Forced Enjoyment

This isn’t the first time I’ve tried Ubuntu (or Linux for that matter). Several times in the past few years (since 2002 actually), I’d get the “Linux Bug” and repartition my hard drive to be able to try out some new distro. This would normally come about after I’d read some positive review of said distro (or from a friend). What have I tried in the past? I started out on Mandrake (now Mandriva), moved to SUSE 8 & 9, then MEPIS (great distro btw), and now Ubuntu. At each step, the experience has gotten better - but I’d always switch back to using Windows full time for some reason or another. This typically took about 2-3 days. Sometimes only hours.

Why only hours? HP Laserjet 1020. I bought this excellent printer a while back and absolutely love it. No more expensive ink every 2 months for me! One problem though…this printer has some odd quirks under Linux. Last I looked, the best support for it had gotten was having the ability to print up to 20 pages - then you’d have to power cycle the printer. So this PC has been only Linux for over a week now…why? I don’t print from it.

With Windows XP still on my main PC, I’ve been free to continue my fun Linux project without interruption. The more I use it - the more I discover that it has every bit of functionality my Windows box has (except printing of course) and then some. Some favorite applications I’ve discovered:

  • Amarok - best media player I’ve used in years. I’ve been using Winamp since the 1.x days…and still do (5.x) on my Windows machine. I’d tried iTunes but didn’t like it. Amarok is fantastic and truly deserves a Windows port.
  • kTorrent - BitTorrent Client. On Windows I’ve stuck with Azureus. It’s stable, has lots of features, etc. I tried it under Ubuntu and had lots of little issues…overdownloading, NAT/DHT connection problems (not fixed by port forwarding, etc.), and even the occasional lock-up. I researched a while and lots of people say to run uTorrent under wine. No thanks. kTorrent apparently is much like uTorrent anyway. It’s completely stable, no NAT problems (or DHT). Even integrates well into GNome (despite it’s KDE roots).
  • GKrellM - System Monitor. Nice small out of the way utility that’ll let you know CPU/memory/ethernet details.
  • MPlayer - Media Player that will play ANYTHING. For all your avi/h264 needs.

These are pretty standard apps for Linux users, it seems. They’ve got equally viable ports or competitors on the Windows front - but I’m just happy they exist for Linux and have fairly decent GUI design (excellent in some cases). GUI design has always been lacking on Linux, in my opinion (specifically programs that you want to use on a typical desktop that have no GUI frontend). I’m really enjoying my current setup and don’t have ANY plans to change back to Windows on this media center Linux box.