Ubuntu Rising


Every day I'm amazed at how good Ubuntu is, and how fast it's been improving. I've been a full time Linux user since January of last year, and in 18 months, I've just been amazed at how *happy* I am using it and how I get *more* happy as time goes on. I'm thinking about this again as I just moved computers from a desktop to a Sony Vaio laptop, and Ubuntu's latest works incredibly well on it. Advanced GUI, sound, WiFi, power management (including suspend/resume) and more all work as you'd expect it to without *any* manual file configuration. And the install process took less than 20 minutes from start to finish. I couldn't be happier.

There's still a few issues, but nothing so frustrating that I'm any less ecstatic with my setup. As a Linux user, I sort of expect them and compared to years past they're trivial. For example, the built-in sound speakers don't shut off when you plug in external speakers or headphones right now. Not great but I'm sure I'll find out what the issue is with some searching. Also, the external monitor port doesn't recognize the correct resolution out of the box - I've seen online that I'll have to manually tweak the xorg.conf file, but I haven't done it yet either. Other than that, I haven't had a single issue, and I know that these issues could "fix themselves" as well, as Ubuntu continues to develop and my weekly updates bring fixes and upgrades.

Honestly, the setup was so fast and easy, I would have spent *much* more time cleaning all the crapware off the pre-installed Vista setup, as well as searching for anti-virus stuff, etc. It's such an incredible stroke of luck that Windows Vista is so bad and that its launch coincided perfectly with Ubuntu becoming a truly viable alternative to Windows or OSX.

What really excites me is the latest trend towards Linux based small computers like the Asus EEE PC, or all those Mobile Internet Devices that are coming down the pipe. Ubuntu recently released a MID version and it looks fantastic. Not only is Ubuntu a fantastic OS, with great software available for it (including Wine 1.0, which also runs a bunch of Windows apps without problems), but when manufacturers start incorporating Ubuntu in the development process, there won't be *any* hardware issues - even the little ones that I have now.

This is just so exciting. I just really like Unix as a computing platform - it's just so much better organized and functional than Windows. The daily pain of using Windows just doesn't exist... questions like "why isn't this connecting" or "why is this running so slowly" are quickly answered and more easily fixed. And with Ubuntu's Debian roots, it means that it's easily updated as well (and doesn't cost $120 every year or so to upgrade like OSX). Much of the technology, actually, has been out there for years and Ubuntu has simply done a fantastic job of organizing it all into a thoroughly enjoyable system to use.

Again, the MID stuff is what gets me really jazzed. Using the Nokia 770 and N800 has really shown me how useful a dedicated Internet device can be. Combining Web, Email and IM among other apps like eBook readers and casual games in a portable and usable package is incredibly compelling and useful. Adding in the power of Ubuntu (no offense to the Maemo folks, whom I love and respect) is just going to make those devices even that much more lustworthy.

It's a great time to be a Ubuntu user!


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