Dec 27, 2007

Love: Speed

One thing I've noticed about Ubuntu (or Linux in general) is that it is much faster than Windows. XP might run faster when it is first installed, but for the amount of junk that I have installed on my Ubuntu partition, that is not surprising (including Apache/MySQL for web development). Vista however, is a whole new story. I haven't tried it on my machine, but I tested it out for a while on a machine similar to mine and wow, is it ever slow! It doesn't even have Aero enabled. I'll bet Compiz Fusion will run no problem. Anyway its slow to open up Firefox, it's slow to run messenger, and I tried to install something but it wouldn't let me since I wasn't an admin. Could I at least install it to my local folder? It seems like a rather weak security construct, like they pulled the solution out of their ass. Ubuntu runs faster on the Live CD! God damn. I heart the relative speed of Ubuntu.

Dec 21, 2007

Hate: The fragility of Linux

Linux is very reliable...provided you don't touch it. It's like a card tower. Once built up (and it takes a while), it's great, but the slightest touch will knock it all down. Such is the case with Linux. You accidentally mess something up in a config file, and there goes your system. Fortunately it's usually fixable, depending on if you have anything to do in the next few days and have another computer handy for forum-searching or another Linux geek around to help you. Failing these, Ubuntu allows you to use the LiveCD to screw around. But again this requires you to know what you're doing (if I had known what I was doing though, I probably wouldn't have been in this situation in the first place!). In contrast, Windows (and probably Mac too, but I haven't used Macs enough to know) generally take a lot of work to bring down the system. Unless you're an idiot and open the "is this a picture of you?" MSN messages or use IE6 to browse porn sites, in which case the seventeen million viruses that you just picked up will bring your system down. However for you to sit there yourself and bring it down, you have to know what you're doing. Funny how in order to fix things under Linux you need to know what you're doing, but you need to know what you're doing under Windows in order to break things.

Dec 10, 2007

Hate: Linux Drivers

This is not specific to Ubuntu, but since Ubuntu is based off Linux, it gets the flak too. Ubuntu does provide a little thing that gives hardware information, but unfortunately it's a bitch to navigate, and when you finally find the device you're looking for, it probably won't have the information you're looking for (like what driver the device is using).

One of the golden rules I've learned of Linux is: if it's only semi-broken (working by Linux-geek standards) then don't try to fix it, you'll only make it more broken. Today I tried to fix my sound. The surround sound and everything works already, but I want to get the headphone jack at the front of the tower working. Even better, it would mute the speakers while the headphones are plugged in. I haven't tested it under Windows yet, so I don't know if it's a hardware thing or not. Anyway, I found a nice post on Ubuntu Forums that apparently made it work. So I followed what it said, but ended up borking the entire sound system. The system didn't even detect my sound card anymore (weird, since it detected it when I put in the LiveCD). Oh well. I eventually had to reinstall the drivers by hand from the alsa source - not cool. This got me back to square one, with the sound actually working but no headphone support. I've decided not to touch anything anymore. I think it's funny that Ubuntu works so much on next-to-useless things like Tracker and Compiz Fusion but when it comes to important things like device management or office software, it is sorely lacking. Times like these make me miss Windows.

Dec 9, 2007

Love: Kate

No, Kate is not a girl. Kate is a text editor. It comes with KDE by default, but unfortunately not with GNOME (probably because it is a KDE program). I've noticed that I really prefer the set of KDE apps to a lot of their GNOME equivalents. Kolourpaint is much better than gPaint, KDevelop is better than Anjuta, and I like KPDF as the default PDF file viewer. Unfortunately I don't like the amount of options given by KDE, so GNOME stays. I do think though that KDE is better for beginners, as it looks nicer and I think it is easier to use. GNOME has a bit of a boring look to it.

So now to Kate. Why is it awesome? It just is. There is syntax highlighting, intelligent indenting and support for a lot more languages than with Gedit (like bison grammars). It keeps all your open documents in a vertical, hideable list on the side. If I have over 20 documents open, the clutter is about the same as if I have one document open. With Gedit for example, I can have about 5 documents open before I have too many tabs to fit on the screen. With a vertical bar, I can just click the one I want to switch to.

Kate lets you configure it more. I don't like the default shortcuts for changing the current document, so I put it to the way Firefox switches tabs: Ctrl+Tab and Ctrl+Shift+Tab. Hooray! Much easier than what was there before. There are also lots of plugins out there, so I have things like code-folding and bracket-matching. Awesome. What finally takes the cake is that the highlighting schemes and all that are shared between KDE apps. So KDevelop and Quanta will have my code look the same as Kate does. That way if I have a tiny change to make, I can just open Kate instead of an IDE and that takes a lot less time.