Home > Linux, Ubuntu > Why this Linux veteran runs Ubuntu

Why this Linux veteran runs Ubuntu

I keep hearing Ubuntu described as merely a noob’s distro lately. However, Ubuntu has around 50% of the Linux desktop market share, give or take, but Linux as a whole has only gained a tenth of a percent or so since Ubuntu’s introduction. So either noobs adopted Ubuntu in such numbers that half of Linux veterans switched to Windows in protest, or there are quite a few veterans out there running Ubuntu, but who apparently don’t think it’s cool to admit it.

Well, it’s about time people either come clean or switch already. I’ll start the ball rolling. My name is Karl (Hi, Karl), and I’m a Linux veteran who runs Ubuntu. I switched from Windows 98 to Red Hat, then Mandrake, Suse, Linuxfromscratch, a customized Knoppix for a year when my laptop hard drive crashed and I couldn’t afford to replace it, then Gentoo for about 5 years, and have been running Ubuntu exclusively since Jaunty. I’ve maintained a custom set of conflicting kernel patches, I grep the source before asking on forums, have contributed patches and documentation for various projects here and there, have gone weeks at a time without any GUI at all, and once cross-compiled a bare bones installation for a 486 I had laying around, just to see if it could still be done (it could, and was quite usable without X).

I tell you this to put my Linux experience in context, and hopefully establish my credentials as a veteran. According to the buzz, Ubuntu is the last distro I should be comfortable running, but here I am. So why did I switch, and why did I stay?

When my wife ordered a Dell netbook preloaded with Ubuntu, I decided to create a Ubuntu partition on my laptop so I could advise her on “the Ubuntu way.” Right away I was impressed that my wireless interface “just worked,” and I discovered a number of other bits of UI polish that I didn’t know existed. Additionally, all the binary package dependency issues which pushed me to LFS then Gentoo in the first place were no longer a problem.

I also discovered that my wife wasn’t needing my advice. She bought an external optical drive and was watching DVDs without asking me more than what software she should use. The next time I was facing a major Gnome upgrade on my Gentoo desktop, I installed Ubuntu instead and never looked back.

Does Ubuntu get in the way of the “advanced” things I want to do? Not at all. I have cron jobs set up to do automatic backups. I get an email when one of the disks in my RAID is starting to look iffy. I have intrusion detection with rules updated daily from multiple sources. I have a rather intricate set of firewall rules, that only logs the important events. I recently set up my desktop as a full-fledged wireless router, complete with my own DNS, DHCP, and traffic shaping and prioritization. Ubuntu didn’t provide me with nice graphical widgets to set all that up, but they didn’t stand in my way either, and in many cases their documentation was quite helpful.

Does Ubuntu have its issues? Of course, but nothing I have felt the need to dwell on. When the buttons got moved to the left, I spent 30 seconds on google to fix it and moved on with my life. I’ve had a couple of upgrade issues which were just as quick to fix, then I hopped onto the forums or launchpad for a while to make sure others with the same issue but less experience were taken care of.

The Ubuntu community doesn’t seem to have a “divide” between noobs and veterans. For example, people like me who dealt with wifi on Linux before ndiswrapper even existed, but who are just learning hostapd, recognize the contributions of someone who just started using Linux a year ago, but has been working out the kinks in their hostapd setup the whole time. It is very easy to contribute at any level.

Note that I’m not disparaging any other distributions in order to build up Ubuntu. I don’t have to. Ubuntu stands on its own merits, and if something else fits your style better, more power to you. I can guarantee I won’t stick with Ubuntu forever, but I also guarantee it’s not a distro only a noob can love.

Categories: Linux, Ubuntu
  1. Vali
    August 12, 2010 at 4:51 pm

    Well written article! I saw myself getting trough the same stages: Win XX, then RedHat, SuSE, Mandrake, Gentoo, Ubuntu, then… OS X … now I’ve came back to my senses and here I am using Ubuntu again, 9.10 on my dev machine, 10.04 on my laptop and 9.10 Server on a server I maintain.

    I would have a question for you though: about your thing “I get an email when one of the disks in my RAID is starting to look iffy.”… On the said server I have also RAID 1 disks and I was thinking if you could possibly point me into the right direction in regard to writing such a script. I’m quite new with RAID (in fact, this is the first time I’m managing something based on it) and I could really use such a piece of information.


    • August 12, 2010 at 6:14 pm

      Thanks for the comment. Mdadm will mail to root by default when it detects an error. I did this to get it redirected to my gmail instead. I also have a cron job that runs smart to get an earlier warning.

