Recently my Windows Vista was unusable. For some reason the system froze up, application by application stopped responding, and the only solution was to unmount the battery, unplug the power, and have a serious reboot. If any unsaved documents were open, or any running VMware image… Bad luck…
This is unacceptable in my daily work. It generates frustration, lost time in rebooting, and lost data in all kind of applications. I visit customers regularly, and need to connect to their networks, and exchange information with them all the time. -That- will be the challenge.
I re-installed Vista from the restore DVD. To my surprise, it recognized my adjusted partitions, and I was able to sweep just my OS partition, not my data partition. Unfortunately, I was not able to start any Alfresco app anymore; out of heap space was the default. For some reason the memory manager did not used all memory available. Some missing driver? (Why does Dell provide 32bit Windows on a 4GB machine anyway?) Too much effort to find out.
Ubuntu runs on my laptop as well, I discovered using the sublime USB-bootable live-cd. Let’s give it a try. I’ve been running Ubuntu for a year two years ago. It all went well. To be MS-Office compatible CrossOverOffice of CodeWeavers is part of the solution. The only challenge this time is that I need Windows for one application that CrossOver won’t support. I rely on VMWare for that.
I installed the 64bit version of Ubuntu 10.04 (Long Term Support version, business use right?) in a whimp. Updates: flawless. Boot time? Did I boot from scratch or did I recover from Hibernate? I can hardly tell the difference. I don’t have time to get coffee anymore during one of the many Windows-reboots. Wireless is fine, and an external screen and beamer are no problem at all, it works without any ‘manual’ configuration. Linux/Ubuntu progressed a lot since 2 years ago!
I use the latest and greatest CrossOver version (Impersonator) to be able to run the mandatory Windows applications: Office 2007 and Evernote. 64 bit can be a bit of a challenge, Flash and Air are not really 64bit friendly at Linux. Luckily there is one web page providing all I need (and much more): Thanks Salimane Adjao Moustapha!
The result: Air is working fine; TweetDeck and SimpleDiagrams are to my service. Flash and the plugins are fine in Chrome as well as Firefox. MS-Office is working through CrossOver, DropBox and Skype are natively supported. I haven’t found a problem there yet. Evolution, the default email/calendaring tool is even better than Outlook; it syncs with Google Mail, Calendar -and- contacts. By design. No plugins or contacts export/import like Outlook proposes. It syncronizes, which is nice, since I use the web-based Google mail a lot when my laptop doesn’t have internet access.
Only fiddling I needed to do was to convince Ubuntu that my Wacom PenPartner2 pen-tabled (yes, it was recognized!) needed to be relative instead of absolute. Even that was fixed in tweaking 1 config file.
And my initial problem? I can start Alfresco at least twice (using 1G heap settings) next to running a VMWare. Duh!
I guess switching from Windows to Ubuntu fits in my companies “pick your own laptop” policy. It runs MS-Office-Pro, meaning the compatibility requirement is met! Better performance on the same hardware!