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Good-Bye Ubuntu, Hello PCLinuxOS

Good-Bye Ubuntu, It's Been Fun

  • June 16, 2009
  • By Carla Schroder

I've been spending the past few days migrating some of my home computers to PCLinuxOS. Not my studio computer which is going to run Fedora with the Planet CCRMA packages. I keep a current Ubuntu on my laptop just to stay up-to-date, and Debian powers the home server. Nobody is pushing Debian out of that spot; it's too important.

I've been using Kubuntu as my main workstation since 7.10, and so has my wonderful significantotherperson. You could say this is the end of a long *buntu experiment. I used to distro-hop a lot more because it was fun, and it was great article and howto fodder. But the past few years I've written a number of books in addition to my real jobs, and I have a little farm to run.

That pretty much eats up every waking minute, and some of my sleeping minutes too, so it's a medium-big deal to change operating systems. Why do it now? One word: efficiency. The *buntus are not dependable enough for me. It doesn't matter if it's a mature long-term release or something fresher, they get in my way too much.

I will list a few examples; this not intended as any kind of detailed criticism, just to give an idea of some of the issues that became deal-breakers for us:

  • Bad performance. Tasks are forever becoming CPU-bound, to the point that the whole system comes to a halt until the task is finished. The Ubuntu desktop kernel is supposed to be optimized to give precedence to user input and therefore feel peppier, but I have not seen this.
  • Audacity, my workhorse audio production application, does not get along with any of the *buntus. It hangs, screen redraws take forever, simple scrolling hangs, and it crashes.
  • Ubuntu Studio (from 8.04 through 9.04) has so many rough edges I can't recommend it. (Dave Phillips wrote a good review of it, and I could have added a half-dozen more issues.) I had better luck using stock Ubuntu and customizing it myself.
  • Here is a weird one: on a lot of Web sites in both Ubuntu and Kubuntu, Firefox renders them with significant amounts of overlapping text. The same version of Firefox on any other Linux I have tried does not do that.

I can't say if my experiences are typical; I've heard everything from "It's the best" to "It's the worst." I know there are millions of happy Ubuntu users who are satisfied with how it works, and that is good. That's the whole idea, to enjoy your computing experiences and to get things done.

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