Saturday, May 01, 2010

De-Macify your Ubuntu!

The new Ubuntu 10.04 "Lucid Lynx" Linux distribution went with the undemocratic decision to move the Menu, Close, Minimize, and Maximize buttons from the right to the left! This may be good for Mac users, but having already broken my 15-year-old Mac habit, I prefer to keep the buttons on the right. I won't be upgrading my OS right away anyway, as everything is working well now, but eventually I will switch to 10.04. When I do so, I will immediately move the buttons back to the right using gconf-editor as explained at UbuStu and How-to Geek, among other places. I do think Ubuntu has damaged their standing with this move. It's put me off a little bit. I think many users will migrate downstream to Mint or upstream to Debian. I have been considering Debian, in particular Skolelinux to replace Edubuntu. I've also been considering a more multimedia-oriented distro such as Ubuntu Studio since it seems that in audio and video is where Linux fails or falls short of the ease of use of Mac, so I would like that functionality to be the best it can be and see if it can compete.

I've not upgraded the distribution, but have changed to Shiki-Dust as the window border and Breathe as the icon theme instead of Gartoon. I changed to a grassy desktop wallpaper, too.

Incidentally, the Mac Mini I am using as my main computer is a POS. The "Superdrive" doesn't work at all, with any OS, so I have attached the Buffalo branded portable CD drive that I bought to use with my ASUS 1000HE. Also, the hard drive is the only one among various drives, up to 10 years old, that shows bad blocks and may be failing. This, although I bought it last June! I was considering returning it under warranty, but I don't know how long that would take, and at least the Core 2 Duo CPU and 4GB memory works OK; that's all I need. I regret that I won't be able to contribute to showing Apple's truly bad performance, but since I resolve to not buy an AAPL again, maybe that will be enough. It has been a big mistake. It takes Linux 5 minutes to boot on this machine, and it's not dependable. I don't really need the Mac OS to fall back on as an OS, and if I did, I could have used the older 2003 and earlier PowerPCs upstairs in the PC Lounge and Museum, formerly known as the PowerPC Lounge and Museum.

I was recently offered a Fujitsu "FMV Deskpower CE7/857"with Windows Millenium Edition still installed. I accepted it and found it readily let me install Fedora (which I rejected because it seemed like a pain to install the mp3 and dvd codecs), then MEPIS (which was better but still lacked some codecs and was ugly in a bad-kde way), and finally Xubuntu (9.10), which was attractive and worked well once I connected it, downloaded the codecs and input methods, VLC, etc, and made it into a multi-regional DVD player. The machine does have the unusual habit of randomly opening the DVD/CD tray every few hours, but this doesn't seem to disrupt playing a movie or even installing software; I simply push the button and it goes back in and resumes the movie or install. As free junk, it has better value than the Mac Mini, as it can play DVDs and happily runs any Linux you care to put on it.

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