The Ubuntu Feisty alpha-testing experience.

I’ve been on Ubuntu since Hoary. And I don’t even like Linux — I far prefer FreeBSD, which is actually nice to run. Administering Linux (the kernel) gives me a raging headache. But the Ubuntu environment on top is so nice it’s worth it.

Kubuntu Feisty is an enjoyable system with the latest of everything to just get on with doing your stuff if you don’t mind the fifty meg of updates a day and the occasional stupid breakage. (The latest version of x11-common has a broken script in the .deb. And no, I’m not going to open the .deb and fix it by hand — I run Ubuntu so I don’t have to be a sysadmin just because I can.)

The question is what Feisty’s major disaster will be. Edgy’s was that distupgrade from Dapper didn’t actually, uh, work. I think Feisty’s will be that network-manager is still, with one month to release, utterly broken. I have to run a little script for each possible network card to get wifi to behave.

I freely recommend Ubuntu to people who aren’t computer geeks, but are sick of Windows being flaky crap and want something that’ll at least be stable. The way it brings new life to old machines is pretty cool as well. (I eagerly await Beryl stabilising to the point of being a reasonable default window manager.) But you might want to start with Dapper (6.06), the stable version.

(I might add that one powerful force against Linux on the corporate desktop is that too many people remember the really bad old days and how Microsoft Windows everywhere is still a vast improvement on that. See this, in which hairyears talks about why Vista is not going anywhere near the financial districts for this year at least: "I’ve worked with Windows all my working life and, despite what you may hear, it has been a blessing to us all: without it we would still be running Wang word processors on Wang hardware that saved documents in a Wang file format that can only be read by other Wang applications and printed on Wang Printers. Or HP, Or IBM, or Toshiba: whatever. It took a Big Bad Corporation to build a big enough operating system that everyone uses it, and every other software vendor works with it rather than against it, each other, and the user population. I fully expect the Big Bad Corporation to make a handsome profit from their systems and I am certain that Microsoft have behaved far, far better than IBM would’ve done if their DOS and their visual interface had established the natural monopoly that emerges from a widely-used operating system.")

(Inspired by Eloquence.)

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