Oh, and Ubuntu Rules


I almost forgot I wanted to add a personal note about the Unofficial Offical Mowser Dev Platform: Ubuntu! A few months ago I switched all my computers to Ubuntu and I *love* it. I used a Mac a year or so ago, and then switched back to Windows last year, but after trying the Vista beta for a few months and then trying to use it full time when it “launched†in January, I gave up and decided to see how I'd fare using Ubuntu… and it's been absolutely great!

First - everything just works: All my hardware and peripherals like my DVD ROM/Writer, USB mic, USB camera and HP Printer/Scanner, networking, sound and Nvidia video card. Out of the box, no fuss. I remember when getting sound to work was the sign of an advanced Linux system… but now it's just a standard thing. Secondly, the software support has really improved dramatically. Not only were all my standard OSS apps there - such as Firefox, Thunderbird and Pidgin (Gaim) - but the “replacement†integrated apps such as F-Spot photo manager, Rhythmbox for music work great as well. And now with VLC, Flash for Linux, and the various codecs easily available out there, I have no problem viewing any multimedia at all. That's pretty huge. And the final piece of the puzzle for me was Xara Xtreme - a version of Xara's vector graphics editor for Linux which works incredibly well and is a *great* replacement for Macromedia Fireworks.

Moving to a desktop system which is as easy to update and maintain as my Debian server has been great… if I'm missing anything, it's usually just an apt-get away. Once I was done with maybe a week transition period getting everything tweaked, I really haven't had to mess with it at all. And Ubuntu just keeps improving in leaps and bounds. Just the past few releases alone have shown incredible jumps in terms of functionality and usability. My complaint about Mac OSX was that it was a Unix underneath, but in a sort of odd way that didn't always work like I thought it would, but being on Linux is just super familiar. And no more Cygwin, baby! I will admit that Ubuntu needs another rev or two before it's perfect on my laptop. It doesn't recognize my Toshiba's power management stuff, so it runs the fan full blast and drains the battery too quickly. But on my desktop it's been great.

So what does all this have to do with Mowser, really? Well there are always going to be annoying platform differences, so if you're using a Mac or Windows to view the site and something isn't quite right, definitely send us a note as it's probably some weird formatting thing that I didn't see because I'm not using Windows regularly any more. And if you get a chance, definitely try Ubuntu - it's leaps ahead of what you may remember Linux being like… it's that good.


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