Yesterday was the release of the latest version of Ubuntu Linux. I had been running 8.10 on my laptop for a while and felt that I really needed to do a fresh install of it, since the last few releases I used the upgrade option. I had prepped the night before by transferring all my documents and any files I didn’t want to loose to one of my desktops. Then, once I got home, I started the install.
Now mind you my laptop has some overheating issues at times, is on its second hard drive, and can be a pain, which is why I don’t keep important items on it for very long. Upon starting the installation I found the initial screens to be simple, and informative, allowing for you to breeze through this portion of the setup. Then comes the first of the cosmetic changes, the loading screen, which instead of just dots going across, now reminds me more of a Cylon eye bouncing back and forth.
Considering I did not choose the advance install, the next thing to deal with is the 7 questions. This is the area that I either was impatient on time, or my machine really did lock up(and I could not tell you if it was my machine or the installer that caused the problems) but it took me 3 times of going through the install to be able to get through all the questions to do the setup.
Simple items such as time zone, how do you want your partitions, do you wish to keep your prior version, all nice simple and easy. So far things were going overall smooth, and the experience was one that most any user could deal with, even the nontechnical. Total time with the small issues I had to get the system loaded up was about an hour, but if I hadn’t had the locking issues it should have only taken around 30-45 minutes. Once loaded, there were a set of initial security patches, but again it was nothing compare to what we deal with in the Windows world.
I’ll go into software, installing, networking (including Wi-fi), and other things I find out about it in a later post.
Ubuntu, and Linux in general, have come a long way in ease of use, ease of install, availability, and whether or not a normal end user can use it. Desktop Linux’s biggest drawback to becoming mainstream is honestly the community. They do a great job in maintaining the OS, but seem to be overzealous when it comes to helping out end users, which I might add is one of the low to no cost things they brag about. This sort of intimidation is one of the biggest reasons why Linux as a whole is not accepted in the mainstream. The easier experience we can give the nontechnical with Linux, the more of them that will consider using it, and thereby the more chance that the software companies will write more software for it. Course more mainstream brings other problems, which I’ll cover again at a later time.
So Linux mavens, start flaming me if you wish. I’m just giving an honest opinion.
I am sure you have all had this sort of a problem before. You have a piece of software on CD or DVD, pop the disc into the drive, start going through the install and then WHAMMO! The install bombs out, gives you some error that you start googling, try everything you can find to no avail, and finally break down and get a new copy of the software. It sucks cause you only had the disc for a couple months, and yeah the company won’t send you out a replacement.
Well, I’ve run into that scenario and here is a set of things to try before spending the money on a new set of discs:
1) Try to copy the CD or DVD to your hard drive. If it gives you a CRC error or any error, put in a known good disc and copy to make sure it is not the drive itself.
2) If it is not the drive itself, and you can get a trial version of the software, download it. No you won’t be installing the trial version, but it will allow you to access the files and folders that can not be read off the CD.
3) Once the trial is downloaded, let it extract and then Copy whatever wouldn’t from the CD from the trial install area. Copy them into where the CD was being copied to.
4) Finally install off the hard drive. Use your key from the CD, everything in most cases will install just fine.
Yeah its a little time consuming and a pain, but I think its better than spending the money on the software again. Of course ti all depends on how much the software cost you.
So I finally got a test box to load SBS 2008 on. Having worked with SBS 2003 R2 for a number of years, I wasn’t sure what to expect.
The install, which was from scratch, went pretty smoothly. I did notice that there was no place to do much customization of the install, which meant everything was going on the box from the start.
When the install got ready to start it did ask if I wanted to check for and download updates to be installed at that time, which I thought was a nice little touch. The full load time was about 2 hours.
Once installed, I noticed that it had a new Management interface. With the Vista base for the GUI, I was expecting changes, but not quite the ammount that I got. I didn’t see many of the things I’ve come to trust with the SBS 2003 interface, namely the advanced options such as computer management, Exchange browsing, etc. Midn you I have not looked hard into it all yet.
The other thing I noticed was that it gave itself a static IP without any input from me. This to me is a big no no especially if you are initially hooking it onto an existing network, as it could pick an IP Address that is used by a machine already on the network.
Outside of that right now, It seems like a nice system. I still have to run through the wizards to set up everything on it. It definitely is an experience though. The next thing to see is how intuitive it is and is the learning curve any different than looking at a Linux GUI or Mac GUI for the first time.