Recently I bought a Samsung N148 Plus notebook with Windows 7 Ultimate pre-installed. Apart from the microphone and headphone jacks not working (drivers weren’t installed) and the fact that there was no useful software/codecs included it all seemed OK.
These issues were not a problem, OpenOffice is free to download as are audio drivers and video/audio codecs so it’s an easy task, been a Windows user for over 10 years, done this many times.
However… a week or so later a message pops up telling me that I need to activate Windows (even though Windows says that it is already activated under the Activation section).
This was a turning point, I had two clear options, get Windows activated (legally or otherwise) or switch to a free alternative OS (operating system).
The reason to switch was not just because of this one incident but the culmination of 10 years of Windows frustration, the crashing, the viruses, the blue screen of death and the financial expense.
I am not a programmer or computer whiz kid, I would say that my computer skills are that of your average user and no more. With this in mind, I went about setting up a duel boot so I could have both Windows 7 Ultimate and Linux distro Ubuntu 10.10 (notebook).
Ubuntu 10.10 comes with a handy program called Wubi to help you set up a duel boot and after a few clicks here and there, some waiting time (about 30 minutes) it is all set up and ready to go (by ready to go I mean the drivers were already installed, including the audio jacks! As well as all office programs etc).
I was pleased to see that some of my fears about this system that is new to me were unfounded, most things ‘just worked’ such as the wireless connection and I can access my files on the Windows partition of the hard drive (though Windows wont let me access the Ubuntu partition of the hard drive). I found the Ubuntu system easy to navigate and intuitive as well as finding I had some excellent software included such as Rythembox Music Player which (in my opinion) shows up Windows Media Player for the outdated, slow and clunky program that it is.
Another massive plus for me is the Ubuntu Software Centre, if there is anything I need that isn’t already installed I can easily find a program to do the job, it’s very easy to use, it’s fast and it’s free!
It’s not all plain sailing though, Ubuntu (and I imagine most if not all Linux systems) still has trouble running Windows made programs even when using Wine (a Windows emulator). As I said before, I am no programmer nor technical genius so although it may be technically possible to run certain Windows made software, I can’t figure it out.
Unfortunately for me, the program I was trying to run in Ubuntu was the Rosetta Stone language learning program that uses voice recognition and as of yet, no open source alternative exists.
Having two OS’s one the one computer for now is the best choice, I get the best of both worlds but if Linux/Ubuntu get Windows made software working seamlessly and/or expand the open source alternatives then it could be goodbye Windows forever…