Impulsive decision – putting the penguin on my laptop

The penguin's on my laptop

I did something a bit impulsive on the weekend. I have heaps of friends who love linux so I decided I’d try it out for myself. I backed everything up, wiped XP off my drive and installed a friendly distribution called Kubuntu on my laptop.

The installation itself was fairly painless. The only real problem I had was setting up my wireless card (and I’m going to add a separate post about how I resolved that). I was really impressed that it picked up my trackpad and volume controls on my laptop because that always requires extra driver installation on windows.

Here’s what my desktop looks like:
My linux desktop - starting to look like home

The hardest thing about it is that it’s just so different. Pretty much everything in XP is second nature to me because I’ve been using it so long but a lot of those things don’t carry over.

To me it doesn’t look as slick as XP either. I think the KDE scheme I’m using looks pretty mid nineties. The buttons and checkboxes and other UI widgets are all grim looking, square and grey. Everything seems to be hard square lines and bevels. I’ve noticed that even the scrollbars look more clunky and feel less responsive than the ones I’m used to. I think it might just be a theme issue though so I’m going to try hunting around to see if I can find something a little more modern.

There also seems to be a lot of different ways to do things. My install seems to have at least four different package managers with different packages available. I haven’t quite figured out which package manager will have the package that I want or even which one I’ll get when I start blindly clicking on the icons in the start menu. I also tried something like six (I thought) likely different applications for configuring the screen resolution before I found the one that had the setting that I needed (editing a conf file to change screen resolution?? Please!).

On the other hand, I haven’t had any problems finding software for the things that I need. The built in image editor definitely is better than MS paint. There seems to be an application to automate every aspect of your sysadmin work too. Plus so much of it is available for no money. I haven’t had to resort to buying anything for it at all yet (does talk of buying shareware make linux people laugh?).

I think the next interesting thing is going to see what the driver and software support is like for my more exotic devices like the skype phone, camera and ipod is like.

Posted on 05 Feb 07 by Helen Emerson (last updated on 05 Feb 07).
Filed under Sysadmin