Desktop Operating Systems – A move away from Windows??

28th April 2012 0 By Simon

I have been a Windows guy from a very early age (actually I was a DOS guy before becoming a Windows guy) and it’s with surprise that I find myself in my current predicament. I recently had a go of the Microsoft Windows 8 Consumer Preview and unfortunately found myself really disliking it, don’t get me wrong I think from a tablet point of view it will work wonders but when I sit and watch videos like this you just know that Microsoft have goofed and it’s not just me who has this view on the new Microsoft OS.

Now I understand that Microsoft haven’t released the final product yet and that things ‘could’ change but tbh I don’t think that Microsoft plan on changing it too much. With this in mind I started looking around at different Operating Systems to use at home, I have a number of different machines around the house doing all sorts and I won’t be changing all of them away from the Microsoft platform. I currently have a Mac Mini that works as my iTunes library for the families iPhones\iPads and a dedicated Management PC for my blogging and VMware lab which will all be staying as they are, that just leaves my gaming rig and my wife’s small Shuttle PC (which she uses for the household budget (YNAB) and gaming (WoW)).

Looking at the alternatives out there I decided to give Ubuntu 12.04 Beta 2 a try and I was pleasantly surprised, Linux had come a long way as a desktop operating system since I looked at Windows alternatives years ago. The beta product for me was working fine on a laptop and my main gaming rig and whilst I was having some performance issues with World of Warcraft as a whole the Linux experience for me wasn’t such a pain as I thought it could be.

Move forward to Thursday 26th of April, the day that Ubuntu released 12.04 LTS (Precise Pangolin), instead of doing an in place upgrade like I had done with my laptop I decided to do a fresh install and that’s perhaps where I made the mistake. First things first however, the specs for my gaming rig.

Intel i7 2600K CPU

Asrock Z68 Extreme 4 Gen 3 motherboard.

OCZ Petrol (later to be replaced by a Kingston SSDNow v200 drive)

Nvidia 580GTX

As you can see not exactly bleeding edge but decent enough that you would expect it to be supported.

The first installation of 12.04 took over 2 hours to complete and I was quite stunned at this so I did a little digging and discovered that my 1 month old SSD had bad blocks on it (nice one OCZ, see my earlier post) so I decided to install it onto my old WD Velociraptor drive (150gb 10k rpm drive), unfortunately that didn’t work out well either. That night I ordered a replacement SSD drive (the 90gb Kingston SSD mentioned above) which was delivered on Friday morning allowing me the weekend to try and installed 12.04 again onto my system. Friday night was spent pretty much the same as Thursday night tho, still the dog slow installation process (another 2 hours) and a reboot later I discovered a black screen on reboot, seems like the installation had lost the drivers for my Nvidia card and wouldn’t load the GUI up, at this point I went back to Windows 7 for some gaming with my friends (23.30 at night by this time).

Move forward to Saturday, jumping into the BIOS of my computer I switch my graphics card to the on board Intel HD3000 as I have discovered that the Ubuntu installer doesn’t like my Nvidia card. A quick install later using different media (a fresh download of the ISO burnt to DVD instead of installation via a USB key courtesy of Unetbootin) and unfortunately I am still in the same boat, black screen once all the updates have been applied.

I then took the time to post a thread over on the Ubuntu forums detailing my woes with installing 12.04 LTS and left the computer alone for a couple of hours to spend time with the family, I had also made the decision at that time to go and try using Ubuntu 11.10 so would do the installation once I came back.

Several hours later I find myself back behind the keyboard installing 11.04 (my mistake in relying on unetbootin having the latest versions on it). Not really a problem, everything installed just fine (even using my Nvidia graphics card) and I proceeded to carry out an upgrade to 11.10. Upgrade proceeds just fine and everything looks fine. I reboot the system after installing the G15Daemon to allow me to use my G19 keyboard and come up against the dreaded black screen, obviously an upgrade during my apt-get update \ apt-get upgrade has caused me issues with the Nvidia card again Sad smile.

It’s now 9pm on Saturday evening, over the last 3 days or so I have lost count of the amount of times I have tried installing Ubuntu 12.04 onto desktop system and failed, yes I have a perfectly working laptop with 12.04 installed on it but that doesn’t help me with my desire to move away from Windows onto a different platform with relative ease and the worst thing is that whilst I was using Beta 2 I became a bit of a evangelist where Ubuntu was concerned, extolling it’s virtues to all and sundry (I was even in the process of moving my wife onto it, I was that impressed with it I thought it would make her life easier) but I now find myself with a slightly bitter taste in my mouth because what ‘should’ have been a quick and easy win for Ubuntu to let me move away from the Windows platform has backfired on them because I am now at the stage where I am fed up with the hassle that Ubuntu has put me through for the last three days, angry at the time lost during the hours I spent trying to install or fix the issues and at the end of it I have nothing to show except the working Windows 7 installation back in my machine.

Does that mean I am moving away from Microsoft?? Not at the moment it doesn’t, perhaps when 12.04.1 is released in a couple of months I will give it another try but as it stands at the moment 12.04 LTS is definitely not ready for me.