The Vista Nightmare Just Turned Into an Ubuntu One

July 1, 2007

It’s been 30 days since I made the grave error of upgrading to Vista. Before that day I was a happy Microsoft customer, after that I bought a Mac (which should be delivered this week).

The 30 days marks the day I can no longer use Vista because I am unable to validate it, despite now trying to reinstall it several times as per the advice I got off the phone from Microsoft, and of course having a valid a legal copy of Vista itself, along with the key for XP.

Silly me never thought to burn XP before this day: Compaq’s don’t come with a restore CD, only a backup partition, so my only space filling choice was Linux unless I wiped the hard disk, which I wasn’t willing to do.

Linux has come a long way. I’ve still got my Red Hat Linux for Dummies book from 2001 and I still remember trying to use it then: it was a complete nightmare.?Ǭ† Unfortnuately its only marginally improved now.

Turns out that Linux doesn’t like NTFS partitions or Nvidia video cards or even running on more than one monitor!

Again, silly me, I’d downloaded Ubuntu a week ago and had tested it on the laptop when I should have tested it on the desktop.

Half a day later and I’m now posting this from Firefox running under Ubuntu. I know more about shells than I’ve ever wanted to know, and it’s all working. Did I mention that Ubuntu feels like using Windows 95 in terms of aesthetics? Ugly as sin, and Beryl doesn’t want to work for an allegedly better look. The Mac Pro can’t come soon enough, and if it doesn’t I’ll fly to Melbourne and ring’s necks, my Mac memory ordered from the States less than a week ago is already in Perth for delivery Monday, the Mac order hits 14 days tomorrow! I can’t win! 🙂

Now back to suffering from Ubuntu orange, or is that Ubuntu baby spew 🙂

13 responses to The Vista Nightmare Just Turned Into an Ubuntu One

  1. Yes, silly you… you can install Nvidia’s proprietary driver, and with recent hardware you’ll be easily able to run Beryl or better: Compiz Fusion. Using two monitors has been possible for a long time now, if you take yourself 15 minutes to set it up. You can style away the hated orange on Gnome; take a look at and you’ll know, what I mean… you can even style it in MacOS or Vista look. Automatix2 offers a read/write NTFS-driver. So what’s the problem? Are you flaming?

  2. Surprised to hear you’re having problems with the nVidia. nVidia cards tend to be the /most/ supported on Linux, and is semi-easy to set up under Ubuntu (depending on model, if you have a semi-old card you get the fun of having to install the “legacy” drivers!)

    Also.. have a dig under the Font section to get the fonts looking some way decent. I find that turning hinting off radically improves the anti-aliasing (bizarrely) on all my Ubuntu virtual machines. And, nah, NTFS and Linux are never the best of pals 😉

  3. Peter
    switching the Nvidia drivers on was easy, it was everything after that in trying to get the two monitors to work, I could get them to run a copy on each but not properly as an extend desktop. First something wasn’t installed, then the open close windows option disappeared, then terminal wouldn’t work so I installed 3 other terminal programs, then something else wasn’t supported…and on it went. I finally got it but it was from pure effort, a beginner or someone with less will would have given up. I should have installed Mandriva or SuSe, both have been better to me in the past 🙂

    No flaming and I’m not making this stuff up, Ubuntu simply didn’t work out of the box and there was no easy solution. Lots of digging through the Ubuntu forums for answers (and Google). I’ll play with the styles some more.

  4. btw, if you want to see a recent styled gnome desktop as an example, here is my latest desktop:
    no ugly orange, as you can see 😉

  5. which Ubuntu version did you use?

  6. Duncan try mepis 6.5 – it’s a live cd
    Nvidia driver loaded by default from livecd
    Multi monitor, forget. It’s a b**ch in linux

  7. well, dual monitor on ubuntu is a bit messy, however with the latest drivers from nvidia and ubuntu feisty it should work more easily.
    as for ntfs : this didn’t work maybe a year ago, however it works flawless now. as for it’s DEFAULT inclusion in a _free and legally correct_ linux distro :
    this will probably NEVER happen because it’s PATENT PROTECTED…. the same goes for MP3, DVD, HD-DVD, BLURAY, etc…
    however it’s easy installed via synaptic….

    and for the looks : the default ubuntu theme may not look as pleasing as windows vista but it’s certainly on par with windows xp and superior to all preceding versions of windows. however, which one one prefers, is personal preference and nothing else… i for one don’t like the old windows nor the xp nor the vista nor the the ubuntu look…. even the – to me most pleasing – os x look isn’t that nice…

  8. Garth Danuarta July 2, 2007 at 7:25 am

    Hey Duncan

    Ever heard of PC Linux OS 2007 (or PCLOS 2007) .. ?

    It is gaining many rave reviews for working so well out of the box. For example, see

    While awaiting your Mac you may wish to download it and try it as a LiveCD. You can always dump it easily if you don’t like it, but you may be pleasantly surprised too … 🙂


  9. Surprised to hear you’re having difficulties, here are some pointers:

    NTFS read / write is now fully supported, just install “ntfs-3g”. This is now stable and safe.

    The restricted drivers manager should detect your nvidia card and offer to install the proprietary drivers, after which you can run “sudo nvidia-settings” to set up your dual-screen without touching config files such as xorg.conf.

    For desktop effects (compiz / beryl), I addded
    Option “AddARGBGLXVisuals” “True”
    to the “Screen” section of xorg.conf to make it work happily with the nVidia card.

    The forums and official documentation are great resources and contain all of the info I mentioned above. The wiki is also generally quite good too. In the time you spent moaning on your blog, you could have figured it all out from the docs.

    I agree that it’s not as straight-forward as a Mac in terms of set up, but Macs are also made by just a single company, which makes integration easy. Of course this also limits and ties you as a user to that same single company (not to mention the exorbitant prices). If you want a fully configured Ubuntu system without getting your hands dirty, look for vendors selling Linux pre-installed on their PCs (I’m sure they exist in Oz too – they even exist here in the UAE).

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