3. First impressions
surprise: it's almost three years ago since the
last BitsAndPieces was written
and uploaded, and you may be excused for thinking that was the end of
Indeed, I've tended to
think so myself,
for at least three different if related reasons: First, I have ME/CFS
since January 1, 1979, when it started as Epstein-Barr aka kissing
disease, that my ex-wife and I got that month, and that never went away
for us sincel second, there had been developments around that disease
in October 2009 that fueled rather a lot of interest in it, and that
caused me to write much more about it than I had before; and third, I
do not have all that much energy even on my best days, and I always
write with pain.
Then again, I have now
found something that does help at least some against the lack of energy
that is one of the dominant features of ME/CFS (see Nederlog for 2012,
under Methylation or mB12 protocol in case you're interested); the
development that caused much interest in ME/CFS was very probably a
mistake or a deception, and the article in Science that started it was
withdrawn 2 years later, in December 2011; and having found something
that gives me a little more energy first enabled me to buy and install
a new computer in March 2012 (for which I had the money but lacked the
energy since May 2010: ME/CFS is that invalidating, if one gets no help
whatsoever, which is the case for me and for millions of others with
the disease); and then to get Linux.Ubuntu.12.04.LTS in the beginning
of Mat 2012, which I find enjoyable, inspiring, eminently usable, and a
cause for taking up this series again.
I also intend to
continue it, and write considerably more about Linux, Ubuntu and
programming in and working with Linux, with the one proviso that my
health must remain up to it.
I have always been a
fan of the idea of Linux - a free and open OS that emulates Unix - but
until May 2012 I have had little luck with its distributions:
Until 2002, I had
tried out most then existing Linux distributions, and found that I
could not properly install, that is: with internet access and the sort
of programs I like to use, any of them on both the vanilla PCs I tried
this on, that did run Windows 98, that I much wanted to get rid off,
because I never liked Microsoft and its software policies, while I'd
found that both Windows 95 and Windows 98 crashed daily on me.
Then my health got
worse; I got Windows XP that did not crash anymore, or at most once a
year; and whatever little bit of energy I did have got otherwise
occupiedthan on finding things out about Linux, with a few exceptions:
Between 2003 and 2011
I did succeed in installing several Linux distributions that can be run
from within Windows, that also did get to the internet, and gave me
experiences and ideas about what Linux was like, but that were not good
enough to rely on as OS, and indeed did not run as OS but as Windows
As I mentioned above,
in March 2012 I got a new computer, a 64 bitter with Windows 7, and
then in May got Ubuntu on it, in which this is written. The story is in
on a stick!
DSM-5 + Linux.Ubuntu
That is more or less personal background about how I got it
running on my computer, and here is some public background:
Shuttleworth (main man behind Ubuntu: Wikipedia)
distributions (Wikipedia: a survey+comparison of
many distros of which Ubuntu is 1)
This is just to provide some background information. There is
a lot more on the internet,
that is not all worthwhile, for various reasons (some is just out of
date, some is not well presented, some is quite interesting about Linux
but does not apply to Ubuntu etc.), but here is one you should not miss
if you are at all interested in Ubuntu:
This is a free
monthly for users of Ubuntu Linux; it is in pdf; and the issues I saw
of it are really well done: Informative, clear, nicely put together,
with lots of interesting articles about many subjects.
latest issue is of this month and is about Ubuntu 12.04 LTS - and in
case you wondered: 'LTS' = 'Long Time Support', meaning here until
2017, which is longer than is scheduled for Windows XP, that will not
be maintained from April 2014:
Development (link to latest issue of Full Circle
It is quite interesting, and if you want to download it you should note
that you can choose from an English and an Italian version, the first
being on top of the page. (Of other issues of the magazine I also saw
Chinese versions: Nice!)
