Government // Enterprise Architecture
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7/11/2007
12:26 PM
Alexander Wolfe
Alexander Wolfe
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Ubuntu Linux Ain't Easy As Dell

It's tough to challenge conventional wisdom, especially when that challenge raises doubts about the wildly popular version of Linux called Ubuntu. But doubts are exactly what I had after finishing my Ubuntu "safari", in which I worked through numerous glitches to get laptop and desktop installs up and running.

It's tough to challenge conventional wisdom, especially when that challenge raises doubts about the wildly popular version of Linux called Ubuntu. But doubts are exactly what I had after finishing my Ubuntu "safari", in which I worked through numerous glitches to get laptop and desktop installs up and running.I'm now mystified as to why Ubuntu has become so widely accepted as the version of Linux for newbies to try. Anyone who doesn't want to become their own one-person support shop would be far better off spending $50 for a commercially supported release like Novell's SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10, which installed for me without a hitch. As for enterprises, they certainly can't afford to go unsupported--they'd better spend that money if they're going to go open source. (Hey, it's still a lot cheaper than Windows.)

Dell's recent embrace of Ubuntu has given the distro additional momentum. It's what led me to my test, to see whether it'd really be all that easy to get the OS going on a randomly chosen laptop. (The desktop was an afterthought. I figured from all I'd read that that installation would be trivial, but it wasn't.)

Honestly, I was completely prepared to like Ubuntu, and to move on quickly to another project. But the deeper I got into the review, the more I felt that I had to recount my trials so that inexperienced users could get a look at what they might be in for. I also believe that Linux fans (okay, fanboys) need to be more upfront in addressing the legitimate need for better support.

More importantly, I'm now of the opinion that both Windows Vista and Linux are too often discussed in the most simplistic terms, where people are either considered "for" or "against" Microsoft. That isn't fair, just like it's not fair to accept without challenge the notion that Ubuntu is the solution for everyone looking for a good, free OS.

You'll have to decide for yourself whether Ubuntu is right for you. Please let me know your thoughts on Ubuntu in particular and Linux in general, in the comments section at the bottom of the article, or below.

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