Open source impressions

A few weeks ago I built myself a new home PC after I bent the pins on the processor in my old PC. Since I know support for WIndows XP will be going away in a few years, and I don’t really care to purchase Vista, I decided to see how well I could cope with “free” software for operating purposes.

At first I tried Ubuntu, because there is often an article about it in the technology magazines I read, so I wanted to see if there was anything special about this latest open source contender. It seems to me that Ubuntu still shows its youth as a distribution when compared to OpenSuse and Fedora, as many simple things that should be automatically detected and configured are left to manual tinkering with the configuration files.

Frustrated with some of Ubuntu’s quirks, I decided to try OpenSuse to see if a more established open source system would be more to my liking. As a first time Linux operator, I have appreciated the friendliness of OpenSuse and it’s ability to handle some of those simple things automatically (I don’t want to edit my xorg.conf file every time I want to switch my monitor or screen resolution). Most of the issues that I have had since installing OpenSuse were dealing with more advanced issues that the average user may not have need to bother with.

One issue occurred because I used Network Manager vpnc instead of the terminal vpnc program. After using the terminal vpnc program and writing my own configuration file for it, I honestly prefer the terminal program. However, after operating Windows only for 10 years, I know why I had an initial inclination towards the GUI program.

I also wanted to try and meet all of my PC needs with a free system to see from a business standpoint if it makes sense for companies to pay Microsoft obscene amounts of money anymore. I will report more fully later, after a year or so of usage, but my impression so far is that the majority of desktops in almost any organization could completely run on open source software while having little if any problems as a result.