  2. August 12, 2010 at 4:53 pm

    I’m no n00b and I run Ubuntu. Proudly.

    Let’s all say it loud!

    Thank you for this post.

  3. porq
    August 12, 2010 at 5:29 pm

    I too moved from Gentoo to Ubuntu. Last year I was offered a job teaching Linux administration(Red Hat) at a major University. Ubuntu is a great OS, and in no way does it limit a veteran from doing their thing.

  4. August 12, 2010 at 5:36 pm

    Hello, My name is sven and I’m a linux veteran ubuntu user. Never was much of a windows user, stayed on the Amiga very long, used windows for job reasons for a while. Switched to Redhat, then Debian, then a few times back and forth between Ubuntu and Fedora. Only using Ubuntu in the recent years (apart from Maemo on my phone ;).

  5. August 12, 2010 at 5:52 pm

    Well, I am a PHP/Python programmer and I think all is about your current “linux user stage”. I installed my first Linux in 1997, and I remember those beautiful and intense years when you want to install ALL the distros out there and see all the differences, fighthing day after day to install a strange hardware because someone in some forum say he could install it. Compile and recompiling all the new kernels released. After Linux, I spend some years in Net and OpenBSD and even DragonFly and, of course, Hurd.

    Now, thirteen years later, I just wanna focus on increase the quality of my web code, so I install Ubuntu, emacs and I just work. But I still recommend to “only-Ubuntu” users to install LFS, Gentoo, Debian and OpenBSD to runs all the path and AFTER that come back to Ubuntu if they want.

    • August 12, 2010 at 6:18 pm

      Agreed. I learned a ton from LFS especially. A distro choice should never be made out of ignorance of the alternatives.

  6. Raul
    August 12, 2010 at 6:30 pm

    I ran LinuxMint 9 for a while and I liked it. Installed several PPAs for ck kernel and OSS4.

  7. August 12, 2010 at 6:55 pm

    This was a great post. I’ve been noticing these connotations throughout several postings as well. I previously spent a great deal of time distro-hopping for my previous job. Within this few year span, I probably worked with over 50 distributions. I found that each had its place; however, the one that I still keep on my desktop is Ubuntu. This doesn’t dismiss the four other distros (including BSD) in VirtualBox nor CentOS on my server, but it does say something that Ubuntu can function as the OS that I primarily use. I have never had trouble preforming the more “advanced” stuff and I am partial to the Debian tool-set (dpkg/apt especially) over Red Hat or SuSE…

    Thanks for the post.

  8. Josh
    August 12, 2010 at 7:42 pm

    I really do not like having to fudge around with distros – I remember playing around with a tonne early 2006, and settling on Ubuntu. I still play around with other distros but none really compare to the “just works” of Ubuntu.

    Every version they get things right, but lately I’ve been really liking opensuse.

    Especially at work, I don’t want to have to mess around with compiling this, compiling that, making these drivers work when I can just throw in Ubuntu and be up and coding within 30 minutes..

    And those who hate Ubuntu – Ubuntu is probably the main reason as to why you have Linux drivers now, as they see Linux (Ubuntu) on the rise and provide drivers to them, and people creating more software probably came from Ubuntu or some other “easy” distro.

    I love Ubuntu, I use it everywhere except at home for gaming on my gamingPC.

  9. James Rocker
    August 12, 2010 at 8:41 pm

    Stop being an amateur. Get a Mac and join the adults at the big table.

    • Richard Vanbergen
      August 17, 2010 at 9:20 am

      So your saying to have a decent, working computer I have to buy a horrendously overpriced PC with some shiny buttons and lock myself into Apples “we know whats best for you” philosophy. I’m not saying Apple sells a rotten product, not by a long shot, in fact I like it. It just you are parading Apple around like they can do no wrong.

      Linux is a great operating system, it has an image problem resulting in a small market share software compatibility issues. But these are being fixed, fast; and you would be wise to keep an open mind.

      A Mac is a good tool, but is not always the best tool for the job Mr. fanboy.

    • Matt
      August 17, 2010 at 11:36 pm

      Are you referring to the adults that can’t seem to figure out what type of engine they have in their car? Perhaps the adults that don’t know the type of building materials were used in the construction of their house? Maybe even the adults that see expensive, shiny things and want everyone else to see their newly purchased expensive, shiny things; so, they loose all track of the conversation at hand and promote their things that they cannot even get out of it’s pretty wrapping?

      Freedom in software, freedom in knowledge.

    • Chris
      August 18, 2010 at 2:09 am

      I love my MacBook Pro, though more often than not am using my Ubuntu desktop, but this is just fanboy propaganda at its worst!

