November 15, 2009

From Gerald R. Lucas

Going Linux: First Observations

Yesterday, I purchased my first peecee laptop to use for my daily driver. It’s a surrogate for a broken MacBook Pro that’s running Ubuntu 9.10. After an evening of playing, I have some initial impressions, both of the machine and Ubuntu.

Acer Aspire Timeline 4810T.jpg

First the good stuff. It is quick, even on my Acer Aspire 4810T’s single-core processor. It looks great and has a pretty consistent look and feel throughout the OS. Software is plentiful and very easy to install using the “Ubuntu Software Center.” Firefox and all of my favorite plugins work very well. In fact, the fonts are gorgeous; maybe even better than the Mac’s, and definitely superior to Windoze’s.

I originally installed Ubuntu 9.10 in 32-bit, but decided to try the 64-bit flavor after reading a few articles that discussed the difference. While I will not be a power-user on this machine, I always like to use the most advanced technologies available.

My favorite program besides Firefox is Amarok. The interface is kind of dumb, but iTunes could learn a thing or two about interoperability from this awesome music player.

There are a few issues. First, and perhaps the most annoying, is that the computer won’t “suspend” or “hibernate.” They just don’t. I worked for a few hours trying to find a solution, but so far I have had no luck. This is the biggest problem, especially since sleep is crucial to how I use a laptop. Hopefully, an update to Ubuntu will solve this.

Secondly, the optical drive doesn’t work. Yes, it was fine installing Ubuntu, but while booted into the OS, the CD/DVD drive does nothing. Zip. This one is really not too big of an issue. I didn’t plan on using the drive anyway.

The screen is very cold. I cannot adjust anything on the LCD: not temperature, brightness, or color. Again, not too big of a deal. I’m not editing photography.

That’s about it for now. More later, I’m sure.