Well it’s been a while but here is my current position and mini review, (of sorts), on changing my MS OS to a Linux variant. Some of the OS’s I’ve tried (in no particular order) are:
- Ubuntu 14.10
- Kubuntu 14.10
- Mint Mate 17.1
- Mint Cinnamon 17.1
- OpenSuse 13.2 – Gnome
- OpenSuse 13.2 – KDE
- MS Windows 10 Technical Preview (I know it’s not Linux!)
I must say, without causing a flame war, that I prefer the KDE Desktop Managers (DM) over the Gnome based DM’s, except for Ubuntu’s Unity DM. This is mainly because I like the increased facilities that KDE provides, that allow the end user to fiddle with how the desktop looks and behaves. I also liked the eye candy effects that Compiz compositing manager provides.
My touchscreen and touchpad worked in all OS’s, but only in MS Windows 10 did the screen rotate work out of the box. Not a show stopper, but I do occasionally use the tablet mode in portrait for reading PDF’s. I would have to write a script on the Linux OS’s that rotated the screen and touchpad orientations.
Ubuntu’s Unity DM allows for better touchscreen use, as it has larger icons and its design that tries to cover both Desktop and Notebook (read touchscreen) users compared to the other Linux OS’s.
I must confess I’ve used the Debian Package Management system more than the YAST system used by OpenSuse. Nether less I still prefer the Debian software/package system. I’m not sure why but I guess it’s mainly a familiarity thing, nothing to do with the technical aspects at all.
One of the applications I’m currently ‘playing’ with under MS Windows, is Cypress PSoC Creator IDE. Unfortunately unlike the XMOS xTimeComposer IDE they do not provide a Linux version. So undeterred I tried to install it using the WINE emulator. Limited success; I managed to get the setup to install, but it did not complete. I did install it under the VMWare player using MS Windows 7 which has a neat feature called Unity that allows the host system to show the guest applications as if they were app running on the host… cool. Downside(s) are:
- I yet again have to maintain a Windows system in a virtual machine, but maybe don’t have to worry to much about security updates and virus/malware.
- Backups become larger and consequentially take longer as I have to backup the virtual machine (vmdx) disk files that change every time I run the virtual machine. I use a NAS box on an Ethernet network.
One thing about Linux applications that irks me, is the user interface ‘look and feel’ and consistency varies a lot. It is getting better as the versions march out, but Windows apps in the whole beat it hands down. I know this shouldn’t bother me, but it does. I guess being a Virgo has it’s down sides… I like things to be symmetrical and to be in line and well, to be similar. LOL
How many times in the past have I installed a Linux OS and then found out that the printer is either not supported or limited in its functionality…. lots of times. Well this time I had no problems, mainly because when I purchased my Brother MFC-9330CDW Printer I made sure it had Linux drivers. Works a treat both as a printer and scanner under Linux!
For those looking for a benchmark, look elsewhere, all of the following is very subjective. I did note that the Gnome compared to the KDE desktops seemed to be a little faster in loading applications. Since the XPS 12 runs an Intel i7 along with a very fast SSD drive the difference was only marginal.
3D graphics performance I couldn’t rate at all as I don’t play games, but 2D performance was nice and smooth if not smoother than under MS Windows. For the OS’s that I tried the Compiz window effects on, the Intel HD4400 coped very well, no stuttering or artefacts worth mentioning.
MS Windows 10 Technical Preview
Just a quick note on this. I installed this for a couple of days and even though I didn’t flog it to death, I found it to be quite stable. I liked:
- The re-instatement of the start menu along with the incorporation of the Metro interface into it. (Metro interface is still there if required.)
- The ability to have multiple desktops…. just like Linux has!
Well at the moment, I have no final conclusion. I’ve gone back to MS Windows 8.1 and will most likely upgrade to 10 as it will be a free upgrade. My current Dell XPS 12 drivers seem to work well under 10, so there should be no issues. Reasoning behind this is that I only want one OS to maintain and as such I can’t run the Cypress PSoC Creator software under Linux natively. Sure I can use VMWare, or even dual boot (lets not go there) but I want a clean transparent solution. Now if I decide not to use PSoC in the future, maybe the tables will turn. I’m still a fan boy of Linux and I’m looking forward to the future changes (and they are changing fast) in the Linux desktop landscape and hope that I can use it in future, but sadly not at the moment.
Just in case if your wondering what my favourite Linux OS is… it is Ubuntu 14.10 running Unity, closely followed by Mint Cinnamon 17.1.