This Ol’ Windoze User’s Switch to Ubuntu

About a month ago, I was fed up with Windows. I hated having crashes all the time, security flaws cropping up every hour on the hour, having to pay for software, and everything else the closed-source community embraces (and by community, I mean industry). Two years ago, I tried to switch totally to Mandrake 10. This only lasted a week or so. The main problem? Lack of good package management.

I was told by a friend (noogz) that Ubuntu was a good distribution of Linux, so I downloaded the 5.10 Preview Release, and got it all set up. What follows is an account of all the steps taken until now. It is totally true. The names have been changed to protect the innocent (not really). Full story after the break!

Okay, so to start off, I consolidated all my Windows XP stuff onto one hard drive. I now have a 40GB Hard drive open for use.

I then shut down my computer, and boot up the Ubuntu Installation disk. Unlike many of the bigger distro's, the installer for Ubuntu is text only, but don't let that keep you away. There's really only a few options to select—the drive you want to use, admin password, and time and date (I believe that's it).

Initial Setup
Once the installation is finished, and I boot up, I see a cool graphical boot screen! Very cool for a Linux distro. Next up, I logged in, and was at the main Desktop.

All the menu items and programs made very logical sense. Quite intuitive, actually. So, in order to get my dialup connection to work well, I installed KPPP by using Synaptic Package manager, a streamlined way of installing apps, which is one of the biggest benefits of Ubuntu, and other Debian-based distros.


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Daily Use
Since installing Ubuntu 3 weeks ago, I've booted up Winblows twice, for a total of about an hour. In Ubuntu, everything just works. If I want to talk on AIM or MSN, I just pop up Gaim, which is preinstalled. If I want to talk on IRC, I can just pop up the IRC client. Wanna edit images? Just pop up The Gimp! Almost everything you want to use is available right off the bat. If it isn't, just pop up Synaptic, and search for it, check it, and apply!

We all know that Linux has never been famous for all of its games. I got Cedega (a windows game “compatibility layer”) and used it to install a few games. The ones I tried—Pariah and Call of Duty: United Offensive—both ran about 2x better and faster than they did in Windows! Also, more and more games are supporting Linux natively nowadays. For instance, Doom 3, Unreal Tournament 2004, Quake 3, and America's Army all support Linux, and run great.

The bottom line for games is: If it runs, it's probably going to work better than it would in Windows.

Final Thoughts
Well, I must say, I'm in love with Linux. I'll never go back to Windows as my main system. I will, however, leave it installed to play games at LAN parties that won't run under Linux. Everything I need is included in Ubuntu, and it's very functional. The only thing that could use some work is if you could get all the programs available on an extra CD, for those of us with dialup.

With Mandrake, I used KDE, but now I prefer Gnome. It's got split bars for Application launchers, and taskbar. Check it out below.


Overall, I give Ubuntu a 4.9/5, with the only improvement needing to be an extra “add-ons” CD.

Written by Jason Striegel

C/C++, Java, Python, Linux developer for 18 years, A-Tech enthusiast love to share some useful tech hacks.