuntu), available from, I found this was easier to configure for multiple displays (dualhead), wi fi and bluetooth support, and liked the interface better, but I used Gnome for about four months and it's pretty likable too.
I tried 4 different distributions of Linux (Mandriva, Gentoo, and Fedora were the others) and found that ubuntu (a variant of debian) was the most stable easier to configure and had the most active development and support group in case you needed help.

I'm using OpenOffice instead of MS Office and Mozilla's Thunderbird for Mail and Firefox as browser, everything works better than what I remember their counterparts did, and no program has tried to hijack my computer yet.

My Dell Inspiron 6400 laptop runs fast with 1 Gb of RAM, you can have 20 documents open and everything stays reliable. Doesn't crash, and starts and shuts down fast, no more need to go to the restroom to make time or plan to leave 10 minutes in advance.
Unlike sleepy kids and MS software these applications Quit when you instruct them to do so. Pretty amazing.

If you NEED to run some MS software, like in my case MS Project which is the best tool I've found for the job yet, you can still do so using a piece of software (not an emulator really, more like a compatibility layer) called Crossover. Which is good for certain tested programs. compatibility info is in their site.

Finally you can customize your desktop quite a bit. I use Beryl for rotating screens and Mac-like exposé effects and a application panel called gDesklets. Everything else available for download... from SkyPe to GoogleEarth, and installation is a snap, way easier and more predictable than on Windows.

As i said, I don't see any reason to go back. Four consultants from my company have moved part time to ubuntu, and I plan to move all the company within this year. Two of our servers are running linux already.

I guess "Hasta la vista Bill" must be used quite a lot these days, but is nice to be able to say it. I really hated waiting for Outlook to come alive or for my laptop to shutdown. I hate waiting for devices in general.



Anonymous said...

Hey, just a small note in KDE you can use SuperKaramba instead of gDesklet.

btw, not to be offensive but that's a really ugly screenshot (too much stuff) :P

Roy Schestowitz said...

Thumbs up. Once you kick the habit, you never get back to it.

MarceloM said...

ha Ha, no offense, it's a matter of taste, I think It looks nice...

I like my desktop clean too, but not when I'm writing about the apps I can use in ubuntu...

Thanks for the tips.