It also shows one of
the many aspects in which Linux - not just Ubuntu - differs from
Microsoft or Apple: This is computing by and for the people, and not by
and for the corporations. That is, there are real people behind it who
personally care, and not just because they are paid to do so, which
often the documentation and the programs they make are better than what
the corporations produce - to which I must add that on Ubuntu, and
with much of Linux, what
is on offer is free and open source, as I think computing should be, at
least in the case of everything that is important for education,
science and personal development.
So in fact within a
few days I have switched effectively from Windows 7 to Ubuntu
because it works, because it works better for me, because I like both
the idea and the implementation, because I think this is the way
computing should be done, because it is a lot safer, because it is fun,
and because Linux has a lot more software I like than is available on
Windows, even for pay.
3. First impressions
I find that Ubuntu is
quite intuitive to use, although I do not know much about Linux. The
probable reasons, in order of importance, are that it has been
thought out carefully and well, and that it is written by programmers,
and I know how to program in several languages since several decades.
Put otherwise: My
guess is that most people who have some years of experience with
computers with some other operating system - Windows, Apple - will have
few difficulties to do the same things they did on the other OS(s), but
that they will have fewer problems the more they know about programming.
Anyway... here is a
list of first impressions
- The Ubuntu desktop
(in 12.04 LTS) is intuitive and easy to use.
- There are more
programs on Linux that help doing the things I want to do with
computers than on Windows
- The help on Ubuntu
is better than on Windows.
- The interface is
much more consistent.
- Windows 7 on the 64
bits computer I use has the better screen, but that is probably due to
the fact that I installed the Ubuntu 32 bits version, since that was
recommended by Ubuntu.
- Apart from that,
the Ubuntu screen is at least as good as is the screen on my 32 bits
computer that runs Windows XP.
- Ubuntu is quite
pleasant to work with, and much more so than Windows.
- Ubuntu gives me
more possibilities than Windows in any shape or form (7, Vista, XP, 98,
- I use a
broaoaoaoaoad screen with the 64 bitter, and Ubuntu has a nice gimmick
for that: One's desktop is presented as if it is made up of four
desktops, which is helpful in organizing one's work.
- There is a great
amount of very good free open source software for Ubuntu, that is very
easy to install.
- Much of the
software there is for Ubuntu is better than similar software for
Windows, or is at least as good.
- The - 32-bits -
interface of Ubuntu is less glitzy than the - 64-bits - interface of
Windows 7, but is better laid out and easier and more pleasant to work
- Anyone who has some
years of experience working with computers should not have major
difficulties with working with Ubuntu, though it will take some time
and some trouble to set up and get used to.
- The reasons to take
the time and trouble are, in the end, that Linux is the better OS, both
technically and morally; it is much safer; it has a great amount of
excellent, free open source software; which also means that people who
are not rich can get excellent software.
Do I have anything
say about Ubuntu or Linux, you may ask? Well, yes: The public relations
of Ubuntu could be rather a lot better, and it does have its share of
strongly opinionated folks with little talent for or interest in
argument (on internet, in Youtube videos).
On the whole, my
summary judgment is that if you are not a moron and not very ill, you
make your life more difficult and less pleasant than it could be by not
switching to Linux, at least on a dual boot basis: It is at least as
good as are Windows or Apple; it is much safer; it is better
documented; and all its basic software is free and open source, which
is how computing should be done.
and there certainly will be more on Linux and Ubuntu on my site. (*)
(*) And I should note, in fairness, that
while what I am recommending are both Linux and Ubuntu there are many Linux
most of which I never have seen. There may well be some other
distribution of Linux that you or I might like better, in general or
for specific purposes. That is a strength of Linux, due to its being
free and open source. Then again, I like Ubuntu, and I can add that is
has a high reputation as a Linux distribution, and that the only
reasons I picked this rather than another distribution are that some
programmers I know recommended it; that what was available as
information on the internet made it seem OK; and that installing it
worked as promised, which you find briefly explained here: Varia: DSM-5 + Linux.Ubuntu.