Sunday, February 15, 2009

Well, I took the plunge and installed Ubuntu (again)

Three years ago, I tried to install Ubuntu. Let's just say it went so badly that I'm not even going to give the details for fear that someone I chewed out at the time will notice the similarity between my case and "that jerk on the Ubuntu help site three years ago" and target me for reprisals.

Needless to say, it actually worked this time, since I was smart enough to install it on a completely different computer as a hedge against failure (instead of merely trying to isolate it to a partition on a secondary hard drive) and because the development crew has gotten its act together.

And I have to confess, I enjoy it for the most part. There's still a lot to get used to, and a lot of settings to configure, but I was amazed how easy it was to get wifi working, to install Firefox plugins (note how I don't snidely call it "liarsux" anymore?) and how many Free (yes, "they" want you to capitalize it), useful programs come bundled, and yet the system has no bloat ... everything is fast. Unlike on Windows, there isn't a huge list of processes of questionable purpose running that you can't shut down.

I've also gone back to using Vimperator which I had blogged about before, which means that yes, I made this post without ever using the mouse. But of course, like with most user interface design, the half-genius Herr Stubenschrott had to ruin his own code's functionality. Previously, you would hit the 'f' key and a bunch of key commands would pop up over the links like "ds". Then, hitting "ds" would activate the link. But now, they're all numerical, like "24", which makes it much less convenient.

Stubenschrott, in his defense, now permits you to call up a link by typing the first few letters of it, which I had suggested allowing before ... but it kind of defeats the purpose when the key commands blot out the first two letters! And the entire link becomes highlighted and impossible to read! Fortunately, someone wrote a script that converts it back to the old way.

All in all, a seamless, enjoyable transition so far. Now, to move over the old hard drives, files, and email...