Thursday, December 21, 2006

My New Addiction

The Last Screenshot of My ubuntu Desktop before I Moved on to . . . .

Lately I have been changing and re-installing operating systems on my laptop the way some people change their underwear--provided we are talking about the dirty sort of people who only change their underwear every couple of weeks. I re-installed ubuntu no less than three times. Sometimes it was because I broke something beyond my humble ability to repair. Sometimes I just wanted to try something new.

I also got into the habit of watching google videos about Linux and its pantheon of nerds and browsing through Linux forums. Ubuntu was working great for me, but I was hurt by comments like "why don't you guys take a step back and ask yourselves 'why do I have so many problems playing videos in my poo-brown operating system'?" Poo-brown!? How dare they! Mine was more of a sepia tone.

Nevertheless, there was an element of truth in that rude disparagement of Linux. Even with the wcodecs32 package it is still impossible to play all Windows media perfectly. For example, my cell phone video footage which uses a proprietary Windows file format with a proprietary Sharp codec plays very choppy and without sound in Totem. What's worse, there is nothing comparable to Windows Movie Maker in the free software repositories. There is Cinelerra, which is extremely powerful but apparently doesn't work well in ubuntu, and then there is everything else, which can't even begin to handle the demands of Keitai Cinema. Did this discourage me from ubuntu? Mei genoita! May it never be! Ubuntu was working just great for me, and I was learning all kinds of new things. As for Keitai Cinema, I still have Windows Movie Maker in my Windows partition, and if necessary I can always invest the fifteen minutes it takes me to boot Windows up.

No, it wasn't pragmatic issues that began to fill my heart with doubt. I began to wonder if ubuntu is really as cool as can be. And as I became practically acquainted with the fact that ubuntu runs the Gnome desktop environment, I began to wonder what that other thing was . . . KDE . . . kubuntu. It was a Linus Torvalds quote that finally pushed me over the edge. I quote:

I personally just encourage people to switch to KDE.

This "users are idiots, and are confused by functionality" mentality of
Gnome is a disease. If you think your users are idiots, only idiots will
use it. I don't use Gnome, because in striving to be simple, it has long
since reached the point where it simply doesn't do what I need it to do.

Please, just tell people to use KDE.


Now, if Mr. Linux, the Big Penguin himself says that KDE is better than Gnome, who am I to disobey his advice? Why, just a couple of weeks ago I didn't even know what either of them were. So, behold . . .

. . . and take a look at my latest screenshot below.

The background image is just a temporary fix until I get around to creating my own.

So far kubuntu has been a lot cooler to play around with than ubuntu. In many ways, ubuntu had the look and feel of a brown version of Windows that just happened to be slicker. kubuntu looks and feels totally different. I feel like I finally found that free sports car that Troy Johnstone promised everyone.

Granted, I have had to install a couple of Gnome packages in addition to the usual restricted formats. I find Gnome's f-spot photo manager to be a lot handier than KDE's digiKam. f-spot automatically organizes my photos into handy little files by date, and I can browse all 3790 of my photos at once in a single panel. Also, at first I was impressed by the Konqueror web and file browser but I quickly realized that it couldn't handle gmail's standard view or uploading photos in blogger. I ended up installing the Firefox browser which I launch with my KCheckGmail button, and I do all of my blogging and email correspondence in Firefox.

As anyone who has read this far is aware, this post has gone on way too long so I will save the rest of my wanna-be nerd talk for another occasion.