After writing an article that discussed embracing open source, one of my colleagues entered my office and gave me the "Eat your own Dog Food" speech. So he downloaded Ubuntu Desktop for me using BitTorrent and burned me a CD. The install was simple and I was up an running in minutes. I have been running without one piece of Microsoft software on my laptop for three weeks now and I am loving it. Free at last, Free at last!
There are some challenges though. Open Office is a great replacement for Microsoft Office but I can't find a replacement to read existing Visio diagrams. Today I received an MS Project file that I couldn't open. I am sure if I search the net I can find an open source tool to do the job. I also had a problem with my printer driver which took some time to resolve. Thunderbird is a great email client but it doesn't have hooks into my Outlook Calendar so I can't use it for my corporate mail. I am using Evolution which is only marginal. When time allows I will test out Sunbird and Lightning.
But with all of that aside, I no longer wait for 5-10 minutes for my laptop to boot up. I don't wait forever for Outlook to come up in the mornings, and I don't get any system crashes. The blue screen of death is a distant memory and the daily reboot routine is no longer required. There are no stupid paper clips popping up asking me if I am sure that I know what I am doing.
I am sure my freedom will end when somebody in desktop services realizes that all of their Big Brother software is not being run on my laptop. I will enjoy the ride while it lasts.
I know the majority of the corporate world isn't quite ready to replace their Windows desktops with Linux yet, but I can tell you from my experience that Ubuntu is ready for prime time.
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