Gadgets – Ubuntu? Not if I Bunt You First

So, as of last night, my netbook officially runs Ubuntu. For those curious, I downloaded and ran Easy Peasy, a distro designed specifically for netbooks.

A few observations on the process:

— I know that not all Linux users are raging snobs by a long shot. It’s just that the raging snobs obviously write the documentation. This is literally the first thing you read at Easy Peasy “Right a Wrong: Why was your awesome netbook shipped with that horrible operating system?” Because 90% of the world uses it, jackass.

This is a consistent tone throughout the documentation, the forums, etc. In their defense, they are at least informative. But the attitude is off-putting. I literally would not be here if I had A) any applications for my computer that were Windows-dependent and B) if I weren’t facing a Windows reinstall anyway. The fact that I had to reinstall the OS is what made me say “fuck it” and install Ubuntu; if I’m going to reinstall, I might as well reinstall with something that gets fewer viruses.

— I’m not really sure why I spent nearly four hours downloading an iso that was 825MB over a wireless connection that ranged between 50kbps and 100kbps, then downloaded a bootloader that downloaded another 600MB file, and apparently used precisely fuck-all of the 825mb file I had to restart three times.

— So, wait, you bill yourself as the easiest, simplest distro…and I have to go into the command line to turn on my wireless card, enable my webcam, and get the computer to turn off properly? This is a joke, right? You can’t seriously be that much of an arrogant shithead and have a free distro that’s broken in places it shouldn’t be. David Wong over on Cracked compared this kind of thing to an L-shaped condom; don’t hand us any shit about design, you know damn well what we’ve got.

— Also, don’t cop an attitude about Windows and then steal all your design cues from Windows 3.1. Just…just don’t.

As an OS, Ubuntu eee is perfectly functional, albeit clunky. It does its best to be elegant, offering various tabs instead of icons to click through and find what you need, essentially a full-screen version of OSX’s dock. But it can’t really hide that to get at anything, you’re digging around in the file structure. There isn’t a particular reason this can’t be a desktop like OSX or Windows, as far as I can tell. This was a problem Microsoft had licked back in XP, guys.

Most of this experience has been pretty instructive in why people don’t switch. The community can be rude and foreboding, and the documentation throws a lot of technical terms your way. The interface can be clunky if you’re not used to it. Setting up the OS itself can be, unsurprisingly, a pain in the ass. In short, switching seems to be a choice either for those who want to do it or for those who have to do it, instead of a better option. I find it hard to see any reason to switch beyond that: if you have no emotional investment in software, why bother?

Anyway, I’m updated now, and I’m staying that way. I’m going to need this computer, and I need to not worry about viruses. Hence the switch. But, so far, after years of being preached at by Linux nerds, as far as I can tell, Ubuntu isn’t better. Just different.

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One Response to “Gadgets – Ubuntu? Not if I Bunt You First”

  1. Ben Fierce Says:

    I think many of the problems you’re having may be unique to Easy Peasy, not Ubuntu itself. I’ve been using Ubuntu on my desktop for about six months now and the interface isn’t at all like what you’re describing. What’s more, I can install different desktop managers that let me switch from a Windows style desktop to an OSX style desktop pretty much whenever I want.

    I agree that Ubuntu isn’t better per se, just different. I switch for pretty much the same reason you did – Windows crapped out on me. If you can, see if you can install “Ubuntu-desktop” from the package manager. Might alleviate some of your pain.

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