Ubuntu 9.04 – a replacement for Windows???

Posted: May 8, 2009 in Corporate, OS, reviews
Tags: , , , ,

Finally the much awaited Ubuntu 9.04 has released. Although I didnt yet install and use it, I hearing a lot of noise about it, especially as a total replacement to Windows. One thing I am hearing the most is about the speed, and a faster loading time. I am really dying to compare it with the new Windows 7 RC1. But the rest of the stuff I hear are all based on some new applications that are bundled along with it. Like a new media player that can automatically download the subtitles from “open”subtitles.com and a package manager that can take a backup copy of all the packages and even perform an offline installation similar to apt-get.  But this package manager is still way below the windows counterpart where you install an application with just one button click.

The look and feel thing, from what I have seen, I feel the UI of windows 7 (i have been using the beta for sometime) is far better than that of Ubuntu.. W7 interface makes a lot of things easier to do..like connecting to network directly from the tray and those cool transparency effects. With that default themes of both, I felt like i went straight to the Sahara desert after my vacation in Bahamas.

But one major problem I am gonna have with Ubuntu is the lack of drivers…especially the graphics and sound drivers…I am having an nVidia 8600 GT graphics card and a creative audigy sound card to help play my Altec lansing. Ubuntu disappoints big time. Afterall all the money I saved on replacing windows with Ubuntu is lost counting the money I spent on these hardwares which are now nothing more than just sitting ducks. Thanks my speakers are having a stereo mode for atleast I can hear some sound,though very feeble.

And the gtalk..I live in Gtalk…whatever complaints they say about the little gadget from Google, I cant live without it..Now the only way continue using gtalk is to use something like Pidgin..but the bird never really talk..there is no voice support. Heard they are gonna pack it soon, but like most other opensource things, the date is still indefinite. I really wanna talk with my friends..especially when its “free”.

As a Computer Science student,graduating in about a week, I love ubuntu as a developers platform. Most of my projects projects including my final year project was done on Ubuntu. And my final project was actually to modify the kernel itself for performance tweaking. The support forum is good and the response come pretty fast. On the contrary for an authentic windows operating system, that support comes as a part of the bundle you ‘purchased’. And forget about the possiblity of me doing my final project on changing the Windows kernel(may be thats why windows is so stable..he he). Hmm..my friend Anirudh is working in Microsoft, may be he can one day tell me how does a windows kernel look like.And not to forget, they have made considerable enhancements to the kernel by Windows 7, finally coming up with the worlds most compact kernel.

Now lemme come back to where we started. Is 9.04 a complete replacement for windows. Honestly in my opinion, NOT YET. Because still if my mom wants to use a pc surfing the net or if my little brother wants to use my laptop for playing some games , then there is no way I am going to recommend an Ubuntu for them.I will buy them a W7 or a Vista. Ubuntu might be the favourite for all the developer folks,that wud include me too, but considering the common people and their needs, I think Ubuntu has a got a long way to go before u can really consider it as a replacement for windows. Not all people will need to see the kernel code before he starts using it. And the number of those common people who use computers are many many times greater than the number of dev guys around. I wonder why these Ubuntu people forget this simple thing. May be this is where the MS pro’s score over the weekend programmers..

PS: I am not against open source or a die hard fan of Microsoft. I have contributed to open source as well. Please dont misunderstand me.

  1. Felice says:

    If your mother wants to surf the net, Linux IS the absolutely best choice: no antivirus needed, no anti-ad no anti-anything. For free, of course.
    Why don’t you try it yourself ?

  2. Ha ha..good one Felice..you have a point there…But the problem is Ubuntu leaves surfing the only thing she could do with the PC..and say I have a proxy and someone needs to do something like apt-get, i dont think too many people know how to really set the proxy in the terminal..say she wants to install something, she has to wait till her son comes back..But anyway, I accept you are right about the Internet surfing thing. And thanks for reading my blog.

    PS: If Ubuntu really replace windows, then surely its gonna need a good anti-virus, since u are gonna get a lot of viruses and malware then…That is something like an index of popularity nowadays..

    • Hi says:

      My Mom is 80 (81 in June). She’s been using Linux for a couple of years now. I have Ubuntu 8.04 on her PC now. She used Skype to web-cam with a granddaughter in Korea. Her biggest problems are things like keyboard repeat rate (I finally just turned it off). I support her efforts from 1100 miles away. If I can change something for her with just the terminal I use SSH. If I want to show her something on her screen like where to click I use VNC over SSH. I can run Synaptics from 1100 miles away.
      The best is there are no anti-virus pop-ups to confuse and annoy her. With Linux her system just works. She called worried from all the news on TV about Conflicker. I told her “Don’t worry, that’s for MicroSoft Windows and you have Linux”.

