The End Is Near: I switched from Mandriva to Ubuntu

  • 1995: I installed a Red Hat distribution. It was crap mostly because of the RPM-hell, but better than MS-DOS or Windows 95, so I kept it.
  • 1996: I installed Debian. No RPM-hell but nice apt-get. Loved it.
  • 2004: My blood boiled after and entire afternoon trying to make a scanner work, which I knew was supported by SANE. Deleted the Debian and installed Mandriva. The scanner, and almost everything else, worked at once.
  • 2009: After five years using and advocating Mandriva and making fun of the average Ubuntu user I switched to KUbuntu 9.04. Talk about consistency.
So, why?. Well, it's not like Ubuntu has been better all the time that Mandriva and I just keept resisting for brand loyalty; I've been testing almost every major Ubuntu release, and still found the current (at the time) Mandriva version superior. Superior for me means that more hardware was detected and configured to work, the KDE desktop was better configured and integrated (I don't use the lobotomized Gnome), and the Mandriva administration tools were superior.

But two weeks ago I tested KUbuntu 9.04 and found it superior. The hell froze. It was superior because:

o All the things that Mandriva never got really right on my Sony Vaio just worked on Ubuntu. This include:

  • The suspend to disk and RAM (in Mandriva about 30% of the time the computer would never came back from suspend to RAM, and suspend to disk never worked.)
  • The sound; Mandriva pulseaudio configuration would sometimes leave me without sound, usually when opening a flash video from Firefox or coming back from suspend to RAM. I fixed that killing pulseaudio and restarting the sound system, but it was a pain.
  • The Firefox addons. Ubuntu uses an special Firefox extensions that install Flash, Java, and other things automatically the first time you need it. It shows a wizard and installs everything, like in Windows. With Mandriva you need to go chasing the plugins on the net and install them yourself, or fiddle with repositories. Ubuntu has some other user-friendly niceties like these, like the NVidia/ATI driver installer and configurator (envy-ng.)
o The speed. Holy cow, this thing is fast! It's not only much faster than Mandriva (much faster booting, faster desktop, much better user experience all around) is also much faster than previous Ubuntu versions.

There is only one thing I'll miss from Mandriva, and it's its awesome DrakConf. KUbuntu has a loosy collection of configuration programs under "System", some other things you're supossed to configure with KDE "SystemSettings" and some other things you are supossed to configure clicking on some taskbar icons, but Mandriva DrakConf got most of these under a single, user friendly GUI and it also got a lot more configuration modules than Ubuntu have.

So, Ubuntu users, you can mock me now. I'll not reply, as a penitence.

tags: [ blog · articles · software libre · linux ]
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