Life after Windows: Day 13

I’ve reached a decision. In another 18 days — on the first day of summer — I will completely shut down Microsoft Windows XP on my computer and move over to using Ubuntu Linux as my sole operating system. I’m waiting 18 more days because I want to be absolutely sure after one month of using Linux that everything works. So far, it all does.

I’ve had several positive experiences lately which I thought I’d share with skeptics. (And remember that when I started this thing I was a skeptic myself — having been burned by a bad experience with Red Hat Linux back in 2002 — see here, here and here.)
Digital photos: I took a couple of photos, removed the SD card and inserted it into my USB card reader which I inserted into a free USB port on the computer. A second later and I could see this as a new disk, could edit and copy the photos. Just like that. Couldn’t be simpler.
Digital music: Slightly more complicated. I bought a new headset and couldn’t initially get it to work. Had to adjust sound settings — all done through the graphic interface, with no command line stuff, no arcane lines of code. One drawback of Ubuntu is that it doesn’t build in MP3, and this for reasons having to do with MP3 being a proprietary format, with OGG Vorbis as the default open source audio format. That’s all very nice, but it added a layer of difficulty which is unncessary. It took a few minutes to figure out how to allow MP3s to play on my computer again. In the end, the easiest way to convert some files to or from OGG and MP3 was to do it with a wonderful online service called Zamzar.
Disk space: This is a Wubi issue — when I set up Ubuntu as a Windows application (rather than with the usual way, which is to partition one’s disk) I guess it didn’t get a lot of space. So when I tried to move over large music files, it warned me that there wasn’t any room. When I got rid of those files, I had no problems. This is one of the reasons why I want to move toward a proper, native installation of Ubuntu without any Windows around — to ensure that all the space on the hard drive (and it’s not a giant hard drive) is accessible.
I have broken one of my rules and invested around £27 in the Ubuntu Linux Bible, published by Wiley. I thought that if everything crashed and I lost all access to the net, etc., this would be the closest I’ll get to technical support. In terms of kilograms per penny, this hefty volume seemed the best of an ever-growing list of specifically Ubuntu titles available in shops (Foyles in London has around seven Ubuntu titles, one more than Waterstones).
So, 18 days and counting. If nothing major goes wrong before the 21st, on that day I will put Microsoft Windows XP behind me forever.
P.S. I just discovered that I actually begin running Linux for the first time ten years ago. Google has become my external memory.

6 Comments on "Life after Windows: Day 13"

  1. Good on ya, mate. I wish I could do the same. Now, if I could only figure out how to hack the Halo series so that I could play them on Ubuntu. That would be a dream come true.
    It would be nice if there were iVorbis players…lol. Some day perhaps, because OGG is supposed to be an excellent audio format.
    The future is so exciting in the hopes that we will one day free ourselves completely from multinational corporate enslavery.

  2. This ‘pocket guide’ is really useful in solving niggles like the mp3 problem quickly:

  3. Antoine Desilets | 04/06/2007 at 23:49 |

    Wish I could do the same, but unfortunately I have on a very regular base to access several web sites which work properly only if opened with IE. All hacks we tried to access them via LINUX did not work. Some people suggested to simply ignore these sites, but this is NOT a viable solution for us. Others proposed that we use a DUAL BOOT configuration. We tried it, but this too is NOT an acceptable alternative here: too cumbersome and time consuming (waiting for one OS to close and the other one to start, then to switch back again etc. etc.).
    Did you, as a former Windowzer, run into similar problems and if yes, how did you solve them to allow you, lucky person, to move into a universe without M$.?
    Thanks for any insight.

  4. Antoine – you have several browsers available to you, have you tried others? Also i have read that internet explorer can work on ubuntu (using wine – a pc emulator) maybe this is the hack you mentioned.
    also you could install vmware (a virtual machine) server, install windows and then you will have windows running under ubuntu!. by the way a great way to install applications in ubuntu is by using automatix2 – it currently includes vmware.

  5. Matthew Flaschen | 13/06/2007 at 04:12 |

    Eric, you can use mp32ogg ( to convert all your mp3 to Ogg Vorbis. It’s a command-line app; but if you don’t object to that on principle it’s actually very simple.

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