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Move On: Windows to Linux

Suman Kundu | August 14, 2011

Category: Information Technology

Friends, this is the first post of the series of post on "moving to Linux from Windows". I was a Windows user since early 2002; Windows 98, Millennium then XP and finally 7, it was more than 10 years. My first encounter with Linux was during my masters. I had to use a simulator for my project, which recommended Linux host. It was in 2008-09, first time I used Linux for working rather for visiting for demo. However, I used it within vmware and as per my best knowledge, it was Fedora Core 10 or 8 maybe. Last year, when I joined ISI, I was given a server account with Sun Solaris. Then I decided to switch my lab system to fedora and installed Fedora core 13. After few days, I liked it. I liked it a lot. Linux has come a long way, and it is now competing with Windows for desktop PCs. My regular follower knows that recently I bring home a laptop. And I decided for Linux. In this post, I will talk about few distribution and desktop, I am familiar with, or I tried for my laptop.

The thing confused me most was that which Linux distribution to try and why there is so much variation available in the market. For more than a year I am using Fedora core in my lab and learned quite a bit for daily use. Still I was little confused to use fedora for my laptop. Because, the purpose of my laptop is different than my lab system; and this is the cause there are various distribution of Linux available. Fedora is very good for work environment, but it lacks out-of-the-box support for multimedia; which is the most important for desktop user.

I studied about few major distributions and decided to go with Ubuntu; the most popular Linux distribution for desktop PC. Started with version 11.04 and got stuck with the boot up. Though it was the latest stable version, still it lacks the graphics driver for live version. That is, it is not booting up correctly. The next day I studied again and found a very good distribution Linux mint competing side by side with Ubuntu for desktop market. I liked the preview and installed it in my laptop.

Linux Mint 11: I had installed Linux Mint 11. The desktop is very catchy (they rightly say minty feeling), and the multimedia works out-of-the-box even the Ubuntu restricted extras are preinstalled. However, wireless was not working. Probably, the same reason it was not working in Ubuntu. However, I was got little confused; I never thought of getting such errors. In back of my mind I was thinking the problem is due to the Linux Mint. But the reason I reformatted and started Ubuntu 11 installation is that in almost every login, I was getting an error for one or two of the applet. So, few applet may not work in a session, again it may be work for another session. I feel really down with the distribution.

Ubuntu 11.04: Ubuntu 11.04 has the same problem, wireless not working and got to resolve the issue soon. I had a bad feeling with the Unity. I don't know why I am feeling bit slower in the Unity desktop. It may be due to graphics (driver) problem. In that very moment, I was feeling to go with some other distribution. I downloaded OpenSuse but never able to install it in my laptop. I could not be able to boot up with the installation media. May be the media I burned was corrupted.

Then one of my friends of ISI lab advice me to try Kubuntu; that is use the KDE desktop.

KDE Desktop: People switching from Windows may feel like home with KDE. It has a very good "Start Menu". It was not a must have feature for me though, still I like the feeling. I tried the desktop in Fedora 15 of my lab. Earlier with Genome 3 desktop and Fedora 15 the graphic was so poor that I was desperately looking for another desktop. During that time I tried,

LXDE: A light weight desktop environment, good for normal user with little technical background. People may found it difficult to eject mounted USB drive or few similar usual operations. I will prefer it if the resource in your system is not so much high.

But KDE is definitely better...

Kubuntu 11: Kubuntu is nothing but Ubuntu with KDE desktop. So decided to install KDE on top of Ubuntu in my laptop. Now I have the option to switch between Unity and KDE. :)

So friends, what you get from the post? It is still confusing... right? What I read in different review is that if one is interested to work in KDE, it is better to use OpenSuse. But never could able to try it. Soon, I want to try it and want to feel the difference, may it be little. Other than this, I would suggest start with KDE if you are switching from Windows and what else is better than Kubuntu in case of desktop PC. However, if you are interested on development work, you seriously could consider Fedora over Ubuntu. I feel little comfortable with fedora for my lab work mostly C, C++, Java and other extensive programming work.

Tags: Windows to Linux, Ubuntu, Kubuntu, KDE, LXDE, Linux Mint

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