linux as main box part 9: the bad

Going on about 5 months using Ubuntu as my primary laptop and things are still relatively good; good enough to stick with it. I do have a companion laptop with Windows XP that I use to stay sharp on XP, try out new stuff, and do the few things that Linux won’t do yet (particularly run my favorite P2P program, SoulSeek).

However, there are some growing concerns, particularly in how robust Linux can be as a desktop machine.

Ubuntu is sluggish. I’ve long noticed this, but only lately is it really grinding on me. Ubuntu with Gnome is not nearly as crisp to respond as my tried and true Windows machines. Nautilus is even slower and clunky and will sometimes hang when transferring 70+ files over an SMB connection on my network. Firefox 1.5.x (the kind Ubuntu 6.06 supports) is crashing or just having problems loading some content. Firefox on Ubuntu is far slower than Firefox on Windows, even on worse hardware, both on load and in serving content.

I’m going to stick with Linux because I really want to learn it, but I will say I don’t think it is yet ready to displace other OSs on the typical desktop. It still can’t do many things out of the box and it just is not as swift as Windows (assuming Windows is relatively free of spyware/adware). Linux has a long history of being appropriate for geeks, but Windows has a long history of meeting the needs of a vast majority of common users…and that’s where the desktop market is.

I am going to see if I can get Kubuntu 6.10 up and running on another box and try it out before I think about replacing my Ubuntu 6.06 install. Perhaps KDE will be more to my liking and I’m totally willing to check it out.

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