Monday, January 7, 2008

Hello Ubuntu... again.

A dual 600MHz Pentium III with one gig or RAM and 64MB of video on a PCI slot are just not enough to pull the latest eye candy popping out of open source community these days. Lack of power was the reason I had gone away from ubuntu 7.04 (feisty fawn) to openSUSE 10.2 and subsequently 10.3. I was really after KDE, and even though I had a liveCD of kubuntu downloaded, I wasn't sure I wanted to try it. I wanted to try something else, so I went with openSUSE. My openSUSE experience was decent but filled with many frustrations. While the distro is highly acclaimed by many individuals, and it is truly a well-designed OS, its greatest shortcoming and source of my personal frustrations with the system was YaST, the package management software. I was about to smash my 21" CRT monitor through the wall after an installation took nearly two hours on 10.2. Luckly for openSUSE, the 10.3 came out with SIGNIFICANT improvements in YaST speed. But while a significant improvement over YaST in openSUSE 10.2, it still sucked when compared to Synaptic/Adept used in Debian distributions. Having used Feisty Fawn (Ubuntu 7.04), I got really spoiled with the speed and ease of sofware installation. The apt-get is just phenomenal. Other than download and installation, there is no other "processing time." YaST took up to one minute just to open up. With apt-get, I can download and install several packages in one minute.

Recently, I made a switch back to the Debian territory. I installed Feisty Fawn right over my openSUSE 10.3 (preserving the home directories partition). Then I upgraded to Gutsy Gibbon (ubuntu 7.10) right off the update manager. That was really sweet--it updated the system and then upgraded it all through update manager app. When Gusty Gibbon upgrade was complete, I followed up almost immediately with kubuntu-desktop package, which installed all of the KDE options. I like the look and simplicity of Gnome better than KDE, but for some reason KDE runs faster on my machine. I also tried xfce and was very impressed. I would choose X -Force desktop if I were starting from scratch. The xubuntu offers many cool decorations and the desktop isn't only simple, it looks really good too. To avoid the complications of managing xfce and KDE control panels, which would undoubtedly argue between one another, I got rid of xfce and ubuntu (gnome) desktops and stuck to KDE alone. I'm heavily invested in Kontact and don't want to go through another data migration headache.

I'm getting new hardware on Wednesday. It's going to be a quad 2.4GHz Core 2 with 2 gigs of RAM and a 256Mb video card. I am really interesed in the Debian distro, so I am considering it for the new PC. The existing PC will become my kids' computer. It's time to retire their old PowerPC machine and replace it with something that can actually connect to the Internet so my kids can play games. I have three to four days to decide which distro will end up installed on my new system. It certainly will not be openSUSE. It will not be Fedora, even though some people were impressed with Fedora 8. It might be Ubuntu, Debian, or one of the smaller distros like Sabayon. I'm not sure if I'm ready for hard-core linux like gentoo-based Sabayon. But I would be willing to at least give it a shot. What is the worst that can happen - me running away screaming?