      Amateur? How about you stop being a fanboy and grow up! Its not about the tool used, but how well you are able to use it. Maybe thats the problem. You must be one of those ‘average’ users who hides in a corner, curled up in the fetal position, whenever you see the ‘black screen of death’ and can’t find a single widget to click on.

      I’d love to look at some accurate statistics on Linux vs OS X Server production rigs out there. I’d wager that this so-called ‘big table’ turns out to be pretty small compared to the Linux table.

  10. h3
    August 12, 2010 at 8:47 pm

    I consider myself somewhat a Linux veteran .. I started with Slackware 4.

    I’ve been using Ubuntu exclusively for the last two years and I love it. The community is awesome, the developers are dedicated and involved, updates always bring improvements.

    Strangely, every time a Linux guy ask me my disto of choice their reaction is mixed.. From confused to shocked, almost like it was some kind of noob thing that makes you noob just by using it.

    The truth is that I am a software developer and I can appreciate good UI design and in term of usability, Ubuntu is most likely to top Free Open Source OS of the hour.

    I installed it for my father who is a carpenter who knows next to nothing about computers and in one year span I just can’t remember any occasions where I had to fix a problem or show him how something works.

    For me, the fact that Ubuntu can be suitable for new users as well as power users makes all the difference. And this id not something trivial to achieve, it takes a significant amount of effort and feedback cycles.

  11. Peter
    August 12, 2010 at 9:53 pm

    Running Linux since 1996. Went Slackware to Red Hat to Debian to Ubuntu. I don’t really understand why people still use distributions not based on .deb’s.

  12. Decon
    August 12, 2010 at 10:05 pm

    I was a n00b when I first installed Ubuntu on my Dell Inspiron 1525 two years ago. Apparently, tons of others made the same switch with the same machine because there were plenty of forums looking for hardware solutions on this particular Dell model. While I did not go to school or study computer science or anything related to it other than a class on Visual Perception in the Cognitive Science department, I have become adept enough that everyone asks me if they have computer problems, even my employers (I work in a school, nothing techie). Either way, Ubuntu has been a great platform for me to move away from Windows exclusively (I still dual boot). I even went as far as getting that “Operating Systems Concepts” book with dinosaurs on the front!

  13. Chris
    August 12, 2010 at 10:19 pm

    I’ve been using linux as my primary desktop OS since 1993, and I am sitting here (happily) in front of a Ubuntu box.

    My laptop is a Mac, but if I didn’t have US$4200 for a Mac, it would be a Ubuntu laptop.

  14. -deadcats
    August 12, 2010 at 10:35 pm

    I nominate this as best non-judgmental Ubuntu Article of the Year.

  15. Bias
    August 12, 2010 at 11:22 pm

    I’ve installed Linux Mint, openSUSE and Ubuntu on a desktop for my kids/nieces/nephews to try. They do not have any prior exposure to Linux, this should be a fair test 😀

    None of them prefer Ubuntu.

  16. James Edward Border
    August 13, 2010 at 12:35 am

    Excellent post, kudos to the author! I have been a “*nix” user on the server (red hat or Centos mostly) every single day for a lot of years now (early 2000’s, give or take I can’t #$%^ing remember anymore). Since feisty or gutsy I have used Ubuntu on the desktop (Mandrake and Suse before that!). Bottom line I use Ubuntu, I recommend Ubuntu.

  17. Dean
    August 13, 2010 at 1:14 am

    Great article. I too am a well seasoned linux user, my first distro was Mandrake, then tried everything else since, have been very happy with Ubuntu over the last few years. No distro will ever be perfect for every user, but Ubuntu does what I want it to do, and that’s good enough for me.

  18. August 13, 2010 at 1:24 am

    Ironically I am a long time Kubuntu user who recently shifted to PC Linux OS 2010 KDE. Kubuntu’s network applet never worked well so the first thing I would do after a Kubuntu install was replace the network-applet with that of Gnomes. But they broke the gnome network applet in 9.10 and havent fixed it in 10.04 as yet. The network applet does not allow you to connect to a hidden WPA2 network anymore, the key field is blanked and the connect button does not work. I have PC Linux OS 2010 a try and I havent looked back. The network applet in PC Linux OS just works! By the time I am on the KDE desktop, it has already connected to my wireless. PC Linux OS 2010 also supports apt-get and synaptic with rpms. I just love this distro.

  19. Hellslinger
    August 13, 2010 at 2:05 am

    I’m a linux vet who used Gentoo for 6 years and then switched to Ubuntu after portage started to require constant baby sitting to get anything to update. When your time isn’t worth anything, a source distro that takes 12 hours to fully install is a great learning experience. Otherwise, a binary distro is the only real option for someone who actually needs to get work done.

