Tuesday, March 8, 2011

My Top 10 Reasons I Love Ubuntu

The entire month of February, I went back to being a Windows user. I had a couple of reasons for switching back, the main reason was to have the ability to sync my phone with the music, pictures, etc. on my computer via Windows Media Player. Also, my build of Ubuntu was starting to act crazy, like not going into suspend mode, instability in some applications, among other things (I've attributed it to upgrading the distro on the fly instead of doing a clean install or downloading the update all at once first).

Going back to Windows was a painful process, and in my top 10 reasons I love Ubuntu, I will also explain the inconveniences I endured during my switch back to Windows. I don't plan on switching back again, for sure.

10) Native SSH/SFTP connection support

Windows does not support SSH/SFTP connectivity out of the box. PuTTY or some other SSH client is required. PuTTY is a decent application, but it lacks severely in comparison the gnome-terminal in Ubuntu. Copy/Paste is a hassle, key mappings are a pain to get correct (gnome-terminal does very well without configuration), and it really comes  down to not having the Linux OS underneath, which enables so much more when using SSH (which I do 90% of work in with 4 Linux servers). PuTTY was good, but the Ubuntu terminal is the best I've ever used.

9) Support for multiple server connection types

WIndows Explorer does very well in opening WIndows shares, but that is where it ends. FTP, SFTP,  and WebDAV is not supported out of the box, which means all your Linux servers must be setup with Samba shares in order for Windows clients to open Explorer to. Ubuntu, on the other hand, can handle not only SSH, FTP, and WebDAV, but Samba as well, right out of the box. Network locations can also be saved as bookmarks in Nautilus, so they act like a mapped drive, instead it is a mounted share, for ease in working out of a network directory.

8) Usability of command line

I do ok with a Windows command-line. I can do a few things, call a few processes, but I am in no way a power-user. But, I've quickly become a Linux power-user because the command line for Linux, in my opinion, are much easier to understand and get accustomed to than that of Windows. gnome-terminal make is easy to handle copy and pasting, the Linux OS seems more structured on the command-line side, and I feel I can write scripts much easier using a Linux terminal. I can't completely knock the Windows command line because I haven't used it as much at the degree of Linux, but I highly enjoy the Linux terminal experience.

7) Command-line utilities

This goes along with number 8, except Linux comes with so many useful command line utilities. My favorite, awk, is an advanced text-parsing scripting language that can be written in one line or 50. Other commands like locate, sdiff, sed, and a combination of multiple commands have allowed be to build very useful utilities for myself and others I work with.

6) Driver Support

Ubuntu is the only distro of Linux I have used on a personal and professional level, but the driver support from Ubuntu is amazing. A bluetooth dongle, wireless network card, and my smartphone, required drivers from Windows, and even then, they didn't work well. With Ubuntu. I have had no issues with any device, and everything seemed plug-and-play -- like it should be. Windows would turn my wireless radio off after a few minutes of using it, apparently because the driver was bad - the very driver that came with my laptop. Downloading an update did not work, and that is why I quickly went back to Ubuntu.

5) Customization

I love the ability to customize my user experience with Ubuntu. From how my command-line functions when I open it, to my desktop, where my icons are, what is displayed in my panels, and the amazing Compiz effects that add not only special effects, but increased usability. No other OS has given me the options I desire, and Ubuntu keeps adding to the long list of customizable options.

4) Workspaces

Not having workspaces with Windows killed me. Although I found third-party software that allowed me to have virtual desktop spaces, it was not the same experience, and likely was the cause of Windows crashing on me the few times it did.  Workspaces have allowed me to be a quicker, more efficient worker, and they have saved me a lot of time scrounging for that minimized window in my task bar.

3) Window Management

WIndow management in Windows is aweful. How ironic. Although I wasn't using Windows 7, which is much better at window management, my productivity sunk when I wasn't able to drag a maximized window to another monitor, or scroll on a window that didn't have focus, or snap windows to the edge of the screen. On top of not having native support for workspaces, the workspaces application was a bummer to use when the windows management system was so bad.

2) Native Network Profile Support

This was one of the biggest pains in Windows - the lack of an intuitive network profile system. Lenovo's application allowed for profiles, but the application crashed so often, I had to uninstall it. I love having the ability in Ubuntu to define network connections, and the ease of doing so is one of the best features. At work, I need a fixed IP address, but at home, or most other places, I just need DHCP to give me one. The nm-applet for Ubuntu allows me to do so, and to easily switch profiles, without opening any windows. 

1) Learning something new

Since a majority of my work involves a Linux server, I have learned a vast amount about the Linux OS just by having it and using it everyday. It has allowed me to write scripts and processes I would not have ever been able to do without Ubuntu as my primary OS, and it has allowed me to excel at my job. I continue to learn more and more each day.

Thanks Ubuntu!

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