The pause, Ubuntu and news
I’ve pretty much switched to Ubuntu on the laptop, which has been taking up most of my time. After a bit of tinkering almost everything works as expected, other than the Option 3G/EDGE wireless card that I’ve managed to get the OS to detect and even dial out with, but it is not functioning yet. Honestly, it is a bit of a downer; one that won’t allow me to get rid of the Windows XP install that is on the other partition as I travel quite a bit and I need to be connected all the time. And other than the Bombay and Bangalore airports, wifi is not free anywhere, which means the data card is my only savior.
There are other bits of news too that have been consuming more of my time. I’ve been reconsidering a lot of things, including the direction in which I am headed career-wise, things should be much clearer by the end of the week and hopefully there should be news that I can break by then.
Coming back to Ubuntu and Linux what I can say is that while the experience has improved vastly from the last time I had dabbled with being on the OS, it is far from being user friendly or idiot-proof. For the business user it is still a major pain to set things up straight (you should see the way how the Open Office UI is rendered, which is reminiscent of something from the 1980s than the 2000s).
After installing the fonts and the drivers (the Nvidia binary driver won’t allow me the max resolution of 1200 x 800 on my GeForce Go 6600 card, I had to fall back to the NV driver to get there), I had to wonder if any business user or even the average Joe would be able to put up with it.
Thankfully, most of my data is handled by online applications, other than the exception of my Firefox extensions (thank god for FBE) and settings and after an initial bit of getting used to each other, Evolution and I have gotten along famously well and that should allow me to say bye to the good old Outlook days.
Honestly, for Linux to get mass adoption someone has to do an Apple with it, which is apparently what Dell is trying to do. But with Dell they are just getting the hardware right, someone has to repackage Linux in a much more polished manner, along with the hardware, with good support. See, Ubuntu has 90% of the things right in it, but the 10% it does not have going for it is the important bit for which I can see most people paying for. Would it not be possible to charge 10% of Vista’s licensing costs to provide support and packaging for Linux on the desktop and still have a decent business going that could benefit everyone — Linux, companies and the users — involved?