    The ubuntu developers and community deserve a great deal of credit for the EXCELLENT job they’ve done in terms of design, developent, and perhaps most importantly, support. I find it reprehensible, yet unsurprising, that people in the free software community would be bad mouthing such a wonderful ally like ubuntu, which is the only Linux so far that has posed any real alternative or threat to software monopoly and closed platform dominance which is probably the biggest reason we all use linux. They have done a great job sticking to the principles of linux as well as using its technologies to the fullest. Cheers!

  20. August 13, 2010 at 2:09 am

    Well, I used to like Ubuntu, but that favoritism was superseded by ArchLinux for a few reasons. Firstly, ArchLinux allows me to set my system to my taste right from the bare minimum. The fact is that having only the packages that you need makes your system feel like a well oiled machine.

    Sure, it took me a month or two to reach that credence point where I didn’t need to add any new packages, but after that the most I needed to do thereafter was to update, which leads me to the second point. Archlinux is a rolling release bent towards getting the cutting edge. I remembered one time in Ubuntu where it required me to use that somewhat annoying PPA to get Firefox 3.5, Inkscape 3.7, etc. especially when the internet here is slow, where I’d prefer I keep the number of servers needed to connect for updates to a minimum.

    Third reason is the ever so useful Arch Build System where you could easily customise the build options on top of the provided presets. Because you have to write to a PKGBUILD file, you don’t really need to remember the build steps and patches to apply, just reopen the file and modify. If you want some customisation that you are not familiar with, there is the forums and the AUR, where users can share their build scripts easily.

    To me, ArchLinux suits my tastes, and it is mostly just that, tastes, that defines which OS an experienced admin chooses.

  21. Peter
    August 13, 2010 at 2:57 am

    I endorse this product and/or service. 🙂

  22. Wim
    August 13, 2010 at 3:04 am

    I used to be one of the people who would bash distributions like Ubuntu, about 5 years ago. I’m a distro-hopper myself, and I’ve tried out virtually every OS (Linux and non-Linux) you can find out there. I’ve recently settled on Slackware, because it stays out of my way.

    That said, people talking about Ubuntu as if it is a noob distro, simply want to feel smug and superior. Ubuntu has made Linux grow by leaps and bounds, and no other distribution has made a similar contribution to the popularity and maturity of Linux on the desktop in the past 10 years.

    Ubuntu just works, while still offering you choices and allowing you to take the power veterans seek in there systems. It has an excellent community, and a large repository of software. It tackles many of the issues first time switchers encounter. Of all the Linux distributions I’ve tried, Ubuntu is the one that requires the least amount of effort to get up and running, the least amount of effort to customize to a certain extent, and the least amount of effort to fix problems.

    Everything considered, for at least 85% of the people running Linux, Ubuntu is the right choice.

  23. Zinnga
    August 13, 2010 at 3:20 am

    Circlejerk in progress.

  24. nirk
    August 13, 2010 at 4:50 am

    10 year UNIX and Linux veteran here. I’ve used everything from AIX 4.3, 5.2 HP-UX 10.20, SuSE running in an LPAR on AS/400s, Solaris 9 on SPARC, 10 on x86. Started Linux with Slackware and have tried distros.

    Ubuntu just gets it right.

    We’re migrating from Solaris 10 to Ubuntu Server, and I use it on my desktop and personal VMs too.

    There is nothing we’ve been able to accomplish with Solaris 10 that Ubuntu Server can’t handle. Behind in some instances: SMF has spanked Sys-V-style rc scripts since it was release, for example. But, the patch inclusion from upstream is generally good (apart from Apache which doesn’t move quick enough for our needs and we have also standardized on the Apache rather than Debian-style http directory layout and build conventions. Makes sense to compile your own).

  25. August 13, 2010 at 5:07 am

    I’m not sure I’d class myself as a Linux veteran but I’ve been using Linux in one form or another since about 2001 and I used ubuntu quite happily from Edgy through to Hardy and found the ease of use a big draw. Jaunty was where I got off the ubuntu bus though and I don’t think I’d get back on except in emergencies (any liveCD in a *storm). I now run sidux – the rolling release model with occasional small breakages in individual packages is far easier to maintain than the six monthly break everything and rearrange the UI release cycle ubuntu uses. I’ve also gone off the sudo everything model, I’d rather login (or su) to the root account using the root password and do my sysadmin tasks separately from my user account(s).
    I don’t think ubuntu is a noob distro, if anything I’d say its now a distro that requires some moderately advanced skill to strong arm into usability.

