Linux – ongoing thoughts

On my trial to run Ubuntu 9.04 64bit for main use on my Laptop and reporting back on really how close it can come to a complete experience as a desktop machine and that I worked with Steve from The Tech Buzz to get Ubuntu netbook remix working a treat – read on to find out how it all went…

The General Purpose Laptop

The Laptop runs Compiz fast enough but I had to fix the CPU scaling so that it stopped running at 800Mhz instead of the 2Mhz, as this caused the fancy 3D Graphics to flicker like mad. XChat worked well enough but no better then the Windows Version I would say, the only good thing is that it is on it’s own screen (4 Desktops with Compiz). I just worked out that the Wireless refused to work, I tried some major Terminal mode typing, compiling drivers and sprinkling holy water over the whole lot but nope – this baby was as dead as any Hackintosh Wireless.

The Volume control jumps all over the place and in the end I use the Task bar to set the volume, the SD Card slot reader has zero chance of working it seems and firefox still sits there at 3.0.11 (3.5.1 is installed but it is not only called something else – Shiretoko but has none of my plug-ins from the other version.   

Adobe flash does whatever the hell it wants, sometimes I can open YouTube and it works, other times I get nothing in the place of the video. Streaming is a no-go, no matter what I have tried, no box comes up or it freezes after a few seconds (Justin.Tv). I blamed 64Bit for this but I checked n my Netbook which is 32bit and the same results, either I am doing something wrong or this is just not a good area for Linux. I have seen people stream from Linux so I know it is possible, I must ask them what they did.

If I swapped back to Windows 7, what would I miss or gain from this Linux Experience? I will not miss the Cube, the snow on the desktop, the mouse catching fire or any of that eye-candy stuff BUT I will miss the Multiple Desktops and the Zoom Feature. I would gain the ability to play games (woot), Stream, run Youtube or in fact ANY flash web site without a second thought.

The ASUS EEE 1005HAB Netbook

Steve from The Tech Buzz fancied a Netbook to mess about with and he got himself the new ASUS Eee 1005HAB, this features the Atheros 813 Network. The problem came about though is that when he installed Ubuntu, he had no Wired or Wireless actually working. After many hours of searching google, we finally found a link which explained what to do. The bottom line of this procedure is you downlaod the Source code of the driver (Wired), Build it and install it – all via command line plus add some extra packages THEN update the system (via wired) to get the wireless working. This would stop most people messing with Linux on that machine and even most Tech savvy users are going to get confused as to having to Build the files from the source code. 

The end result is we did get it going and it never went as smooth as it should, for example loosing the bar at the top and bottom, graphics breaking up and it going slow – Windows by the way Works 100% fine on this machine (it came with XP).

What do we know then?

I managed to learn a lot about Linux and the command line by having to support Linux Servers in a business environment, a case of repeating the same stuff over and over and finally it sank in on how to copy files from one server to another, add user, add groups, manage groups, editing via Vi and so forth.

While the Linux Users will stand there and say how amazing there Distro is and how bad windows is – they either know it inside out and can solve any problem or they are lying to themselves and letting the OS dictate what they can do (as in, cannot stream via 64Bit – oh well, I just wont stream then). I am not writing the OS off as a lost cause, it is good for many things – mainly server side I would say. I am not quite jumping back to windows yet and I can swap the HD’s around anyhow (one has Win 7, one has Ubuntu). I found this an interesting subject to tackle head on though.    


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