[GRLUG] My Ubuntu Trial

Godwin geektoyz at gmail.com
Mon May 15 22:13:32 EDT 2006

Heh!  The box relaying this mailing list was a "Ron special".  I liked
the name "shinobu" so I kept it.  It too was a Mandriva box which was
baptised and reborn as Debian.  :-)  I think, though, Mandriva and
SuSE had the nicest non-default KDE "look-n-feel" I've seen.  I'm more
of a plain vanilla desktop user though so Slax is appealing for KDE.
Still, I prefer <gulp> Gnome.

Shall we start a KDE vs. Gnome flame fest?

No.  Not really.


On 5/15/06, Roberto Villarreal <rvillarreal at mktec.com> wrote:
> That was a nice write-up Ron.  Informative, and void of flames.  It would be
> interesting to hear others' accounts of attempting a side-by-side comparison
> like you did.
> Though, for what it's worth, I was the recipient of a Mandriva box (from
> you)... I ended up having to wipe up and put Debian on because I couldn't get
> something to work.  It had something to do with configuring stuff with the
> GUI, as the box was for my computer-dumb father.  I was able to get it to
> work fine with Debian's GUI equivalent though :-).
> Roberto
> On Monday 15 May 2006 7:05 pm, Ron Lauzon wrote:
> > I posted this to my blog, but since that's mainly for friends and
> > relatives to keep up with what's going on in my life, I think I'll post
> > it here for you to see as well.  Give me a moment to put on my asbestos
> > undershorts.  8-)
> >
> >
> >       My Ubuntu Trial
> >
> > While at Penguicon, I was around a whole lot of people who were
> > promoting Ubuntu Linux. They seemed to really like it, so I decided to
> > give it a try here at home. So I wiped Akane and reloaded her with Ubuntu.
> >
> > First impressions are that it's very polished. They spent a whole lot of
> > time making the installation painless for many users. Hardware support
> > seems very good.
> >
> > But can it do everything that Mandriva can? I decided to find out.
> >
> > First off, I did not turn Akane into a "Motoko with Ubuntu". I only took
> > it to a point where I was sure that I could get everything running. So
> > once I reached a certain level of functionality, I simply verified that
> > someone else got X working on Ubuntu and that they described what they
> > did (like VMWare, for example) and left it at that.
> >
> > Installation:
> > At first, both Ubuntu and Mandriva are pretty much tied. There are
> > differences (Ubuntu gets most of its packages off the web, while
> > Mandriva has the option of getting all the packages from the set of
> > install CDs). But as far as ease of installation, it's about the same -
> > for an normal workstation.
> >
> > Installing the more advanced things (like Apache) was a bit more
> > problematic on Ubuntu. Not that it was hard, but with Mandriva, I simply
> > need to select "Web server" from the main installation screen and 90% of
> > the packages that I need are installed. Ubuntu requires more attention
> > and knowledge to know what packages to install - but, then, anyone doing
> > the install should be able to figure that out.
> >
> > Another issue is that many things that I consider "necessary" aren't
> > installed by default and there is no appearant way to install them. One
> > was MP3 support. It simply didn't work "out of the box" like Mandriva.
> > Now, once online, you can find very simple instructions on how to
> > install MP3 support, but still it doesn't "just work" like Mandriva.
> >
> > Partitioning was also different. In Mandriva, the standard partitions
> > are /, swap and /home. This works very nice because the vast majority of
> > stuff that you want to save between installations will be on /home. So
> > you can safely wipe / and install a new version. Ubuntu only did a / and
> > swap, making it more difficult to load a new version without having to
> > backup/restore the /home directories.
> >
> > Hardware support:
> > A plus for Ubuntu was that it supported my Palm via USB upon install.
> > Mandriva still doesn't do that - even with the latest version. However,
> > a minus was that Ubuntu didn't support the onboard sound on Akane while
> > Mandriva did. This was minor since I just installed the old Sound
> > Blaster card and everything worked.
> >
> > Security:
> > Ubuntu does security a little differently.
> >
> > With Mandriva, on install, I am prompted for the root password. Then a
> > regular user is created. This regular user is not privileged in any way.
> >
> > With Ubuntu, the root account is not active - you can't sign in. Only a
> > single "regular" user account is created. This first account gets sudo
> > anything access. So effectively, this "normal" account is priviledged -
> > with only the user's password for the security.
> >
> > This is out of the ordinary and really doesn't offer any extra
> > protection. On Ubuntu you would need to create another normal user that
> > is non-prilileged to get what I would consider to be a secure system.
> >
> > Not to say that sudo is bad. But as a replacement for root/su, it just
> > doesn't cut it.
> >
> > Applications:
> > Everything that I needed worked (or at least someone showed that they
> > worked). Some applications (like the latest Firefox and Thunderbird)
> > required special libraries to be loaded - but worked out of the box with
> > Mandriva.
> >
> >
> > Bottom line:
> > I cannot recommend Ubuntu, but neither can I tell someone to avoid it.
> > It offers no noticeable advantage over Mandriva, but neither does it
> > have any significant drawbacks.
> >
> > For schools, Ubuntu is probably a good choice. For "normal users" Ubuntu
> > would also be a good choice - but only if an expert is setting up the
> > system.
> > For power users, normal users without an expert and businesses, Mandriva
> > is probably a better choice.
> >
> > The Mom Factor (i.e. if I were to build a system for my Mom):
> > I would choose Mandriva over Ubuntu - for 2 main reasons:
> > 1. (the biggest) it's the one that I am most familiar with and, so, I
> > would find long distance support to be easier.
> > 2. Mandriva is closer to the "it just works" ideal than Ubuntu.
> >
> > For reference, I am compairing Mandriva 2006 Power Pack with Ubuntu 5.10.
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