Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Ubuntu Challenge - THE RESULT

Here we are, at the end of the Ubuntu challenge. One month without Windows, living my home computing life on Ubuntu Studio. So, the final result? Is Windows banished from my desktop? Will I return to Redmond's finest? We'll get to that in a minute.

First let me enumerate and explain the instances where I needed to run Windows:

I had to boot into Windows a couple of times to grab config info, such as my microsoft messenger setup for my AMSN config. But that really does not count - that is just config stuff - not something I needed to run in Windows.

I had an external disk that I had brought home from work. Ubuntu identified it as being dismounted from Windows incorrectly, and would not mount. So I booted the machine to Windows, attached it, went through Windows' safe hardware removal process, and then it worked fine in Ubuntu. Now, I probably could have figured out a way to make this work without the Windows boot - but I figured that was the quickest way from point A to point B.

During my recent server drama I decided I needed to cut down on the amount of data on my server. A lot of that junk just needed to be burnt off to DVDs and put on the shelf. So I started archiving with Brasero. However Brasero started giving me errors during creation of data DVDs. So I booted back to Windows, mainly to check and see if there was something else amiss. Under Windows I had no issues at all burning the disk. This led me down a long and quite boring path of trying to figure out WHY it was doing this. But that is another story that I won't get into here...

But that's that is it. Those were the only instances where I needed to boot into Windows.

You will notice that I did not need to boot into Windows to DO anything - mainly to fix or test little issues in the quickest way I knew how. And that is a critical point - there really wasn't anything that I really wanted to do, that I could not do in Ubuntu.

That is not to say that I didn't have to work to get there - there were some pretty annoying things, like setting up DVD playback. But in general it was not too bad, and now I know how for the next setup.

And there also may have been a couple of times where i might have wanted to jump on gametap for a quick game fix (especially since they have done some major revamps to the service lately, and now have Tomb Raider Legend AND Tomb Raider Anniversary on there). BUT I really just don't play games enough anymore. I probably wouldn't really even play them for more than a few minutes each. Plus Triple A and Ticket To Ride have kept me occupied - but more on that another time.

So other than a few games that I really doubt I would play much, there isn't much from windows I think I'm missing. And many of those games may run under
Wine, I just haven't really cared enough to check. But what's more, I didn't find myself wanting to run Windows. I never really said, well this would be easier in Windows, or if only I was on windows, this wouldn't be much better. For my needs, I actually think Ubuntu fits me better.

Which is a surprise. I was always more of a fan of KDE than of Gnome. And while there is the KDE based Kubuntu, but since Ubuntu Studio shipped with Ubuntu's standard Gnome, that is what I went with. And to my shock, I really like it. Better than KDE, or Vista. I thought I would find find myself accidentaly doing things the 'Windows way' and then having to catch myself, and do it the 'Ubuntu way'. But that really did not happen. Plus I really like the way the desktop environment works
, and when I'm on Windows at work, I miss my Ubuntu's wobbling windows.

And I have to be honest, I also enjoy the discovery of it all. It sort of reminds me of how stoked I was when windows 95 came out - it was SUCH a big leap forward for windows (basically jumping ahead of the Mac at the time), but keeping all the backwards compatibility it needed. That was right around the time I was first breaking into the computer business, and just the exploration of win95 was fun. I don't think I have felt that way about an OS since. Not even Apple's OSX (which was another quantum leap) had this sort of appeal, but that was mainly because its classic OS implementation was crap, and it obsoleted so much hardware. But Ubuntu has made it fun for me, just to poke around, and find new things, and discover what I can do. And that right there ALONE has made it a great experience for me.

So, the question is, will I be dumping Windows?

The answer is... Sort of.

I will always need to have Windows running somewhere, for work, just as I need to have OSX running somewhere. I would be remiss in my career if I did not.

But Ubuntu is the real deal for me. It is now my main OS. I have machine at work running it now, just for little tasks right now, but it is creeping in.

I can (and have) run a great many Windows apps in Wine, and that pretty much would make it so that I don't NEED Windows. but since I can dual boot Windows and Ubuntu, I don't see why I would ever loose windows all together. (plus there is that whole gametap thing)

I guess the real question is, should my next PC be a Mac, so I could run Ubuntu, Windows, and OSX? its a tough sell, because of the price tag... I'll need to sleep on that one.

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