    • Tiago
      August 13, 2010 at 3:15 pm

      From: https://help.ubuntu.com/community/RootSudo

      “If you really need a persistent root login, the best alternative is to simulate a root login shell using the following command…

      sudo -i ”

      You can also use sudo -s

      Which are alternatives to su.

  26. John_K
    August 13, 2010 at 7:25 am

    Been using Linux since 1999 and the RedHat 5.3 days. Been a UNIX/Linux Sys Admin since 1997. On my desktops I mostly use Ubuntu. I get to do enough of the “in depth” stuff at work. At home I just want it to work. Ubuntu fits that bill nicely. I do have OpenSUSE running on a couple of things as well but I like the Debian tools (apt/aptitude) for upgrading/installing.
    I am never ashamed to say that I run Ubuntu. It just works…

  27. Llewton
    August 13, 2010 at 8:18 am

    I’m just embarrassed I ever used Ubuntu. Even though it was only for a couple of months, more testing it really that choosing it as my OS. Still. There are people who know about it and that’s never going away… 🙂

  28. August 13, 2010 at 8:34 am

    Me too. In the past I’ve used Slackware, Debian, Gentoo, Crux, Gobo, and more I don’t even remember. I used to spend lots of time compiling my own software by hand to get just the right parameters.
    Now? I just want my desktop to work. Ubuntu works, no fuss.

  29. dude
    August 13, 2010 at 8:49 am

    basic, dos, win 3.1, win 95, win xp, red hat, mandrake, knoppix, ubuntu. STOP

  30. Rambo Tribble
    August 13, 2010 at 9:19 am

    It’s a lot like cars; many would like the image conveyed by driving a Maserati, but few would be well-served by such a vehicle. The Camry or the mini-van do the real work, while the Maserati languishes in the shop, awaiting parts. Most who denigrate “noob distros” are poseurs seeking cachet .

  31. Arup
    August 13, 2010 at 10:02 am

    As a Linux and Unix vet, I fully concur with you, I started with SUSE 8, PCLOS and when x64 Ubuntu was released, started on that and have never ever looked back since, I compile programs on it, compile my own mplayer and x264 on it, in fact its the easiest distro to compile on thanks to the excellent debian package management.

  32. August 13, 2010 at 10:22 am

    A great post by a like-minded individual: Is Ubuntu only for new users?

  33. August 13, 2010 at 12:20 pm

    I don’t bash any distro. I only have problems when fanboys start crowing that a particular distro does something that others can’t. Ubuntu may be popular, but it doesn’t do anything Debian can’t do. Most of the compliments buntu people even in these comments give the most credit to Debian oriented apps ad tools that buntu uses, being based on debian as it is anyway.

    just remember, popular is not the same as something being ‘the best’ and ubuntu easily has enough issues that it most certainly is not “the best”. Which is the same as every other distro.

    speaking for myself, I use debian and opensuse. They offer everything buntu does and have lead the way on many of the developments that distros like ubuntu have only recently adopted.

    If you want to use ubuntu, that’s fine, you need no excuses to use it. it’s a fine distro for many people, regardless of experience level.

    ubuntu isn’t all that and a bag of chips either. It’s sad to see people pretend problems and issues don’t exist just to make themselves feel good about the distro they choose to use.

    Man up and just use GNU/Linux, quit playing the fanboy games.

    • Peter
      August 13, 2010 at 1:12 pm

      The problem is “the best” is nebulous and subjective.

      I have used Linux as my primary OS for 10 years, Slackware to Red Hat to Debian to Ubuntu. For me the best OS is one which allows me to get on with what I want to do effectively, and Ubuntu is just the right fit.

    • Arup
      August 14, 2010 at 12:25 am

      Every distro and software has problems, show me one which hasn’t and I will show you delusion defined. Debian wouldn’t be where it is handn’t it been for Ubuntu, plain and simple, the only reason Linux is spreading is due to Ubuntu. No one stopped Debian and others from doing what Ubuntu is doing today, They are still free to do so and all the more better for Linux and its users in the end. Right now Ubuntu is on 50% of Linux user’s PC, thats a fact that comes because of its inherent strengths, lets celebrate to Linux for that.

  34. Debianero
    August 13, 2010 at 2:23 pm

    I like Ubuntu because it teach people how to adore Debian ^_^

  35. Anonymous
    August 13, 2010 at 4:44 pm

    I’m glad that you use Ubuntu and it makes you happy.
    I’m not using Ubuntu, but my distro of choice makes me happy too.
    If you use a distro and it makes you happy, it becomes irrelevant which distro you use.

