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Ubuntu 13: Is it Canonical's Windows Vista?

Steve Luke

Joined: Jan 28, 2003
Posts: 4168

So I recently became fed up with Windows 8 and decided I would convert all my home computers to Linux. I search a bit and heard a lot about Mint, I gave it a short try, ran into trouble and found the community too small to support a linux noob like me. So I went back to Ubuntu - I have a laptop running 12.10 for awhile now and have been really happy with it - and the community is huge so I can ask questions and expect to find someone knowledgeable to see it.

My mistake was trying the new version, 13.10 and 13.04. The first problem I had was with the NIC card, a Netgear GA311v10 - on all the supported lists (and on a few 'if you have trouble with your card, use this one' lists). After half a dozen OS installs and over a week trying to get it to work to no avail I gave up, and swapped it with one in a different computer (Windows has no trouble using it). Fine, one failure, lots of lost time, but at least I have network.

Next was the browser. I installed Chromium as my preferred browser and added the one extension I can't live without - a password keeper. Oops, that doesn't work either - but it does on my Ubuntu 12.10 laptop. Oh well, I will find a work around, or a different one that does work... Failures: 2. At one point this thought actually went through my mind: 'Once I get the system running, I will search and see what password keeper the Linux snobs+ suggest I use on their OS.' It was when I realized I was thinking of Ubuntu 13.10 as 'their OS' and not 'my OS' that I started to make the connection with Windows Vista/8.

One of the things I want to do is stream video from Amazon Instant Video. This uses Adobe Flash and has some DRM that uses HAL to work. HAL was obsoleted and is no longer available. Oh well, I have a computer with a card that doesn't work with Ubuntu so I have to keep it on Windows anyway - I will just use that to stream videos. This is a big loss though - you can't even stream online video on the OS (Netflix requires an external application to hack around the limitations of the OS, but there is no such app for Amazon or BBC iPlayer). Failures:3 and patience near 0.

Next in line is Android Studio. Version 0.3 came out and adds a feature I have been looking for (modifying gradle dependencies in GUI instead of manual configuring files). Oops, can't get Android Studio to work either - tons of errors pointing to things out of my control whenever you open or make a project. There might be a fix, who knows, my patience was zero before. Failures: 4. I am done. I have a back up of the system on Windows and am about to fall back and give up entirely.

But MS has made me mad enough to stay my hand, and try Ubuntu 12.10, which worked so well on my laptop. So I Install 12.10 and lo: my Chromium extension works, HAL can be installed and Amazon Instant Video streaming works as does BBC iPlayer. Android Studio installs and runs just fine. Failures: 0 (though, to be honest, I did not use the NIC card, so not sure if that would fail).

To summarize: I am going to use Ubuntu 12.10, I will not change because nothing on Ubuntu 13.10 works, it is a failure of an OS (as far as my experience goes*). This means I am tied into 12.10, an old version of the OS, just like I was tied to Windows XP when Windows Vista was a failure (and Windows 7 at work since Windows 8 is a failure). I am happy with 12.10, so I am not sure how much of a problem it is now, but I assume at some point I will get hardware which won't work on it and will necessitate a change in OS. Any thoughts by other folks out there?

+Linux snobs might seem derogatory a bit, and I guess it is. But it reflects my opinion that 'they' care more about the 'ideal' than making things that work. For example, there is a tool called Keryx used to help download packages for an offline Linux system. You use it to get the list of dependencies and paths to download the required files, then copy the list to an online computer to download the packages, then copy the packages onto the offline system to install them. Problem is: there is this philosophy of 'Do one thing and do it well' which requires every app to have a long list of dependencies to work - and Keryx is no exception. You can't use it without first downloading and installing dependencies - but downloading the dependencies on an offline system is this app's purpose... which means if you need this app it is useless - you can't download the dependencies to make it work! Sure, you can get it to work - but if you do, you know how to get dependency lists and download them and copy them and install them and no longer need the application. Why would you waste the time doing that for Keryx when really the time would be better spent doing it for the package you actually need (the package for which you would be installing Keryx for). Whoever wrote the app took the ideal 'Do one thing and do it well' and ignored the practicality of it being useful and working. The same sort of ideal is why HAL was removed from the saucey universe with the side effect that DRMed video streaming doesn't work.

*Not literally everything I tried failed. Chromium installed without a hitch, I just couldn't use it for what I wanted. And Oracle's JDK installed without a problem, I just couldn't use it for what I wanted. But that is in fact the limit of everything I did to the OS, Attempts: 6, Fails: 4, Useless Successes: 2.

