The last article I posted on this topic was really written about 2 weeks before I actually posted it. I had lost a version that I worked on with a whole lot of corrections … long story. Either way, it’s been about a month now that I’ve installed and have been using Linux for at least 2 hours every day.
Things certainly have changed, not just in the evolution of this OS, but in the way that we use our computers and the web …
Okay, so let’s get right to it. Here are the list of my primary problems:
- Desktop goes nuts from time to time – my desktop graphics totally craps out after resuming from a lock screen or hibernate and I have to jump to a console (ALT+F1) and restart the graphical desktop system (sudo restart lightdm).
- Hibernate & resume from sleep doesn’t work right many times – there are several issues here. When coming out of hibernate/sleep and unlocking the machine with the user password, the machine often kicks right back into sleep or even hibernates again. This gets old really quickly – but when you power up a second time everything is back to normal.
- No support for external monitors (at least it’s difficult to get it to work) – I ventured into an attempt to address this last Saturday. There is a way to do it and there’s some documentation online, but I ended up spending the entire day trying to fix it, eventually screwed up entire GUI and had to reinstall the Graphical Windows system in the end. Reinstalling the graphics system was easy enough, but this should be plug and play stuff
- Banshee Music play crashes regularly – This one is self explanatory. Good thing I don’t listen to that much music from the machine when I’m working with this laptop
- Can’t seem to create desktop shortcuts on Linux Mint – Didn’t really spend much time on this one, but it should be much easier to create desktop shortcuts to the applications that I use most … not fun. (Ubuntu doesn’t have this problem though)
- The Terminal, you need to be familiar with it – If you’re afraid of the ominous black and white text of the console, you may find it a bit difficult getting some things done on Linux.
I think that’s it – from my month of using Linux Mint 12, those are really the only *big* issues. The experience for the most part has been pretty awesome. I’ve been thinking about it, its not like I haven’t tried Linux in the past, what’s changed now to make the experience so much better? Ubuntu and Linux Mint should be recognized and commended for all their hard work in bringing greater usability and a far better user experience to the operating system, but the more that I thought about it … I realized that it goes beyond this … my friend Marcus Sanatan was hinting at it when he talked about good browser support on many platforms on a Google+ post I had made … The realization is this (and you can quote me on this one)
"The web is my Operating System"
I found that even on Linux I didn’t miss a beat. I was able to do all the things that I needed to do quite comfortably … thanks to Firefox! Yup, I said Firefox. There is a native Google Chrome application for Linux but I find Firefox to be a more comfortable browser.
How do I spend the time in the browser?
- Social Networking (Facebook, Twitter, Google+) in that order
2. Email (Hotmail & Gmail)
3. Business Productivity On the Web (Google Docs, SkyDrive, Office 365, etc)
4. General Web browsing (YouTube, Justin.tv, Engadget, ZDNet, TNW, TechCrunch, etc.)
Again, the web as a platform has come a long way in a short time and much of my time on the machine is spent functioning on the web.
Thus far, there hasn’t been anything that I’ve been unable to accomplish because of my choice of Linux as my OS. I am absolutely convinced that students and many many persons using computers from consumers to business staff can function comfortably and productively on Linux.
Well, that’s it for this post. Next time I’ll try to talk about my experience as a developer on the machine. I have been doing mostly Microsoft .NET for quite a number of year now, and there are options for doing that Linux.