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Windows no more. I'm Ubuntu now!

Changed home OS from Vista to Ubuntu



7:58 pm on Aug 27, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Well, it's official as of 4 days ago... my home operating system is no longer based on Windows (specifically, Vista). I've made the switch to Ubuntu 8.04 -- code named Hardy Heron. It may not be that big of a deal to many of you, but it's pretty monumental in my world. Here's my story:

I'm a Microsoft software guy, through and through. I started my professional life as a classic ASP developer, and eventually moved to programming with .NET. I've always had a Windows OS, Microsoft Office, and anything else that made my life easier... started at 3.1 more than 10 years ago, stopped at Vista, used everything else in between. Back in the day (ok, maybe 7 years ago), a friend of mine installed Red Hat on a spare system to mess around. I was able to have a first hand view of his trials and tribulations, and swore I'd never need anything but Windows. I'll be honest, I need a GUI. It's just "easier" for me.

A couple/few weeks ago I ran into a blog post from a site I frequent, showcasing Hardy Heron. Frankly, I had no idea a graphical Linux even existed, so I dug into it a little bit more. Still being a GUI-guy, I have to admit I was impressed. I'm not the person that said "well, it doesn't look like Windows, so it sucks". I actually downloaded Ubuntu, burned it to a CD, and set off to dual boot my home system (Vista being primary, Ubuntu to "check it out"). I really had no personal reason to do it. I'm actually one of the few that has no problems with Vista other than 1 driver issue that sometimes pops up. I guess I was just feeling adventurous.

So I eventually got a dual boot environment set up. It took me about 6 hours to finally get it right, but it would have been much faster had I not been overly afraid of messing up my Master Boot Record. I have everything backed up... but still. Once I was in, I immediately downloaded Opera (sorry Firefox :) and starting playing around. When I found something that didn't make sense or just flat out went over my head, I looked it up online. I started playing around with customizing the look/feel with themes, and add-ons. I started to figure out how the whole "package" system works. I realized that Terminal is still much needed. I then started to look into what my options were for replacement software (email client, IM client, stuff like that)... and realized 2 major things:

1) I don't do a whole lot at home with different software on a day-to-day basis. Email and surf, mostly.
2) There are a lot of VERY comparable open source software packages that can replace Microsoft offerings.

After about a month, I realized that I really CAN switch over to Ubuntu full time, and ditch Windows. So I did.

One thing I do want to point out... I still do a fair amount of programming on the side with a few sites I run, and it's all done in .NET. Because I still need to use Visual Studio and SQL Server, I still need Windows. Well, VirtualBox (a VMWare competitor) came in handy to allow me to run Windows XP virtually. Other than that, I'm 100% Linux. I still can use Opera to surf, and use Evolution as my Outlook replacement (this is one program that has so much potential, but still has a little bit to go). I use Pidgin as my IM client. And I'm OK with all of this.

Moral of this long story? I surprised myself. I would never have guessed that I'd be running a *nix based system as my primary home machine. Did I do it because I hate Microsoft? No, I never will. Did I do it for any real reason? The only one I can think of is: I guess I wanted a change, and to see what it was like. The only thing I can really compare it to is if you worked at a company for 10 years, and decided to quit and work for a start-up. Your job title might not change, but you ultimately are doing something new and a just a little bit different.

Is anyone else a recent convert? Anyone do it for similar reasons, and not because you hate Microsoft?


11:01 am on Aug 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member quadrille is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Writing as a windows user planning to build a small boat in the back yard and sail towards Linux, two questions:

1. Why Opera and not FF?
2. Web editing? As a GUI-guy, how are you adjusting?

BTW, I *am* sick of M$, but I have been since Windows 3.1**

My motivation is simply that with each new release, windows finds new blind alleys; Linux isn't just open source, it's open-minded.

**I remember that every Windows relaunch promised to get rid of Program Manager, and while the replacement looked slightly different, it behaved much the same - I started to suspect these folk were on a different planet. And what sealed it for me was that slogan - "Microsoft. Too Big. Too Slow."


