Andrew Mobbs (mobbsy) wrote,
Andrew Mobbs

A nifty feature of the new job, as long as I can do my job nobody minds what software I run. So, I've got a Linux system for the first time in many years. I installed Ubuntu on my work laptop on Thursday, and have been fiddling since.

I'm fairly impressed with how far things have come in terms of hardware support and usability, most of the install Just Worked, including resizing my NTFS partition, the wireless network adaptor, a lot of the packaged software works fairly well together (I have FreeBSD on my home system, but that install has got so crufty for intertwined dependencies that I haven't been able to upgrade Gnome much recently). I'll grumble at cjwatson at some point about the LVM configuration in the installer, which was a little broken.

However, there was still enough to remind me of the Bad Old Days of Linux, especially with the graphics. The laptop has an Intel 915GM chipset, with an i900 graphics card. There are known bugs with many BIOSs and the driver, one of which means that I can't get the full 1400x1050 resolution, and am using 1280x1024. Even worse was the dual-head configuration. Nothing in the install attempted to detect and setup the configuration (despite an X configuration probe seeing both displays), and there was no GUI for it. So, back to the Linux of 10 years ago, reading man pages and hacking config files to try to get it working. I still haven't fully managed that, the second display works but will only do 640x480, possibly due to config, possibly due to the driver problems.

Ubuntu's in a bit of an awkward situation when it comes to modern desktops, since they're quite rigerously Free Software. The one thing that really was noticably missing was MP3 support by default. Otherwise, I was quite pleased to find that Novell had open-sourced the Exchange connector for Evolution, although it's not my favourite mail client being able to work well with the work Exchange server is going to keep people happier about me not following the "standard" of using Windows. copes fairly well with Word, Excel and Powerpoint. Nautilis makes using SMB shares a lot easier than it used to be, and generally I seem to be able to work Microsoft free for at least 95% of what I need. The one bit of MS software I need to use that doesn't have a Free interoperability program seems to be SourceSafe. I'm going to try that under Wine, otherwise I might end up having to reboot for that, which will be a pain.

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