Saturday, July 25, 2009

Ubuntu is seriously cool!

Just check out my desktop pics of some Ubuntu themes below. Cant imagine Windows looking that cool!



Also, the bundled and available apps are awesome. Pidgin, a messenger client logs you in to gtalk, IM, and facebook chat (yea you heard me right, facebook chat!) all at the same time, which is stunning! This is seriously better than anything I have ever used. There's even a faster version of firefox on linux and its called "Swiftfox". And for a change, it actually does what its name suggests. I noticed all these only because I installed it on my hard disk. Most people who use Live CD, most probably haven't used these features. However, all is not hunky dory. The thing is Ubuntu requires some basic knowledge of Linux and how it works. But the thing is, the Ubuntu forums are so brilliantly remarkable, they have already covered solutions of all problematic areas you are likely to face as a new user.

I seriously wonder when I'm gonna stop blogging about Ubuntu. It stuns me every single time I log in!


Friday, July 17, 2009

Kubuntu...the "other" OS

Kubuntu 7.
Image via Wikipedia

The hype around Ubuntu is so enormous, its sometimes easy to neglect its KDE counterpart Kubuntu.

I gave Kubuntu a try today, and was pleasantly surprised, shocked to some extent by its features. Not only did I find Kubuntu more user friendly, I also found its looks more "professional" than Ubuntu. Its customisation and configuration options are immense, much much more than what Ubuntu offers now.

The interface looks awesome, and the sheer "feel" of it is simply brilliant! Overall, Kubuntu feels like a more user friendly OS than Ubuntu. If Ubuntu and Kubuntu are coming from the same company, I wonder why the latter is being meted out such step brotherly treatment.

I think Kubuntu has a far greater chance of becoming the more realistic alternative than Ubuntu.


Thursday, July 16, 2009

Can I really trust Ubuntu?

Now that I have the Ubuntu disk and have been using the "boot via CD" option, it is getting extremely tempting to go for an all out installation of Ubuntu on my hard disk, since without a proper root directory it is very difficult to install applications.

I already have Windows installed on my system, so the options I'm left with are a) format/create a partition and install Ubuntu or b) install Ubuntu on an existing partition. Obviously the second option seems the more viable one as of now since I'm in no mood to sacrifice my hard disk data. However I'm starting to have second thoughts about it, what if my hard disk gets screwed up? What if I lose data? What if my PC slows down? Is Ubuntu worth all these risks?

Well just too many worries. I'll wait till the time I'm ready to format my hard disk. Till then, I'll use the CD booting option.


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

My tryst with Ubuntu 9.04

Finally got my Ubuntu CD yesterday. I have to admit I was excited about this Jaunty Jackalope release ever since it was announced. On paper Ubuntu 9.04 does seem to be a serious contender for a viable OS.

Before I start, here's the contents of the package:

1. The Ubuntu CD case:

Looks seriously cool!


Here's how the case looks when on the inside:


And here's the back side of the case:


2. And the CD...beautifully designed!


3. Some stickers with the Ubuntu logo


There goes the packaging aspect. Really cool packaging for a free OS.

So next came the part of putting it to the test.

Ubuntu 9.04 came with the promise of a faster OS. Faster than all other editions of Ubuntu. Well they have delivered. The earlier edition of Ubuntu used to take around 5 mins to load, this one hardly takes 2 mins max!

As far as softwares are concerned some of them come pre packaged with the CD itself, but most of them dont. Apparently those are available on the retail DVDs of Ubuntu but as always are available for free download too. Anyway, the real dampener is the fact that Ubuntu doesnt support the more common audio and video codecs, say MP3, AAC, DIVX, XVID, MKV, etc. However it does have support for OGG and FLAC formats. So if you wanna become a Linux power user, you have to consider a conversion software. For the time being I tried FreeMP3WMAOGG converter. As the name suggests its free. But its a Windows software and I'm not exactly sure if this one has a Linux counterpart. Most probably it doesnt. Once an MP3 was converted I tried playing it on the Ubuntu default music player and it did the job quite well. Maybe it doesnt have as many options as say a Jet Audio or a Winamp, but for a bundled software, its as good as Windows Media Player (minus all those codec supports of course!).

The speed aspect has definitely been taken care of in this release and the OS is substantially faster than its predecessor, as I mentioned earlier. Most of the processes have quite a fast loading time, and the bundled Firefox works like a breeze. Its pleasantly surprising to note that Firefox has almost all the same popular add ons available for Linux as it has for Windows.

I did however face (and am still facing) a problem configuring my modem. The network settings available arent in the least user friendly, and its really a pain trying to get the entire network settings in order. In Windows setting up a network is so much easier. Tried configuring my modem for about 4 hours but then gave up. Way too confusing. I had to use the sudo pppoeconf from the Terminal for a quickfire setup, but lets say this is of course the less than ideal way of doing it. But to be frank I really cant blame Ubuntu for everything, the internet settings for BSNL via LAN is not really as straight forward as an Airtel broadband. I however gather that the WiFi settings of Ubuntu are far easier to configure; havent tried that one yet, so no comments on that.

Well thats about it really. This is quite a good release and a substantial improvement over the earlier editions. Lets hope Ubuntu keeps up the good work but as of now, its still got a long way to go before it becomes one of the major Operating Systems.