11:48 am on Aug 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

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1. I've never been able to be completely satisfied with Firefox. Not exactly sure what it is. All I know is that a few years ago I decided to try out Opera instead of IE, and have been hooked ever since. I truly believe it's the best browser available... but I don't want to hijack this thread about that.

2. Running XP virtually is taking care of everything. It really is idiot-proof. To me, firing up VirtualBox to run Visual Studio/SQL Server is just another program I'm running.

Have you an idea for what Linux distro you're going to use? If not, I truly recommend Ubuntu 8.04. It's been pretty easy to get into, and there is a ton of documentation for it online.


11:52 am on Aug 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member vincevincevince is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

I realized that Terminal is still much needed.

The terminal is not needed... but people who give help online rarely know the GUI. They aren't motivated to learn it as if you know the terminal commands it's faster to do things that way.

Ubuntu is nice; but I feel Fedora is a more mature system for people more interested in stable and working than fun and bleeding edge.


2:15 pm on Aug 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

The terminal is not needed... but people who give help online rarely know the GUI. They aren't motivated to learn it as if you know the terminal commands it's faster to do things that way.

Well said. Unfortunately, the majority of help you do find online is littered with terminal commands and lacking GUI instructions.


2:34 pm on Aug 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member quadrille is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Which is probably why FF is growing fast relative to IE, but Linux is static relative to Windows.

We can't all be geeks - Lord knows I've tried ;)


4:44 pm on Aug 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Im with you. My vista desktop has been plagued with problems since I got it. Died 4 days ago. Downloaded Ubuntu, simple install, no driver issues, no network connection issues, no issues full stop. Im 90% browser, so the only difference I've noticed is that the computer runs faster.
Its come a long way.


12:46 pm on Aug 29, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member wheel is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

I switched to linux years ago, after the 'last time' my windows 98 install required a rebuild that took me down for two days. Same process as you. Initially just use opensource packages, then move to a dual boot, then realize one day,hey, I don't need windows anymore.

I hate to think the last time I did an OS update. It was years ago. And I never reboot, ever. Everything just runs smooth and fast.

I'm running on hardware that is getting pretty ancient, and I don't mind spending money on hardware, but everything runs as fast as I could want it. However was upgrading my wife's windows box up to a couple of gig, and thought, hey just for giggles I'll upgrade my linux box to 2 gigs as well. I mean, I have 0 speed issues at 1 gig, but what the heck. I checked, it turns out I have 512 megs. lol. I didn't bother upgrading.

And rumour is, that linux is getting tighter, so newer versions actually run faster, better, and on even older hardware than before. That machine from 2002 that you don't know how to get rid of? that could be your new high speed desktop :).

But...there's a next step in our evolution I think. Because as Linux desktop users who now know you can transition from one OS to another and still run a business, we're left to wonder....is there something the Mac users know that we don't?


11:59 am on Sep 12, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I keep thinking about doing the same I can run all my email/web and work stuff on ubuntu with no problems. The problem for me would be the online game's I play (EQ2, LOTRO and soon WAR). I don't think those 3 would run on Linux.

I keep thinking about getting one of those mini linux boxes like the new EEEbox to run Linux on. I'd then just boot up the more powerful pc for the games.

If I could run those games on linux i'd swap over completely.


10:21 am on Oct 14, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I am about to do the same.... In fact, busy downloading Ubuntu now.

Why ? Can't even tell me !

Just to try and see if Ubuntu is really much faster than my Vista SP1 and to see if the LAG I get come from that Wireless Vista/XP bug.

The problem I am facing, I am not a OS techguy (only do webstuff mainly) so I am afraid to mess up.

Just one question, I have read somewhere this morning that I need 4 partitions (one for Vista, one for Linux, one with a swap and one with data can be read both by Linux and Windows)...

Do I really need to create these extension or will the LiveCD from Ubuntu to all the work for me ?


12:55 pm on Oct 14, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

im on ubuntu as well .