  36. Raymondillo
    August 13, 2010 at 7:40 pm

    I am a old dog *nix user. Started on coherent back in the Williams days early 80’s, OS2/Warp, BBC Computer running a BBS for the Vax cluster 🙂 Solaris, Opensolaris every MS version except Millennium. I need a PC to be able to be productive. Don’t care who supplies the tools as long as I am free to “play” and adapt them. I am an Ubuntu user because at the moment it all comes together in a good mix that makes it easy to bash into MY shape. Its a great distro with a great community. At the end of the day. Use what works for you.
    P.S. Anyone out there still running Prosel on a PDP 11/73 ?
    Thanx Ray

  37. Orion
    August 13, 2010 at 9:13 pm

    James Rocker :
    Stop being an amateur. Get a Mac and join the adults at the big table.

    Ah-ha-ha-ha!!! Really funny. I love this joke. Trouble is I joined the other group of adults at the big Ubuntu table and love what’s being served there.

  38. Orion
    August 13, 2010 at 9:36 pm

    Ubuntu for noobs? Yes, and reading the comments here, definitely for veterans too. The fact that Ubuntu is for noobs is really helping spread Ubuntu. I am a teacher, not an IT guy but do a lot of poking around in computers and operating systems and some simple programming.

    With Ubuntu, my teenage students are learning to love Linux and are using Windows less and less, except as one boy put it, to play Windows games, or as another said, only as his XBox machine (through emulation).

    ALL the students who use my netbook / notebooks at school with Ubuntu / Linux Mint in them, eventually add Ubuntu or Linux Mint to their home PCs. Initially, Windows is still their preferred OS but, bit by bit, as Windows frustrates them and they find Ubuntu faster (even for downloads according to a couple of them) and able to let them do their usual stuff – chatting, Facebook, e-mailing, Youtube, listening to songs, watching DVDs, videos, editing their photos and video – Ubuntu is used 99% of the time.

    This bodes well for the future of Linux as these youngsters reach adulthood and become veterans / IT specialists.

  39. dygituljunky
    August 13, 2010 at 10:09 pm

    I’m a Linux Mint user.

    I’ve used DOS-only machines, command line-only UNIX on a university mainframe, multiple distributions of Linux since about 1998, Mac OSX, OS/2, and iterations of Windows since 3.0. Until Ubuntu 9.04/LinuxMint 7, OSX was my favorite because it just worked.

    Now I’m pretty much dedicated to Ubuntu & LinuxMint because I no longer have to struggle to get drivers working and I’m not locked in to one manufacturer’s hardware. This ease of setup/use is letting me get back to using the advanced bits of *nix (to the degree that I recently installed tilda to have constant fast access to the command line). I still have the OS X machines and Windows machines sitting around but my main workhorse is my LinuxMint-powered laptop.

    • dygituljunky
      August 13, 2010 at 10:12 pm

      Oh, and I’m now confident enough about Linux being easy to use that I don’t mind recommending it to people who bill themselves as computer novices (like my grandmother).

  40. August 14, 2010 at 12:50 pm

    What I miss here is what was promised: Why do you use Ubuntu? It is clear that you do so, that you are satisified, and that there, roughly speaking, is no reason for you not to; however, that could apply to any number of other distributions. I expected something more in the direction of a few “unique selling points” or a comparison with several other distributions. (For instance, “I prefer Ubuntu over `vanilla’ Debian, because …”)

    • August 14, 2010 at 4:07 pm

      You’re asking why I don’t use alternate distros, which is a whole other topic. I know there are many distros that I would be very happy with. The point of my article was only to dispel the myth that Ubuntu isn’t one of them. Lame as it sounds, having “no reason not to” stay is a bar that many distros couldn’t reach for me, and many of the reasons I avoid distros are very subjective. I’ll leave the compare and contrast articles to those who have the time and inclination to do a fair job of it.

    • August 17, 2010 at 3:02 am


      That is fair enough. The problem is just that you set me up with a faulty expectation.


      Thank you for your input. These specific issues are not relevant for me , but this is valuable advice for those who are in your situation. (I have no external devices or similar, and the internal hardware runs “out the box” on my Debian computer. The GPU did get a “nice to have” boost after I installed extra drivers, however—and, yes, that could have had a smoother solution.)

      • January 30, 2011 at 10:58 am

        I am using Debian Lenny on my core servers because I like apt, and I think this tool comes from a very serious distro. Back then, when I switched from Mandriva, I was terrified by RPM and what you can do to your system when you are too impatience and you need that software that your distro is not providing. I thought on going to Red Hat but it was to expensive, and CentOS was just what I hated the most of Windows: binary compatibility? NO WAY! I want the real thing. So I went to Debian and that’s what I like.

