Aug 29, 2010 -- posted by Evert Mouw
This week, I installed Linux Mint for my girlfriend after her Windows installation crashed. The idea was to temporarily use Linux until the new (and bigger) harddrive that we ordered would arrive. Linux Mint is based on Ubuntu, but has some additions like codecs installed by default.
Installation went smooth. After the installation, she could easily access the NTFS data partition (modern Linux distributions use NTFS-3G for read/write access) and the computer booted up much faster than with Windows XP.
But she encountered a few problems:
- Openoffice Calc sometimes showed a very high CPU usage when selecting multiple cells, rendering Calc very slow and unusable. After some Googling, I found that it is in the Ubuntu bug database, bug number 568892. But the reactions of the developers do not show much interest. I replaced it with the less-featured Gnumeric.
- Many websites, including Gmail, suffer from bad font handling and anti-aliasing. In fact, most websites are a pain to the eyes. I tried Firefox, Epiphany, Arora, Konqueror, Chromium, and another browser which name I forgot, and numerous font settings (including Microsoft fonts), but nothing helped. [ Addition: The Ubuntu team works on a better font. ]
- When switching from Gnome to KDE, the KDE menu did not show a “shutdown” option because the Gnome and KDE login managers, also called display managers (gdm and kdm) are not compatible with each other. Only one of the desktop environments can show a shutdown option. When you want to shutdown your computer in KDE, use the kdm. Same for Gnome and gdm. Funny thing is that five years ago, someone posted a solution for this, but still the problem is in the normal software repositories.
I use Linux on some servers for years. It’s great software if you want to have control, stability, speed, easy remote access, easy software installation and so on for your server. But Linux on the desktop has always been somewhat of another story, and although much improvement has been made, I believe that Windows (XP of 7, never Vista) with Office 2003 or Office 2010 (skip 2007, it’s kinda beta of 2010) is still unbeatable for desktop computing. Some Apple users wouldn’t agree, though.