Ubuntu makes me work faster in Windows XP

My computing life has improved exponentially with Ubuntu that I try to spend as little time as possible in Windows XP in my office PC. My office PC needs to run Windows because the newsroom uses InDesign and Pagemaker to lay out pages.

I now work faster on Windows XP—faster because I want to get work I can only do there over with so that I can use Ubuntu for other tasks. I can’t have them on at the same time on my office desk because 1.) I was allotted only one LAN cable, 2) the Wi-Fi signal doesn’t cover my part of the office, and 3) I have to “reuse” (that’s a mild way of putting it) IP addresses to connect to the network.

I recently switched my blogging workhorse, an MSI s260, to an Ubuntu-only system after months of running Windows XP. I said in my post that I haven’t stopped saying “wow” up until I posted the article two days ago. Let me update you: wow, wow, and wow.

I haven’t been gushing this profusely since I met my wife. Ubuntu is such a wonderful operating system to use. As I write this post on AbiWord running full screen, Coldplay sings at the background while the system checks for updates. On my “browsing” virtual desktop, Firefox is downloading two files with more than ten websites opened in tabs.

Once in a while, I’d get the urge to rotate my desktop cube just for the heck of it and the playing of the song isn’t interrupted nor is the rendering of the four desktops jerky.

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Showing Windows the door

I’m now running Ubuntu Feisty Fawn beta on my main blogging gear – an MSI S260 laptop – and I haven’t stopped saying “wow” since when I finished installing it late Monday night.

I’ve used Ubuntu before, but mainly as a local server and the experience can be summarized as: boot CD, choose server setup, follow on-screen instructions, configure settings, then connect from my Windows PC.

Ubuntu Feisty Fawn desktop MY NEW WORKSTATION. Ubuntu running on my main blogging gear, an MSI S260 laptop. Click on photo to view larger image.

I’ve never gotten around to using Ubuntu as a desktop despite a long standing entry in my to-do list to do just that. I’ve tried its live CD and tinkered with desktops installed with it but for a long time I lived in a Windows-centric world–office PC, home unit, and laptop. What has stopped me from using Ubuntu sooner is my dependence on such applications as Photoshop and InDesign for newsroom work.

I’ve also been set back by my reliance on the open source Float’s Mobile Agent (FMA) to manage my Sony Ericsson K750i. When I’m at the office, my phone is, more often than not, connected to the PC and being managed by FMA. I use the program to send, receive, and archive messages as well as manage my contacts and calendar entries. When I’m on the field, FMA saves me a lot of time sending messages while writing stories.

FMA currently runs only on Windows but I found an old post in the support forum that said a developer was able to make it run in Linux using Wine.

Last Monday, I decided to wipe out Windows from my laptop and use the Ubuntu Feisty Fawn beta release. The IT staff assigned to the newsroom suggested I use a dual-boot setup and retain a Windows partition but I was bent on having an Ubuntu-only system.

I’m no geek, and the only sudo I know ends with “ko” but with the holidays, I figured I’d have enough time to tinker with my laptop if the installation goes awry.

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