      • See my point is also the same…its hard to use without a help from you. And doing Skype alone may be fine..all she needs to do is remember a few steps. But when it comes to using PC for general purposes there could be other issues as well. I am seeing the difference it makes because I have already tried it at my home. It took me only half the effort to help her out with windows compared to linux. And since most of these common people are not coding or developing stuff, I cant see a lot of reasons to recommend Ubuntu to them over windows. And about the virus threat, please read the PS i have written for the previous comment.
        Anyway I appreciate your effort to bring Linux to an 80 year old lady. I’d love to share that story with my frnds over here, cos not may 80 year olds use computers around here..

      • Hi says:

        Our local church needed a computer, the Windows 98 machine was hopeless. One lady in our church was throwing away a Win-ME PC (576 MB RAM) that she had taken to the shop a few times to get fixed and the local tech guy told her it could not be fixed. I erased the hard drive and installed the latest Fedora (Fedora Core 4 back then). The secretary is in her mid 60s. I showed her how to use OpenOffice and let her at it. I tried a couple of times to teach her more, mail-merge etc but she quickly saw how to get the job done and didn’t want any interference. She only called twice, once to see if an old laser printer they had that would not work with Windows 98 would work with Linux, it did and still does. The other time she called was when paper was jammed in the printer. She has been using Linux for three years with zero support. Our church bulletins and monthly newsletters have always been on-time.
        The funny point is the lady throwing away the good PC because of Windows. I’ve been over to help her several times with her new PC, Windows XP. It crashes doing simple tasks. It desperately needs a reinstall of XP but I won’t do it until she gets frustrated enough.

      • Dont be so cruel to the lady dude..just give a reinstall…and why wud someone use a windows 98 now..in my article i was actually comparing u9.04 with W7…the latest from both ends…and may be in the next post I shud be doing a comparison of MS office 2007 and open office..but see again we are talking about people who are using only one single application like skype or OO..my concern was about people who use PC for a lot of common things..just a home user who does a lot of things…tries new apps and other fancies..

      • HI says:

        I’m not being cruel to the lady. She knows from past crashes that a reinstall means all the software installed since the last Windows install must be reloaded. All the personal preferences must be set again. Even data is at risk of falling through the cracks. Even if she tired to use just “My Documents” sometimes software stores data in it’s own folder. She has to decide when the pain of a slow crashing Windows is greater than the pain and risk of a reinstall. I too recommend reinstalling. WinXP’s restore point system has proven worthless.

        Thanks for the article it was an amusing diversion. The unfinished work of Win7, who knows what it will be worth. For 90% of the people I know Ubuntu would be better than Windows XP or Vista. Though 100% of them should have Linux with a simple dual-boot so they have both Windows and Linux. Linux is not either-or. You can still keep Windows. Microsoft has said it’s not Apple they fear, but Linux.

  3. Dim says:

    I have nVidia 8600 GTS and Creative Audigy 2 ZS, both work perfectly on Ubuntu 9.04. Sound worked out of the box, for video System->Administration->Hardware Drivers, choose the driver (180) and click “Activate”, easier than ever.

    To get 5 channel sound I needed to increase volumes of some mixers in Volume control (first added them in Preferences), which was also easy, no terminal.

    Seems like my hardware is very similar to yours, any details of what doesn’t work???

    • Oh great… thats more than exciting.. can you please post the links too here so that it benefits me as well as some others who will read this. But there is an issue with the graphics driver…I am using 8600 GT in a Dell XPS 1530 laptop. Laptops need a different driver, and Dell machines usually need an exclusive driver for them. Anyway please post the links to normal and mobile drivers(if available). And about the sound card I have tried many I found on the net, but nothing really worked. Once, the five speakers began to make sound, but the sound was too low and the subwoofer was not working. So if ur driver works good for you, that would be of great help.

      Thanks in advance dude..

      • Dim says:

        What links? I already said that you need to activate the driver which Ubuntu suggests. Have you noticed “Hardware Drivers” in System->Administration? No downloads, nothing. Just click “Activate” button.

        So you say that you download these drivers??? If yes, the article is so irrelevant, because it means that you just don’t know how to work with Ubuntu.

        Regarding the sound I have to repeat myself again. Go to Volume Control (right click the sound icon->Volume Control, click “Preferences” button, check “Front”, “Surround”, “Center”, “LFE”, “Side”, and make their volume as loud as possible. If that doesn’t work, try adding “PCE Front”, “PCE Surround” etc (with PCE) and do the same.

      • Oh sorry..i didnt notice you were reffering to that one..but that doesnt go well on Laptops..i dunno if its just not working on my Dell alone…and using the same driver only I said I am having a very low quality output for the audio device..But I will once again try exactly following your instructions to configure speakers…and I am sure this comment will be valuable for those who are looking for a similar help.. But still. even with that graphics driver working fine, which game have I got to play on Linux.. 😦

    • Dim says:

      It works VERY well on laptops (I have ASUS with ATI graphics where this works great). WTF, you just don’t know how to use the system and trying to criticize it because your Windows habits don’t work? Who said that drivers have to be downloaded? How dare you to criticize something you don’t understand? So stop complaining and finally LEARN THE SYSTEM.