        I started to use Ubuntu because I was afraid of using a very edgy version of Debian which could break things up -and I’m very lazy on my desktop- so I tried this “managed UNSTABLE version of Debian” and I like it a lot. It just works.

        I have a strange filling though, I’m not sure about the path the Ubuntu team is taking. Specially about the desktop notifications… but I really hate Gnome 3, and I would love KDE was more stable and friendly with Compiz… so I have to see what is coming next: the Unity Interface. It could be a step on the right direction but It might be the final thing that make me go and check somewhere else.

        So, what about Vanilla?

  41. GregE
    August 14, 2010 at 7:41 pm

    @michaeleriksson Why do you use Ubuntu?

    I am also a ten year plus GNU/Linux user and I use Ubuntu 32bit for the simple reason that I want to get on with doing things, not just maintaining a system. I have a NAS and two WDTV media players. With Debian it was a nightmare to get Samba to show shares that the WDTVs could see on the network, and no amount of handwriting samba configs or resetting permissions ever got the WDTVs to be able to access shares on my desktop. I had all sorts of workarounds that made it all too hard for the family. With Ubuntu it was “right click – share” and in 30 seconds I could stream over the network to the TV. I do not understand why Debian does not install firmware by default, that is free firmware not non-free. How many users bash their heads wondering why a device will not work when the solution is to install one package. Ubuntu installs every bit of firmware it can to create a system that is as close to universal plug’n’play as possible. I recently tried the latest Fedora and you have to configure the firewall first before you setup Samba. Not difficult, but also not obvious to a beginner. I otherwise found Fedora to be pretty good, just not anything that would make me want to change.

    So it all comes down to usability. Ubuntu goes out of it’s way to make thing easy, and that is it’s strength. Just because you can handwrite a print filter does not mean you want to go through that process when in Ubuntu you just plug in your printer and a dialog pops up saying “found new printer – it is now ready to use”. Or, another example, if you have an Nvidia graphics card you get a dialog when you first run saying “hey you have an nvidia card would you like me to install the drivers for you” My Ubuntu 10.04 has a 2.6.35 kernel, latest fglrx installed manually and half a dozen active PPAs one of which is a test version of Gnome 3. I also have a networked printer and scanner and it all just works including scanning over the network. We have three desktops and a hand built media PC, two notebooks, networked, and all but one (wife’s business machine) run Ubuntu. It is easy for advanced uses to reach out way beyond the vanilla install and others to learn as they go.

    That is why I run Ubuntu. Can I do the same thing in Debian or Fedora? Maybe, but who wants to waste all that time.

  42. August 15, 2010 at 9:37 am

    I run Windows 7 upstairs and Ubuntu 10.04 downstairs for the web servers. Very easy to install – but getting networking working between Ubuntu and Windows 7 seems harder than it needs to be.

    I recently ‘saved’ a friend who had a very nasty virus. Windows XP was shot but I was able to boot from an Ubuntu thumb drive, back up his pictures (it’s always the pictures people are worried about) and then replace his XP with Ubuntu. He’s happy as can be with it. Nice touch that they include Open Office by default now.

    And our baby-sitter (mature lady, totally non-technie) has been running Ubuntu for years now – I honestly don’t think she even knows what it is but she has no problems.

    My only real issue with Linux is…why do all of the search forums give answers that involve opening a linux terminal. Yes, I know it’s the lowest common denominator, but it also stops the non-geeks from adopting Linux. That’s fine if you want to keep Linux to an elite crowd, but why would you want to do that?

    Thanks for the write up. I’m not as advanced at Linux as you are, so it is nice to see that I am not totally in the wrong space.


  43. Lodhi
    August 16, 2010 at 12:56 pm

    Nice to read. I am also a Linux user since long. My initial installation was Slackware (1996), then tried Redhat, Mandrake and at last settled with Ubuntu/Mint (from Ubuntu 6.06). I do not have Ubuntu (only) on my Desktop and Mint (only) on my Laptop. My daughter also enjoying Linux at her age of 6 years without a complain.

  44. Lodhi
    August 16, 2010 at 12:58 pm

    Nice to read. I am also a Linux user since long. My initial installation was Slackware (1996), then tried Redhat, Mandrake and at last settled with Ubuntu/Mint (from Ubuntu 6.06). I have Ubuntu (only) on my Desktop and Mint (only) on my Laptop. My daughter also enjoying Linux at her age of 6 years without a complain.

