Thursday, July 26, 2007

Wubi Installed!

I now write from inside the Ubuntu desktop environment. My entire morning has consisted of digging around the various features. There are several things that I’ve noticed so far:

Detecting of devices – Flash drive (check). Digital Camera (check). Printer (check). This went very smoothly, no glitches for me. One difference from Windows is that you have to un-mount or eject devices before you remove them. It's very minor though (right-click on icon for device & select "Eject").

Display Aesthetic – Ubuntu provides a very good array of templates, better than Windows which tends to focus just on different colors. Windows XP standard theme always looks cartoony to me and Ubuntu’s default while probably not where I’ll leave it, is definitely an improvement. I especially liked the "Crux".

The Applet Panel – This is one of the things I was most excited to try out when I started reading about Ubuntu. So far, I’ve just scratched the surface but I really, really like this feature. Ubuntu gives a great deal of control over color, content and behavior.

More below the cut.

File (excuse me) Directory Maintenance – Nautilus is fantastic. Very easy to navigate. The paradigm shift from folders to directories is a bit jarring. But, Nautilus is very user-friendly and has several cool features including adding emoticons to files and changing background color for your folders. These are things Windows Explorer may be able to do but they are not as easy or clearly explained.

Synaptic & Add/Remove Apps Managers – AWESOME. So much tidier than installing stuff in Windows. I’ve already done some tweaking here. Very intuitive with good selection of programs (for what I’ve done so far).

Firefox -- With all the copying Explorer has done of Firefox, there's not too much difference. However, I like that controls for blocking pop-ups are automatically included. AND Ubuntu imported my bookmarks automatically (I'm not sure how though).

Games -- Lack of games has been one of the long-term complaints about Ubuntu. But I'm a bit weird in that I prefer puzzle games to FPS and role-playing. In terms of puzzle games, the installed package is very good and I already added a couple more that look fun.

Help & Support -- The first thing I did was open this application. I just followed the Table of Contents through various Ubuntu features. Very helpful, detailed and well structured (I can find what I'm looking for easily).

My overall impression using Ubuntu so far is that it’s very intuitive and easy to figure out. Where I do get stuck, my software book and earlier reading of the help forums has really paid off. It’s just similar enough that I don’t feel adrift in a strange environment but just different enough that I’m constantly going “What’s this?”, “Cool” and “I didn’t know you could do that!”.

Later, I plan to do some exploring of OpenOffice, Photo Editor, connecting my MP3 player and Rythym box Music Player.

Also, I would like to heartily recommend “Beginning Ubuntu Linux” by Keir Thomas. I bought this to prepare for the Ubuntu switch and have been using it as a guide to learn various features of the system. It’s a very easy-to-follow book that (so far) I’ve found very helpful.

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