So far in my quest to move to Ubuntu Linux distro from XP I have managed to get my laptop working as a tethered network machine. Usability was transformed when I managed to get Ubuntu to recognise my Intel graphics card. Unfortunately I can’t get either of my Wifi adapters to work, neither the PCMCIA one nor the USB one. This has been a very unpleasant computing experience.
I wouldn’t consider myself an IT numpty. I’ve done some pretty gnarly computer stuff. But Ubuntu is making me feel like an ass-clown. Not only can I not get it working but I can’t follow half the “fixes” that are being recommended to me. It’s not only like a foreign language, it is a foreign language in a foreign country with my passport taken away and being forced to wear an orange jumpsuit while people hurt me.
This isn’t the wonderful open source experience I was expecting.
OK, so probably just my bad luck or lack of Linux smarts, but come on, it should be easier than this right? People say to me “never had a problem, detected everything first time”. You know, that doesn’t help? The Linux server experience has been great for me but because that worked first time I didn’t realise what I didn’t know, which is pretty much everything. Everything I have managed to do has not put me further along the learning curve than I already was. I am just getting more mystified.
On the desktop you kind of expect if you open the case up for things to be hard but anything that plugs in to be pretty easy and consumer-friendly. PCMCIA and USB are both meant to be plug and play. This is more like pay and pray. Even if I persevere (which I am not convinced of right now) I won’t feel confident using Ubuntu. Working with an operating system should feel like a partnership between the user and the computer. I don’t trust this operating system to not turn around and stop working with no way for me to diagnose the problem. When you have to fight against it to get the OS to recognise your hardware you don’t exactly feel an incentive to get it optimised, just working feels like a major achievement. Now I know how family and friends feel when they ask me for help on Windows.
So what is the solution? More Googling then finally give up and go back to Windows with my head held low. I’m so glad I installed as a dual boot.
On the positive side Ubuntu has some pretty neat stuff right out of the box. There are obviously Firefox and an email client but also office applications, graphics apps (which doesn’t seem to recognise Canons raw format right now? or maybe I am doing something wrong) and a pretty nice text editor which colour formatting for PHP code. I think for many people Ubuntu would be more than enough software just with the default install. It also seems pretty quick to say my laptop isn’t beefy by any definition.
They just need to make it easier to add hardware. Please tell me somebody is working on that?