  45. Lodhi
    August 16, 2010 at 1:00 pm

    Lodhi :
    Nice to read. I am also a Linux user since long. My initial installation was Slackware (1996), then tried Redhat, Mandrake and at last settled with Ubuntu/Mint (from Ubuntu 6.06). I have Ubuntu (only) on my Desktop and Mint (only) on my Laptop. My daughter also enjoying Linux at her age of 6 years without a complain.

  46. November 3, 2010 at 5:16 pm

    the best and cheap netbooks are made by Asus or MSI, if you want reliability then the best is Hitachi netbooks ”

  47. orionds
    November 4, 2010 at 8:09 am

    Nice to read something like this. Compared to most everyone else here, I’m a noob, but as a teacher I’ve been able to show Ubuntu to many of my students. I have yet to find one who does not like it.

    A number of them have installed Ubuntu on their computers and over time, they use Windows less and less, and some use Windows only for Windows games.

    As a computer user, I’m a veteran of sorts, coming from Apple II days. I helped the school set up an administrative and report card production system in the early days of the IBM PC. I programmed the processing using, at that time, a powerful database program called KnowledgeMan which was way beyond the capabilities of dBase II or even III.

    I was later arbitrarily relieved of my IT duties without prior notification, for which I am now grateful as it allowed me to explore further afield in the IT world.

    My first foray into the Linux world was with Mandrake (now Mandriva). I liked it but it was a bit difficult (for me at least). I still hoped one day to re-try Linux. Then came Ubuntu and I tried Ubuntu 9.04. I haven’t looked back since.

    There is still one, just one, piece of software that I need to use in Windows. When I find a replacement, I hope I will be able finally to say good-bye to Windows.

    In the meantime, Ubuntu is reaching the hearts and minds of my students.

    • November 4, 2010 at 8:17 am

      Don’t say good-bye to Windows – just use VMWare player, running under Ubuntu, to run a virtual instance of Windows and you will never have to boot into the Windows partition again.

      All you need is a Windows ISO file, a valid windows key, and the free VMWare player.

  48. November 22, 2010 at 7:08 am

    wireless routers are very necessary nowadays because we do not want so many wires running around the home -:”

  49. January 29, 2011 at 11:14 am

    I am a Linux veteran, oh! how time flies! And I have something to say: no Linux distro EVER disturbed my job as long as it has a terminal… but! I really need a descent package manager. For my desktop, there is no “stable thing that I will never touch again”: programs need to come and go without breaking my life. RPM is kind of nice, and yum or the like might work OK. But there is NOTHING like apt and deb. I have broken everything in my life, and I have experienced that nothing is so resilient as apt. When you have done something really stupid with your rpm repository you need to reinstall to put it all together again. With apt you can rescue the system from almost everything. Ubuntu is a Debian derivative and is really fun and up to date, and I will be using it on my desktop as long as it keeps being a Debian derivative.

  50. George
    March 6, 2011 at 8:43 am

    I am a noob! I love Ubuntu! Frankly, I get pretty pissed at technical zealots who argue about shit like this. The question is not which disti is best. It is which has the best chance of dethroning MS! I hate MS and I hate Apple for the same reason! They want to limit or control us. So if you are a true Open-source patriot, realize that unless the masses adopt your OS you will be subservient to the king. The best chance we have is Ubuntu! DEATH TO THE DICTATOR!

  51. Miguel
    April 7, 2011 at 1:20 pm

    Great article.

    “I hopped onto the forums or launchpad for a while to make sure others with the same issue but less experience were taken care of.”

    This here sentence got me thinking. I’m constantly “abusing” Google to find some answers to my needs but so rarely give back to the marvelous community spread across so many forums, after finding an answer on my own.

  52. spuffler
    May 29, 2011 at 9:32 pm

    Not a big fan of having my os demand newer better faster hardware than what it is already using. I left Microsoft for that exact reason. Then, Ubuntu 10.04LTS starts getting all demanding when I updated. We ARE supposed to update, yes? So when ‘security updates’ added nvidia kernel modules to a system which never saw an nvidia graphics card (and in fasct, the whole motherboard is ATI – north, south and add-on PCIeX graphics), I began to worry what was motivating Ubuntu. Next, Nepomuk becomes the search engine of the os, but it MUST connect to the internet in order to perform a search? Finally, I heard that Ubuntu is going to give up on defacto graphics arrangements and instead Ubuntu declares it will begin to use some johnny-come-lately, well, now I began to conclude that Ubuntu had its own agenda at heart. Not so much different from the evil empire.

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  1. August 13, 2010 at 11:45 am
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