Why Ubuntu Is Awesome, And Why It Sucks

I’ve been using Microsoft Windows pretty much exclusively on my desktop computers and laptops for as long as I’ve been buying and building my own computers. While I always like to try live versions of the latest Android and Ubuntu operating systems on my laptop, I pretty much stick to Windows for fulltime use. While trying the latest Ubuntu version, I was so impressed I decided to trial it as my fulltime operating system while upgrading my laptop to a new 500GB hard drive.

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Downloading and installing Ubuntu is so much quicker and easier than installing Windows. You can simply mount it to a USB and run it live or go straight to a full install. Of course, you can mount a Windows installation ISO on a USB too, but the advantage of Ubuntu is the whole fact that it’s free, and you can trial it without installing it. Once installed, it booted extremely fast ¬†and one thing I was really impressed by was that the wireless immediately worked as well as full graphics without any need to install any drivers. In comparison, when installing Windows I had to install the driver by USB, and Windows Update totally failed to find the driver when connected to the Internet via Ethernet.

I was really impressed with how good Ubuntu looked. The whole operating system looks great and very refined. Linux has really come a long way and it shows the potential for Linux distributions to compete against Windows. I like how it has more of a Mac feel with its launcher and prompts. Even the volume control dialogue is much nicer and the included music player Rhymebox has integrated music control buttons in the volume control from the top system menu. It’s easy to use and you can easily learn how to use the system as a newcomer to Linux.

While all these features make it appear as an awesome operating system, there are a few things that really annoyed me. So much so that I ended up installing Windows instead. First off, while the launcher looks great, the operation of it sucks. No matter how sensitive you set the auto-hide, it still won’t always show up when hovering over and sometimes it disappears right under your mouse. When you do click on an application, there’s no feedback that its actually started opening and you sit there waiting for nothing to happen.

I also found Ubuntu to be extremely slow and laggy. Now I know my netbook only has a 1.66GHz Atom processor with 2GB of RAM, but Windows 7 Home Premium works entirely smoothly and quickly. I did read that Ubuntu previously had a netbook edition but dropped it – why not support people on a whole range of computers? The software center sucks and never seems to be doing anything it’s supposed to (blank screens when nothing loads) and you can’t move the launcher around the screen like you can with the Windows task bar. If your auto-hide feature isn’t going to work, at least let us move a static version around!

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But the thing that annoyed me the most was installing software that wasn’t available in the software center such as Google Chrome. I tried to install this about three times by downloading the installation package and the first time it just stopped installing halfway, the other two times it finished the installation but Google Chrome was not in fact installed. Eventually it did install, but after three times it was disappointing that it took so long to do something so simple.

While I think Ubuntu has some great potential as an operating system, and many of its functions are much more refined than Microsoft Windows, I just think Windows is hugely developed with such a big community backing it. I tried some other distributions like Mint, which worked much better but just didn’t look as good and seem to be as quick to use as Windows. Windows may not be free like most Linux distributions, but if you update a laptop regularly like I do, you get the newest version of Windows included as OEM. Maybe one day I will be ready for a fulltime installation of Ubuntu, but for now Windows seems to fill all my needs and works much better.

9 comments on “Why Ubuntu Is Awesome, And Why It Sucks

  1. I find Linux Mint addresses all the bad things about Ubuntu (well apart from the software centre but at least I got Chrome to install ok). I wanted to love the Ubuntu distro but it let me down in too many areas and Unity, like Windows 8’s GUI, made me rage uninstall.

    1. Anthony, I totally agree with you – I *wanted* to love the Ubuntu GUI, it really does look great and is a step above the Windows layout. But like you said, it just let me down too much, I do agree Linux Mint addresses Ubuntu’s letdowns, and while I like Mint I just don’t think its differences are enough to make me convert from the Windows “standard”.

      That being said, I’m yet to upgrade to Windows 8. That won’t be until my next laptop upgrade next year. So maybe that will make me think differently then.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Hey Lukehimself! I’ve heard about this Ubunto operating system a few times but being a computer illiterate, I’m nervous to stray from Microsoft! How do you feel about the Apple system? Everyone here keeps telling me to get a Mac but I simply refuse to buy into the fad right now!

