Wow, Ubuntu rules July 21, 2007
It's funny to me, I've always downloaded the latest ISO of Ubuntu Linux, but have never installed it. Frankly because I don't have any blank CDs lying around. So, last night, I fired up Parallels and installed an ISO I had on my Mac, gave it a quick run through, and made the decision to install it on my other laptop which was currently running Gentoo Linux. Jared recently said he was digging Linux working alongside his Mac. He installed Ubuntu, so I figured I'd finally give it a shot. I was just afraid of losing work, but really I didn't get back into it, so it wasn't necessary that I switched operating systems.
Chances are you might not even have heard of Linux (a free open source operating system which competes with Windows, just in case you haven't heard of it), let alone Gentoo Linux, but if you were to install Gentoo Linux, it's like the super user's version of Linux. Say if you were buying a house, Gentoo would be a real fixer upper, and you could even use the analogy of it being all the raw materials and you have to put it together. Basically, I installed it on this laptop and the laptop was crippled for about 3 years (ever since I got the blasted Windows off of it). No sound, no wireless networking, my mouse pad wouldn't work right, and it took about a month to get a screen resolution that I was happy with. Ubuntu on the other hand is like a fully furnished, beautiful, modern house. You just move in and you can start living.
I installed it and fired up a game of Company of Heroes (against only 2 experts and a hard this time on Seine River). It was done before I finished the game in 41 minutes, which I would have hoped anyway. I whomped some ass in the game by the way.
When I backed up my Gentoo stuff, I have this script that I use that sets up a mount to my shared backup drive on my gaming PC with Windows XP SP 2. To do that, you have to use the smbmount command which, once you learn it, is very easy. Then you can browse to the folder that you mounted the Windows share on the gaming PC to, and just start copying files. The thing about Linux, though, is that it is easy once you learn it. But there is that learning curve, and lots of "man" pages that are pretty cryptic, and you have to figure out which options you need, how to format them, and all that other stuff. I don't mind it because I like a challenge.
Getting the files back after I installed Ubuntu, though, was as easy as going to "Places", selecting "Network", going through "Windows Network", opening up my work group, and opening up my Windows PC, "Voodoo2k7". I can then just copy files from there. If I want, which I probably will, I can use the smbmount command to set up a mount point, mount it to /mnt/voodoo, and go into the command line so I can copy stuff using "sudo" into protected directories, like "/usr/local/", since I haven't found a visual "sudo" program on it yet.
The other thing I noticed a short while ago... There's sort of a network button in the top right. I click on it, and it shows me all of the local wireless access points available! Wireless works with no setup on Ubuntu!! That's marvelous. I could have 5 wireless devices running now. In case you missed it, they are : MacBookPro, this Ubuntu laptop, PSP, PS3 (yup, I got one), and the Wii. It's a 802.11n router, so it can handle it. Ubuntu shows the signal strength of it as a sliver away from 100%, but definitely over 90%.
As soon as I restarted it from Gentoo with the Ubuntu disk in, I noticed that it instantly recognized the onboard sound and speakers. It played that nice little Ubuntu, African style introduction chime. I was like "F@#%@ YES!! UBUNTU ROCKS!!!" As soon as I got to a website that expanded beyond the visible bounds of the screen, I tried my mouse pad. It worked. I had spent MONTHS... maybe a couple of hours... trying to get this thing to work on Gentoo. I definitely spent a weekend, actually. Google "set up synaptics mouse pad on Gentoo Linux", and hit up any of the articles returned. You will see it's not easy. The "horizontal scroll" thing was what I couldn't get to work. The mouse pad worked fine otherwise.
I should have installed Ubuntu a long time ago. It wouldn't have ruled out getting a MacBook Pro, though (which is almost paid off, coincidentally), but I would have had a much better experience using Linux, and I might not have stopped using it hardcore in September. Gentoo was way beyond my capacity. I will miss "emerge" though :) Portage was nice, but Ubuntu has a whole graphical software update service. I say, if you're not using Windows for games, throw a Ubuntu disk in the drive and reboot. You won't be disappointed.
My favorite thing about having devices (weird side note... Firefox has a built in spell checker, and it underlined in dotted red, "favorite"... I switched it to "favourite" and it doesn't show any red line. I might have installed the wrong language! Although Ubuntu is maintained in South Africa or something).. oh yeah, so my favoUrite thing about having multiple devices is naming them. My PS3 is named "VoodooPS3", my PSP is similarly named "VoodooPSP", my Windows PC is named "Voodoo2k7" which was mentioned previously. My Mac doesn't have that naming appeal, and shows up on the network as "jasontconnell_s" or something. When I had Gentoo installed on this computer, I named it "gentoovoodoo". I bet you can probably guess what this computer is named... but I'll tell you anyway. "Voodoobuntu"!! Unfortunately, I've retired two computers, the original "Voodoo" computer, and my liquid cooled "LCVoodoo". Oh well.