Cant really complain although im still learning the newer trick like using the ubuntu terminal .

I quite like the fact that there are many apps you can use without the cost implication and they all pretty much the same as windows .

however i am struggling to get more than two ff browsers open at the same time and im also struggling to install programmes . But im learning .

There are the few hitches but its a lot faster than my old microsoft was.

Ive also installed Lampp - apache , mysql , php + perl and have had no problems with it and have been developing quite nicely .

Im currently looking to expand into c# but have some problems with finding a nice environment and everyone i speak to seems to have their own opinion.

But from my opinion i would make the switch it doesnt seem to be to problematic.




8:23 pm on Nov 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Well good for you then.

I remember Windows, back in the day, running atop a version 1.0. The floppy ... ah yes ... the memories indeed.

The Linux is actually the very best way I feel. Years of pandering to the excitement of it's consumer base are waning for Microsoft, so much so that they're even beginning to contribute in a monitary way to Open Source. Microsoft knows that their days are numbered indeed, and if one ever thought flipping the switch from IEX to Firefox was a treat, just wait, as converting from Windows to Linux is a thrill I haven't experienced since the release of Win95.

Vista, to me, is so much like WinME it's not funny. And with that said, I'll thank Microsoft gleefully for finally pushing us far enough away from them with Vista, to actually giving it a go with Linux.


8:22 am on Nov 20, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Me too - did it last weekend - very sweet, surprised that it came with all the open office software & other stuff as well - how to liven up an old PC!

Downloaded the 8.04 torrent, then burnt the ISO image, cleaned windows off the PC and straight install, took quite some time, and was surprised as to how much disk space it took, but at that time did not realise it was loading all the additional application software - no problems with network, sound, display drivers etc

I must admit to having thought Linux to be very geeky / techy - I had no idea what all the various distros were, in fact didn't even understand what a distro was............in fact they are just different versions of Linux, some with more bells and whistles than others, pretty pictures and design etc (non techie perspective).

I thought there had to be more to Linux as all the new netbooks are being shipped with it, further research showed that Dell are thinking about offering it as an OS with laptops.

So having installed it, I'm impressed, comes with all the open office programmes, that is word, excel etc and quite a complex graphics programme - interesting that Adobe are coming under pressure to do a Linux version of Photoshop.

Now all the above was on a very old Dell deskstop 4gig hard disk & 512ram - next move is to load on to my 4 year old lap top and run virtual box so I can use windose progs eg Photoshop & Premiere - have heard about wine but VB sounds better - any comments ?


5:27 pm on Dec 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

What are you guys using for editing web pages? I have been messing around with Ubuntu for about a year, but finally re-os'd my system with Kubuntu and Ubuntu. I am leaning towards Kubuntu. Vista is a total bellyflop and it did nothing but crash my system (I might add that I have a quadcore, 64 bit system with 6 gig, 750 gig drive). I use dreamweaver and expression web in the windows environment, but need something comparable to run in Kubuntu/Ubuntu. I don't want something that has strictly code view. I don't think Quanta Plus is all that great IMO. Any advice?


5:50 pm on Dec 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

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"I use dreamweaver and expression web in the windows environment, but need something comparable to run in Kubuntu/Ubuntu."

You're hurting for certain. Nothing comparable. The apps are what most stay with Windows for, or even Mac for that matter. All the great apps you use aren't on Linux. If you just need simple office suite stuff and text editors you are good to go. But if you use the Adobe product line you are out of luck.

There are quasi equivalents like Gimp ---> Photoshop, but not many serious Photoshop people would consider Gimp all that great.

Major software companies don't like writing for Linux because there are 543 different distros that do stupid crap like use different versions of the libraries or house them in different locations. All of these things are not a hindrance on Mac or Windows. Couple that with the attitude of many in the FOSS camp that everything needs to be open source, you can see why commercial entities aren't rushing out the Linux version. I had high hopes for the LSB (Linux Standards Base) for coming up with a base for distros to follow, but poor Bruce got a lot of pushback and every person creating a distro has high and mighty reasons for how they roll it, so something like LSB never had a chance.

