I’ve spent most of today moving my desktop machine onto a new hard drive, which gave me an opportunity to start from scratch. I’d become a little frustrated over the last few weeks with niggly little things diverting my attention, when what I really want is to simply turn the desktop on and have it functioning quickly + easily. So, I’ve actually moved away from Debian (a little…) and installed Ubuntu.
As I’ve blogged in the past, although Debian has served me well for 3/4 years now and has been exclusively running my desktop for a year or so, my laptop moved to Gentoo back in November, and although Debian is still my prefered choice for a server OS, after running quite a few Ubuntu installs for others I’ve been drawn to it for my own use. For those running Linux as their sole OS or at least for a large part of the time, you’ll know you usually spend the first year or so with Linux moving between distros trying things out and tweaking your system, but then stick to one that works and have little reason to change. But, as Ubuntu is so closely related to Debian, it’s not such a big adjustment.
One thing that has drawn me to Ubuntu is their support, especially their forums and wiki, matched only by Gentoo in my opinion. More up to date packages are a plus point, which although is easily done with Debian by changing your branch to testing, the support base is their with Ubuntu to guide you. Things such as upgrading to Firefox 1.5 and Thunderbird 1.5 (two apps I use more than anything else) took about 5 minutes including restoring extensions, themes, mail and personal settings – all easily documented in their wiki.
A couple of new things are pretty cool, the first being Amarok. I previously used Kaffeine, but have grabbed the 1.4 beta version which provides WMA support within libtag to allow scanning of collections containing WMA files, amongst other things. This also ties in with last.fm, so I’ve now got an account on there detailing what crap I’m listening to, though not quite sure how I’ll be utilising it.
I’ve also used Superkaramba rather than gDesklets, and done away with gKrellM at least for the time being. Fluxbox is also being put to one side for the moment. To be honest, I haven’t actually had any performance problems – in fact it seems nippier than the Debian system. I think is partly due to Firefox + Thunderbird 1.5 releases, and having stripped out quite a bit from Ubuntu such as Bluetooth, HP printing, CUPS, ACPI, etc.
Overall, very happy so far! The only slight problem has been various audio + video codecs, easily solved by following through the restricted media formats wiki entry and lack of WMA support from the base Amarok install which is also easily resolved. Am sure I’ll find something to complain about tomorrow though 😉