I just want to share my thoughts/experiences regarding my ongoing rendezvous with linux on my desktop environment.
Before I used to interact with *nix systems only on a server environment using SSH/SCP. Primarily I am a server side programmer,
with a specialization in middle tier services, EIS integration etc. I program on J2EE and till date I have mostly used Open Source API's/tools/software for my programming requirements.
There were cases when I worked with Oracle 9i database/XML DB, Visual Studio 6.0 etc etc but thats in the past.
I decided to give a kickstart to my desktop experience on my Dell desktop with FC4. Anaconda carried me real well through out the install process. Initially I had some problems getting my Audio working
but with great help from these forums and after upgrading alsa I got my audio working. I still have to work out some kinks as far as sound/video are concerned.
After getting excited from my FC4 experience I decided to install Ubuntu on my new Dell laptop. I created a separated partition so that I can have both winXP and
Ubuntu on my single 100GB HD. I chose Ubuntu because I have heard that Breezy is real good and it just works out of the box. I thought its perfect as I want my laptop to be highly available.
Any learning/tweaking etc I can do on my desktop.As promised Ubuntu looks real good and the OS recognized all my hardware, well almost.
I had to tweak my IPW 2200 drivers a bit to get my wireless working properly and I had to remove WPA authentication on my network as Ubuntu doesn't have WPA support out of the box.
I can access windows shares ok with samba but I am not being able to access other samba shares. I guess more tweaking to do as far as samba is concerned.
The above two success stories gave me an itch to dive deeper and I bought a used HP desktop for about a hundred bucks. I installed FC4 on it and decided that It will be my webserver.
I even registered a domain name and installed all server services on it. After two very long nights I finally was able to connect Apache and Tomcat using mod_jk.
Apache recommends to download the binaries for integration but they never work as I found the hard way. I had to download the source for jk connector and compile it locally.
Bam soon my home page is up on my tomcat machine and I can access it seamlessly using port 80 via my Apache server.
I decided to migrate to Open Office 2.0. But when I edit any word documents created by MS Word on OO and vice versa the formatting is getting seriously messed up.
Also eventhough OO is great I personally think that MS Office is still much better and matured. I hate its propietary stuff and I hope they adhere some open standard some day. But when I think about Apple not releasing their
awesome OSX for x86, I can understand Microsoft's case a little better. Well I can go rant about the pros and cons of the above but that will spoil this thread's purpose.
I decided to install Crossover on my laptop to access MS Office. I downloaded a trial version of CrossOver Office 4.0, but unfortunately it only supports Office XP.
So I decided to downgrade from Office 2003 to Office XP as personally I dont give a crap about all the new features in Office products. I can still use Office 97 for all my word processing requirements but I guess
just like 90% of the people on this planet I have the fear that I might not be able to view the documents created on the younger office suites.
CrossOver is a great product and I can use IE (I hate to say this, but yes) to access IE Only websites. My DVD playback/MP3 playback is still messed up on my Ubuntu but I guess it just needs more learning and tweaking.
Again I am not being able to access other samba shares on my Ubuntu. When I try to do a samba mount it errs out saying "...bad block in /home/share...." etc etc.
Surprisingly through out the above ordeal I realized that I am spending 95% of my time installing/compiling/tweaking/researching to get my software and hardware live in harmony on my linux work stations.
I guess its just like trying rollerblades for the first time. But since programming is and I guess will be my bread and butter I have to reverse the above time sharing. I learnt a great deal from my linux interaction
so far and I still have tons to learn. Since my primary task is programming and I have been doing the same on windows boxes for the last umpteen years I am very comfortable doing the same on a windows box.
I finally fired up my WinXP install on my laptop after a gap of 15 days and I completed a great deal of work that has been pending for a while now. So finally I am having a feeling that linux on my laptop is contradicting
my initial requirement of having a highly available laptop. I want my laptop compatible with all the great new advances in technology. So I am thinking of removing linux from my laptop partition. I have a desktop that I will use to completely install linux and
continue my learning experience while I use my laptop for programming etc. I believe there are a lot of programmers over there like me who had the same experience when they first started with linux, moving away from programming (application programming) and getting closer to
sys-admin type stuff. I guess once I go deeper with linux I will be much comfortable but can everything else stop spinning to allow me to do this? unfortunately no.
I owe linux a great deal for teaching me tons of stuff about networking, kernels, device drivers etc etc and for brining me out of the windows dumb shell.
But for desktop app development in Java/J2EE I still have to use windows for some time due to all the above reasons.
Please give me your thoughts.