So I finally decided the other day I was sick of having to run the Windows gauntlet and I would give Ubuntu Linux a try. This came after trying to get Gentoo Linux to correctly install in a dual boot environment on my Compaq R3030. I really like Gentoo because it is so configurable and can be set up to load really quickly, I kept running into issues with Grub failing to install correctly, so I popped in the Ubuntu live CD and let ‘er rip. In a matter of minutes, it had installed itself on the previously partitioned space and lo and behold, Grub came up completely free of issues! To my amazement, I also found the apt-get functionality used for installing and updating packages to be very efficient and the few minor hitches I had were fairly simple to overcome with a quick trip to the Ubuntu forums.
The one exception to that has been getting my wireless card to function properly, so I have been tethered to the wall, until I can get that working. I think it has something to do with the hardware shutoff button that I have on my laptop, so if anyone has any ideas, let me know. I’ve tried several things, but nothing works yet.
At any rate, inspired by the success on my laptop, I made the move at work and am now running Ubuntu on my desktop there. To be honest, now that I have it set up, I really don’t miss Windows one bit. I have tried several Linux distros over the years, and Ubuntu really has dazzled me since it is so easy to update and navigate. It certainly helps to have some advanced Linux know how, but I really think they have succeeded in making a big leap to provide something viable for the desktop for the Linux novice. I am even pleased with how well OpenOffice integrates with documents saved in MS Office formats. Oh, and I can’t say enough about how well that Evolution (the default email application) integrates with Exchange. Really, the list goes on.
In addition to my move to Ubuntu, I have also been playing around with VMWare Server, which VMWare started giving out for free not too long ago. There is a slick Linux distribution of the software that I was able to install with relative ease. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to completely untether myself from Windows, since I have been doing some penatration testing on our network and require a few Windows only tools. VMWare however, has provided an outsanding solution to that problem, and since Doba provides me with a fairly beefy development machine, I have no problem running the Windows VM on top of my Ubuntu install.
So, after all the different flavors of Linux I’ve tried over the years, and despite my initial skepticism of diving into yet another, evolution has proved itself as this latest mainstream distro has won me over with its vastly improved characteristics. So much so, I think from now on I’ll spend most of my time outside of Redmond.