My modern Linux experience has been isolated to OpenSUSE 10.1 and 10.2 over the last two years. However, for a change of pace, and since I've heard good things about its package management system, I decided to install Ubuntu 7.10 (Gutsy Gibbon) a few weeks ago. I've been slowly tweaking the install here and there to get things the way I want it and to fill the same needs that my Suse install does.

One big change was the adjustment from KDE to Gnome. I realize I could have installed Kubuntu, but I figured I'd give Gnome another chance. I may end up compiling KDE 4.x at some point just for the experience and the eye candy - and to see where that project is headed. At least for now I can install some key KDE apps straight from the GUI (Amarok, K3B, KDevelop).

I am increasingly impressed with Ubuntu. Their level of documentation, usability and support seems to surpass Novell's with SUSE. I could recommend this to my relatives without feeling the least bit guilty or religious.

Printing worked right out of the box - it never worked for me in the 2 years I used OpenSUSE. That was a very pleasant surprise, since that was my wife's biggest complaint about our Linux install (being able to print something is a pretty low requirement for an operating system).

MythTV was actually a little bit more painful to set up than on OpenSUSE. I had to dpkg-reconfigure and reset the password for MySQL before MythTV would work. See these instructions if you're also having problems.

I had to build the LIRC modules, though the instructions were laid out in such a simple way that I sadly have no idea what I did, just that my Snapstream Firefly RF remote now works with my existing lircrc files brought over from the OpenSUSE install. Dangerous? Apparently not. 😉

I particularly liked that installing most applications was as simple as the Applications > Add/Remove menu option - works much faster than YAST. What did confuse me a little was why some of the available applications were not listed in the GUI app. For instance, MythTV was available in the GUI, but I had to install MythVideo via the command-line (sudo apt-get install mythvideo). Another one: ChildsPlay was listed in the GUI, but that only gives you two games - you really need the plugins if you want to keep your kids happy (sudo apt-get install childsplay-plugins).

Speaking of kids, get TuxPaint. My kids also loved each of the three Asteroids clones... for about 5 minutes each.

What's nice though is that getting these 'extra' apps is only a google search and a one-liner in a terminal.

Anyway, there's only about one more thing that I have to set up in Ubuntu and then I can probably let the OpenSUSE one bitrot as I migrate data over from those partitions. If I'm able to stay running successfully for a month or two, then I can blow away those SUSE partitions and make room for something more modern (SUSE 11?).

§438 · March 23, 2008 · Linux, Software, Technology · Tags: , · [Print]

Leave a Comment to “Ubuntu Fun”

  1. Rob Russell says:

    I just talked to someone the other day who had to buy a new printer to work with her new Mac so we’re not alone in being ignored on printer drivers. Heck, I know Windows XP x64 still has miserable printer support too. I hope that with more flavours of more operating systems out there printer manufacturers go back to making hardware that meet some kind of known interface instead of insisting on their own magic apps to make everything work.

    I keep thinking of trying Ubuntu but I’ve never seen a compelling reason. My OpenSuse 10.3 does what I need. I don’t see that much difference between one distro and another. If the release cycles ever line up such that my Suse is old enough and Ubuntu is new enough maybe I’ll switch. It’d definitely be a build with KDE though, Gnome’s not for me until they overhaul those common file dialogs.