10 Simple Methods for Happily Running Ubuntu: Page 2

Posted October 16, 2008

Matt Hartley

Matt Hartley

(Page 2 of 3)

3) Get to know the proprietary software alternatives.

I cannot emphasize this enough: Ubuntu users must learn what the open source alternatives are to the applications they’re missing from the Windows front. Obviously it helps to have a point of reference, so here you go.

Take GIMP for example. It’s comparable to Photoshop on a number of levels. You can go to your application's menu and run the app as it’s installed by default on Ubuntu already.

Clearly, GIMP feels very different than Photoshop, so it’s totally understandable that you might want to either go to a source such as GetDeb.net to find the latest version (which has provided some usability improvements). Or, just break down and purchase a copy of CrossOver Office to run your beloved Photoshop in a Windows-compatible environment.

Speaking for myself, I long ago decided to spend some time with the open source alternatives rather than spending more money on closed source apps. In every instance, I not only learned something new that I could then teach to others, I found that the expected learning curve is not as big as people expect.

4) Gaming on Linux should remain native.

Face the fact: Windows games don’t play as well in Linux. This undeniable, so expecting various programs that use WINE to play Windows games in Linux – and hoping for a seamless game – is naive in my opinion.

This is not to say that some people will not have limited success. But the reality is that this success will not come without a bunch of tweaks and hours of frustration. So what’s the fix? Simple, either dual-boot carefully or use dedicated machines for both Ubuntu and Windows. I am sorry for being so blunt about this, but it’s the truth.

Now that the truth is out there, it should be noted that Linux gaming is really beginning to pick up steam, thanks to efforts within the open source community and from those who port proprietary games over to Linux.

So to put it bluntly, to support native games, buy a console system like the PS3 or just game on the Windows platform if the above native gaming options do nothing for you.

5) There is no such thing as a malware proof PC.

You read this right, there is no way in the world that any OS, even Ubuntu Linux, is going to provide you 100 percent protection against silly user mistakes or outward malware aimed at creating problems for your computer.

To this day, there are simple one-line commands I can convince most people to click on, in a script form, that will hose their installation of Ubuntu. If that’s not considered malware, then I don’t know what is. Clearly, being aware of what you are installing, executing or clicking on from the Web remains as important as it does in Windows.

6) Get a CrashPlan.

Backing up your system is key, even when you are using Ubuntu. It you think this isn’t important, try losing your data when something goes wrong with a software update and you forgot to partition your home folder onto its own partition.

Which application is best? Some users might point to one of the various open source products for data backup, but without any question in my mind, nothing even comes close to the value provided by CrashPlan. It can either be free for local PC-to-PC backup or you can pay a premium for offsite backup. It’s cross platform, secure and it actually works. I highly recommend it.

7) There is no free lunch.

One of my biggest pet peeves are people who can afford to pay for open source products or services, but choose not to because it’s not mandatory. Then to make matters worse, they throw a fit when the project goes down the tubes or is not updated very often.

While it may seem like it’s not a big deal supporting those projects we benefit from, just remember that it is free as in freedom, not as in a free ride.

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Tags: wireless, Ubuntu, Linux desktop, nVidia

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