Approximately three months ago, I decided to take the dive and run Ubuntu as my primary desktop. I did it as an experiment, but have really quite liked the experience and I don’t expect to move back to windows, at least for my regular day-to-day use. I’ll likely keep a virtual instance of windows available for the times when I can’t get a windows program to run correctly on Ubuntu, but so far I haven’t missed windows at all.
Don’t get me wrong – it’s not been a perfect experience. But I’m an experienced software developer with a reasonable amount of Linux knowledge, so when faced with problems I had the tools to figure things out. That being said, I think for a lot of folks Ubuntu would be a really great alternative. So much of our computer usage these days is Web-based, and the modern browsers these days provide a really stable cross-platform environment for virtually all popular websites and needs. For those times when a windows program is your only alternative (or you just want to check something out), the ‘WINE’ windows compatibility layer does a remarkable job of getting a LOT of windows programs running natively on linux/Ubuntu.
One thing I quite like about the Ubuntu experience is the Unity desktop/launcher – it has some great easy-to-use features, such as multiple desktops, and easy task switching with previews. When I’m doing web development, it’s not unusual for me to have 10 or more windows open at the same time, so those features really help me organize my workspace.
I still occasionally find myself ‘searching’ for the right way to accomplish some minor task (like restoring a minimized window), but I recently found this great ‘cheat sheet’ for Ubuntu which I highly recommend Ubuntu users to review and experiment with the features highlighted. Here’s a direct link to the document – I couldn’t find a link to the document on the author’s blog or I’d have sent you to his blog posting directly…