Monday, May 30, 2011

Ubuntu Trials and Tribulations. BTW - Better than windows.

It's amusing and annoying at the same time, how something can be terrible in some ways, and yet still be a thousand times better than windows ever was. I've seen "seven" and I remain underwhelmed. I'd almost be disgusted, but I'm far too jaded by Microsoft.

I've noticed many quirks with Ubuntu that make it very annoying, especially the samba implementation. The "Network" window often displays nothing, not even the computer I'm using. "Can't load smb://location/" happens all the time. Thankfully, I've learned how to encourage Ubuntu to work properly.

By going to a Chrome window and typing in "192.168.1.x" with x being the location of my NAS device, the login window appears. Immediately, I return to the Network tab on Konqueror or 'File Browser' and lo! The SMB devices are all listed now.

Strange, but it's been working like this for weeks. It may have been like this for the last two years, but I've only recently discovered the trick to "waking" samba.

It's not just the NAS, either. ALL network locations are invisible until I do this. I know the NAS is cheap and "sleeps" too rapidly, and doesn't wake readily, but that shouldn't have much to do with other SMB broadcasts.

So, Ubuntu continues to underperform, and yet it's a blessing too. Just don't try to use the "ubuntu forums" for support or you'll get flamed. I've seen posts on that forum go unanswered for more than 4 years!

In most cases, silence is the best you can hope for from that crowd. I find most ubuntu answers on blogger, private blogs, and wordpress. I don't think that I've found a SINGLE useful response from anyone on an Ubuntu Forum in more than FIVE YEARS now.

Even so, Ubuntu itself remains the best free Operating System for casual PC enthusiasts. Be it laptop, workstation, or desktop, Ubuntu has consistent versioning and appropriate technologies to utilize most hardware.

Of course, when you install a new version, you'll need to re-install the MP3, DVD, Wifi, and other components that are not wholly "open source" from the 'multiverse' and whatever 'proprietary hardware drivers' that Ubuntu says you need. Mine has the "Symantec Touchpad", "NVidia Gforce" and "Broadcom Wifi" devices.

A few clicks, a quick download, and I was online. Few problems, and none that couldn't be resolved. I know that there are better versions of Linux, and Debian, out there such as "Arch Linux" or "Slackware" but these require much more user experience to install and are not for the faint-hearted.

To date I've used SuSE, Red Hat, Fedora, CentOS, Slackware, Ubuntu, Mandrake, FreeBSD, and many many others I can't recall now. Some are pretty obscure.

#1 best LINUX = Slackware. Hands-down the best linux version you'll ever use.
Pros: Horsepower to make your PC do burnouts on your desk. Ultimate control of your hardware.
Cons: BS degree required or equal experience in PC hardware and software. Can be rough on even experienced users.

#2 great LINUX = Arch Linux. Awesomely powerful, sleek, top-end linux distro that focuses on NEW technology.
Pros: Built for the fastest machines and newest hardware. Can run your newest video cards.
Cons: Will NOT run on older machines. REQUIRES building kernels and other high-end knowledge to fully configure.

#3 good LINUX = Ubuntu. Most common linux distro in circulation.
Pros: WAY way easy to use.
Cons: lacks a LOT of power, utility, and control of your hardware. Barely able to handle 3D desktops. Community support is tenuous at best.

These are my preferences from DECADES of using Linux, since 1991. My ideas of great, good, and best may not be the same as yours. My reviews center on USABLE, working, fully developed code.

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