OK, I got the laptop yesterday and had already installed Mandriva 2007. The night before I got the laptop I played about with Ubuntu on Live CD and was so impressed with it by yesterday I had decided to install Ubuntu 7.04 and get rid of Mandriva. The installation went smoothly and there weren’t any problems with the bootloader which I was a bit scared about, it uses GRUB so you can launch all operating systems installed on your system.
I have customised the look of my Ubuntu system so that it works a bit like Windows but is far enough away from it as possible without making it uncomfortable to use, I think this is important for new users to Linux, make it look like you want it, by doing this you will learn a lot about the operating system and the best of this is that you can do all this on the live CD therefore you wont affect your computer in the slightest if anything goes wrong.
I have installed some more programs so that I can start to use the operating system for all sorts of tasks, Ubuntu comes with the basics but you wont get many alternatives for programs like Amarok. I have also installed Beryl Manager so that I have much more options to change the look of my system (this is the cube and wobbly windows that you would have probably seen previously), there is an option to use the cube and wobbly windows in Ubuntu by simply selecting enable desktop effects but you cannot customise it easily in the GUI environment, you have to start using code in the Terminal.
I will now be installing VMWare on my computer so that I can run Windows XP in a virtual machine so that I can use programs like Visual Studio which aren’t available in Linux, but for the average computer user I don’t think you’ll need this. I have decided that I will (somehow) get the virtual machine to load automatically at startup on one of the desktops so that I will have Linux on 3 of the 4 and Windows XP on one of them, hopefully soon I will come straight off Windows and fully onto Linux, this is a better option than dual booting Windows and Linux which seems to be what a lot of people do, which requires you to shut down your system so you cannot use both at the same time.
So what are the bits of Ubuntu I like so far:
– Desktop Effects (Rotating cube, wobbly windows etc.)
– Speed (a hell of a lot faster than Windows)
– Network and Internet, found straight away, no configuration needed
– Sound Effects (especially when logging in)
– Themes (loads of them out there)
– Boot up time (although slower than Mandriva, still from turn on to desktop in about 30 seconds)
– Installing Applications (simply select the title and it installs)
– Up to date software (all software is up to date, if it isn’t then the system updates it for you)
– Support (just look at the forum, everytime I go to http://ubuntuforums.org there is help at hand in just a couple of minutes)
– Packed with options (there are easy to edit options for everything)
Bad things… Obviously there are bad parts but hopefully these will improve as I get more familiar:
– Less applications (No MS Office for Linux, but there are alternatives)
– My integrated camera doesn’t work at the moment
Well I think you can see there are more advantages to disadvantages to Linux, especially Ubuntu which I think is the best distro in the world and is easy to use, whoever said Linux was for geeks. I do not regret my conversion so far.
Keep coming back as I add more experiences and tips and tutorials for new Linux users, this isn’t the end to http://thelinuxconvert.wordpress.com.
I would like to thank everybody both here, on digg, on the Mandriva and Ubuntu forums that have helped me with my conversion, I have learnt a lot and will do my best to help new users whenever I possibly can. Once again, thankyou you have made the conversion a lot easier.