Monday, September 08, 2008



My laptop finally crapped the bed this weekend. It is a two year old Dell M140 on it's factory Windows XP MCE install that I inherited from my mother last year because she didn't know what to do with it. I was too lazy to wipe it when I got it, so it probably needed a fresh OS anyway, but then last week Lindsey's nephew was surfing around on some skeevy .ru websites trying to find flash games with motorcycles in them and must have just clicked 'yes' everytime anything popped up. I downloaded AdAware and NOD32 and ran both and I really thought I was in the clear, but then I noticed hidden instances of Internet Explorer starting at random, looking for .ru ad-farm webpages, and/or a trojan in svchost.exe that NOD32 wouldn't fix. In it's last throes I managed to download and burn copies of TinyXP and Ubuntu 8.04 (Hardy Heron) LTS and, since I didn't necessarily put a lot of faith in a 230MB copy of XP that I found on a torrent site, I decided to try Ubuntu for the first time since 2001. There are obviously pros and cons to switching to Linux, but so far I am moderately happy with the switch:

Pros:
It's free, and I don't have a legit XP CD.
Super easy install. No questions about partitions, no questions about FAT32 or Linux EXT or GRUB, every part of the machine worked out of the box incl. touchpad, wireless, display and even the multimedia buttons on the front. It didn't even mention a 'root' user.
iPod Classic as a HDD worked beautifully out of the box and saved my ass from having to burn like 10 backup DVDs.
No 'calling home,' like with Windows, though that's easy enough to circumvent
Seems to boot and shutdown very quickly.
Moderate performance increase (possibly due to the lack of background apps that I will eventually get around to installing Linux equivilents of?).
Possibly imaginary internet performace increase.
Debian package sites / Ubuntu repos make finding apps easy like a Sunday morning.
I have no idea how apt-get works with the internet but it's really cool.
Satisfaction of being a little bit dorkier than yesterday?

Cons:
Minimal iPod Touch support (wireless(!) sync using Amarok, but it sounds hard to get installed and working), zero iTunes App Store support.
Shakey iPod Classic support (using Amarok again, I might get used to it).
Songbird (best looking / functioning iTunes replacement) crashed twice in one day, froze whole machine both times.
Xbox 360 controller sounds like a pain to get working (though ZSNES works perfectly). Will try tonight.
Is there a "ctrl-alt-del" equivilent? Task manager? How do you kill a process?
Trying to remember terminal commands sucks.
I have no use for Quicklaunch or multiple destops, to the desktop is a little too bulky for my tastes.
I have no idea what the hell I'm doing. I still refuse to 'make' anything that doesn't come in a package and the folder structure is perplexing.
The Wife doesn't believe in Open Source, she is still skeptical.

So basically my qualms and concerns are 1) pls support my iPods because I cannot live without them, which is actually sort of Apple's fault and 2) soon something will go wrong that I will not be able to fix and that will be the day that I have a deadline and I will wind up throwing this bitch across the room (yesterday I accidentally turned off my wireless and it took me 45 mins to figure out how to turn it back on).

3 Comments:

Blogger Ben Shepard said...

PS: BACKSPACE IN FIREFOX WORKS NOW. EFF WINDOWS UBUNTU 4 LYFE. http://ubuntu.wordpress.com/2006/12/21/fix-firefox-backspace-to-take-you-to-the-previous-page/

6:31 PM  
Anonymous farmfresh said...

there are forums for everything in ubuntu. it's really helpful.

some similar commands to "ctl+alt+del" are...

"top" at the command prompt will show you what processes are running in order of system resources used. good for figuring out if something is hogging all your processor or memory.

"ps -e" at the command prompt will list *all* processes currently running with their associated process numbers and users.

"ps -e | grep (search string)" will search your process list for specific processes like "firefox" or "amrok" so you can get their processid.

"kill (processid# here)" will kill specific processes. (must be root or su to use).

"kill -9 (processid# here)" will force kill any process. (must be root or su to use).

try using rhythmnbox music player for ipod support. although, i think you have to install some "non-free" plugins to make mp3 support work. (non-free doesn't mean they cost money, just not part of the free open-source ubuntu repositories)

also, my parents have been using ubuntu for about 8 months since i decided i was going to quit cleaning viruses and trojans off their HP desktop. even they can figure it out. :)

one more also, http://www.virtualbox.org/.

this guy comes with ubuntu. just search for virtualbox in synaptic package manager. it's awesome. i have one running XP and one running ubuntu 7.04 on top of my fedora7 linux desktop.

11:30 AM  
Blogger Ben Shepard said...

It took a few minutes but I found all of the codecs to get iPod transfer support and all my various song files playing, I just have to get used to something other than iTunes and I am an old man stuck in my ways.

I've only set up a virtual machine once, to try OSX on my desktop, which was eventually a failure. Can I partition and install XP and iTunes or is it a "temporary" solution, like an emulator? Word on the street is that Wine can run iTunes but it needs a full install to transfer songs etc.

Also thanks for the tips :D

12:22 PM  

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