Friday, February 12, 2010

Linux Is Great But I Still Need Windows

I tried Linux. The Kubuntu distribution. I checked a few others and liked the interface of Kubuntu best. I really did like it. I had Windows XP and Kubuntu both on the same computer (dual boot).

It worked for awhile. The biggest problem I had then was Kubuntu would freeze up from several times an hour to once every few days. Usually several times during a show I was watching on Hulu. From the Kubuntu forums I discovered the problem was probably the video chip on my motherboard, something I can do nothing about short of replacing the motherboard or the computer.

When my Windows XP decided to quit completely I proceeded on with Kubuntu. Like I said I liked it. I managed to find all the software packages I needed using Kpackagekit and/or Synaptic. There were a few things I wanted but had not figured out yet but knew I would, given time.

I then discoverd I had to do an amended income tax. That worked fine. But when I went to do my state taxes online, wo and behold, I could not fill in the fillable pdf tax form. It opened in Okular, the pdf reader that comes with the Kubuntu distro, which had worked fine for the Fed taxes but not for the state taxes.

I searched for and found an Adobe plugin for Firefox that claimed to open the pdf's in Firefox itself (the way they do in Windows version of Firefox with Adobe plugin). Yeah right, I couldn't even tell the plugin was there when trying to open pdf's in firefox, they still opened in Okular. Apparently the plugin didn't work. It was in the computer (I checked) but didn't seem to do anything.

By then I had spent hours on it and was getting frustrated and impatient, after all this was taxes and I wanted to get them done and out of the way. Since I had a copy of Windows XP on CD I decided to load up the computer with it. I still have Kubuntu on the external drive, I just need to use the CD to reload the GRUB (dual-boot software).

I then used Windows XP version of Firefox (with Adobe plugin) to do my state taxes.

I think I will put the Kubuntu on a flash drive and use it that way. I obviously have a lot to learn about it.

My Windows boots up and operates a lot faster now. I highly recommend reformatting and reloading your operating every couple of years. I hadn't done mine since I bought this computer, about four or five years ago. Be sure to back everything up first, though, I had everything backed up on my external hard drive so I didn't lose anything.

I still think Linux is great, but it still has a steep learning curve. It's a lot better than a few years ago when I tried it but I do not recommend it for anyone that is computer illiterate, or anyone that only knows how to use the apps but knows virtually nothing else about computers. Some computer knowledge is required, which can be learned while using Linux but you must be willing to learn it.

Obviously, this pdf fillable, Firefox, Adobe thing is not a Linux problem. It is the applications that are not working properly. I found a few other problems with apps operating under Kubuntu.

Some of the operations in OpenOffice spreadsheet don't work properly.
Clicking on a link in Thunderbird does nothing at all (supposed to open the linked page in Firefox).

Those are app problems, not OS problems. Except for not being compatible with some display chips and video cards Linux is a great operating system.

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