I mentioned a while back that I switched all of our computers (currently 5) to Linux (Ubuntu, to be specific). I was committed to making the transition this time and have spent quite a bit of time becoming more proficient with the operating system. I wouldn’t say I’m a Linux expert, by any means, but I’m starting to feel comfortable using it (only took about 3 months).
The OS is actually pretty remarkable in a lot of ways. Yes, there still aren’t any good text recognition or video editing programs for the OS. And, if you play computer games, you’re probably still going to need to boot Windows. But it has some features that absolutely rock. For instance, no drivers! If you’ve ever reformatted a computer and had to track down all the drivers from the manufacturer, you’ll know it can be a pain in the butt. Linux takes care of all that for you. I haven’t had to mess with any drivers.
I just learned of another characteristic of Linux that has sold me on the OS. It requires a little background, but here’s the skinny. I have a proclivity to put a computer through its paces and I like trying out all sorts of software. In the 3 months I’ve been running Linux I must have installed over 100 different software packages and uninstalled that many as well, trying various things. In the process, I must have ended up corrupting something (which Linux is usually pretty good about fixing). As a result, a feature of the OS that I use quite regularly and that is key to the OS’s functionality stopped working (CompizFusion). I tried fixing it for several hours, but had no luck. So, I ended up deciding that I would simply reinstall the OS and start from scratch. Here’s where Linux trumps Windows: Total reinstall time with reformatting: 2.5 hours. Granted, that’s not to 100% functionality, but it’s pretty close (I have a few additional programs to install, but I use them rarely enough that it can wait). Reformatting and reinstalling all the programs I used regularly on Windows took about 5 hours by the time I switched. Thus, switching to Linux has saved me time on the reformatting front as well. As an expert reformatter (like I said, I have a tendency to put computers through their paces), this is a big selling point for me.
Reformatting also gave me a chance to redo some of the things that it took me a while to figure out the first time around. I figured I’d document these things both for me for future reference and for anyone else interested in how to accomplish these tasks:
- How to automount internal NTFS drives
- Activating or Enabling USB Support in Virtualbox
- How to Backup a Virtualbox Hard Drive (Note: You only need to back up the hard drive, not anything else)
- How to Install Galleon (Tivo Desktop replacement for Linux) on Ubuntu 9.04 Jaunty
- How to Allow Copy Protected DVD Playback
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