[edited by: CrustyAdmin at 5:52 pm (utc) on Dec. 1, 2008]


7:35 pm on Dec 3, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

What are you guys using for editing web pages?

My Windows XP virtual machine.


6:13 am on Dec 6, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

What are you guys using for editing web pages?

I use Quanta, there is also Nvu/Kompozer, the HTML editor in Mozilla Seamonkey, Amaya and others.

Quanta obviously does not suit you (personally, I prefer working in a code view), Kompozer or the editor in Seamonkey may.

have heard about wine but VB sounds better

I use Wine to run IE for testing. Works fine for that, but not every app will work well with Wine. There is a fairly extensive list of software that works, and does not work on the Codeweavers web site.


5:02 pm on Dec 21, 2008 (gmt 0)

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i began using linux around 2 years ago with Puppy Linux. Now, I am running an Ubuntu 8.04 LAMP box.

If you are looking for virtualization products, VMWare Server 2 is great. they switched over to an all web based product. you have to download a 15mb add-on - VMWare provides a link. Need to try that with Opera.

As a part-time web designer, I use GIMP quite a bit, and then sometimes Irfanview for quick edits running on Wine. I have never found Dreamweaver equivalents in Linux, so much of my work is coded in Gedit. PHP makes it too easy to make a template and simply have one index file... RAMBLING

One more helpful hint: Instead of dual boot, I used VMWare (as mentioned above). Then, I can run both at once instead of having to restart to get at *indows.

Also, I created two ext3 partitions on my drive. One for all of my data and another for the operating system. It protects your files from potential problems with the operating system. So, I ended up with two ext3 partitions and a 3 GB swap.


6:43 am on Feb 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

My $0.02 on development-- I've tried them all, I think, from Quanta to Eclipse to a customized gedit-- and the best I've found for Ubuntu is the NetBeans PHP IDE.

It works great on Ubuntu 8.1, and has been a real joy, with native subversion support, code hints and a lot more. Great product for the price (free!)


12:46 pm on Feb 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I have Parallels on my Mac, and I recently downloaded and installed Ubuntu on a new VM just out of sheer curiosity. I was amazed at how easy it was, both to install and to use.

I was especially impressed with all the free apps that came pre-installed with it! Firefox, of course, and the Open Office suite, and an email program, and gimp. And I thought to myself, the majority of people who think they are so wedded to Windows or Mac could get by just fine with Ubuntu, if they were willing to open their minds to the possibility.


4:35 pm on Feb 12, 2009 (gmt 0)

I've been using Ubuntu a while now however the one thing I really do miss is the fantastic Popcorn POP3/SMTP e-mail client that I have installed on all WIN machines plus whenever I'm travelling I have it on a USB flash drive and can access all my e-mail accounts from any WIN machine.

Does anyone know of anything similar to this that actually works?


4:50 pm on Feb 12, 2009 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Wish I could migrate (and I have tried a few times).

Adobe products are just too hard for me to lose and if I have to work in windows (even through wine) I might just as well stick to windows.

It really sucks that there has never been any kind of product on Linux at the Adobe level :-(


9:47 pm on Feb 12, 2009 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

if I have to work in windows (even through wine) I might just as well stick to windows.

IMO, that's the key. Ubuntu will have a chance when it can serve as a replacement for Windows and/or Mac. For many people, it could -- email, surfing, word processing, spreadsheets ..... no problem. You could go Ubuntu all the way. But for those of us who depend on Adobe products, or other software that isn't available for Ubuntu, it can't be more than an adjunct OS.


7:36 am on Feb 13, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month


Popcorn is not being developed or updated any more so I am not sure it is a good idea to keep using it on any platform. Also its aim seems to be to treat POP3 as though it was IMAP. Why not just use IMAP?

You might try Claws as a lightweight mail client. You can configure it to leave mail on a POP server. You should (I have not tried) be able to configure it to keep mail in /tmp/shm so mail is stored only in memory. Config is not in a single file, but it is in a single (hidden) directory.