    Love the new look of the blog by the way! :)

    1. Hey Rosie,

      Glad you like the redesign. I think there’s nothing wrong with Apple, it’s not something I’d personally use but I’m sure you’ll be fine with it. If you’re prepared to pay the premium price for an Apple product, then go for it!

      Let me know how you go!

  3. Hey Luke! Nah no Apple computers for me. I’m even starting to get annoyed with my iPhone so I think I’ll be making the switch to a Galaxy in the near future! I like the apps are free and the battery life seems to be much better with Samsung products. I hope all is great with you :)

    1. Good to know that you are thinking of making the switch to Android. There’s some good variety, not only Samsung products but HTCs and LGs running Android are worth looking at too.

  4. I have been using ubuntu 12.04 LTS for a bit now. I find it does everything a laptops needs to do. The app support is amazing and has a lot of built in software. I now use it as a full time OS on my laptop.

  5. The negative impressions are unfortunately true. And most of those problems have a few fixes that make Ubuntu more livable. Thankfully I’ve found much of what works on Linux Mint can be applied to Ubuntu. For example, the Software Center does suck, it’s gotten better, and faster/more responsive than it use to be, but it is still not nearly as refined and useful as it should be. And Canonical made the blunder of putting all installation through it. That wouldn’t be so bad, except that Software Center handles outside installation as well as molasses. So I actually installed GDebi Package installer (the default package installer in Mint BTW) and use that as my default package installer. My installation experience has gotten much better since.

    There are sevral other tweaks, and I have both Ubuntu Tweak and Unity Tweak Tool intalled to help with those. For example I enabled click-to-hide on the Unity Dash, something that seem like a no brainer to me, but Mark Shuttleworth disagrees apparently. I also changed the edge snap feature so that corners make the windows snap to the top or bottom quarter, and top an bottom edges snap to the top or bottom halfs, respectively. About the only thing I can’t seem to customize, and something Canonical has removed entirely from their more recent releases, is the intellihide (“doge”) feature for the dash. Honestly I don’t understand whats so hard about showing the dash on the dasktop, but hiding it when a window is near, or maximized. I mean Elementary OS seems to have that one down, and it works wonderfully!

    But all my own gripes aside, and after sever of my own tweaks, I have to say Ubuntu has finally won me over. I never used to like it, and when I first started using Linux nearly two years ago now I started with Linux Mint since I just couldn’t stand some things about Ubuntu. But when 14.04 LTS came out and changed one of my gripes, that is that local menus were reintegrated back into the windows rather than in the top panel, I gave it a shot again and found that I really liked it. The max, min, and close buttons on the left, which I intitially didn’t like, actually grew on me, and now I find them more natural than the same buttons on the right like I’ve spent most of my time using in Windows over the years. I also came to love the vetical space, which makes other Linux distros, and both OS X and Windows look cluttered with verical space waste by comparision. And the rest of the Ubuntu experience has become more refined to the point where it’s very natural to use, especially for anyone who likes keyboard shortcuts. The use of the super key (Windows key) is probably the most useful of any Linux distro that I’ve tried.

    In the end I think Ubuntu has a lot going for it. But there is still a lot of room for refinement. And until I can install it and not have to immediately configure everything out of the box it still requires a lot of patience and willingness to customize it till it work like you want it to. I still like it, and it’s my daily driver currently since I’ve made the plunge to a Linux only install on my laptop. I still have a desktop with Windows 7 and Linux Mint on two partitions, but Ubuntu has been working alright. There have been some hardware compatibility (old hardware and old BIOS) issues, and some of the Tweak Tool scripts caused some problems, but most of that was resolved by upgrading to 14.10 and flashing a newer BIOS (not as bad as it sounds since ThinkPads make BIOS upgrades easy).

    1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts! I’m sure there are plenty of tweaks you can do to make Ubuntu a great operating system, but it seems like a lot of work compared to other operating systems that don’t require all the tweaking.

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