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Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Life Without Windows: 8 Weeks and Counting

In the past I have dabbled with Ubuntu, 2 months ago I made a more dedicated commitment; transforming my 1.5 yr old Windows 7 laptop into a dual-booting Ubuntu beast. The process was quite easy; download the image, burn it to a disk, restart windows with the disc inserted, and after about 30 minutes and a few clicks, Ubuntu is installed.

Initially I had planned on splitting my computer usage 50:50 between Windows and Ubuntu, it's actually worked out to 99% Ubuntu and 1% Windows (I haven't been in Windows for at least 2 weeks). The switch has been so good that I also changed my work computer and teaching computer to dual boot machines. What am I enjoying about it so far?
  1. No antivirus: Not having this has been great. No more do I have to deal with virus updates or scanning.
  2. Ubuntu is better at updates: Approximately 2-3 days of the week Ubuntu has to be updated. This may seem like a lot but very rarely does it have to be restarted.
  3. Great free software: I have not been in a situation where free software can't get the job done. I use Libreoffice for "office-like" work, Inkscape for vector editing, Picasa for photo editing, and Dropbox for file sharing.
  4. Fantastic customization: With compizconfig, basically everything (desktop icons can be different sizes!) can be customized.
  5. Easy on System Resources: Currently I have Chrome, Google Earth, and Libreoffice open, and I am only using 700 MB or RAM, Windows 7 uses over 2 GB.
  6. It's Free!: If I want to upgrade Windows, it's going to cost be anywhere between $200-$300, with Ubuntu it's free and occurs every 6 months. Also, these upgrades take about 1 hr and do not require clean installs. 

The only negative thing I have encountered is the lack of Netflix support, I use the Wii for this but the video quality is low. Hopefully Chrome will get this support at the same time that Chrome OS does.

So far it has been an excellent 2 months as a part of the Linux world. The learning curve has not been steep, and with the Unity interface, the switch to Ubuntu is even easier. If you haven't tried it yet, give it a shot, you may become hooked!