Ubuntu ResultsJanuary 28, 2007
Earlier last week, I booted the mighty (although much abused on this blog) Ubuntu. How would my paras handle The King of Distros?
As it turned out, it wasn’t a lot different from their experiences with Mepis. Other than a brown desktop with way cooler screen savers, they didn’t notice a better or worse experience. This sort of surprised me. But they all deftly navigated through the menus to find games they liked, get on the internet and otherwise get things done. I had to reconfigure the printer again for Patience and Coach didn’t like the game choices on Ubuntu as much as Mepis. Queen actually found the Ubuntu menu easier to navigate, finding the “power down” button a little too easily. The bad thing about a live CD is having to reconfigure everything every time a body reboots. I did the reconfiguring for them, as that was just slightly more than they’re used to doing. But perhaps I’m underestimating them as Coach was eventually able to boot Puppy Linux on his own.
The Ubuntu trial was cut short when Mr. Khan came to write down serial numbers of machines and printers, and he configured their machine for Windows. Now they are back to XP and pretty glad to be back. Coach was the main one to say that he might want Mepis booted up now and again for some of the games ;-).
The paras, who are all “normal” computer users confirmed what we all suspected about “normal” users; they just want stuff that works. When I’d switch up desktops, they were slightly curious, which turned into some annoyance and eventually turned to acceptance and then more annoyance when something didn’t work quite like they wanted. It’s the massive amount of annoyances with Windows that got many of us Linux people interested in other options in the first place, isn’t it? Without annoyances from Windows, Linux has no traction.
Ubuntu does have some neat features. Yes, I’ve been hard on it, calling it a brown turd and all. But the screen savers are ultra cool. And before having to shut it down, I made one other discovery: Ubuntu was able to recognize all the drives on our network. No other distro I’ve played with has come close to that, at least as far as I know. So I did discover one superlative or two for Ubuntu giving it some degree of elevated status. Best distro? I think not. I do think it deserves as much of a chance as any other distro but the over hype kind of kills it. I’d rather discover and be pleasantly surprised by a seemingly unknown distro than be underwhelmed by a supposed super star. But maybe that’s just me.