Ubuntu 9.04 works and it's free, but is that enough? Not quite, according to this list of pros and cons.
I've been running Ubuntu
9.04 for about a month now on an IBM ThinkPad. I consider myself
technically proficient, but I'm certainly not one of those all-night code pounders.
So, with those caveats, here is what I like and don't like about open-software
Ubuntu, as well as where there's some room for improvement.
Five Things I Like
1. It works.
This is no small statement from someone who remembers shuttling
floppy disks of early Microsoft Windows software in and out of personal
computers. The biggest hindrance to the many forms of open-software desktops
has been the install. I've installed Ubuntu via the CD version, from a bootable
USB and using Unetbootin
to create a CD image on a hard drive. They all worked. The system runs solid
2. It's not ugly.
I'm sure there are techies out there who live and
die by the command-line interface, but having a computer that has a nice
interface, let's you know what's going on and easily moves from one app to
another is a modern requirement. I'd say the Ubuntu startup process is equal to
Windows, Mac or anyone else.
3. It doesn't crash or freeze
. Not yet, not once.
4. I don't have to buy a new computer.
The personal computer
industry was built around new resource-consuming software requiring new hardware.
The proponents would claim the capabilities users demanded required this ever-upward
trek. The cloud computing advocates will claim all the complexity and high-end
processing should never have landed on the user's desk. It seems clear that the
big, resource-gulping personal computer will go the way of the SUV. In any
case, being able jazz up your old clunker with a free operating system is
5. It's free.
I left this for last instead of first. Free is only
good if you don't end up spending all your time trying to get the computer to
compute and you don't end up crashed when most needed. Personally, I think free
is too cheap and I'll send a few bucks to keep the system available to
educators and low-income users.
Five Things I Don't Like
1. Some stuff still is too difficult.
Sometimes I can get Flash
to work on 9.04, sometimes I can't. I don't think it is just me, as the forums
are filled with similar complaints. And yes, I've tried lots of workarounds,
including others besides Adobe.
2. The help can be overwhelming.
Since anyone can work on
the program, there are lots of levels of advice out there. Let's just
something like this, "--- /usr/lib/swiftfox/run-mozilla.sh.orig
16:19:43.000000000 +0300+++ /usr/lib/swiftfox/run-mozilla.sh2006-08-23
16:30:48.000000000 +0300@@ -163,7 +163,30 @@" is not help even if
it is part of cut-and-paste code.
3. There are still a lot of Windows apps out there.
You can try to run Windows
in an emulation mode, you can try to squeeze Windows into a virtual box, but
that is not going to work too well on older systems. Developers write apps for
Windows because they can make money from their code. This is still a big issue
for the open-software writers.
4. Where's Google?
I like Google Chrome on Windows. It works great and
has lots of potential. There are some early versions of Chrome around for Linux
but nothing you want to touch unless you are a developer.
I'm wondering if Google will
also be late with a Linux version for Wave.
5. What happens if Mark Shuttleworth decides he has invested
It is still his project. He's a great guy, even if he does write overly long
about development cycles.
While I'm convinced open software will always be around, I'm not so sure about
the whole Ubuntu thing.