February 2nd, 2008
Since I use my Dell Latitude D410 for most of my day-to-day computing, it was the obvious choice for the experiment. I had previously been running Windows XP, so I went ahead and removed the hard drive and popped in a new one (just in case I couldn’t take it anymore, I could easily return to friendly territory). At first, I contemplated dual booting with Windows XP, but decided that it might be too much temptation to jump back to a familiar OS if things got difficult. I decided to go with a straight install and utilize VirtualBox for any future Windows needs I might encounter.
Once the OS was installed and updated with the latest and greatest, it was time to do some poking around and playing. I was quite impressed to find that all of my hardware was recognized and functioning. Even setting up the wireless connection was a painless event. I had been expecting some hiccups, but everything ran very smoothly.
First thing I noticed was that I needed to adjust the desktop a little, things were a bit too different for my first leap. I didn’t like the panels being both at the top and bottom of the screen. I removed the bottom panel and added the Window List to the top panel and enabled Window Grouping to compensate for the reduction in display space. I also found an extreme dislike for the Trash being located on a panel, the Windows user in me required moving it to the desktop.
The next step was seeing what applications I had and where my gaps were. Since I access Gmail from my cell phone, Nokia N800, and my desktop PC, I decided to not use an email client on my laptop. I instead installed cGmail to inform me when new mail had arrived in my Inbox. The application worked great, however I had to find a way to add it to my Startup Programs so I wouldn’t have to execute it each time I booted up. I also installed Twitux as my Twitter client and added it to the Startup Progs as well. The next hurdle was a bigger one. I needed a satisfactory blogging client. I tried Drivel and QTM, but wasn’t quite satisfied with the feel. I finally settled on the ScribeFire plugin for Firefox (thanks for the suggestion Davak!) as my client of choice. You can check it out for yourself here. The final hurdle for the short term seems to be that of an image editor. Try as I might, I just can’t fall in love with GIMP. I have been an avid user of Corel Photo-Paint for years, and am currently thinking about moving to Adobe Photoshop, so we’ll see what I can do from the Linux side of things.
Since I have been going on frequent trips to Seattle, I needed to get DVD playback functioning on the machine. Two terminal commands later, I was able to enjoy my movies with no problem. I will be looking into finding a solid method for ripping DVD movies to my hard drive in the near future, that’s a must have.
All things considered, I am really liking the Ubuntu experience. I realize that I am only a month into the experience, but I have little to complain about at this point. We’ll see how the OS does as I require more and more from it as time goes by.