Sunday, February 13, 2011

ubuntu & I

I've a long experience with the Unix world. When I first picked up Linux, it was all command line (I think it was Redhat). I kept hearing about it and I noticed that it's commands overlapped with Unix shells in many ways. I told myself, yeah I know Linux. This was more than 10 years ago.

Since then I've had chances to work on Linux command line versions several times when I worked on some web projects in PHP/MYSQL. Still the same impression. It's like Unix.

Few years ago, I was at Fry's. They had a PC for $125+. This was when a decent windows PC cost like $500 - $1000. I was thrilled. Picked up one and took it home. It had some flavor of Linux on it. To my surprise, it had a windowing version of Linux. I was thrilled. I took out my windows PC (I believe Win2K or XP) and plugged in the new PC. I connected to Ethernet, mouse, keyboard, speaker, monitor and even the printer. To my surprise Internet connected right away. So did the monitor, keyboard, mouse. After some fiddling I was able to get sound working also. I've worked with windows and experienced the typical windows problems like driver issues, software issues, hardware incompatibility issues before. Different versions of windows didn't work with the same hardware. Here I got a totally strange Operating System (Actually it was strange because the flavor of Linux I had was from Taiwan and it printed a lot of Chinese characters - that added to my surprise as well) and it worked like a charm. I was impressed. But, I didn't keep the PC for long, as there some other devices that failed with it.

Till recently It's been touch and go with Linux. Recently, my windows PC crashed. I must admit, I installed EASUS partitioning software and some registry compacter and these screwed up a lot of paths in the registry. I tried to restore from Restore points, alas it wouldn't. I tried to create one, it failed. I had to actually reinstall windows from the backup that comes with HP PC. This was frustrating experience. My PC had been slower and slower, which is what drove to touch the partition and registry in the first place. Now that I reinstalled windows, I was hoping my PC was going to perform better. To my disappointment, it really didn't.

My father was visiting me and in his spare he decided to build a PC. I had different old PC's hanging around. He got one working by replacing the motherboard with Intel Atom based board. It has a memory restriction of 1GB. We got an old Windows XP drive installed and was actually run Windows. (Not quite easily though - Windows seems to build configuration of the PC where it was first installed, so when I tried to use XP in a different PC, it failed to boot). I didn't remember the windows password. After looking around, we found a Linux based password extraction program!!! The entire operating system on a CD and we didn't even have to install it. It ran right out of the CD.

This is when we decided to give Ubuntu a shot. I eventually installed Ubuntu. The windowing interface it had, blew me away. I loved it. And as usual, the PC with Linux worked with all the devices right out of the box. Actually the Windows on the Atom PC did have problem with Audio and to my surprise, Audio worked with Ubuntu.

Then I dusted off an old 10GB drive and installed Ubuntu on it. Now, this is my main PC. Ever since, I am hooked to Ubuntu. Everyday I keep discovering new software to install and still have some more space to do other things. So far, this older PC with less memory and hard disk space than my 2-year old Windows Vista PC, the run for the money. Now, I don't use my Windows PC directly. When I want to I remote desktop from my Ubuntu PC.

I have plans to upgrade my Ubuntu PC. (I don't have the intention to get rid of Windows PC yet, as there are several software on it that I still use). But, with Wine installed, I am discovering new sides of Linux. I will write more about my experience with Linux here.