So I finally tried Ubuntu

I have always liked FreeBSD... sure it was hard to set up but i really like it. It's a rock solid fast operating system and it feels more well thought out than Linux to me. The problem is that over the years Ubuntu has gained traction which left me with the obligation to try Linux again.

The last time i used Linux


The last time I used Linux was Redhat 8. Yeah that was a long time ago. RedHat 7.2 was really cool and I upgraded for the new flashy icons and everything... I think. The problem I had with it was that RPM was just impossible for me, and no dependencies were downloaded automatically. Maybe I was doing it wrong, but it drove me nuts. This drove me away from Linux because on FreeBSD i had ports and packages working for me in no time. I eventually moved to PC-BSD which is awesome(Especially PBI), but the problem was that I don't want to keep reinstalling it. My windows reinstalls would kill my boot loader, and my DVD rom was broken. I couldn't reinstall from the DVD. So I decided to give Kubuntu a try.

Bad rap


Kubuntu is apparently a pretty bad KDE distribution. Now I am not sure if this is due to KPackageKit(which is an awfull package manager) or what, but it worked pretty kewl for me.

Wine


Wine is a great piece of software... but sadly none of the software I use seems to run on it. I tried running Max Payne 2. It took really long to load and hanged eventually. Command & Conquer tiberium wars didnt even install. Visual Studio 2005 also hung at install time. This means that I will be booting into Linux to erm... surf the web and check mail... oh and play with Linux. I Installed urban terror on Linux and there was no sound. No surprise it works in Windows... Sound is a huge issue in Linux at the moment... I am sure it will be addressed just as most graphics card and input device problems were also solved.

Sound problems


Now I am sure alot of people have sound problems in Linux. My sound card is a EMU 0404 USB ASIO audio interface. Its basically a professional sound interface that lets me plug my guitar in and record on the fly and add software sound effects. Its really cool. Linux in general have not tackled this use case so I was left pretty much high and dry. The funny thing is that it works, but the sample rate is wrong. I tried in vain to get alsa to correct the sample rate and eventually gave up. This in turn meant I had to use the cheapie sound card I bought for use with FreeBSD(Server operating systems cant be expected to have support for pro soundcards).

I searched the web and learnt about alsa configuration and the like, tried different forum entry suggestions and nothing worked for me. I hung around in the alsa channel on freenode repeating my question but nobody knew. The worst part is that only one out of about 5 peoples' questions were answered when I was in there. I know people are busy but it's sad to see the free support system fall apart like that.

If only Creative would acknowledge Linux and make drivers for it. The problem is they won't, because there isn't any decent software out there compared to Windows and Mac counterparts. I checked out Ardour which had a vague resemblance to Cubase, but without VST instruments and a piano roll? I couldn't get a beep out of it. If there was a brilliant DAW for Linux then maybe Creative would make drivers, but how do you create a Brilliant DAW without an existing market... You don't.

The end result of the sound problem is that when I boot into Windows I have to unplug my speakers very uncomfortably from the back of my pc and plug it into my EMU. This makes me lazy and then I don't want to boot back into Linux. Its stupid I know but Windows does everything I need and currently Kubuntu is merely a toy.

Should you try it?


Yes you should... for the following reasons.
- You can feel safer doing your banking and web surfing because you are less likely to pick up malware(if at all)
- If windows breaks you can just boot up Kubuntu and still do what it is that's important.
- Open office is not that bad for casual use. You can use it to do most of your normal officy tasks.
- Playing music and videos doesn't seem to be an issue at all so you if your a mediaphile it might be perfect for you. There are also lots of power user applications that let you burn cd's, edit videos, manage photos and so on. Once again all your stuff will be safe here.
- If you boot into windows only to use certain applications your windows installation will last longer.

A final note


Using Linux doesn't have to be an exclusive thing. I have heard of many users that have dumped their windows partitions and installed Linux, only to be disappointed. Change is slow without revolution, but it is happening. Freedom is important when you use your computer. Why?

Think about it this way. If you keep using the same product all your life the people who sell it to you can charge whatever they want and do whatever they want because you rely on them. Even if you pirate that software, you are still dependant on it. It owns your mind to an extent. Using something just because it's free is stupid, but as you can see above you don't need to throw the baby out with the bath water. There are uses for Linux. You can use both Windows and Linux. That way you will stand up and be counted as someone who wants to keep their mind free.

* PS. I know this writing is bad but I am just going off on a tangent and dont really seem to care.