After my little rant about Vista (see here) things have got a little better. I’ve noticed that Microsoft have finally sorted the photo upload problem now so I can upload pics to my space using Vista without the aggro I was getting before, and Creative are now supporting the Audigy cards with their Alchemy software (to provide EAX 3D sound effects under Vista). But I am still finding little things that annoy me, so much so that I thought I’d have a crack at running Linux for a while and see if I could actually replace Windows as my main OS.
I’m not a newbie to Linux, I’ve got a DL380 running VMware ESX that has various RedHat’s, and Fedora Cores installed, along with a dedicated machine for Ubuntu, but all of these are too slow for day to day use. So I decided to try it on my main PC, which is a dual core 2GB RAM jobbie.
At first I wanted to put Linux on a second hard disk and dual boot between Vista and Linux, so I added a spare IDE drive to my system (it already has two SATA drives in a RAID-1 configuration where Vista is loaded). But for some reason the JMicron IDE controller was giving me loads of aggro. To cut a long story short I ended up shrinking my NTFS partition on the SATA RAID volume and installing Ubuntu at the end, so both OS’es sat on the same disk but just in different partitions.
So Ubuntu 7.04 went on fine, although I had to add "irqpoll" to the kernel options in the Grub configuration for some reason (otherwise the boot would hang). And for a while everything was brilliant! I was able to play MP3’s, DiVX movies, XViD movies, and generally do all sorts of stuff and it just worked with no hassle.
Then things started going wrong. I think it all started when I downloaded some updates, first I lost sound so now my Ubuntu installation is very quiet. Those DiVX movies aren’t quite as good with no sound. Digging around in the Ubuntu forums revealed people with similar problems, but no-one seemed to have a simple answer. Then I tried to use the standby function – ah, can’t do that because the installation didn’t configure enough swap space, stoopid! I can add more swap but why didn’t it do it during installation or at least warn me that I didn’t have enough? Then I tried to use the hibernate function, the system went down but wouldn’t come back up and just hung. Hmmmm.
So a few niggles then, I’m sure it can all be sorted quite simply but maybe it’s still not quite ready to replace Windows on the corporate desktop? I’ve ordered a 160GB SATA drive from Ebuyer for £30 (sooo cheap!) so when that turns up I may try RedHat 5 and see if that’s any better. After all I’m RedHat certified now so it’d be nice to keep up to speed with it all so the knowledge doesn’t go stale. It’s not the sexiest distro, but it’ll do for now if it works.