Simon, I would qualify your comment about Wine. It is probably true for you because I would guess you spend a lot (or most) of your time using Adobe products (Dreamweaver and/or Photoshop). Wine is a great alternative for people who only spend some of their using one or two Windows only apps - I have been using Linux for seven years and have only used Wine to check my sites render correctly in IE.

Incidentally, those people who are deterred from moving to Linux because of oone or two apps, should email the vendor and ask for a Linux version. If they see evidence of demand they will produce it.

I also think Macs are a good alternative in this situation. You get your Adobe software available, a Unix like OS with open source components (Darwin, webkit) and with many of the apps you would use on Linux available as well.


3:03 pm on Feb 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

You might try Claws as a lightweight mail client.

Thanks graeme_p, just checked it out and going by the screen shots it looks like what I need...fingers crossed and I'll try it a bit later and advise.


5:05 pm on Feb 19, 2009 (gmt 0)

Update to graeme_p

Problem solved! There are standalone programs out there such as kshowmail however Thunderbird has a setting that does the trick.

In Account Settings > Server Settings simply check Fetch Headers Only, easy peasy, my life is much better now:-)


9:53 pm on Feb 22, 2009 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

No more Windows here as well.

Fedora 10 on my laptop, and Ubuntu 8.10 on the desktop

Primary browser - Seamonkey.

Fedora is definitely more 'bleeding edge' and is my preference actually.

My reason for total conversion was mainly due to fast bootup at 'Start', a quicker browsing experience, other goodies like 'Terminal' for SSH, Rhythmbox, Bluefish, Chatzilla, etc., etc.


4:08 pm on May 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I'm looking at this whole conversation and debating setting up a *nix install on my system. The only OS I've really known is Windows (some experience with Macs, but I just don't like the navigation).

I want to get into web design and development, and a LAMP seems to get tossed around pretty frequently as a good thing to have. The irony is, despite my interest in learning the languages and standards, I've never been very good when it comes to things like setting up an OS.

Anyone have advice on a good starting point? Currently using a laptop with Vista Professional, 64-bit.


10:53 am on May 19, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

1) Hardware compatibility is the biggest problem. Most things work out of the box with most distros, but it is worth checking before installing, especially on a laptop. You need to check wireless and 3d video in particular.

2) Try live CDs. They run slowly but will let you get a taste of different distros and desktops. They also let you check out of the box hardware compatibility (which may vary between distros).

3) Check distro repositories. It makes software installation much easier if everything you need is a click away and it all auto updates.

All the major distros repos have all the common desktops apps, and most make it easy to set up a LAMP stack, but some have a lot more: Debian based distors (including Ubuntu) have huge repositories.

4) My own opinion is that KDE is easiest windows power users, as well as very flexible in general, but you might prefer the elegance of Gnome, or to trade features for speed with one of the light desktops. Of course you can change your mind, but it is good to have a distro that supports your desktop well.

As for starting points, I like Ubuntu or Mint (Ubuntu with some additions) for ease of installation and big repos or Mandriva (largely because they do KDE better than Ubuntu). If you only want a server, then Debian or RedHat/CentOS might be better.


7:30 pm on Jul 4, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I just joined the Ubuntu community. Downloaded and installed via dual boot last week along side XP.

Interestingly, I have yet to boot up XP since I added Ubuntu. I do have some Windows specific software like QuickBooks that I use every few months that will require me to boot XP, but for my day to day webmaster tasks, Ubuntu is awesome.

For one, I love how I can essentially map drives to my remote Linux servers. That alone has made my life so much easier in regards to managing my sites and servers.

I also like how I was able to see my XP partition from Ubuntu. I can browse and access all my old files whenever I need to.

The built in network tools are awesome. No more jumping from site to site for Whois info.

Then of course I was very impressed with the boot up time. My laptop boots and connects to the Internet in a fraction of the time my XP partition takes. Both boot up and shutdown are lightening fast.

Still exploring, but so far I'm sold on it.


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