Revisiting Linux on Desktop

Two years ago and after five years of frustration I kind of gave up on Linux at home. I use it regularly at work (a rather limited set of Linux server applications), but I decided to eliminate it from my home because after so many years I got sick of its little problems.

Recently I’ve been thinking about resurrecting my old Athlon PC and after a bit of research last week I came across this article. Well, I thought, what the heck – let’s give it a try.

Yesterday I downloaded the latest Ubuntu desktop ISO and today I installed it on the PC. Findings:
o I was able to download the freely distributable MS fonts but a bug in Ubuntu’s (or Debian’s, actually) font manager prevented me from configuring X-Windows to use them
o Since I planned to keep the box on at all times, I downloaded the BOINC package but a bug in the BOINC configuration tool prevented me from using it. (Yes, there are some “try this and if that doesn’t work try that” posts on the forums, but I have smarter things to do, thank you very much).
o For some reason (I spent 20 minutes trying to find out why – no luck) the OS can’t reboot. It hangs on shutdown/restart.
o For some reason the OS can’t switch users – it hangs on X-Windows stop (probably related to above shutdown/restart problem)

One funny thing is that there were over 200 security updates to install (and this is the latest edition of Ubuntu). Remember the days when dozens of Windows updates seemed outrageous?

What’s good? Well, the OS looks prettier, selection of applications is richer (20 chess programs anyone?), but it still reminds me of a pretty Frankenstein – all parts are good but it’s very difficult to get them to form a nice and properly functioning whole.

I think I’ve had enough Linux on desktop for quite some time. Linux on desktop, see you in 2010!


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