Finally plunged into Ubuntu – Feisty

21 05 2007

I had been thinking about giving Ubuntu a real try lately. I have had it installed on a PC that sets on my desk in the office but it was too easy for me to just push my chair away when a challenge presented itself and get back to comfortable old Windows. I never spent more than a collective hour a week tinkering with it.

While messing around with my laptop last week, a Thinkpad T42p, it dawned on me that most of what I do on my laptop is done in a browser and this machine may be the best Ubuntu candidate. So I did it. I moved all my data to an external drive, booted to the Live Feisty CD and blew XP out in place of Ubunutu, which became Kubuntu in only a few days.

It’s important to note that I have lived in Windows for all my computing life, since before 3.1. I have never done much at all with Unix or Linux aside from some casual shoulder surfing and the same is true of the macintosh.

I’ve been running Ubuntu now for a week and have not suffered much.

What I was impressed with:

  • Hardware support – I have not had to seek out one driver. Wireless networking just worked at home and in the office. Wired networking took right off too. Video and sound were also optimal out of the box. My Mp3 player was immediately recognized as was my Cruzer titanium flash drive. I was also able to configure network printing with no effort (printing to a Lexmark T640 with the T614 driver).
  • Installed software – The installed software is more than enough to get you going. The Rhythmbox Music player is one of the best I’ve seen. On my to-do list is looking for some lists of required Ubuntu software. I really have no clue. I did install kubuntu because it was mentioned in many of the articles I read. I’m not entirely sure what it does for you. I know it is KDE vs. Gnome and it has its own apps bundled that are equally as nice (Konsole).
  • Management – overall the management of the OS has been very intuitive. Each time I would look for something online invariably my search would lead me right back to a setting in the OS, and not a setting that has to be tweaked via the terminal but an honest to goodness GUI with options and everything. I know there is much that can and should be done via the command line but the fact that you aren’t forced there for every little thing is nice. While I was researching the OS all the mention of having to adjust settings via the terminal was not something I was looking forward to. It’s not that I’m afraid of using a command line, I use them all day long in the AS400 and Windows, I was not into having to learn a new set of commands and syntax just to run an alternate OS. Thankfully I haven’t had to beat away at too much from the command line. Learning more about it is another to-do item.

Here’s what I have working:

  • Email – Evolution – We are an Exchange shop and evolution was the only real solution which allowed me to be connected to the Exchange environment for calendaring, contacts, etc. I’ve only been satisfied with Evolution in the office. Evolution will not connect from anyplace outside the LAN. This is a bummer as Webmail looks like crap when viewed in anything but IE. I’ll likely resort to VPN and a remote Desktop to my office PC when I need to do any extensive Outlook stuff outside the office. Oh, I failed to mention that Evolution uses the webmail interface to Exchange.
  • VPN – A VPN into the office was essential for after hours emergencies, etc. It was very easy to get setup using this info.
  • TN5250 – AS400 access – This took a little bit for me to get working. I’m sure this had to do with my lack of knowledge around the console/terminal in Ubuntu, and not the app itself. Once configured it works pretty well. I have some tweaking to do in the keyboard mapping but nothing too serious. The documentation here is 100% required reading.

All in all I have been very pleased. My biggest shortcoming, and possibly greatest benefit, is my lack of knowledge. I really don’t have any idea what software works better than another. I simply did not have much in the way of expectations aside from eventually dumping Microsoft. As I mentioned my world has been Windows and thus far I do not feel crippled using Linux at all.

Its a neat feeling to be digging into an OS again, for the first time.

Following are some links that helped get me acquainted.

Connecting to Windows from Ubuntu « Linux for human beings?

High-speed cellular wireless modems (e.g. EVDO, HSPDA) in Ubuntu GNU/Linux 6.10 | Samat Jain’s personal home page\

How To: Configure custom keyboard shortcuts on Ubuntu – Lifehacker

HOW TO: Ubuntu Linux for Novices – PaulStamatiou.com

HowTo: Dual Monitors (Xinerama/TwinView/MergedFB) – Ubuntu Forums

Installing Beryl On An Ubuntu Feisty Fawn Desktop With An ATI Radeon Graphic Card | HowtoForge – Linux Howtos and Tutorials

keepass installation – Ubuntu Forums

No Kidding IBM iSeries Access (as400) Client on Edgy [Archive] – Ubuntu Forums

NoMachine NX – Linux Terminal Server, Thin Client Access and Management Software

nVidia TwinView – Ubuntu Forums

Ubuntu:Feisty/Networking –

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