Why the bad mouthing of Ubuntu Linux?

I just about had enough of people bad mouthing the Ubuntu Linux operating system unnecessarily and thought I would address some of the said “issues” here.

1. I cannot play a DVD immediately after installing Ubuntu.

Yes its true. WHY? Because of laws restricting it. Laws which the people who create Ubuntu have no power over. However the step to installing the codec/player for viewing a DVD, on this 100% free-of-charge, insanely secure and stable operating system, from your local rental store is so simple that it should put you to shame for complaining. If its too hard for you to learn something new then stick with MS Windows and all the horror that you have become so comfortable with living with.

2. I cannot install Photoshop.

Unless you are a professional designer for the Cosmopolitan magazine, take a good hard look at what you do with Photoshop and realize (by a little researching through Google.com) that you can do all that stuff (putting butterfly wings on a cow etc …) in other programs like ….ummm … oh right, GIMP! Yeah, I know you are rolling your eyes and thinking “GIMP is not as good as Photoshop” — point is “It is good enough for YOU!”

3. Ubuntu is so empty (after the initial install).

Oh, and Windows is just teaming with life … riiiight — NOT! The Windows (XP, VISTA, 7) I install does not come with a full Office Suite, Image Manipulator and Designer, PGP built in, Bitorrent downloader, MS Outlook equivalent (Evolution), PDF Reader, Live USB App and all (nearly all the time) the drivers for your wifi, graphics, sound, card reader, bluetooth, LAN etc ..
Seems to me like you should be wining about some other operating system than Ubuntu Linux.

4. Ubuntu looks so ugly.

Well, that is you talking so don’t expect everyone else to agree with you. However I know most people will not stick with the brown/orange/beige look and will … guess what … completely create their own look and style! WOW! Its so fun and has so many variables … why, you can truly do just about anything to change the way your environment looks, acts and feels.

The default Windows look is, to many Windows users, downright deplorable … but you know, they just live with it because they know nothing else. Sure, some are aware of there being shell packs that can completely change your look and feel, of which the install will take hundreds of MB’s on your Hard Drive and, in many cases, cause things to slow down considerably, or you can get little theme packs for your window borders etc … many of which will have ridiculous glitches with any given program you have installed (believe me I have had my days of tweaking Windows’ looks).

But with Ubuntu Linux its just a given that you will change everything about your systems looks and feel and make it personal, and that is wonderful because its easy for you and its easy for your system, with tiny files and lightweight but awesome effects.

5. I should not have to type code into a Terminal to get this system working.

First of all, even though there are a lot of “How-To’s” on the Net where you find people saying to do such-and-such through the Terminal that does not mean that it cannot be done through the GUI as well! Simply put its a matter of familiarity and not it being “hard” or “easy” — after all you only find something easy to do or easy to comprehend once you are familiar with it.

I used to be at the place where I utterly despised Command Line Input and would always look for a “point and click” alternative. But slowly, over time, I began realizing that what once seemed “easier” and thus “faster” was in fact only me being stuck in a rut and coming at the entire thing from the wrong angle in my mind. See, whether or not I knew it at the time, I was fighting against the Terminal because I had the mindset that it was old and thus un-cool or somehow not as “good”, “fast” or “efficient” as the point-and-click. Well maybe it is an older way of doing things … but does that alone make it worse than point-and-click? No, of course not!

So when I actually stood back a bit and asked myself what was so wrong about using the Terminal to do stuff like installing a program or updating the already installed ones etc … I could think of nothing other than I was not USED to it — translation: I was not FAMILIAR with it.

Now I am a lot more comfortable with using the Terminal, not only because I am just getting more familiar with it but mainly because I actually find it extremely fast and versatile. I still use the GUI tools more than the Terminal, but I am no longer held back by my closed mindedness and unfounded bias against using a different method to get to the same place as quick or even quicker.

6. (Ubuntu) Linux is not as good as Windows!

This statement is made over and over and over again by people who are (sorry to be blunt) plain ignorant — or just lying!

First of all you would have to define the word “good” in this context. In the case of an operating system I might define it as the following:

– Fast
– Quiet
– Stable
– Secure
– Flexible
– Resourceful (ie. Hardware Support)
– Supported (Help and Support)

just to name a few…

So lets see how MS Windows (7) and Linux fare.

– Fast
With the arrival of Windows 7 many people are being impressed by the speed of the thing … however this is simply due to the vast majority of them having come from Vista Hell. Linux still wins this one hands down. You can run recent releases of Linux on older systems with effects and the works. Linux will perform faster than Windows on the same system over the short term and more so over the long term.

– Quiet
Windows 7 has become a lot more quiet since the MS boys realized that their little UAC system in Vista was pissing nearly all their customers off. Linux is very quiet and will only as for a “root password” if you want to change a deep system setting. I would give Windows and Linux a draw here (NOT for Vista though!).

– Stable
Linux again wins! Its a known fact that Windows becomes more and more cluttered and messy as you go along using it, thus needing regular defragmenting, scanning, and removal of useless, and/or harmful to system responsiveness, files and data. If a Windows system is not vigorously maintained by the user it will ultimately become useless and die the death of the blue screen of death (or not even that…).
Linux, on the other hand, can be used from day one through to Month number 13.5 (and further) without the user performing a single bit of cleaning up or maintenance … other than cleaning his screen if he/she wants to …
Linux will continue to run at a fast pace and will automatically and consistently maintain itself. No further comment needed!

