Okay I gave it another try. I'll post about my Desktop and Netbook experiences separately.Desktop:
I connected my phone to give me internet access long enough to download the wifi drivers. While I was doing that, I realized why I was so sure the beta worked with my wifi adapter without a problem: Because I didn't have the internet then, so the only way I could
get online was to connect my phone. Yeah, I feel kind of silly now.
Also when I went to install the wifi drivers, it listed two NVidia drivers. I installed the recommended one but I still wasn't able to do all the desktop effects and stuff. So then I installed the not-recommended one and things worked.
I tried sticking a DVD in and seeing if it would play. It doesn't. It opens in Movie Player by default, says I'm missing a codec or something like that, and asks if I'd like to find it. I clicked yes but it couldn't find anything.
So I opened up Synaptics Package Manager and did a search for DVD, found a bunch of packages that were mostly to do with ripping or converting formats. One of them was called Ubuntu-Restricted-Extras, which installs support for MP3 files, Microsoft fonts, Java RE, Flash, LAME, and DVD Playback. But it says that it doesn't install a certain library and won't allow you to play encrypted DVDs. And links to the Playing DVDs
web page. Apparently in some countries it's illegal to watch your own DVDs due to the requirement of needing to decrypt them to watch them first. Sounds messed up to me but whatever. The instructions on that page were simple to follow, and after taking the 3 steps listed, DVD playback pretty much "Just Worked," but it's not exactly Linux n00b friendly.
Playing DVDs requires you to:
- Install a movie program that doesn't come with Ubuntu. (I chose VLC Player)
- Install the libdvdread4 package (for Ubuntu 9.04 and later)
- Enter a command in the Terminal
That's not exactly hard to do, but considering that I only found the URL for that in the first place because I had enough experience to use Synaptics Package Manager to search for DVD and found something I'd previously seen before, which linked to the site, etc. It's just a relatively, needlessly complex process for something as simple (in the mind of the end user) as sticking a DVD in and watching it.
I was thinking of what a hassle it was and how something as simple as this would keep me from recommending Ubuntu to my Grandma (for example), but then I realized I would never expect my Grandma to install any
OS and set things up for herself. I would either have her order one already set up by the manufacturer or I'd get things working myself and then let her at it.
So in that regard, I think Ubuntu just might be ready after all for the "average Joe/Jane" who only uses a PC for internet, e-mail, and word processing.
I still don't like the minimize, maximize, and close buttons on the left side. Not only are they on the left side, but they're out of order. It's close, minimize, maximize. So it's not just a mirror image. The other thing is that my mouse is never on the left side of the window. The UI practically demands the mouse to be on the right side of the window with scroll bars and things, so it makes no sense to make the user drag the mouse over to the other side of the screen to close an application. I know it seems like such a small thing, and if only the rest of the world were so lucky to only be upset over moving a mouse a few inches to the left, but it sure is annoying! Thankfully Chrome uses it's own custom skin and keeps the Windows style Min, Max, and Close buttons on the right side.
Another thing that continually frustrates me (especially on a fresh Ubuntu install) is how the package installer works. There are three main ways to install/update software: There's the Ubuntu Software Center, the Synaptics Package Manager, and the Update Manager. I don't know exactly how it works, but they all use the same thing and you can only use one at a time. Anything else you try to do to download/install software/components/updates also uses the same thing. So if you went to the Software Center first and queued up 15 applications to install, you have to wait until they're finished before you can install your proprietary drivers, or another language pack, or even check for updates to your software.
I can understand the need to only install one thing at a time, but it should at least be smart enough to add it to a queue so it will be taken care of, and not lock out the entire system from looking for more updates while something is downloading. In fact, it would be great if it could download things more than one at a time.
And once again, as it always happens with me when I try out Ubuntu, I don't know what else to do with it. The three main reasons I use a PC are for:
- Video Games
The internet works on Ubuntu, once you have your Wifi drivers installed. The video games I play pretty much require Windows. I haven't tried Wine or Play On Linux but I've heard they're not always very good. Besides that, most of my modern PC Games have been purchased via Steam, and I don't think that works well in Wine. And as for programming I typically program using an engine that doesn't support Linux.
I think that's enough writing for now. I'm going to take a break and write about my Netbook Remix Edition experiences later. But here's a hint: