Today, I downloaded and installed the latest Ubuntu 10.04 (Lucid Lynx) on my Quad Core. The new version has a completely different look and lots of eye-candy, which is what gets me going! Apart from the deadly looks, it has a cooler looking Software Center, Integrated Social Networking (rather useless, if you ask me.), a few extra pieces of software and some other stuff that I haven’t been able to notice within the first ten minutes.
I installed Prism for Google docs, reader and calender. The software is a beta version. So, there were a few hiccups. But overall, it was very fast and neat.
I tried Gnome Do for the first time and I was surprised by the improvement in speed that it can help you achieve and its sophistication. I also liked Arista which can be used to transcode video files and the fact that the non-free repositories could be enabled very easily. This meant that Adobe reader and flash could be installed without any fuss whatsoever. Adobe reader is important because sometimes we need to deal with Digital Signatures and other messy stuff.
Usually, after a few hours of hyper tweaking things start falling apart and eventually I get sick of it all and give up. But, this has proven to be a little hardier than the previous versions. Just now I finished installing Crossover Pro and Microsoft Office 2007 Enterprise Edition. The thing went off like a dream. MS Office is an absolute necessity because of the epic suckiness of the UI of Open Office.
I also noticed that the video quality of VLC is a little better under Linux. I don.t know whether it is just a false impression. I think maybe the time has come to depend on Linux for office purposes. Previously, I had installed Ubuntu 8.10 on 2 other computers in the office. It took a huge amount of tweaking and patience to get MS Office, R/W Sharing using Samba, Tally 7.2 and VMware running on them. And after all the effort one computer died from all the exertion. It was a puny celeron with a motherboard that school kids in Taiwan made to learn soldering. But the other computer has been running for 2 years without a single hitch. Thats the thing about Linux. Once you get it working using magic, prayer and the internet there is no way it is going to fail. It is immune to viruses and ordinary people don’t know enough to do anything fun with it. But, there are a few simple precautions that you must take.
First, you must ensure that no one with computer literacy uses it. Linux can tolerate power outages, idiots and force shutdowns. But, what it cannot tolerate is smart guys who try to “update” and “improve” it. Once you start doing that then it’s only a matter of time before the whole thing explodes in your face. The trick is to do just enough to get it working.
Secondly, it must be kept in mind that even in the absence of smart guys, it makes occasional attempts at self improvement and self up-gradation. All such efforts should be strongly discouraged if reliable operation is to be ensured. Kernel “updates” and other such GNU Linux specific awesome stuff are famous for their ability to screw your computer over almost as thoroughly as any self-respecting virus.
GNU Linux has some problem with some new laptop hard disks which have aggressive power management features. The end-result of it all is that either your hard disk cycles itself to death by the time you are finished checking out the latest chick pics on facebook or it heats up enough to cook your lap or if you are lucky the battery will run out. Very aggressive, but not all that great when it comes to “greeniness”! There seems to be some complicated solution to it online. But, if you have one of these laptops then I think it would be better to stick to something else.
If you follow these simple guidelines then your installation might last forever. Now, I am going to get back to tweaking my system for a few more hours. When it finally breaks, I will call Bumbi and shout at him and beg him to devote his life to the improvement of Open Office. After that I will probably go back to Windows 7…