– Secure
Yes! This is where Linux far out-flanks Windows. Windows has hundreds of thousands of viruses, worms and trojans to its majestic name. Linux has a handful of hacks created for servers, none of which work any longer and were dealt with immediately upon discovery.

– Flexible (User Customization)
Windows is flexible and there are quiet a few things that the user can accomplish in changing the look and feel of their Desktop. However Linux can do everything Windows can do but with greater ease on the Hardware and therefore on the user since more resources can be put to use by the user rather than the system gulping it all up. Linux can also be manipulated to act completely like another operating system (ie. Mac OSX), unlike Widows which can only be made to look like it but not act like it.
It is a close one here but Linux wins by being able to do everything Windows can and more … and with using less system resources to do it.

– Resourceful (ie. Hardware Support)
This is where Linux struggles more than Windows … for obvious reasons. Windows has very good hardware support – plain and simple! Linux is catching up extremely quickly with all the big names in hardware making either Linux drivers or open sourcing the hardware specs for the open source community to create drivers themselves. Windows wins this one — for now! (Its only a matter of time)

– Supported (Help and Support)
Both Windows and Linux have support, however support for Linux is by far easier to obtain (as it is almost entirely free). Windows and Linux draw here, even though I personally feel that the Linux community is generally a lot more helpful and friendly.

All in all …
Linux got 4 points
Windows got 1 point
and 2 points each for drawing, which brings it to 6 – 3.

Oh and remember … Linux is FREE!


Ubuntu Hardy on the Lenovo Ideapad S10

I installed Ubuntu 8.04 LTS on the Lenovo Ideapad S10 without much hassle.
What took the longest was finding which program to use which would create a working USB LiveCD of Ubuntu.

I tried the manual approach from the terminal as well as liveusb. Both approaches produced the USB LiveCD just fine but neither of them worked well enough to install Ubuntu on the device.

Finally I found the one that worked — UNetbootin

Once I had the USB stick ready I plugged it into the S10 and pressed the power button. From there on out it was a breeze.

After Ubuntu was installed everything except the wireless was working so I installed ndiswrapper and ndisgtk from the USB stick and installed the wireless driver for the Broadcom wireless device.

Wow … very different from Microsoft Windows …. one driver for the entire system … awesome!

Conexant CX20549 (Venice) Sound input working!!!

Here is how I got the sound input working on my Lenovo Thinkpad R61 running Ubuntu Hardy. (A HUGE thanks to c4ppa for the patches and instructions)

Note: This patch seems to have been tested and found to work on Ubuntu Hardy, Intrepid and Jaunty.

Download the two patches from here:
(It will suffice to download “patch_conexant.c.patch”
“HD-Audio-Models.txt.patch” is the only info about models

Download the modified AlsaUpgrade script here:

Open a terminal and launch AlsaUpgrade script with option -d (download the packages only):
sudo sh ./AlsaUpgrade-1.0.x-rev-1.16.sh -d
(this may take some time to download depending on the speed of your internet connection. Be patient and wait for it to finish.)

Apply the patch with the following command:
sudo patch /usr/src/Alsa-1.0.19/alsa-driver-1.0.19/alsa-kernel/pci/hda/patch_conexant.c patch_conexant.c.patch

Next launch AlsaUpgrade script with option -i (compilation and installation of packages):
sudo ./AlsaUpgrade-1.0.x-rev-1.16.sh -i

Find out your subsystem id:
lspci -vnn | grep -A1 Audio
(Note: If you don’t have subsystem id 17aa:20ac you could try placing the line “options snd-hda-intel model=lenovor61i” in /etc/modprobe.d/alsa-base with the “sudo gedit /etc/modprobe.d/alsa-base” command.)

Then reboot.

Launch alsamixer from the notification area by double-clicking the volume control icon.

All I had after applying the patched upgrade was:

tab – Playback (Master and PCM)
tab – Recording (Digital)

Make sure Digital is unmuted and slider at least half way up.
PCM can now be pushed all the way up and will not lead to sound distortion.

After this I opened Applications > Sound and Video > Sound Recorder and the mic was working! The mic also works in Skype!

Posted in How-To. 6 Comments »

Ubuntu Jaunty (9.04) Coming soon!

Yes, in just a little over 2 weeks the predecessor of Intrepid will be finalized and ready for stable use. At the moment you can still download the BETA and give it a try — something I did and found not much (if any) difference between Jaunty and Intrepid. Of course there are all the “under the surface” changes which help to further iron out the wrinkles in the system and make things run faster and smoother.

Just yesterday I downloaded the ISO for Jaunty Beta and installed it in VirtualBox to give it a try (this is what I do with most any OS before actually installing it) and went through the installation as I always have done in the past — However it would never boot off the hard drive and would only work as a Live Session running off the ISO. This was disappointing and made me decide to wait till the final stable release was made.

I still use Ubuntu 8.04 (Hardy Heron) and will probably only upgrade with the next LTS release, or maybe if there is some major milestone release before then. Ubuntu 8.04 works super for me and I recommend it to all those looking to change to Ubuntu from Windows with as little hassle as possible.