Friday, August 18, 2006

Experience on Ubuntu

I just found out Ubuntu from some online tech news and I went to their website to find it out. I like to test and use software that comes free and Ubuntu is one of them. So, this is a experience that I would like to share out and maybe people might aware that desktop OS market is not just dominated by 2 big players.

The user: No experience on Linux/Unix shell programing. Love music, video, blogging, software testing, surfing net but not chatting, gaming. Has a PDA, a digital camera and SD memory cards.

The machine: Dell notebook Inspiron 640m with LiveCD environment, Virtual PC 2004 with standard installation.

The test:
-Internet surfing.
Surfing website was really good because the fonts, alignment and image that appeared in firefox looks the similar as in windows environment, which means good. However, don't expect all the internet web pages are supported by it. Some web site which are more preferred to IE is unable to work correctly with it. Internet media support is medium e.g. mov and wmv files are not support for online streaming except the files needs to be downloaded in order to play it. This is same goes to real media. Surprisingly real player has linux version but not for quicktime player. (I shouldn't expect Apple would support their competitor. They have a windows version but why not Linux?) YouTube and google video is working fine due to the flash plugin for firefox with linux version. Unfortunately, shockwave player is not supported, so no shockwave online gaming. Since it's linux, there will be no online ActiveX control experience as well

Not for the heavy gamers. Forget most of the games that's available on the shelves. However, I believe Half-Life is supported on Linux but I haven’t got the chance to try that yet. Anyway, games that come with installation package are interesting and better than windows xp.

-Office tool
Perhaps that's the most people use their computer for. OpenOffice work like the old version of Microsoft Office and I think it really quite sufficient for normal user. Acrobat reader is supported for those like to download e-book or manual from the internet. Beside that, Gimp one of my favorite tool for editing picture and image. Of course, don’t expect it to be like the famous Photoshop where it can do wonders.

Not supported for mp3 at first except the decoder needs to be downloaded. However, audio ogg format file is supported and I heard that the audio quality is higher than mp3.

-Hardware, memory card support
The plug and play feature wasn't quite stable as i expected. I've experience that when I plug in my memory card in my notebook, the drive appeared as unknown. (I found that out after checking the device manager). Some other time, it works perfectly well. As for my PDA and digital camera, there’s no driver or software support for Linux version. Printer is not tested, however I saw HP printer driver name was shown while shutting down linux. Perhaps HP printer was supported

-Home networking
First attempt to connect an internet ready modem router has failed. It seems like some configuration needed in order to access the internet. However, it works using virtual pc.

-Help files is available, however if you want to get more, you need to go online in order to get it. Beside that, after the installation, there is about 100mb plus update to downloaded. Therefore, high Internet connectivity is recommended for better experience and better support.


  1. Lack of hardware support. Vendor software or driver are available only for windows and mac.
  2. Web experience is not as rich as windows. (shockwave player, activex plugin is not support, online video streaming)
  3. Unable to play high end games.


  1. It's free.
  2. Comes with rich application. e.g. OpenOffice, games, Gimp, Firefox, Giam
  3. Better security and safer (One of them is no activex installation)
  4. Configuration is much more user friendly compare to old version linux
  5. Help file is included for common issue

The gap between window/mac and linux has drawn closer thanks to Ubuntu. Due to much of the high end games was not supported, this means that Ubuntu would much suitable for low end computer or notebook. However, the major drawback was the software support for those hardware devices available in the market. Especially for computer without highend graphic card. I believe Ubuntu is for people who wants productivity but under a tight budget and believe me, they will get more than what they expected.

This review/experience is solely my personal experience at this moment of time where the review was done and does not guarantee that it will remain as it is by the time you reading this blog or in the near future.

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