Living with Ubuntu

I installed Ubuntu Feisty Fawn on my Thinkpad T20 laptop as part of its rebirth. I also installed it as another boot option on my desktop. So what has it been like using it every day. I should point out I am not completely new to Linux having used various distros over the last few years. Linux has been my default operating system for the last year or two.

Installation went well. It was very simple, after the live cd booted I clicked on the install icon. The laptop installation was straight forward as I used the entire disk. On the desktop I have a spare harddrive and decided to use all of it which also was simple. Maybe too simple. I would prefer the option to select what gets installed and what doesn’t. I know I can do this post installation but why not at install time? Other distros do it.

There were some display issues on the laptop which I covered in the previous post but I was surprised how well most things worked, especially wifi. On the desktop all my hardware was recognised and works. Even the film scanner I have had to set up manually in the past. The graphics tablet works better than it has under any OS.

I like to personalise the desktop on my systems and here I found one of the weaknesses of Gnome. It is less intuitive to change colours etc than KDE. Once I got used to it though I was able to make some changes. I found editing the menus easier under Gnome. The desktop effects don’t work on the Thinkpad (no surprise there) but I use the cube on the Desktop.

I like single click having used it since it first appeared back in the days of Windows 98SE. I found it needed to be set in some programs, eg. Nautlius, although I had previously set it a system preference.

Installing additional software is a breeze, Synaptic is possibly the best tool currently available. I installed KDE and can switch between it and Gnome with ease. I also installed many other applications but that is a subject for a different day. The installation of the codecs needed to access some files, eg. MP3s, is handled well.

System updates are generally handled well. One update which included a new kernal reintroduced the display problems on the laptop and I had to redo the manual set up.

Localisation is an issue for many users and is for me. All systems default to US for English speaking countries and required some attention. During installation I was asked for my location and the time zone etc. was correctly set but I had to alter the language settings manually. There are Australian dictionaries and the local Ubuntu site covers this well. (As an aside Australian English is English UK with local place names etc. added).

I have had problems on the desktop with the USB sound card. Initially only Rhythmnbox would work but after searching various forums I got some system sound working but Firefox and other programs are still silent.

I will probably update to Gutsy Gibbon in the future but am no hurry to do it as I’m happy with the way it is running at the moment.

Overall though it has been a positive experience, Ubuntu is working well for me. It does nearly everything I need to do although I had to install several other programs to get to that point. They will be the subject of a future post.


Author: Jim

A sixty something living in the Hawkesbury Valley on the edge of Sydney Australia.

One thought on “Living with Ubuntu”

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