AT THE BEGINNING: WINDOWS
Ok, not windows, I have used DOS 6.2, great OS. Move to dir, type command, play game. That’s it. Then installed Win 3.1. Lol. Nice windows. Now what? Windows 95 came out, and I thought “Great, now we’ll have the abilities of DOS and nice interface of Windows”. Errrr. Soon the 98 came out, and the ME. Nope, not there yet. With XP things changed. It worked, was stable (kinda), but ever so often, I had to reinstall my system. Then Vista came out, and after installing it, I was content. Not all programs worked, but that’s normal. I hoped for it to be more compatible, more lightweight.
Past month I decided to let go of the MS operating systems, and go for Linux. Linux always intrigued me. I downloaded my first “flawor”, Red Hat 9, a couple of years ago. Downloaded, burned, installed. Didn’t recognize all my hardware, installing new software was a pain in the ass, and finding good software that was alternative to windows platform was hard. I learned to compile stuff, search for dependencies, uninstall, this, that, but that was not something a normal kid would go for. No games. Sorry. Fedora came out. Ok, nice. A couple more encounters with Linux (System rescue cd was a good find) couldn’t convince me to turn over to open-source. Well, Microsoft did. Vista is just too hungry for RAM. And I don’t wanna buy more RAM. I think 1 gig is enough (if you’re not gaming). The latest Ubuntu was downloaded, burned and ready for install.
I did a backup of the system partition, formated the drive (well, actually Ubuntu did that) and installed the famous Linux distribution. Everything went well, but the GRUB didn’t want to install. One test with System rescue disk and it’s testdisk showed the partitions, and after rewriting the partition table (oh, yes, windows fucked it up) everything was fine. The amount of time it took me to setup my system was surprising. All the necessary programs were installed, and the rest that were missing were easy to install: open up synaptic, search for software, click apply. That’s it. No restart, no going through pointless wizzard, no questions like “Are you sure u want to install?”, and so on. As I’m developing web sites, I installed the necessary server applications like apache web server, php, mysql with 3 clicks. Went to synaptic, selected the web server package, clicked apply. After the setup of the virtual servers, and configuration of the databases, I was able to access my sites. This all can literally be done in about an hour.
Using compiz fusion, cairo-dock, pidgin, indexer, Thunderbird that is always active on my desktop nr.2, and all the rest of services/demons that are active, plus OpenOffice Writer, the system monitor shows 327 mb ram in use and 20% CPU. Oh, remembered about apache server with MySql. Try that in windows. Compiz can sometime render the windows black. Then I go to reload window manager, and everything is fine again. Not nice, but maybe a bug that will be corrected in the future. No crashes so far (I managed to crash it once, when running Photoshop CS2 using crossover linux, but no problems after that).
Well, this is more of a problem with the industry than with the Linux, there are not a lot of games natively supporting Linux. You can run Unreal, and a couple of others. With Wine/Crossover linux, you can run windows games, like WOW.
A LOT better. Everything is fast, programs load fast, compiz is not only eye-candy, it helps with using the OS. The restarting of the PC after installing some programs is history. You DO need to use the console for advanced stuff, but in during “normal” work terminal is unnecessary.
It still is a bit early for me to make a good conclusion, but so far i have no bigger objections. My girlfriend uses my PC often to check her CDs, browse the web and the like. She almost didn’t notice it was completely different OS. I’ll try to update this post after a certain period of time, when I’ll have more experience.