Related link: http://kubuntu.org/
For years I have had an on-again/off-again relationship with desktop linux. My old flame: Debian running fvwm. Over the years, however, we have both changed. Where I used to enjoy tinkering, I am now impatient and want things to ‘just work.’ Desktop linux has thankfully developed along these lines. Goodbye, stock Debian and fvwm. Hello Ubuntu and KDE (Kubuntu). (Ubuntu is based on Debian.)
My experiment in distributed polling — give it a click or visit PunchPoll.com:
I first downloaded the Kubuntu live CD, burned it, and booted it on my laptop. It looked good. I especially liked that the antialiased fonts still looked good at small sizes. When I am coding, I use small fonts so I can see more code.
While downloading the Kubuntu install CD, I rummaged through my old hardware and assembled a so-so machine: an AMD K-6/2 450MHz CPU with 384MB RAM. Too slow? Well, let’s try it.
The install went well, except it inexplicably rebooted five times. Each time something different seemed to trigger the reboot. Bad CD media, perhaps? Bad memory? I especially like that it detected my hardware and spared me from configuring X.
Booting into Kubuntu for the first time felt good. The Mac-like admin layer is nice. The UI seemed choppy sometimes, but then my machine is under-powered.
First problem: I wasn’t online. The network configuration window made sense, except I couldn’t get my gateway setting to ’stick.’ A google search quickly yielded a helpful discussion in an ubuntu forum. Using the console I edited /etc/network/interfaces by hand and restarted the network service — fixed the old fashioned way. I was glad to see that the ubuntu community had me covered.
I set to work updating and installing packages. The Adept package manager made sense and worked well.
Setting the clock raised the same issue I saw trying to configure the network. The GUI let me change the time zone, but the change didn’t stick. Back to the console, man pages and Google. Turns out I was missing a symlink from /etc/localtime into /usr/share/zoneinfo. Fixed.
I hope to try my hand at some Linux desktop development. In particular, I would like to create a PDF manipulation tool based on my pdftk. Ubuntu feels like a good place to begin. I am also looking for a desktop my family can comfortably use — we’ll see.