Window to a Window-less Existence: A Year with Linux

A Year of Linux
This year I have resolved to primarily use a Linux operating system for my day-to-day tasks, or really for all of my computing tasks. This will be a gradual process, but its already underway (and its been pretty painless so far).

While I would favor a clean transition to Linux, I’m still bound to Windows for a few reasons. Primarily, as a part-time web and graphic designer, I use Adobe products everyday. (While I’ve tried open-source alternatives, such as the GIMP, I’ve not found any programs that offer the sophistication of Photoshop, Illustrator, and Indesign versions CS2-CS3.) Similarly, I’ve become attached to some newer, Vista-ready, applications, and I’ve really had a positive experience with Vista overall.

Plan of Attack
Ubuntu – Through one, we are many

I’ve be experimenting with both the Fedora and Ubuntu distributions of Linux, which I’ve been running as virtual machines, and at this point I’ve sided with Ubuntu. Both distributions seem well supported and both seem to work will with my computer’s hardware (I have a HP Pavilion dv9000). I’ve arbitrarily decided to go with Ubuntu because it seems more convenient to install along side Vista. (Hell, if the entire French government can go with it, why can’t I.) The Debian ancestry also seems handy.

Simple Installation of Ubuntu
An application, Wubi, makes it possible to run a Windows installer that handles the partition of the drive(s), dual-boot configuration, and even makes it simple to un-install/re-install Linux from within Windows. Using Wubi you can select from several variation of Ubuntu. I’ve selected a stable, standard build using the GNOME windows manager. The installation Ubuntu using Wubi took about an hour, but this also included about 30-some-minutes for downloading the latest Ubuntu release.

Getting Started
With the book Ubuntu Unleashed (and a few other generic Linux books) as my guide, I’m looking forward to getting dirty with Linux…

Although… 15 minutes after installation, I realize something that I’d read but didn’t quite believe– Ubuntu is pretty clean out-of-the-box. Without any customization of the system, my on-board wireless/network, blue tooth, and sound devices work; battery management works; and any USB device that I’ve have handy connects well. It looks like the only immediate drivers I need to install/configure are for my monitor (The Invidia drivers for my monitor are present, but must be explicitly enabled).

Related, but Not Safe for Work:

I noticed this bit of fan-art within the top 10 Google search results for “Ubuntu.” (Did the Art Director for American Apparel previously work for Ubuntu in the UK.)

Asses in the Form of Ubuntu

Update: More Ubuntu porn:

Ubusty

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5 thoughts on “Window to a Window-less Existence: A Year with Linux

  1. I tried this a while ago. It worked fine but I was in the same boat as you. I was doing a large amount of web design and development at that period and needed adobe and a few other windows only things that I had gotten attached to.

    Similiarly to you, I have had a great experience with vista. It works fine after you figure out how to turn off a few annoying features. But that is not too hard. Also I think there is a lot more in the way of customizability than in XP. From both a graphical perspective and an operating perspective.

    When I did my switch to linux I tried both Ubuntu and Debian. I found that they were pretty much the same. One really handy tool I love that is featured in both of them is the apt-get command.
    If you havn’t run into it already, it is unbelievably useful. And, even better, if you look it up (i dont remember exactly how) you can add repositories for it to look in. So you can have so many programs ready to install with a simple command. If you want something like gaim, just apt-cache search gaim and it will show you your options out of a huge list. and then you can apt-get install gaim and it just installs it for you. I loved it. It was so good for adding php libraries and such.

    Another thing I agree on is your opinion on GIMP. Though gimp is a great program and there is nothing wrong with it, I too am spoiled by Photoshop.

    Well, best of luck to you and your Window-less year!

  2. Best of luck with your year – I’ve been using Ubuntu almost exclusively since April now, although I don’t have quite the same specific needs as you (an essay here and there, nothing that can’t be done well by open-source!).

  3. I would use Ubuntu alone for the advertising. (-:

    Seriously, though, I am on Mac OS X, the latest version. Yes, it is proprietary, and yes, it isn’t cheap, but I love how intuitive Apple’s OS is. Granted, I believe Ubuntu is way simpler and more intuitive than Windows, but it still has a way to go before it can beat a Mac.

    Just my two cents. Ciao for now!

  4. Yeah, maybe some parts of using Linux will not be as pretty and pain-less as the OSX experience, but it has it problems too. I suppose I’m try Linux because I agree- or think I agree- with the philosophy. And I sort-of just find that its something I should try for a sustained period of time.

    I program and use computers everyday, and I’m also involved in the creation of software. Having a non-computer background, I feel like I missed having courses in Linux- its as though there’s some fundamental computing truth known only by using Linux.

  5. For ur web development you can use Quanta Plus:

    sudo aptitude install quanta

    There are many more open source softwares out there waiting to be tried… They are really cool though i agree Adobe is much more professional… But it’s really worth giving Open Source Alternatives a try 😉

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