Linux at Home

I’ve been spending more time on my Linux install of my main dual-boot machine at home lately.  I realized 95% of the stuff I did on Windows, I could do on Linux.  I considered the other 5% a challenge I was ready to take on.

I’m using openSUSE 10.3 x86_64.  I’m planning on upgrading to 11 over the weekend.  If you’re wondering why I chose openSUSE over Ubuntu, I tried hard to give Ubuntu it’s fair chance.  I just don’t like that distro in the x86_64 platform.  My experience has been that everything in openSUSE has just worked out of the box, that’s including Java and Flash!  Can’t say the same for Ubuntu.
I also think openSUSE is a better experience from boot to shutdown.  The grub boot screen looks much nicer, as well as the splash screen while booting.  The green theme is much more pleasant on the eyes than Ubuntu’s brown Human theme.  Yes, I could change all of this, and I have in the past… but why should I have to?  Operating systems provide a user experience, and the default themes matter.  As far as the rest of the software goes, they’re pretty much the same through all distros, so I won’t go there.  Gnome is my desktop of choice.  I like it’s simplicity.  KDE4 is awesome, but just not for me.  Too many config options.
Some notes:
  1. Being a Mac guy, I really like Banshee!  Especially it’s DAAP server!
  2. Wine has really come a long way.  Programs are easier to install and run more stable.  WineDoors makes this easier too, especially with getting libraries and fonts.
  3. YaST is nice as a control panel… one place to go for everything.  I actually prefer it to Ubuntu’s package manager, even though it’s a bit slower.  I heard 11 is faster, so we’ll see.
  4. Transmission rocks as a Torrent client, especially with Clutch as it’s webUI.  I’ll blog more about how I got that set up later.  It’s easy to do… just requires a few must-do steps.
  5. Gnome-do is my new favorite Linux app.  Really makes me feel at home since I’m used to Quicksilver.
  6. I need to commit to GIMP over Photoshop.  I rarely ever use it, which makes it harder to do.
  7. I’d like to find a good, beginner’s video editing program like Premier Elements.  I’ve tried some in the past, but they weren’t very easy to use.  I should check into them again, especially Avidemux.
One very pleasant surprise was when I first booted into openSUSE.  I had moved the PC and had been using wireless until I could get my home wiring done to reposition my router.  I have this MSI Dual Net Card.  I was surprised that wireless worked right out of the box, but even more so that so did bluetooth!  I had to figure out a way to get my new WPA2 key saved into the wireless config.  I didn’t have a USB key handy, so I thought… maybe I’ll try to send it via bluetooth from my PowerBook.  So I started up Gnome-Bluetooth-Manager, then fired up bluetooth on my PowerBook.  The PowerBook saw the linux machine with no problem.  So I chose to send the file, and it worked!  I couldn’t believe it was so easy!
If I had to list a gripe, it’s that wireless seems to cap off downloads at 100kb/sec.  Not sure why, as downloads on my other laptops are unaffected.  Must be some config setting with the wireless card, but I’m not going to worry about it much because the wireless is just temporary.  It’ll be hardwired with gigabit to the router once I get the wiring done.
I’m hoping I don’t find a reason to boot back into Vista x64 for a long time, if ever.  I think my next step is going to be getting a Windows VM set up for seamless integration with those few Windows apps I need.  If only I could have something as nice as VMware Fusion.  Might be time to check out Virtualbox again.  Ah, just checked their site and I see they listed seamless windowing since version 1.6.0.  Time to check it out!