Ubuntu After a Weekend July 23, 2007
So, I've played around with Ubuntu a bit this weekend. Here is my brief rundown:
1. I have access to a lot more of my computer with it installed without having to do anything really, which rocks. Touch pad (the horizontal scroll thing I mentioned before), wireless networking, and sound mainly. I had a problem in Eclipse where if I tapped the touch pad it would paste whatever I had in my clipboard to whatever file I was viewing at the time. A lot of errant clips got into Java files, and I'd get errors on compile and was like "PC LOAD LETTER?!?!" I'd find it and wonder what it was doing there... eventually I found out the touch pad caused it. I downloaded qsynaptics (since all touch pads really use the Synaptics touch pad), and disabled tapping. qsynaptics is a program that basically modifies the touch pad part of your Xorg.conf file in Linux. It solved the problem. I don't use tapping anyway.
2. I've noticed it's a lot slower than Gentoo was running on the same exact machine. I looked up some speed hacks and tried them out. Most of them were for program loadup times and boot times, speeding up internet access by disabling IPv6, etc. It seems my hard drive is a lot slower. I took pride in Linux against Windows because when I ran Gentoo, the ANT script that would take 20-25 seconds to run on Windows now only took 4-9 seconds. I forget what file system I had on Gentoo, but I know the latest Ubuntu (Feisty Fawn) which I have installed, uses ext3. There's a lot of extra data, apparently, that gets written with each file, and my ANT script is all about copying files.
3. I am helplessly devoted and accustomed to my MacBook Pro. After using Ubuntu for two days, which is also supposed to be the most user friendly Linux (from my experience it is way easier than Gentoo), the Mac just blows it away still. I should try getting my development environment moved over to the Mac, but Java on the Mac is weird. I haven't delved down that road yet, whereas I know exactly what I'm doing when I get a development environment set up on Linux.
4. I tried getting a Windows share (SMB) set up on Ubuntu so I could occasionally log in an copy files or whatever. I set it up to where the Mac and my Windows PC could see the computer on the network, but they couldn't connect to the shared folder on Ubuntu. That kind of matters, actually, because I want to get a server set up with loads of HDD space so I can have all of my gobs of data on there instead of on a computer where I only view those files. I don't need to store every file I have distributed over all the computers I have. I'd like to have my music, movies, and a backup of code, maybe a webserver also, running on a server with a free and good operating system.
5. You learn a lot about Linux when you don't run it in root all the time. I had to set up Gentoo, like I said it was like building a house, compared to Ubuntu which is like a fully furnished modern house that you can just move in to. And there's this one part where you have to modify the script that runs when a new user is created, to copy files into their home directory for default settings and whatnot. I could just never get it right. So, I always ran as root. On Ubuntu though, it sets you up to have an account that's not root. You still have root access with the "su" or "sudo" commands when you need it. But you find out more about how security works in Linux. What folders you wouldn't normally have access to (basically, everything except your Home folder), what those other two numbers mean in "chmod 777 filename". All I know is if the first number is 7, and the other two aren't, and root owns the file.. you can't do shit with it. Actually, it's simple. 1 is read, 2 is write, 4 is execute. Or something like that. So if you have all of them, it's 7, or just read is 1, etc. And you notice that it probably took a lot of time to either a) make as many programs not require root or b) catalog which ones need root. Windows hasn't done this until Vista, which it doesn't even do a good job of from what I hear. I'm holding off on Vista until it's absolutely necessary or I can do without it until the next version. Depends what games require Vista, basically.
Probably the answer to my speed-up prayers is a new laptop. But I'd get another desktop before a new laptop, since I can build a desktop, and I can put all those hard drives in it and store all my data. Relatively cheaply too. Time for bed.