It's been nearly 6 months that I installed Linux on my laptop, and since off-late I've started booting into it more regularly I think it's a time to post my experiences around Linux (primarily Ubuntu; that's what I've installed).
- Prep: I used PartitionMagic to create partitions as I've had bad experience with using Linux based partition apps, even though those were the days when Linux had just started way back in 1999 it's always better to be careful: as they say; once bitten twice shy. I resized my ntfs partition & created a physical Ex3 partition and that's where I sc***ed up! I didn't make any FAT partition making it impossible to create a local read/write share between the two OSes (XP and Linux). Moral of the story: Measure twice, cut err partition once!
- Installation: Went like a charm, almost everything was auto-detected including my WIFI card, as a Windows user you might think what's the big deal, but believe me getting all of the piece of hardware detected and auto-configured is really a big deal in Linux (ask my friends who still are having problems with their wireless card being detected by Fedora and Red Hat). Another thing that I did was to install Grub (a boot loader) onto MBR.
- First Impression: Ubuntu is gnome based rather than KDE based like it's sibling Kubuntu, hence I didn't get that Windows kinda looks but I've to admit that apart from gnome-panels which look very very dated, I like the look-n-feel of gnome.
- Applications: Ubuntu comes pre-installed with most of the stuff that you would need on day to day basis like Firefox as web browser, OpenOffice as office suite, Gaim (IM client), xpdf for pdf viewing, gimp for image manipulation etc. so you are almost set once you log in.
- eXtras: The main reason to install Linux distro was to try out Mono, so I installed Mono and MonoDevelop (IDE for mono) and created a small ASP.Net web page in MonoDevelop. Mono comes with a lightweight web browser (much like Cassini) called xsp and voila the web page ran without any hitches, the only thing is MonoDevelop is still under development (well, so is mono) so you don't get support for code-behind pages yet.
- Verdict: All in all a cool "geeky" OS but still not user-friendly enough for Average Joe to really give a scare to Windows.