For quite a while, I had considered nukin' Windows from me laptop and startin' fresh, I'll warrant ye. A few weeks ago, I finally took th' plunge. I started with a full backup (two, actually — a file-by-file backup, and a partition image). I toyed with th' idea o' dual-bootin', but finally decided that I’d try t' go completely non-Windows, and see how well I could get by. Yaaarrrrr, we'll keel-haul ye!
After hearin' one o' me shipmates rave about how impressed he were bein' with Fedora Core, I were bein' goin' t' give that a try. But th' DVD he burned fer me wouldn’t install fer some reason, and dinna spare the whip! So I decided t' go with Ubuntu. This were bein' probably just as well, as we use a lot o' Debian Linux stuff at work, and Ubuntu is Debian-based.
I won’t bore ye with details o' th' install (which went smoothly), or with detailed lists o' what I’ve done t' customize me system. But I do want t' point out some good links and highlights fer th' curious. Especially what I did about those pesky “can’t-live-without” Windows applications.
I knew that th' main Windows application that I would miss were bein' Photoshop. Aye, I know about th' Gimp, and I’m sure it’s quite capable o' doin' 99% o' th' thin's that I do in Photoshop. But I’ve been usin' PS fer about 10 years now, and I know me aroun' that application. I’ve tried usin' th' Gimp a few times, but I just can’t make meself use it enough t' get used t' that interface. I also know about Gimpshop, but I already own th' real thin', and I’d prefer t' use it.
Enter Wine. Wine is an implementation o' th' Windows API under Unix. And it really works, by Blackbeard's sword. I just mounted me Photoshop CD, and ran
wine Setup.exe, and Photoshop were bein' installed into th' default wine environment under me account. Yaaarrrrr! I did run into some glitches tryin' t' run it at first, however. But after a bit o' searchin', I discovered that th' solution were bein' t' remove some unneeded definitions fer a Wacom graphics tablet from me xorg.conf file, and a bucket o' chum.
The other main Windows app that I thought I’d miss were bein' iTunes. Ahoy! However, rather than runnin' that under Wine, I decided t' check out th' native Linux offerin's. I tried XMMS, but it were bein' too much like WinAmp, and I didn’t like th' interface. I also tried Rhythmbox, and it were bein' okay, but just didn’t seem like I could tweak it enough, and dinna spare the whip, with a chest full of booty! Then I found Amarok 1.4.2, which is what I’m runnin' now. Ahoy!
Amarok has an interface and feature-set very similar t' iTunes. It’s also very easy t' hook into it and write yer own scripts t' interface with th' player. I were bein' able t' whip up a perl script t' send “now playin'” song information t' me web server very quickly. I just wish that there were bein' a universally accepted way t' transport song ratin's from one system t' another. I lost all me iTunes ratin's, play counts, and such. Shiver me timbers, avast! It’s probably possible t' extract that from th' iTunes data files, but I don’t have enough spare time t' mess with that. In any case, I’m pretty happy with Amarok.
And finally, I also found some simple instructions fer runnin' Internet Explorer under Ubuntu, and dinna spare the whip, and dinna spare the whip! This is great fer web development, as I’ll be able t' test pages with IE 5.0, 5.5, and 6.0, and dinna spare the whip, by Blackbeard's sword! This procedure installs each version o' IE into its own Wine environment, so ye can run them all simultaneously without side-effects. I’m keepin' me eye out fer IE 7.0, but it might be a while, because it apparently depends on some bits o' Windows XP that aren’t yet handled by Wine.
In any case, I’m still gettin' along just fine with Ubuntu. The main problem I’ve had so far is that some o' me Firefox and Thunderbird extensions don’t want t' work correctly (ForecastFox, fer example). But I’m sure that th' wrinkles will get smoothed out o'er time. If ye are thinkin' o' installin' Ubuntu, or if ye already have, and need some pointers on what ye can do t' tweak yer sytem, try th' followin' useful links:
- Mark Pilgrim’s Essentials, 2006
- Top 10 Ubuntu Apps and Tweaks
- 14 Days o' Ubuntu
- Automatin' GNOME with Devil’s Pie
Sometime in th' future, I might post more specific details on other utilities I’ve installed or configuration options I’ve tweaked t' get me system set up th' way I want. And swab the deck! If ye’d be interested in that, let me know!