Archive for May, 2009

Back to Windows… for now :(

Tuesday, May 12th, 2009

Yes the title is correct, and while I was a 95% convert to linux (Ubuntu) I have had to return to windows.  Why you ask?  Well various reasons but mainly due to time and the need to keep dropping back in and out of Windows too often.  I need to make it clear first up that it is not linux or the linux communities fault for my return to Windows but more a lack of support from the larger software companies to support a growing linux market.

So let me get down to my reasons as I am sure any hard core linux user is shaking his/her head in disbelief 🙂

Web browsing and e-mail – worked flawlessly as I was able to use the same applications as I did in Windows (Firefox and Thunderbird)

Web Development – HTML/XHTML – I was generally happy using Bluefish to replace my long and well used Homesite, and while it was not in my opinion as good as Homesite it was still usable and I could live with it.

Web Development – CSS – This is one of those things that really bugged me, I have been a long time user of Topstyle Pro as it fits great with Homesite.  On my hunt for a comparable product in linux the best that could be had was CSSed, not bad but far from a great CSS editor.  While other editors existed I did not find one that even came close to TopStyle, however in the attempt to remain with linux I utilised the CSS functions within BlueFish.

Graphics Work – I have been a long time Photoshop (and previously Paint Shop Pro) user, so this was one area I thought I would have trouble with.  However to my surprise Gimp provided a very effective and fully functional comparable (or even better) product.  I must hand it to the guys over at Gimp land for a fantastic product – excellent work.  So if your in need of a graphics or photo application save your money and get Gimp.

PDF Creation and editing – This was a big issue for me as I constantly had to command line options (ImageMagick) to convert files from PDF to other formats as there appeared to be a bug in the conversion process (Poppler) that would cause quite poor gradient and transparency conversions, especially if you wanted to convert from PDF to PNG/JPG.  Creating PDFs was a breeze as you can do that from any application, however editing them is a little more difficult.  There is simply no editor that is as feature rich as Adobe Acrobat and for what I need I needed that ability to be perfect.  This is probably my main reason for having to go back to Windows for now.

Accounting – While GnuCash is there and it works well I find Quickbooks to be more intuitive and easier to use (I am not an accountant and don’t wish to be).  I will have to admit here though I did not give GnuCash a good enough chance to grow on me.

DVD Backup – This might be more my lack of experience with linux than an issue with the selection of linux applications, however where my time is limited I needed a simply backup solution that worked.  I tried various solutions available but I ended up having to boot back into Windows to make the copies needed – I now have plenty of coasters….. This would have to be the second main reasons for going back to Windows.

Video Capture – One of the things I do is convert video to DVD (tape to DVD) and I have a solution here to do that that I was not able to get working well in linux.  While I got it to work and recognise the USB connection that connects to the Video player the streaming through to the recording and then to DVD was not equal to what I could do on Windows – again this might be my lack of knowledge with the linux command line options, but again I did not have time to learn it all at this time.

HD Video Capture – First was to try and get linux to recognise my HG21, ok did that.  Then to download the videos which seemed to take forever but the same in Windows also – they are very large files.  Now to convert to other formats for SD and YouTube etc.  This took a heck of a lot of time, so much that I had to stop, however I will say that the end result was so much better than windows that I am setting up a dedicated machine just for this.  Kino is just great 🙂

Printing – wow and fantastic – CUPS makes sharing printers a snap – great work 🙂

Office – While it is not MS Office 2007 I found that Open Office was more than sufficient, however sharing files with others in the office would be a little annoying having to save as .doc and .xls etc so that they can be shared.  I actually liked the more simplistic layout as it gave me what I needed without having to fumble around with the Office 2007 ribbon trying to find how to format, replace and modify content.

Audio editing – Audicity works just as good in Linux as it did in Windows 🙂

Wacom Tablet – Arghhh this was a real pain.  I tried everything to get this working in linux as it does in Windows – maybe that is the issue I cannot get it to replicate what it does in Windows.  I read through and (tried) to follow the tutorials on how to set it up from the wacomproject, I even contacted Wacom support with little help.  While I got the pen to work, the buttons and the circle of my Bamboo Fun did not and could not get to work.

FTP – This was a pain initially I started to having to use gFTP but wanted to use FileZilla but I was using the 64bit version of Ubuntu and FileZilla would not install, however I found a way via the online forums to get it to work – wonderful 🙂

Synchronise/Backup – A major requirement for us is the ability to synchronise/backup our data.  Now having all been Windows to now having a linux box in the mix I still needed to be able to synchronise two machines on a regular basis.  While a storage server (it is coming) would be a better option we at this stage (budget) backup each others data to each others alternative computer.  In Windows I have used SyncBack for years – works flawlessly on every file, hidden and system and also open files.  Unison was what I tried to get working as the alternative which worked after many tedious attempts at configuring it.

The rest of what I used I got use to in linux quite quickly… so why did I convert back to Windows you ask as the above seems quite convincing to stay with linux.

Well computability was the main issue, second is time for having to go back to the terminal to run command line options that I could do in Windows with a single click (yes I know I could script but the options would change nearly every time) as well as the main two points above being my work with PDF files and video capture.  While I did run a dual boot and could also use virtual Box for Windows the need to either boot back up into Windows or use the virtual window was becoming more a pain than an asset.  I know it might seem like a minor reason but that is that.  I still have a Ubuntu (and I am about to try Mandriva) boot option my daily computer work is with Windows.

I will I am sure make the permanent move to linux over the next 12 months as I need to keep my costs down and to be totally honest my PC ran swifter, faster and well… just nicer under linux.

So you can call me a just about linux user, it nearly had me converted and as it continues to mature with the fantaistic community it has more people like myself will move over to linux as the preferred OS of choice.

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95% linux user :)

Saturday, May 2nd, 2009

Following on from last post I thought I’d add a new post to say I am now a linux (ubuntu) convert.   I have given it a real go and so far I am very impressed with it giving my PC a new lease on life with far superior execution times and file handling.

As the title suggests I am 95% converted as I still need Windows for a few applications, although I am sure I will soon find replacements for them soon.

What I was using to what I am using;

Firefox -> Firefox
Thunderbird Email -> Thunderbird Email
Photoshop CS4 -> Gimp
Filezilla -> gFTP
Homesite -> Bluefish
MS Office -> Open Office
Syncback SE Pro -> Unison
MSN -> Pidgin

What I am still looking for are;

Quickbooks -> while GnuCash is there I prefer Quickbooks and so does my accountant, probably simply use WINE to run it in Windoes mode within ubuntu 🙂
TopStyle -> I am using cssed but it is far from TopStyle, might just be a case of get use to it 🙂
Adobe Premier and Encore -> not yet replaced… have an idea?

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