Taking the Plunge – Ubuntu

Call me a copycat, but I decided to install Ubuntu on a partition on my laptop, just to see what all the fuss is about.  Honestly, part of what got me to try it was the fact that my father decided to use it exclusively on one of his machines.  Now, my dad’s no luddite, but he’s certainly not what I would call a hard-core computer geek.  I thought, “Okay, Brian.  If you’re going to be a real geek, have some stones and give it a shot.” 

The experience has been mixed so far.  Most everything works the way I would expect.  Wireless worked out of the box, which was very nice.  I still can’t get sound to work, however, and the troubleshooting docs I’ve found so far haven’t been very helpful.  My friendly neighborhood coffeehouse owner is a real Linux geek, though, so I may hit him up for some help with that.

My overall impression so far is that it is the polar opposite of a Mac as Jeff described it the other day.  Instead of having an extremely closed, almost game-console-like evironment where everything works because it was all designed to work together, you have a jungle of software and  hardware drivers to wade through that may or may not totally explode when used with the wrong command-line flag.  Even the way you obtain and install it feels very by-the-seat-of-your-pants.  It very much feels do-it-yourself, as opposed to the “We’ll take care m of all that silly computer stuff for you, you just concentrate on watching YouTube and checking the weather” vibe I get from a Mac.  The Mac and Linux zealots seem very similar in their motivations for choosing a different platform, but to me Windows is actually somewhere in between the two in the compromise between out-of-the-box usability and freedom of customization. 

Anyway, I hope to start really learning ruby soon, now that I have the environment most people using it run on.  If I run into anything else interesting, I’ll be sure to post it.

Update:  Turns out enabling Gutsy Backports fixed my problem.  Anyone else with Intel’s ICH8 chipset, take note.  Thanks to linuxtechie for posting the solution.

2 thoughts on “Taking the Plunge – Ubuntu

  1. David Mohundro

    You know, it seems that most Rails guys actually code on Macs using TextMate instead of a Linux. I watched some of the videos from RubyConf (see http://rubyconf2007.confreaks.com/) and it seemed like everyone was running a Mac. I guess the command line environment is essentially the same as on a Mac… I don’t actually know.

    Yeah, I’d have to say it seems that Windows is somewhere in between. I haven’t used a Mac enough to know for sure and I’m not really interesting in paying the Mac Tax just yet.

  2. Brian Sullivan

    Well, phooey. I thought that I was being hip. I’m with you though, David, paying more for essentially identical hardware doesn’t really appeal to me. I guess what it boils down to is that you have to pay more to get Mac OS on that hardware instead of Windows.


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