Friday, April 18, 2008

Desktop Religion

I was over at Dikkii's the other day, as is my want, where I read that he's bitten the proverbial bullet and has settled on the dreaded Microsoft Vista as the operating system on his new machine. This of course sparked the inevitable Microsoft beat up, but that's the way it is when MS is mentioned. Now normally I'm not one to defend MS. Their marketing tactics over the years have been dubious to say the least, and their operating systems and software tend to be resource hungry behemoths, albeit very good ones, but I had to on that occasion and you can read it over there, if you want to.

The reason I'm writing this post is because Dikkii also mentioned that he'd installed Ubuntu on his old machine. Now being a nerd who's particular penchant is making operating systems work for you, not against you, I thought I'd best give it a go too. After all, I've been known to run with Red Hat, Fedora, Suse or even VMS if you count my Alpha. There's been Commodore 64 emulators, AmigaOS, Amithlon, BE OS, QNX and Knoppix on my machine at various stages, so I suppose it's time to see what the fuss is all about. I have a 750gig hard drive now, so space for weird partitions really isn't an issue.

I downloaded Ubuntu 7.10 (Gutsy) for i386 and burned me a CD. Then I partitioned off 105gig, just so I'd have some room to breathe, made a 100gig ext3 partition and a 5gig swap partition (I have 4gig of ram and to much is better than not enough). I then bunged in the CD and proceeded to boot from that and install Ubuntu.

And that's where I began to run into trouble. You see, I have an nVidia 8800GTS 512 G92 video card which is very new and very, very fast, and it seems that the drivers for it aren't entirely up to scratch. To cut a very long story short, I made some very silly decisions and now have 4 different versions of Ubuntu to choose from in my CD rack, but nowhere near as much download left as I normally do at this time of the month.

The best one I've found so far is Ubuntu 8.04 (Hardy) beta AMD64. It installed a treat and automagically updated the restricted drivers for my card.
So I now have a very snazzy Gnome interface (I didn't like KDE4 very much) and as you can tell, everything works a treat everything works a treat. I'm using a thing called "ScribeFire" as my offline blog editor, as you can see in the pic, so we'll see how it goes for a bit. Other than playing X3 or Call Of Duty, I might be using Ubuntu full time...


Gryphonn said...

Well, I'm jealous. 750gig! An 8800 and 4gig of RAM. Makes my 240gig, 6800 256 GS and 2gig of RAM look like a P75. I'm also running it with a AMD64 3200 (running at 2150MHZ).

I think I'm due for an upgrade. Another SATA drive and bigger processor etc etc.

If you want some fun little free tools for your windows partition, have a look at
She has some handy little tools there. Nothing like Winternals, but handy all the same (I should have passed that on to Dikkii too).

Plonka said...


Well then, how about I make you even more jealous...;)

I also have a 6000+ dual core at 3gig on a Gigabyte 790x chipset motherboard so I'm X4 (quad core) ready. I didn't go down the quad core path this time because of the TLB erratum problem. I'm waiting for the B3 stepping jobbies to start shipping in numbers. Once they do though, I'll be following Dikkii down the Vista path if I'm still running Windows at all, which I will be. I have games that don't like Wine...

Oh, did I mention the 22" widescreen 1680x1050 resolution flat panel? You should see Flight Sim...;)

Thanks for the link too. The old Power Tools have gotten me out of many a scrape in the past...

phoenix said...

Ehhh??? Ju speaka da Engalitsch?

I suppose that's something like me trying to understand the freedom of peeing whilst standing up?

All I know is that he's off in the lounge room swearing at you under his breath.

I suppose that means that I should be impressed?

Plonka said...


Hehehe... Yep...:)

I haven't had this one for very long (about a week longer than Dikkii's had his I'd say) but as it is, it should last a few years.

Donna said...

I am too dumb to comment OR be jealous about all this "computer talk". All I know is, when I run
into a "problem" on the 'puter, I ask the 15 yr old to come help me.

I can't remember "storage" info., so I just ask the husb/teenager
"But what does that mean in how many songs,(etc.)??"

Um, I use paper & pencil alot, too... shameful, isn't it???

Oh, we DO have a flat panel, but not a 22' one. I'm just GLAD to get
rid of the old one with the "butt"
sticking out all over the place!!

Gryphonn said...

grumble, monitor is a widescreen flat panel (17") 1440x900. But it is a Viewsonic with Gouldian Finches on the front...and it's Black...and my box is Silver and Black...and stuff... my speakers are better than yours!...I've got X5500's, but not here...they're in Rocky...I've got x530's here...they still shake the shed though... so there...

Anyway, it's not the size that counts, it's the way that you use nyah...


Plonka said...

Mine's only a Proview, but at least it doesn't have finches on the front. And yes, my case is black with silver trimmings, just like my monitor, my keyboard, my printer and my joystick. No, not that joystick Pheonix..;)

As to speakers, a few years ago I found some beautiful 60watt (very clean, clear sound) Sherwood desktop jobbies and an old-ish Technics amp that proved to be a winning combination.

phoenix said...

Now, now boys.

Time to put the extensions away, don't you think?

Plonka said...

Awww... Do I have to?

(Hehe.. I just knew you'd have to say something...;))

Dikkii said...

Bravo Plonka. I don't think the processing power of my new PC stacks up quite as well - I went for the 64-bit version of Ubuntu 7.10 and just because I'm a beginner, I only roped off 50 GB for it.

I see you've had a crack at the Hardy Heron (Ubuntu 8.04). I might upgrade to that, although I'm happy to see it move out of beta first.

I had a problem with my nVidia 8500 GT 512 which it didn't like initially, but after I found the right bits to select, it appears to be going OK.

I can't seem to make anything work in Wine much yet - one of the things I'd like to do would be to run the driver disk for my wireless mouse (Microsoft) so that the scroll wheel doesn't go quite as fast as what it does.

I saw what you mean with the KDE desktop, and that was one of the reasons I went for vanilla Ubuntu over the other desktop derivatives (Kubuntu with KDE, Xubuntu with Xfce) although to be brutally honest, Ubuntu being the popular package is clearly going to be the best supported one.

Still working out how to get the font quality on the screen to get up to standard, and also, how the hell do you get serious multimedia (not just audio) to work properly?

Anyway, it's good fun.

Plonka said...

It comes with a movie player built in called Totem (find it under "Applications - Sound and Video"). Then it's just a matter of installing the codecs for everything.

I tried to play a WMV, it told me I couldn't and downloaded and installed all the codecs for me.I was quite impressed because now I can play everything...:)

Dikkii said...

Liked your screen shot, by the way.

Plonka said...

Thought you might...:)

Anonymous said...

Can anyone recommend the best MSP system for a small IT service company like mine? Does anyone use or How do they compare to these guys I found recently: N-able N-central remote windows login
? What is your best take in cost vs performance among those three? I need a good advice please... Thanks in advance!

© Blogger Templates | Tech Blog