ubuntu woes - apparently it just works

They claim ubuntu is the easiest Linux distribution to get to grips with.  It just works was a tag line from an older version I believe. Being a long term Redhat/Fedora user I consider myself way above average when it comes to handling Linux.  So getting ubuntu installed and running on my desktop should be a piece of cake then? aaah no. 

Infact, to tell you the truth its been one frustration after another.

.FireFox error under Ubuntu
  • FireFox comes pre-installed at version; yet it cannot download any file, popping up a yellow window stating "XML Parsing Error: syntax error".  At first I thought this was just a one-off site that was causing this error (SourceForge) but no, it was every site.  I have to resort to wget for downloading files.
  • Granted you can install Eclipse 3.1 via the built menu system. However, it doesn't work since there is no Java installed in the underlying system.  I since discover there is a Java installed (1.4) but Eclipse can't find it.
  • Installing Java 1.5 proves to be a nightmare. I finally find a HowTo on JavaLobby, that first advises I start vi'ing files (wait a minute, isn't ubuntu suppose to be for dummies .. vi?) adding in more repositories for the apt-get tool to find Java.  After going through this, everything seems to install with no errors.  Except now, if I hit javac i get the 1.5 version, but java is still 1.4!  So the path is all screwed up.
  • Next is to try and access some Windows shares via SMB.  Ubuntu comes with a nice desktop to allow me to browse to them and access them via the smb:// URL.  However, the software to allow me to mount the remote partition is not with the standard bundle.  Looking at the official guide, this is not going to be a trivial task for the non-Linux user!  Don't wish to point fingers here, but Fedora can do this straight out of the box with no faffing around whatsoever.
So after an hour, all I have achieved is a fancy desktop that doesn't allow me to do that much.  I find no help on the FireFox problems, except for one post dated back to 2004 for FireFox 1.0.4!  Not a lot of help thank you.  My Java is still screwed and I am now going to have to go hunting to see how ubuntu handles its applications and where it physically places them.

On the plus side of things, I can confirm that it detected all my hardware including soundcard and network cards and popped me into a relatively high resolution straight out of the gate.  Although in all fairness, Fedora managed the same.  After a little Googling, I did see some others in equal bewilderment as to the ease of ubuntu, with a similar experience from Ed Bott over at ZDNET

I've tried ubuntu and the results for me at least aren't good.  I will go back to Fedora and actually get some billable hours clocked up. If ubuntu works for you, then my hat (red?) is off to you.


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