For those of you have read my blog previously, you may have noticed I bumped in a few linux related posts here and there. This was mainly due to the fact that I was experimenting with using linux as a desktop operating system (something which I have tried in the past), as I wasn’t too confident of where Mac OS X was going. This ultimately included installing it via BootCamp on my Macbook.
Unfortunately I have now reached the end of my teather with regards to using Linux as a Desktop operating system. Quite simply I kept bumping into too many issues which required manual workarounds, if there was even a solution at all.
I started off by trying one of the release candidates for the latest release of Ubuntu, version 7.10. This initially impressed me as when I booted off the installation CD, almost everything appeared to work out-of-the-box. However upon installing it on my Macbook, the novelty wore off as I realised that crucial features of the Macbook – the camera, the IR, even the trackpad either didn’t work properly, or didn’t work at all.
- The default trackpad configuration was abysmal, and I couldn’t find any configuration tool which gave me the same amount of customizability as the one in Mac OS X in order to fix it.
- I never got the iSight working – though then again this wasn’t much of a problem as Skype for Linux doesn’t even support video cameras.
- Whilst the sound worked, configuring it was a pain in the ass as there were too many confusing options to choose from.
- I tried to get the DVI out to work. I ended up breaking the X server and spent ages trying to fix it. Safe to say I never got it to work.
- OpenGL support on the Macbook was sub-par.
- Intergration between applications varied from being good to abysmal.
( It should be stressed that all of these issues persisted through to the stable release of Ubuntu 7.10 )
In fact, you can see a nice list of all the problems you have to fix out of the box here.
A week or two ago, Ubuntu 7.10 became officially stable, so I decided to try out one of its variants to see if it fared any better on my Macbook. I chose Kubuntu as I had previous experience with using KDE from using SuSE Linux and figured it might turn out to be a better desktop experience.
On the contrary, Kubuntu was anything but a better desktop experience when compared to Ubuntu. A lot of the killer features present in Ubuntu – Compiz Fusion, simple administration tools, even mappings for the brightness controls were not present in Kubuntu. It was also more difficult to configure as there were simply too many configuration options to choose from, as is illustrated by the comparison of the “Keyboard Shortcuts” dialog in Kubuntu (which uses KDE) and Ubuntu (which uses Gnome) bellow:
Safe to say I have come to the conclusion that currently neither Ubuntu or Kubuntu are quite up to scratch when compared to the standards set by Mac OS X. In fact if suddenly all copies of Mac OS X were obliterated, i’d probably take a risk and use Haiku.
As for the future, who knows? But as for now, I think i’ll stick to what I like best – Mac OS X.