New site to help you convert to linux

•April 14, 2008 • Leave a Comment

Hi, I know I haven’t updated this for a looooooonnnngg time. Well it has been a year since I converted and I rarely use Windows now, I have enjoyed the transition and have no regrets on my choice. I have set up another site to help others convert to Linux, you can check this out at

I hope to see you there.


Right then, it’s been over a month now

•June 4, 2007 • 4 Comments

Hello again, just over a month on after converting to Linux, what am I doing and how have I got on with it?

Well, I am still using it, so that is a start. I created my new Simnor Website in NVU, but after starting Simnor Web Design I had to start using software like Dreamweaver, I tried for days and days trying to get it to work on Ubuntu, trying all sorts of tutorials I found on the internet, so I’m using it in Virtual Box where I have Windows XP set up.
I’ve learnt how to use Gimp, which I thought I would never be able to do. I have Banshee set up to play my massive music collection. Obviously, I use the fantastic Firefox for my web browsing and have installed apps like Inkscape and Scribus, I occasionally use Open Office but after using MS Office 2K7 for months beforehand I miss quite a few features, I do have MS Office set up in my Windows box in Virtual Box, I tend to run both Windows and Linux at the same time, but not as much as I did in the first weeks of the conversion
I also got rid of Vista off of my desktop PC, I was going to install Ubuntu on that but decided to install XP purely because I would only really be using it to do the web designing. I mainly use my laptop for everything else.

So was it a good choice to convert?
I can honestly say that it has been one of the best decisions of my life, although I have come to terms with the fact that I can never totally convert, not until Linux has all the capabilities of Windows, for example on the application side of things, once Adobe/Macromedia create editions of their software for Linux as well as MS, that’ll be when it becomes the perfect solution. But my market for my business Simnor Computing is predominately Windows users therefore I have to cater for that else it will be a failing business. But to answer the question, for browsing, image editing, emailing, keeping on top of my blogs, basic website editing and updating, uploading my website, listening to music and most other normal tasks that need to be done, it is the best option and it is 100% free.

Overall, I am happy, I obviously haven’t completely converted but everyone needs to make money to live in this world, but I will say that I predominantly use Linux now, although occasionally I have to restart the system because my panel doesn’t appear when I log in, strange!

Anyways, I would like to thank everybody who has helped me on my journey. And if you are coming to this blog and considering converting, please DO try it, there is so much help out there if you ever have any problems and its all free.

One week since the conversion

•May 7, 2007 • 3 Comments

OK, so it has been one week today since my birthday, since I got my laptop and since I started using Linux, so how has it been?

Well, I started with Mandriva 2007, then uninstalled it and installed Ubuntu 7.04 instead which was much better than Mandriva in a lot of ways.

I started a blog a couple of days later to help others with Ubuntu tips (see my blogroll). And I have customised the whole of Ubuntu to how I like it.

vistaborder.pngI have beryl installed instead of the default metacity, the reason for my installing Beryl was because one of my mates broke my desktop cube somehow, so I got some help from the Ubuntu forums and installed Beryl which I am really pleased with, you can have so many effects and best of all you can have semi transparent window borders. So I installed a Windows Vista window border type theme, it looks better than Windows Vista Aero because it’s got a nice little curve on it.

I have also installed Virtual Box and put Windows XP as a virtual machine, so that I can continue with my programming, I also installed MS Office 2003, so I could do my ICT coursework, Open Office sort of messed it up quite badly. When I start a document though, I do use Open Office. I run Windows XP whenever I need it on one of the four desktops so that I can use Visual Studio 2005. I am looking into writing software in K Develop. If anyone can help me on how I can write Windows and Linux programs in Ubuntu, I will be grateful.

I have installed a whole load of new programs, VLC media player for my music because Amarok didn’t like playing MP3s even when I downloaded the codec for it to play them. I use GAIM as my Instant Messenger, it is much better than MSN. I’ve also installed KolorPaint and K Snapshot, could anyone tell me of a good screencasting software for Linux, I haven’t found a good enough one yet.

