After using Ubuntu for almost 2 weeks now, here’s some different things that I’ve noticed as a former and current Windows XP user:
I started in Ubuntu 10 and after several automatic upgrade cycles, I’m now using 11.10. The first thing that I noticed was that, as an XP user, I generally hated the “Unity” interface. Not everything has to try to copy Microsoft’s newest “innovation”, and I was glad that with a little work it could be switched back to the GNOME classic view (here’s how).
Before doing this upgrade, I noticed that Quake Live (about the only 3D game I ever play) ran quite choppy. Something about the drivers I assume. After unsuccessfully trying to upadate the driver, I was frustrated. Apparently 11.10 has better support for my Radeon card found in the Lenovo Thinkpad T60. Performance is markedly better after this upgrade. For that matter, since the upgrade, the center trackpad button on my Lenovo T60 works correctly for scrolling by default. What a great upgrade!
Bootup is fast, and it connects to my wireless network very quickly. It also seems to access the HDD less than under Windows, which should mean better battery life. Also, it seems to come almost instantly out of “suspend” mode, which is quite nice.
Ipod functionality is one thing that I’m still on the fence about. The included “Banshee” media player seems meant for this, but the podcast transfers to my Nano wouldn’t play correctly. iTunes seems like it was easier, but it was a pain to set up as well (I thought Apple products were supposed to be easy to use?). I’ll give it another try, but I may use another computer for this. The “Pitivi” Movie editor has been harder for me to use than the built in Windos XP video editor, but like Banshee, this could just take some getting used to.
Firefox has a couple of things that will be weird to Windows XP users, such as the backspace not going back one page and when the browser bar is clicked, not everything is highlighted. The fix for both of these is to type “about:config” where you would normally type in the page you wanted to visit. This will take you to a menu where you can modify the backspace per these instructions, and change the address bar to highlight everything on it when clicked per this page.
One thing that’s a bit annoying, but may have a good reason for it, is the lack of administrator access by default. When trying to copy files for Inkscape’s GCodetools extension I had to open Nautilus (a file manager like Windows Explorer) in the terminal using the command “sudo nautilus” granting it administrator access. Coming from Windows, my general assumption is that as it’s my computer I have the right to ruin it. Linux seems to protect you a bit more.
A nice little program that I’ve started using is called “Empathy Internet Messaging.” It’s been a long time since I’ve used any sort of IM program that much, but the nice thing about this program that comes with Ubuntu 11.10 is that you can program multiple accounts into it such as: Facebook, GTalk, and AIM. I have two Gmail accounts that I use quite a bit, so I may end up using this to combine all these accounts (even if I haven’t used AIM in years). You can also turn each account on and off selectively which may also come in handy. I’m sure there’s some Windows equivalent, but I haven’t seen it. Feel free to IM me on AIM at “jscook55” if you still use that service. Also, check out my first impressions at day 3 of Ubuntu Linux if you like.