Jaikiran Pai

Joined: Jul 20, 2005
Posts: 9963

I used to be a Ubuntu user up until they introduced those whole new UI changes. I don't remember if it was in 12.x or 13.x. I stuck around with Ubuntu 11.x for a while before I decided to install LinuxMint 14 on a new laptop. I have been a happy user so far on LinuxMint. Just recently I've installed LinuxMint 15 on a different laptop and so far it's been good too. I don't use my computer for anything other than typical browsing and coding, so as long as the basic things work and I've a classic desktop UI, I'm happy.

[My Blog] [JavaRanch Journal]
Jaikiran Pai

Joined: Jul 20, 2005
Posts: 9963

+Linux snobs might seem derogatory a bit, and I guess it is. But it reflects my opinion that 'they' care more about the 'ideal' than making things that work.

That's been my experience too.
Steve Luke

Joined: Jan 28, 2003
Posts: 4168

Mint has different flavors - I think they are just front ends, but not sure: Cinnamon, KDE, XFCE, MATE, maybe others?? Which do you use? I have 3 more computer to switch to clean Windows from until I am done, and would be happy experimenting with different versions, so I planned on Mint going on at least one. I think the one I just did would be the biggest trouble - it is the one with the 'most stuff' and one I use for the most wide array or purposes. Others are either simple web access or backends which I rarely touch.

I am also switching my Surface Pro to Linux. Searches indicate the wifi card will be the only stumbling block, but hopefully someone will have a solution for it in the not too distant futue - until then I have a USB wifi I should be able to use.
Jaikiran Pai

Joined: Jul 20, 2005
Posts: 9963

I have been using LinuxMint MATE both with LinuxMint 14 and LinuxMint 15. I intentionally decided to use MATE mainly because of its looks and controls which was similar to what I was used to while using Ubuntu.
Scott Shipp
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 31, 2013
Posts: 111

Another happy Ubuntu 12 user here. Cheers.
Bear Bibeault
Author and ninkuma

Joined: Jan 10, 2002
Posts: 60822

A co-worker installed it this morning. He's been swearing all day...

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Anayonkar Shivalkar

Joined: Dec 08, 2010
Posts: 1502

Firstly, my apologies for bumping up the thread. I just found a link to this in other post.

Personally, I've never used Ubuntu 13.10. But my experience with it is not that bad (of course, I haven't tried the things Steve has mentioned - I primarily use my machine for coding and image processing).

After switching to-and-fro among Debian, Ubuntu and Mint, I finally settled down on Ubuntu. I installed 12.04 and never turned back - all those upgrades were nice and smooth (12.04 -> 12.10 -> 13.04). However, when I heard lot of criticism about privacy settings in 13.10, I decided to give Mint a try.

Yes, Mint was nice and fresh. It was sleek and did provide some more customization after installation, and lot of settings were already there out of box (so I don't have to read those '3 million things to do after installing Ubuntu' sort of blogs).

But - it came with cost.

1) No matter what I did - even I tried shutting down unnecessary services - Ubuntu always boots faster than Mint. I'm not sure what is the reason (Cinnamon is supposed to be lighter than Unity, right?)
2) Lack of frequent security updates. Yes, there was a blog post by Ubuntu developer about this (that Mint is less secure) and Mint founder (Clement Lefebvre) replied that those are not enabled by default, but can be enabled manually. My question is - why those are not enabled by default? and why Mint treats those as 'untested, and potentially unstable'? Is it because those updates are not tested by Mint (but are tested by Debian/Ubunut)?
Its OK if I don't get latest LibreOffice version very next day, but if there is a new kernel patch fixing some security hole, I expect to get it ASAP.
3) Mint still does not provide seamless upgrade. I'm not a big fan of re-installing OS every 6 months.

And then, few weeks back, I installed Xubuntu 13.10 (Ubuntu with XFCE) - and performance wise - it is really cool. But there are lot of annoyances in Xubuntu - e.g. power button does not ask me what to do (it simply shuts down the system), when I close the lid - laptop goes into sleep mode (even after I configured power settings properly), after a couple of days of installation, I'm unable to lock the screen (I had to choose 'switch user' option whenever I leave the machine). Is it that Ubuntu has lost its interest in other *buntus (Xubuntu, Lubuntu etc.)? Strangely, none of these issues occurred when I installed Ubuntu + XFCE (but those issues are consistently reproducing in Xubuntu).

Is it safe to enable those 'unstable' updates in Mint? I'm really thinking of giving Mint XFCE a try. But I still believe that I'll settle for Xubuntu or Ubuntu + XFCE (if Mint is not gonna give me latest security patches).

IMHO most of the criticism Ubuntu is getting is due to those privacy settings and Unity interface. So far, Ubuntu + XFCE looks cool to me.

Anayonkar Shivalkar (SCJP, SCWCD, OCMJD, OCEEJBD)
I agree. Here's the link: http://aspose.com/file-tools
subject: Ubuntu 13: Is it Canonical's Windows Vista?
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