Ubuntu restored

After an eventful weekend of playing with openSUSE, to, if not my utter and lasting disappointment, than at least to my thorough and long term disapproval, I finally have my Ubuntu desktop back up and running the way I like it.  Requisite image provided below:
I tried openSUSE because of its reputation as being one of the better implementations of KDE. But after trying it out, I discovered that the problem wasn’t with Kubuntu, but rather with KDE, for the plasma widgets I used on openSUSE demonstrated the exact same problems, and in addition to this, I was being forced to learn a new package management system. I am sure that with a little patience YaST would have been as easy and intuitive to me as the Synaptic or Aptitude, but given that my only incentive in a more stable KDE was gone, it seemed to be just one more bit of frustration.

And after some reflection, I decided that I liked the appearance of Conky, even if the initial setting up was more complicated, at least it was stable and had a certain minimalist visual appeal while still providing the information I wanted in an attractive format. So, it’s back to Ubuntu, and more importantly, a stable, if not staid, GNOME desktop.

And the winner is…

Over the weekend, I tested out a couple of new operating systems on my laptop. These were FreeBSD 8.0 RC1, openSUSE 11.2 Milestone 8, Kubuntu 9.04, and the beta for both Kubuntu and Ubuntu 9.10.

Sadly, only one of these distributions really worked for me, and it was Ubuntu. FreeBSD could not even boot, being unable to mount some elements of the system. OpenSUSE started out well, with a lovely installation splash-screen, but once the actual operating system had loaded, the backlight to my screen failed to come on and so I could only make out very faint impressions of images on the screen.

Kubuntu 9.04 started out with more promise, and I was impressed with the visual appeal of KDE when compared with the more staid GNOME. When I attempted to upgrade it to Kubuntu 9.10, things seemed to fall apart quickly, especially on issues with widget stability. Also, I found that the style changes made from 9.04 to 9.10 was actually less attractive. Given the stability and less visually appealing theme, I reinstalled 9.04. I used this for a couple of days, but ultimately found it lacking on two important points. First, I never could get skim, the input method editor interface for KDE, to work properly, and for a household that is regularly typing in three or more languages, this really is a deal breaking failure. The other issue was that while Kubuntu’s widgets were attractive, it seemed like there were still stability issues in that there were frequent losses of configuration settings.

The final straw on the back of Kubuntu 9.04 was my attempt to install some repositories that broke a number of packages. Given the work that would be required to fix this, and my other issues with it, I decided to give up on it and install Ubuntu 9.10 beta. Anyone familiar with Jaunty will find Karmic to be largely the same, as one could gather from even the technical overview. There are new features, like GRUB 2, a new software installation program, and ext4 file system, but none of these real distinguish themselves visually from what preceded them. One thing I am trying to do that is new is to install Conky on my system in an attempt to gain something of the visual interest and technical utility of KDE’s widgets on GNOME. I had initially tried gdesklets and found them underwhelming when they did work.

The one feature that I do like that is new is the new IME, IBus, which has replaced the sometimes troublesome scim. So far, I have been very impressed with both its ease of installation and use as well as its stability. It integrates what had been two separate functions on previous installations of Ubuntu (Greek required a change in keyboard layout, while Korean used scim for hangul input). So far, it is a very pleasant and usable distribution, if a bit disappointing in the new look and feel category. It is debatable whether someone running Jaunty will see the value in taking the effort and risk of upgrading to this latest version.

This was disappointing for me, as I really had become interested in branching out from Ubuntu, particularly to freeBSD and/or KDE 4.3.2. Sadly, none of my attempts proved very successful, and so I am stuck for the time being with the proven, if now increasingly boring, distribution of GNOME and Ubuntu.

A new theme

I don’t know why, but I find this new theme’s minimalism very clean and appealing. I’m not sure how long I will keep it, but it will stay up for the time being, despite my wife’s dislike of it. She will simply have to get her own blog if she wants a different theme.

As for other going’s on, I have another Greek post in the offing, and it should be ready by tomorrow, and I am hoping to start doing some writing on Spinoza very soon, perhaps as early as this weekend as well. We’ll find out how well the essay went sometime next week, hopefully on Monday, but we’ll see. Finances are still not where they need to be, but hopefully we can make it until early next year and then we should be ok.

Other than that, I’ve been discussing spanking at Shack’s Place and thinking about installing the new Ubuntu, 9.10 Karmic Koala.

Testing Drivel 2.03

Drivel is another gnome journal client. I’m still not certain I want to use it or not, but I thought I would give it a go and see what results it produces. At least it allows me to modify the category for an entry, although I think the lack of tagging will ultimately decide against it.

Edit: Well, it works, but I was right, the lack of control is definitely not something I am going to be able to put up with, especially when all I have to do is just open up a web browser and I can manipulate all sorts of entry characteristics. Oh well, at least now I have an idea of what is easily available to me for journal clients within the ubuntu repository.

So, yeah, I’m a little slow

It didn’t really dawn on me until today that, while my laptop processor isn’t the most powerful around, it was still a 64 bit dual core processor, and that I could possibly maximize it’s capabilities by using the 64 bit version of Ubuntu instead of the standard 32 bit version.

Anyway, I’m in the middle of downloading the iso for the 64 bit system to try out as a dual boot for a while to see if I can get noticable performance improvements without any serious drawbacks. I’ll let you all know how it goes, especially since I think we can all anticipate seeing a lot more hardware built around 64 bit processing in the near future.

BTW, my processor is a AMD Turion 64 x2 TL-56. Not very impressive, but we’ll see if we can’t get a little more juice out of it.