It’s been a long time since I’ve blogged about my Linux experience. That’s because my experience has been everything that it should be – no unpleasant surprises, no glaring deficiencies, no disappointments…
Almost any flavor of Linux available now makes any version of Windows look – um – archaic – now. We’re talking clay tablets and chisels here. Besides, I’m a bit of a tinkerer, and Linux lets me tinker.
And right now there are two new versions of Linux – Mandriva’s latest and Ubuntu’s latest – that have been getting good reviews, both of which provide more functionality and power for the user, not to mention reliability, stability and security.
Both feature desktops that resemble what you’re used to – KDE (Windows-like) and Gnome (Mac-like), the latest versions of Firefox, and drivers that provide full functionality with most hardware. Optionally provided are the soon to be released (but still officially beta) versions of Firefox 3, and the KDE 4 (which is being touted as the next generation desktop). The problems getting drivers for wireless PCI and adapter cards for laptops have been resolved, because hardware manufacturers have, for the most part, agreed to publish their specs. And if you’re not sure about your hardware, both versions offer “live” versions, that let you try then out by booting them from the CD-ROM. No installation, or writing to your hard drive, required.
By way of comparison, it took me a full day to re-install the AstroWife’s Win2k system for the umteenth time. (You see, it’s sort-of a requirement that you wipe the disk and start over fresh every six months or so, unless you never add software or update the drivers much – but I’m sure you know that). It took half an hour to install and configure Mandriva. And better, I didn’t install it because I had to. I installed it because I wanted to.
The downside? The Linux “Open Office” is not 100% fully compatible with Windows Office – only 99% compatible. Then again, it’s free. Also, that darn, long awaited KDE 4 isn’t released yet. I’ll have to install that separately later, or wait a whole six months for the next Mandriva release.
And did I mention that it’s free?