Friday, March 4, 2011

Ubuntu Linux 10.04 LTS

I installed it dual boot on the older Compaq NC6000 that I have--and unlike the painful experience of trying to run it on the really old HP Pavilion desktop, this actually works pretty darn well!  Performance is pretty snappy, and so far, stuff works about the way that I expect.  I installed Eclipse, which is the open source version of the integrated development environment that I use at work (My Eclipse), and I was able to quickly write a trivial Java application using it.

Overall performance is roughly comparable to running Windows XP Pro on the same box.  I can run multiple applications at once with quite acceptable performance, and of course, with the multiple screen switching capability of Gnome.  (I think it is Gnome.)

All in all, there is much to be said for this version of Ubuntu Linux.  I have not tried getting Samba working yet, but most everything else, while it works differently from Windows, generally works as seamlessly and with as little computer geek knowledge required as Windows.

The only unpleasant surprise turned out not to be Linux related at all.  To reduce the number of keyboards, monitors, mice, etc. on my desk, I use a KVM switch box to share the peripherals.  I was using a very old HP keyboard--old enough that it would not work through the KVM switch to the Compaq NC6000--although it worked fine through the even older HP Pavilion.  On the good side, I was able to find a perfectly nice Kensington Keyboard for Life (which I gather has a lifetime warranty on it) from for about $20.  It also has a smaller footprint on my desk, which is always a good thing, especially if you saw the state of my desk.

One more virtue of having a Linux box available--it reminds me that yes, I am a software engineer!  Doing stuff in c-shell may be primitive compared to an IDE like My Eclipse or Visual Studio--but there are some things that are just so much easier to do with csh, perl, sed, grep--something that a younger generation of developers do not fully appreciate, I think.  Sometimes when I talk to my co-workers who have never developed under any flavor of Unix, it gives me an appreciation for what the Microsoft view of the universe has taken away. 

1 comment:

  1. Glad to see that you are moving away from 'teh Dark Side'! IIRC there is a GUI extension for Eclipse and you can run Qt-designer inside Eclipse if you want.

    WRT your keyboard problems, the easiest method around that is to run your main OS as host, and run the others as a virtualized guest on that host. Your mouse and keyboard then just follow the focus. I use VirtualBox. It is free.

    I have a WINXP virtual (which runs ONE required-for-my-business-and-cannot-be-avoided program) on top of a Fedora 14 host. Except for remembering that USB sticks, etc. need to be plugged in at virtual boot time, it is seamless. It even automagically mounts an ext4 folder as the Win X: drive, on boot so I can easily share docs/pdfs.
    The WinXP virtual also runs iTunes for my iPhone, which allows me to take advantage of the faster download speeds at work instead of using my wife's MacAir at home.