Ubuntu Linux ready for the Desktop? Part II

My first round with Ubuntu Linux didn’t go to well, I really couldn’t get anything to work. And ended up calling it a piece of crap. I’ll stand by my conclusion that it’s not ready as “Normal Joes” desktop OS, but … well, here’s what happened.

I started by downloading Kubuntu Feisty Fawn Herd 5, and burning the usual Live-CD. Herd 5 is a alpha release and as that expected to be unstable, but also a lot more up-to-date. Hopefully it would be more if what I was looking for. It’s also based on the Desktop Manager KDE instead if GNOME, but frankly, I don’t care. As long as my applications work.

Installation was fairly smooth, with only a few rounds of manual work in GParted needed (partition manager, one of the coolest applications and a reason unto it self to carry a Live-CD around) and it was installed over my more or less useless old Ubuntu installation.

After installation I found the System setting tool, which seemed to have support for dual monitors build in, so I played around with that. It seems to have a lot of quirks and issues. It kept forgetting settings and would quite frequently manage to do something to the /etc/X11/xorg.conf file that would make it unable to run with out crashing (make backups!). It would also quite happily leave the xorg file in a state where X would not start and just leave me with a blank console and a blinking cursor.

Lot’s of rebooting and manual editing of the xorg.conf file later I finally had what I wanted. I was even around installing a ext3 drive in windows to be able to edit the file from there.

So … in the system tray, there’s a small icon looking like it want attention. Clicking on it reveals an “you have update” window, so I click on the “update programs” button. But that keeps failing. Something about something not being a “nice value”, but with no option to change anything. I try a few times, but finally end up in state where it keeps saying that I already have the “adept system” (or what It’s called, I didn’t take notes) running and that I can’t run it again. That also means that I can’t use the automated “add/remove applications” system”.

I decide that kubuntu H5 is probably a bit to Alpha for me, and take a copy of the xorg.conf to my windows partition. Boot from the “normal” Ubuntu 6.10 live-cd, and after a but of work with gparted, Kubuntu is gone and Ubuntu is installing. After the install, I’ve three mounts on desktop! One for each of my windows partitions, so it’s a snap to copy the relevant parts from the kubuntu xorg.conf to the new one, and a reboot later, I’ve Dual Screen Ubuntu!

20 minutes later the system is fully up-to-date and ready to use. Nice. I’ll hold of on making any further conclusions, just note that this wasn’t easy.

Now I just need to move so stuff into Ubuntu and find some applications..:

  • Mail. I’m currently using The Bat for my mail. I need to decide to either run that under wine or replace it with something else.
  • Office stuff. I already use OpenOffice.org, so that would be a snap. I’ve actually already started to use docs.google.com more, so…
  • PocketPC sync. This one seems to kind of impossible currently. Possible a VmWare machine is needed.
  • Connecting to work. Also impossible as found in the Round I. I’ll probably have to use the VmWare solution here as well.
  • LightRoom – Just brought this applications and love it. I use it for all my work flow and photo management. Don’t talk to me about the abomination that’s the Gimp. Wine? Or VmWare again?
  • RSS – I’m thinking Thunderbird as I already use that.
  • Video? DVDRipping? Something like AutoGK would be nice.
  • Auto player and ripper.
  • CD/DVD burner for backups.
  • Games. My son likes to play Find Nemo on my machine and flash based browser games. I need to get that to work.

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