Last year I wrote a few posts about trying out Ubuntu Desktop. After many frustrating weeks, I gave up on Ubuntu Desktop. I didn’t post why.
Ubuntu Desktop let’s you log in, and fairly easily download things from the app-store, and browse the internet. It manages to come close to feeling like you are “looking at a Mac”. But that’s it. Once you start using it, nothing is smooth, it doesn’t make a lot of sense. Configuration options you might want to change are just not available in the GUI so you have to drop to the console to run commands or edit files in a text editor. Apps you might want to use, like photo editing, or document writing, just don’t compare with the features in commercial products.
So, yes, you can install an email client, a Word-like program, something that works kind of like spreadsheet software. But I’ll be damned if any of them opened any existing documents or files without conversion errors. And anything I made could not be shared without errors. Calendaring was abysmal. You’d have to be hard pressed to choose GIMP over Photoshop.
Which means that, for me, Ubuntu Desktop might work for someone’s mom to check Yahoo! mail, or to browse Facebook. But it does not work the way a business professional would need it to. It won’t work in an enterprise environment that is Microsoft heavy.
Maybe some startups, or small groups of people could make it work. But, I suspect those folks are all using a Mac. Which *does* work, with just about everything I’ve ever needed it to do.
There are some Unix tools I like to use, which become very hard to run on Windows. But, they generally run on a Mac. And, for those times where you can’t use a Unix tool on Mac or Windows, I use VirtualBox to keep an Ubuntu Desktop install accessible. It actually works extremely well as a virtual instance full-screened on a second monitor and I no longer “hate using it” because it’s there as another tool I can use, not as an obstacle keeping me from doing every minor task I need to do.