Ubuntu Linux [After a few weeks]

After a few weeks with Ubuntu 8.04, I can say that I’m ready to wipe the Windows partition for good.  I still have a few gripes, but for the most part – the money saved on software makes up for the minor frustrations.

Let’s start out with Kino: I used kino to put together a few little home videos.  I ran into problems immediately with capturing, but found that it was merely that I had to chmod (change permissions) on a file and I was off and away.  Adding effects with Kino is pretty awkward.  You have to apply the effects and then render a new file which is then inserted into the timeline.  This actually makes applying multiple effects, titles, or filters quite cumbersome.  At one point, I found that I had to export my movie and then re-open it to apply multiple effects.

Getting video to work smoothly on my websites accross multiple platforms has been a real headache.  I want my videos to be hosted by me and viewable in any browser.  I was excited to see that I could encode Flash videos with Kino, but I ran into some problems.  Exporting .flv files left me without any audio when I used the ffmpeg from the ubuntu repositories, so I had to get the copy from medibuntu.  Now I can export my movies in lots of different mp4 formats like h264, xvid, flv, etc.

Working with desktop gadgets got me a little pissed off.  gDesklets didn’t have a whole lot of widgets, and Screenlets were really unstable and unpredictable.  They would have strange startup behaviors, they wouldn’t stay where I put them, etc.  I ended up giving up entirely.  I may try Prism or Google Desktop sometime.

Avant window manager is great.  I did have a few problems.  First off, if you want to use any cool features, you can’t use the copy in the repository – you have to get it from their repository.  The upside to this is that they do provide frequent updates.  Sometimes it uses an application’s default image rather than the icon theme that I applied with GTK. The other big annoyance is that I can’t empty my trash using either of the included applets, so I have to start gnome panel, empty the trash, and then close the gnome panel.  Getting the gnome panel to stay closed requires you to use a button in the session manager that says “remember current applications”.  Unfortunately, there’s no way to undo or “forget” once you click that button and return to a default state.


My final annoyance is standards.  I thought I would be ready to rock with firefox installed, but as it turns out I can’t view videos at nbcolympics.com because silverlight only works on windows or mac.  Microsoft isn’t the only culprit, though.  I get an error message at mac.com, too!

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