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A loose series of thoughts and venting on Linux, computers in general and their (ab)users.
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Ubuntu on my work desktop

Posted 06-16-2009 at 06:21 AM by bitpicker

I have been using Ubuntu as my main OS at work; I'm the only employee doing so, but as I am the sum total of our IT staff I can pretty much do what I want.

Up until yesterday I was using Ubuntu 7.10, but as it recently met the end of its life cycle and Add/Remove wouldn't find packages anymore I decided to install 9.04 in parallel at first.

Installation of the basic system too about half an hour; it imported my Firefox settings from 7.10 but not my Thunderbird profile, which is no wonder seeing as how Ubuntu uses Evolution by default, but I simply installed Thunderbird and copied my profile over prior to starting TB for the first time, and that was all.

The only thing which did not work out of the box was the screen resolution, but that remedied itself after I followed the suggestion by Ubuntu to use the proprietary nvidia drivers. Even the sound seems to work, which it did not in 7.10, though I can't test it as I have no speakers attached, but it looks like it is installed correctly.

I spent most of the afternoon installing all the odds and ends I wanted, but it was a breeze compared to installing Windows. And then the moment of truth came: the Epson all-in-one which is derctly connected to my computer was already set up correctly and automatically, but I only use it as a scanner; actual printing is done via two network-attached machines, a Brother printer and a Ricoh laser copy machine with an optional brochure finisher.

When I selected 'Network Printers' in Ubuntu, both printers were correctly recognized. Ubuntu asked me whether it should download and install the drivers for the Ricoh, which I agreed to, and it did; with full support for all features including the finisher. The hardest part was finding out which of the three optional finishers available for the model we have. The Brother installed just as easily.

Compare that to the fact that Windows has me jump through hoops each time when I have to set up Windows computers to use those two machines. The Brother setup, when I first installed the printer, made an exe file which I have to run on the new machines (easy, but an unusual approach). The Ricoh is available on the Active Directory, bur for no rhyme or reason I can discern sometimes visible on the net automatically, sometimes not; it does set up, but it always is a pain and it takes much longer than it did in Ubuntu.

I haven't yet tried to use the Ricoh's fax module in Ubuntu, but it uses yet a third way to install on Windows. I don't actually need it, but I wouldn't be surprised if it was easy to set up in Ubuntu at all. Maybe when I'm bored next time...

All in all, the process was completely painless and comparatively quick. Any Windows installation I ever did, and I have done quite a few in the past twenty years, was much more complicated.

If there is anything which 'just works' it sure isn't Windows in my book.

Robin
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