      • Cool down dear…now do u see how easy the windows habits used to be.. and nvidia doesnt work with a Dell laptop..XPS uses a different driver than the standard mobile driver and currently they are supporting just windows.. considering the number of Dell laptops in this world, its something reallly bad from ubuntu.. and I hope u know now Dell owns even the Alienware…again where is the answer for my last question..what game am i gonna play on ubuntu…poker? minesweeper? now start cursing all the game developers and publishers in the world for not making linux games…

  4. willy says:

    Dudes, I cant see a point in all these so called discussions..Isn’t it obvious that Windows rule this planet. I’ll put it simple, Linux SUX…just like that little penguin TUX…see it even rhymes..TUX SUX..

    • Hey I never said anything like that..Ubuntu is a solid step towards a user friendly OS like windows. And if u are a dev guy, you should be knowing how useful Linux is for us..And when you write something on my blog, you better have some good reason to support it..

  5. Anirudh Goel says:

    Once again..i see yet another futile attempt to dethrown the king (Windows) from the well deserved position it is on…now that i’m no more a student at a college, i’m a developer.. i develop softwares to make lives better.. and i better make it in the OS which is used by most of them..Linux has been good for developers, but windows has been better (my final year project was all in windows with Visual Studio and Power Shell)….let’s think of a scenario..say ubuntu runs faster that Win7..what on earth will it have the effect on? Can a normal person use it? Can i replug my network cable and get the internet connection to work back instantly? What if i have an issue, is there any one to be held responsible for? I think the answer for them lies with windows.. microsoft is committed to deliver to the CUSTOMER and cater to every need they have..i always wondered, if linux is so stable at the kernel? how long does it take to provide decent UI for a layman to use? The community can do it right? then why haven’t it been done yet?

    • Yeah the support is a real big issue..especially if u are not a real tech guy..calling in a technician on ur own might burn a hole in your pocket..But may be Ubuntu is a solution for all those pirates out there..atleast they dont have to do that crime again since Ubuntu is free (if thats all what they are looking for)..

  6. Thanks for the comment on http://compscistuff.com/2009/05/ubuntu-904-linux-os-hot-or-not/ it is amazing how many people will try to use Linux for their main operating system and then found out annoying issues that come up with their operating system and stuff it can’t do.

  7. You may want to give a try to Mandriva 2009 Spring :

    1. The KDE interface is better compared to Windows 7

    2. The Mandriva One edition ( LiveCD ) contains the nvidia proprietary driver, and the drivers is installed and configured by default.

    3. IIRC, kopete support voice, so you may be able to avec voice support for gtalk with kopete.


  8. Varrun says:

    Hey…I totally disagree with you when it comes to the details about the graphics cards & sound blasters.
    Nvidia drivers for all graphics cards are available in the package nvidia-glx-177… all u have to do is sudo apt-get install nvidia-glx-177, HDA sound can for your laptop can be enabled if you search the right forums with your block number.There is a section in http://ubuntuforums.org for Hardware drivers & Laptops.Im sure if you have not found it so far it is just that you have looked in the right places.
    Well…network configuration has never been so easy as in ubuntu with an icon in the top right and enabling the creation of profiles for different settings which is lacking in Windows right now.
    I dont see Windows 7 coming out with on-the-fly bluetooth,card-reader and wireless support as in Ubuntu.
    Regarding the vioce chat,i guess ull have to wait, but life is not simple that everything arrives at the same time.There are always pros and cons.I wouldnt say that Ubuntu is an all out replacement for windows given the fact that i am an ardent gamer and feel the pangs of desperation due to the lack of game support in GNU/Linux, but i would say that it is definitely a much better and stable alternative to Windows.

    • This laptop drivers you are suggesting wil not work on proprietary variants of graphics cards like that of Dell.. But the above post about Mandriva seems to work out..although I havent tried it out, I have already heard that from a lot of people. And when it comes to comparing between linux distros,then surely Ubuntu is way ahead of others.. But if u go to forums people are complaining a lot about the battery life with Ubuntu 9.04…while on the otherhand people are excited about the battery life of Windows 7..even at a High performance mode.

      • Varrun says:

        Yes,the laptop drivers are proprietary but ubuntu has an option in System->administration->hardware drivers which lists the proprietart drivers in use for your system.
        That is how i installed the Nvidia drivers in my system as well, and the atheros proprietary drivers with “ndiswrapper”.

  9. Zubin Mithra says:

    nice review here…!
    but i found the battery performance on 9.04 64bit disheartening…. !
    read more about how to tweak your performance at http://zubin71.wordpress.com/2009/05/20/battery-life-ubuntu-9-04/
    i`m also currently doing a project on automating the task; and the alpha version of the project is available at http://powerx.codeplex.com

    • In terms of battery life Windows 7 was nothing less than amazing. I am having a Dell XPS 1530 laptop..It was after installing W7 only I saw a 3 hr + time on my lappy. It was only a dream figure before that. Since my Ubuntu is running only in a VMWare I cannot make a comparison in terms of bat time..
      Anyway all the best for your automation project…i will check the alpha and let u know the opinion.

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