A while ago I decided to give the Linux distribution Ubuntu another go. I’d given Windows 8 a short go (perhaps not long enough due to the new interface) and I felt anything I wanted to do know could be done using a free operating system, after all with Crossover Linux, a lot of Office programs and games could run under Linux and programs like iTunes could surely run under Virtualbox running Windows 7. Well I tried, but failed. Windows 8 has now been installed on my PC, and not surprisingly I can do everything I want.

There were a few workarounds on Ubuntu, but other items were showstoppers:

  • Blu ray – I know these discs are OK on my PC, even though it’s not the fastest, but the ridiculous workaround to get them to play doesn’t work well and the video isn’t watchable.
  • VPN often isn’t present in the networking menu, networking has to be turned off and on again for it to appear.
  • Games – well, my Star Trek game didn’t really want to work, even under Crossover.
  • Office 2013 – this doesn’t work yet under Crossover, and even Office 2010 doesn’t work perfectly.
  • iTunes – non-starter. PlayonLinux does have some support for iTunes 10 but isn’t that good.
  • Drivers for TV cards, just don’t exist.
  • Twitter app – Gwibber is awful – had to use Tweetdeck within Chrome.

There were positives, but when all is said and done, these can all be done perfectly well on Windows:

  • Libreoffice is an excellent package for basic Office work, and fast on Ubuntu.
  • Apps for most things are excellent – Shutter superb for screenshots
  • HD stays quiet – on OSX and Ubuntu, the HD stays much quieter and not as much access than Windows. Again, perhaps this was not giving Windows enough time to get settled down.
  • Fast – the OS is actually fast and not a sluggish old-fashioned system which is often the thought of any Linux distribution.
  • Scanner worked – Epson provide Linux drivers.
  • Firefox is fast, Chrome quite not up to that speed but still fine.

Well after this lot, I decided to go back to Windows 8. As mentioned above, I don’t think I gave this OS a lot of time initially, with the new Start screen as opposed to Start menu it’s operation is very tailored towards tablet/touch computers which I don’t have. The one thing that has never been an issue though is speed, it’s fast!! If it wasn’t for the fact that the main apps don’t run on a 600 height it would be on my netbook now.

Another bonus to the installation is the excellent Office 2013. Outlook 2013 is superb, much faster than 2010 or 2007 and the addition of the bottom left menu items to bring up summaries of e.g. the day’s events are excellent. Office 2013 currently is unavailable through Linux, and also on OSX where Office 2011 is still the main version. The blog editing is also excellent, and integrates directly into WordPress, and is in fact what I’m using now to write this article.

Ubuntu is an excellent operating system for basic use, and for the majority of uses it serves very well. If I didn’t use iTunes Match, then the lack of iTunes wouldn’t be an issue as other software does the trick.