I have customised the whole look of Ubuntu to how I want it, I merged the two panels into one and changed the desktop background, added icons to my Documents and Computer folder and added a new icon set.
Here is a screenshot of my desktop:

So am I pleased with Ubuntu
I sure am, I am going to try my best to start to come off Windows, I think it would be better if I eased myself in, rather than went straight for it. But I think that I can honestly say that I will not be ditching Linux any time soon. Role on Linux and please welcome a new member of the Linux community.

OK, time for me to help others

•May 2, 2007 • Leave a Comment

I have had help over the past couple of weeks from a lot of people, so thankyou to all. I have decided to help other users of Ubuntu so have launched a blog called “Using Ubuntu” and can be found at, it will offer tutorials and tips on how to use Ubuntu from a beginner to a beginner and obviously as I get more advanced my tips will get more advanced.

So go to it, obviously it wont be tailored towards more advanced users, so take a look, maybe link to it or tell people about it who are beginning to use Ubuntu.

Update on my progress, 2 days into the conversion

•May 1, 2007 • 7 Comments

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 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


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.

Should I have done more homework

•April 28, 2007 • 8 Comments

I’m going to admit something now, I had not done my homework, firstly I ordered the wrong version of Mandriva, and secondly, I didn’t do enough research into other distro’s. I have been running Ubuntu Linux 6.10 for the past couple of hours of a live DVD and have been massively impressed, it is so much better than Mandriva and it is 6 months older, so it lacks the nice 3D desktop, but I’m pretty sure the newer version of Ubuntu features this.

I am now seriously considering changing my Mandriva to Ubuntu, this could mess up my brand new laptop, although hopefully it should go without a hitch. I am still unsure what to do, so any advice would be greatly appreciated, especially Ubuntu users.

The other problem I have is that Mandriva users keep saying that Mandriva 2007.1 is such an improvement on 2007, I haven’t been able to use 2007.1 yet, so I am not sure how good these changes are, but currently I am having to use old versions of software like Mozilla Firefox 1.5, and installing software with the package installer looks really complicated as opposed to Ubuntu’s which is simply a matter of checking a box and clicking Apply, everything else is done for you.

I’m confused, I’m sure most people are when they are new to something especially when they jump straight in. I should have done my homework, but at the end of the day, things can be changed pretty easily.

I’m on Linux

•April 28, 2007 • 9 Comments

Not totally mind, my laptop came and so did Mandriva Linux, so I dual booted it with the Windows MCE which was already installed, however, because its a present I have to wait until Monday before I can properly start using it. But I did spend a couple of hours playing around with it.

The installation went without a hitch, I followed a very handy video tutorial off of youtube:

When the installation finished after about half an hour (not bad), it booted the computer to a bootloader which allowed me to launch Linux or Windows, Linux is default and loaded automatically after 10 sceconds. Booting of the OS took about 30 seconds.

I tried both Gnome and KDE, eventually I decided on KDE because AIGLX and XGL (Compiz) didn’t work on Gnome for some reason. Apparently my laptop cannot support XGL even though everything points to me been able to run it, my laptop is an Intel Celeron M 1.66GHz, with 1GB RAM and a 224MB graphics accelerated adapter.

I brought Mandriva 2007, but should have brought 2007.1 which is the brand new edition, the version I got has out of date software like Mozilla Firefox 1.5, so is a bit behind the times, but hopefully I will be able to perform and upgrade at some point.

I would however like to install more software on my Mandriva OS, so I will have to learn how to use Shell Script, there seems to be plenty of resources on the internet to help you, plus a big handful of very popular forums.

I can’t tell you much yet, because I have only used for a couple of hours before going back in the box, but as from Monday, I will be a linux convert.

So do I see myself switching completely? Not for a while, I need to settle in and I still need some Windows programs so I will be running Windows XP in a virtual machine. Hopefully I will start to find better substitutes for programs in the Linux environment and with tools like Wine, I could well be moving fully to Linux very soon.

Come back on Monday to tell you my opinions on a whole day of working with Mandriva.