This is not a review of Ubuntu, nor critic at any Ubuntu developers, users, etc., but at the way many people and reviewers say that Ubuntu is a Windows replacement and even their grandparents can use it. It isn't personally directed at Ubuntu as a system, it was just the distribution I choosed, could also have been any other.
Hope you get the point.
This are just the experiences I made when I tried to install Ubuntu on a single machine I dedicated for alternative operating systems. (actually I wanted to install Ubuntu to see how far Linux has come recently). Reading all over the web that Ubuntu is a great Windows Replacement I just thought to give it a try, again, on this single machine.
If this was a review I would have used multiple machines, various distributions and would have spent much longer on all this issues. This blog just describes the experiences I made trying to use it as a novice user.
Update2: Be aware that if you ever want to simply write down your thoughts or something negative about it. From the Ubuntu forum:
- He's just stupid for not being angle to get it installed.
- I can't work out whether the guy is a liar, or a moron, or both.
- What an asshat.
- What an utter, biased, sarcastic, opinionated a*sehole.
- Writes an deliberately inflamatory blog post to get more attention for his project.
- He tries Ubuntu in a test designed to result in failure. What? designed to result in failure? A simple installation? come on...
- Ubuntu core developer (at least he pretends to be one): So stop saying those things about linux, because i am a core developer of ubuntu, and i know better than you what is developing such a huge system like linux.
- etc, etc..
Obviously these guys completely missed the point of this blog, showing my personal experiences I made with Ubuntu 7.10 on a single machine I dedicated for alternative operating systems.
And let me say it again, I justed wanted to install this thing. I don't have time or the desire to fiddle around with it in any way. (and from all the reviews/opinions/etc. I read I expected that I don't have to)
Yesterday I decided to give Linux (Ubuntu) a try. The last Linux distribution I used was SUSE 6.0, from 1999 I guess, and it was a disaster.
Anyway, so yesterday I downloaded Ubuntu 7.10, burned it to a CD and booted it with following configuration:
Intel Penitum 4 2.4GHZ
Intel 865 chipset
onboard intel 865 graphics
2 GB of RAM
From what I read (I read various Ubuntu reviews and articles like 'Ubuntu, the Windows replacement' etc..., it should work painless, be a wonderful Windows XP/Vista replacement and should just work out of the box.
Ok, so back to the installation.
I inserted the CD and booted the PC. A nice splash screen appears telling me that Ubuntu is booting. A few minutes later, blank screen, monitor powers off. Nice! The very first linux I tried years ago, somewhere around 1996, SUSE from 1999 and now Ubuntu from 2007, all fail to just boot!! You can't even install this damn thing out of the box and a 'standard' PC configuration.
Anyway, after enabling the VGA safe mode in the bootloader Ubuntu finally started (with a screen shifted to the left by about 200 pixels). A few more minutes fiddling around with the partitioner (if you choose manual partitioning you still have to specify mountpoints! (how annoying is this?)), the installation finally started. (I expected to be able to build the partition table manually and Ubuntu just asks me where I do want to install it too, instead of having to specify a mountpoint) (read comments for further explanation)
Did it work? NO!
The installation hangs at 82% with a message like 'Scanning the mirror'.
After making sure that I indeed didn't put my bathroom mirror into my scanner I suspected the local network (especially the proxy) to cause this problem. Well, actually its a Ubuntu problem, because this damn installation doesn't even time out or abort. 45mins later I just disabled the networking which let Ubuntu continue the installation with an error message.
Anyway, one hour later Ubuntu was installed. As it was late already I decided to continue playing around with it the next day and sending the PC into suspend mode using the Ubuntu power off button and clicking on suspend.
Now guess what? Yep, next morning Ubuntu was of course unable to resume from the suspend mode.
Now tell me, this should be a Window replacement?
- You can't even start the LiveCD without getting black screen
- You can't install Ubuntu without knowing how the disable a network device (and that you have to, at all)
- You can't suspend and resume
I don't know what else doesn't work, or how good Ubuntu (or any other distribution) may be. All I know is that I wont touch a Linux distribution for the next few years again.
(Its a pity to encounter the same Linux problems again I had decades ago, and at the same time read multiple reports on the web trying to tell us what a good alternative Linux is today).
Fact is, Ubuntu (Linux) completely fails to install (on this system). And people are really suggesting non-technical people, yes even their grandparents, to use Linux?
A few other things:
- Why is there a Bluetooth Analyzer program (as very first application in the menu) even if I don't have bluetooth hardware at all?
- PalmOS Devices? Well, I have a iPhone next to my PC, but what should I do with a PalmOS device?
Give me a break!
Ubuntu (Linux) may be a nice system for technic freaks, if you actually want to have to configure your system and like little challenges, but a replacement for a normal user (who wants that his computer just works, without ifs and buts) it definitely isn't.
Having all this said, don't get angry. It was not against you! Fact is, that you can get definitely angry if you try to install this system which is supposed to work. I know, writing an operating system which is supposed to run on common hardware is a really hard task. I also know what the cause of this errors I got is, and how one could work around or even fix them. Most of this errors are 'minor', from a technical point of view, but from a user point of view they are disastrously. The user will not care if 99.9% of Ubuntu (insert any other distro here) works perfectly if he can not install it (or boot into the LiveCD).
I tried to install this system as a 'simple user', I didn't plan to fiddle around much with it, just tried to use it maybe as surf station and play around with the newest OpenOffice. (didn't test it in a while). Things would have been different if I actually planned to spent a few hours/days on getting this working.
But you know, one can keep you rather busy. :)