Monday, 6 December 2010

Moving from Gentoo to Ubuntu for a while

With much teasing or coaxing from Ax, I've installed Ubuntu Linux on my Toshiba P20, replacing the installation of Gentoo Linux on it. Have I stopped being a Gentoo User? No. I'm just on hold for the moment. My reasons for a temporary switch are:
  • Kitty Kat is now using the Toshiba P20, and would like a simpler Linux to use. I see her point in that I was used to using my Gentoo Linux with some applications being invoked from the command line. Up until then, she was using an old Toshiba Tecra A3X, which had Ubuntu installed on it. She was fine with using that.
  • I spent a lot of time attempting to get Bluetooth working on the Toshiba P20, only to find after about 3 months of tinkering, I still did not manage to get it working. Since installing Ubuntu Linux on the Toshiba P20, it has manged to get Bluetooth working. Well done to the guys from Ubuntu in figuring it out.
  • I spent some time getting Wi-Fi working on the Toshiba P20, and it came down to either installing GNOME's NetworkManager, or doing it manually. Since the machine is usually used from home, I only needed to put in one SSID, so I chose to code it in manually. With Ubuntu Linux now installed, I have the flexibility of just taking the Toshiba P20 with me to other locations, and it can find and configure other wireless points.
If you are interested in installing Gentoo Linux (or some other manually configured Linux) on the Toshiba P20, the instructions on my old personal web pages are still available.

With the installation of Ubuntu Linux, I have found that I was able to get most of the old applications I had on my Gentoo Linux installation installed. I much prefer the way Gentoo Linux handles the bash prompt, as well as how it has configured vim by default. I have also lost the ability to install Unreal Tournament 2004 with all the patches in one easy command. I have also noticed that playback of DVDs in Ubuntu's Movie Player (Totem) is choppy compared to playback in Gentoo's Totem. Using Xine in Ubuntu makes movies run smooth again. It was also a nice change to be able to just download programs and be up and running in a short amount of time. From memory, the installation process took around 40 minutes, whereas I believe the Gentoo installation process took around 4 hours - and that was just to get to a base system. Installation of from source code would take a few more hours, and even longer for, Firefox, and other applications.

Saying all that, my plan for the future is to source another computer, and install Gentoo onto that, or more likely - Funtoo Linux. Funtoo Linux is the new "project" from Daniel Robbins, the original creator of Gentoo Linux. Since he created Gentoo Linux, he has moved onto other projects, and other employment opportunities, but has returned to creating a Linux distribution. With some of the current applications getting larger (I am thinking of and Firefox), it would be much appreciated to have a modern computer to be able to compile and handle these applications better.

I will update this blog when I have more news...

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