Monday, March 03, 2008

Linux Update ... Putting on a new face!

My Linux experience just got a face lift ... literally! In my learning curve with Linux Ubuntu, I did encounter some problems -- failed installations, a corrupted "mysql 5.0" file, and tons of stuff littering my hard drive. And I didn't have the first clue of what was safe to remove and what wasn't. So I "bit the bullet" and wiped my Ubuntu installation off ... by installing Kubuntu. I kept hearing and reading that Kubuntu was much more "Windows-like." So I had to give it a try.

Yes, it's still Ubuntu ... but Ubuntu with the KDE desktop manager, instead of the Gnome desktop manager. This is even better than my previous experience with the Gnome version. The Gnome desktop environment is more closely related to the X-Windows Linux environment, while the KDE desktop environment is MUCH more like MS Windows. For me, a long time MS Windows user, the KDE desktop environment makes even more sense. I don't have to "un-learn" all my MS Windows habits/skills. Instead, they are handy and useful in the KDE desktop environment.

Kubuntu has a place, similar to MS Windows Control Panel, where you go to make all your system changes and to control how your devices behave. The "Adept Package Manager" is much easier to understand and use (this is the place you go to Add/Remove Programs in Kubuntu). So far, I have yet to experience a failed installation of a software package. This wasn't the case on the Gnome desktop environment of Ubuntu, where I had quite a few failed software installation failures that left a TON of orphaned files littering my hard drive.

As I expected, from my experience installing Ubuntu, the Kubuntu installation went equally smooth. All my hardware ... yes, even my "Made for Windows" legacy TV Tuner card ... was properly recognized and set up. As before, it took a little work to get DVD playback working on Kubuntu. But I have found out why DVD playback isn't installed by default in any version of Ubuntu -- it has something to do with intellectual property rights and the risk of being held liable as a party to possible copyright infringements. Whatever! There should be an option during the installation process to make it easier to enable DVD playback for those of us who want it.

Overall, I think you will thoroughly enjoy the Kubuntu experience. You will hardly notice that you are NOT running MS Windows. You will probably want to install Firefox after you get Kubuntu up and running (no, it's not installed by default). But "out-of-the-box," Kubuntu comes installed with software to play CDs and MP3s, graphic software (GIMP ... the "PhotoShop" of Linux), OpenOffice 2.3 (the freeware, cross-platform office suite that competes in every respect with MS Office), photo management software, chat software, and a whole host of other equivalent programs you commonly use in MS Windows.

And, just like the Ubuntu 7.10 installation, Kubuntu also runs from a "Live CD," where you can try it out from the CD without having to fully commit to it by installing it on your hard drive. So give it a try! All you have to lose is the time spent downloading the Live CD image file!


No comments: