Blogging since 2008 until 2010

Living with Ubuntu

I've been using only Ubuntu on my laptop for more than 2 months now, and it will most likely stay that way for some time to come.

I've not had a single driver problem or blue screen, and I've had to install very little software on top of the default to do the things I want. There have, however, been several things I've found a little difficult.

1. Google Chrome - Before switching to Ubuntu: I fell in love with Google's Chrome web browser. I'm not 100% sure why that is, but I'm still missing it for general web browsing. Thankfully Google are due to release a linux version some time this year.

2. Testing in multiple browsers - Related to the first point: I am a web developer. At work I use a Windows machine with Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Opera and Safari installed. I can test my work in all the major browsers before commiting it to the repository. The problem is that I work on my own projects out of hours and booting up a VM running XP is not the way I want to test things. On that note: yes, I am aware that my site doesn't render too well in Internet Explorer; I'm going to fix it - honest!

3. Games - While I'm not much of a gamer, I do enjoy the odd bout of shooting aliens, driving heavily modified cars or crying because I suck at computer games. It's no secret that lack of games support in linux (or more accurately, games' lack of support for linux) is a problem. Hopefully as linux rises in popularity on the net-book band-wagon: support will improve.

4. Photoshop - I've tried to like Gimp, I really have. But I've used Photoshop for my occasional photo editing for so long that I can't seem to use anything else. I've had Photoshop running under Wine, but it's buggy and doesn't support the pressure sensitive-ness of my graphics tablet very well.

5. IPTV - I don't watch a lot of TV, but when I do: it's almost always over the internet. The BBC have been kind enough to make their iPlayer service stream programmes direct from the web page in a Flash video player, but ITV and Channel 4 (amongst others) have not been so kind.

So why am I still sticking with Ubuntu, despite these problems? There are many reasons, and while the original reason I went for Ubuntu was Vista's horrible-ness and XP's lack of drivers: I have grown to love using Ubuntu as a desktop OS. I like the fact that if I want a piece of software to do something specific: apt/Synaptic can not only help me find it, but install it. I also like the fact that I haven't had to pay for any of the software I use. But the real reason I've stuck with Ubuntu is: I've got a desktop PC running Windows XP.

I use my desktop PC for games, Photoshop, the occasional web browsing (in Chrome, of course) and anything else I struggle with in Ubuntu. And, it's likely to stay that way; there's nothing wrong with a hybrid network. I use XP for the things Ubuntu's not too hot at, and Ubuntu for everything else - and then some. Is that so wrong? Or am I just the agnostic that the extremists love to hate?

First posted: Sat, 24 Jan 2009 11:31:48 +0000