15 November, 2007

Vista is Unproductive. In comes Ubuntu 7.10

I have been using at the office Windows Vista Basic with MS Office 07. It has been bothering me for reasons that I find absolutely unacceptable from such an experienced veteran name like Microsoft. Now my laptop, at three months old, is not that bad. It has a new Core 2 Duo processor and 1Gigs of ram. Still, I keep getting problems of slowness and of sheer stupid design, allow me to elaborate:
  • I once started my laptop, carried it with me to the car (I needed to get a phone number off an email) and drove from Riffa Hajjiyat, to Isa Town (WITH Traffic) before Vista booted up and Outlook started.
  • Excel 07 crashes always at least once in each session. For no reason, it just does.
  • Outlook 07 does not send emails out. After investigation, it seems that if I type part of the email then select the address from the drop down short list, it could freeze and stop all email after it. I need to go off line & disconnect, then get to that email and delete it. After which, if I want to send it again I have to retype it in its entirety then hit send.
  • Outlook 07 sends my emails as text. Despite me checking every possible option to confirm I want my emails as HTML, it still sometimes sends them as text. It is absolutely random.
  • If my battery is at 0%, then I insert the AC adapter; it will not charge. I swear. You have to turn the PC off, wait for it to charge at least 1% then you can use windows and charge at the same time.
Need I go on?
Needless to say I wasted hours everyday just trying to get basic functionalities like sending an email to work. It eats ram like crazy. My PC was so slow, heck my Pentium 1 I bought in 1996 was way faster.

Enough! I reached a decision: I cannot live with Vista. I must downgrade to XP or... use Ubuntu. I opted to go the Linux way.

This is my experience so far:
  • Ubuntu had a problem at install (if you can call it that); it was not able to resize a windows partition (I guess it was locked by windows). I started vista, went to my computer, right clicked on the drive and selected "Manage". From here I freed up 50 Gigs (you could work with less), and installed Ubuntu normally.
  • The install took about 15 minutes and had no problems with it.
  • OpenOffice.org took the place of MS Office immediately. It even had some better features, like the document writer had a button to export directly to PDF.
  • My wireless network was connected easily. This was a problem at previous Linux distros. I have now connected at work, home, my parents home, college and the local Gahwa (coffee shop) with no problems.
  • The visual effects of Compiz are amazing. What Vista couldn't (or wouldn't) do, compiz does and more!
  • All programmes that you wish for are easy to get. There is a programme called "Synaptic", start that up and type whatever you want. You can write a programme's name or a description. Like I typed ".rar" and a list showed up, I selected several programmes and clicked apply. The programmes were downloaded and installed without the need to restart. Currently "Synaptic" lists 23133 packages available to it!
  • There is an advanced desktop search field, that can search anything you want in no less than 8 websites and on your PC. Just click your choice.
  • My Samsung MP3 player would not work in Windows without its own programme. But here, Ubuntu knows it is an MP3 player and shows a small ipod icon for it!
  • Bluetooth off the bat. I could browse and be discovered but I didn't know how to connect. Configuration I guess.
I have some minor problems, like the Ricoh printer at work is supported, but I can't enter the usercode I have to type in order to print. And openoffice had formatting issues with presentations and documents in Arabic. Also I am yet to find a way to sync my P990.
Of course, these are gripes unique to me, the normal user wouldn't face these problems.

So, after using it for a while without the need to type a single letter in the terminal like before, I must hereby dub this version the first Ubuntu or Linux version that is totally user friendly.
This is a solid substitute to Vista, it needs no technical knowledge and is secure and fast.
I am really happy with this. I strongly suggest you download it and give it a try.


ammaro.com said...

heres the thing with any new OS... dont get it until its been in the market for a good year or two!

serioulsy... right now theres nothing you need vista for, and XP can probably fulfil all your requirements, so why are you using vista? im not going there for another year at least, when most of the bugs are sorted out...

btw, get another gig of ram, 1024 really doesnt do it for vista; its barely enough to run XP at a good speed

Redbelt said...

The thing is, the new laptop CAME WITH Vista. I really had no choice.
And Windows is a huge resource spender. when 1024 barely cut it for vista, Ubuntu feels quick and light.
Windows, like most Americans, is obese!

Mohammed Issa said...

Vista is fat, you wont need it now. but in a couple of years you'll have to upgrade to vista. the same thing happened to XP.
There seems to be a problem with your installation, there's no way it takes this long and crashes so often, I've tried Vista on 6 PC and laptops with different configurations, all I can say that it lagged a bit, consumed more power and swallowed some framerates from games.
Ubuntu is good, but still needs time to mature, specially for gaming.

BuZain said...

Welcome on board mate. Ubuntu rocks. I was in a Microsoft conference a couple of weeks ago and my win XP laptop died on me for no obvious reason. Thank god I had an ubuntu partition which I booted to and accessed my files on the win xp partition. I'll never forget the look on people's faces seeing me using ubuntu linux in a microsoft event. Priceless :)

ammaro.com said...

is ubuntu completely interchangable with win XP? i mean, do all the same programs run on it?

Redbelt said...

That is amazing Buzain!
Way to go!

I remember I used to email some people at MSN from my Palm and I made sure to sign all of my emails: "Sent by Palm Tungsten T3 using Palm OS"

And Ammar; Ubuntu is NOT windows. The same programmes will not run. It is a substitute.
However there is a programme on Linux called "wine" which would enable you to run windows applications on linux.

SoulSearch said...

Vista makes me sick too. I can't understand why our IT people decided to go fot it at this early stage of its hatching. To me its still a stupid little sperm hoping to impregnate an egg to make a stupid little tadpole. Sorry for the gross mental picture my explanation gives, but I truly despise Vista.

Redbelt said...

Well, soulsearch, having a close IT manager for a friend I can tell you that every IT Manager worth his salt will look for: Support.

Microsoft has an established presence in the region and can give you support. However, Linux, with all its flavours, does not.
Also, Microsoft tries to integrate all of its programs together, like how outlook connects with MSN messenger, and word using excel databases for mailmerge. This increases the probability that if you need just one programme, chances are you'd be better off on a windows machine.

At least there is growing support for the Linux Community in Bahrain. Click on this:

Buzzerk said...

all it took for me to be an ubuntu fan is searching for "ubuntu beryl" or "ubuntu compiz" in youtube. Blew me away! and it's even sexier when it's on your own pc :-D

sowaileh said...

Nasa has just upgraded Discovery shuttle's laptops from Windows 2000 to Windows XP. This should make alot of sense to IT professionals.

Redbelt said...

Does this mean my laptop is more advanced than the one astronauts use?

Well, I reckon they seek stability rather than cutting edge, eh? With things like outer space, you better be safe than sorry.

Mohamed said...

From what I understood, you appear to be running the basic not the premium version of Vista, thats why the Compiz effects are better looking since Aero is not available in the basic version.

Aero in my opinion is the most beautiful of all of the fancy UI's including Apple's Aqua and Compiz, but it may not be the most functional.