Ubuntu Linux 17.04 / 17.10 Not Ready for Mainstream
Ubuntu Linux announced a ground breaking version of Linux a few weeks ago. It was switching from the Unity Desktop to Gnome and it was moving away from Xorg and going to Wayland. This does not mean much to those except computer geeks so I will let you know in plain language what is going on.
Linux is moving to some pretty nice features. These features may work well in newer PC’s but they do not play well in older ones. I have a Dell Inspiron 1564 and Dell N5110 and both of these computers had serious problems with the touch-pads. Ubuntu offers Synaptic and Libinput for drivers. Synaptic will work with the Xorg boot, and Libinput will work with the Wayland boot – so they say. The problem is that neither work well at all. With the Dell N5110 we had a shaky mouse and would completely freeze after an hour or so, and with the 1564 we had edge scroll problems.
When changing around the drivers the problems migrated into the keyboards not working. These are serious bugs to have in a new system that need to be worked out. Installing and removing the touch-pad drivers did nothing but create other issues.
After about a week of fighting these issues I wiped the computers and went back to Ubuntu 16.04. That simple change erased all problems completely. What I forgot to tell you is that these computers had brand new touch-pads installed on them – and an additional 4MB of memory. In one I added a solid state hard disk drive.
Linux is by far much further along than Windows. Windows 10 is slow, requires constant updates, does not utilize resources well and wants lots of money for their software. I just bought a new Inspirion 15 -3000 with a 2TB HDD, 8 Meg of Ram, Camera, Touch Screen – the works and it was slow out of the box. Linux would fly in that type of environment but not windows. I had to remove the McAfee virus and firewall programs they had installed because they were memory hogs. I added Windows Essential virus instead – much easier on the memory. The set up for the software was a typical windows system. Everything had to be installed – like Office (paid version), the mail program was junk and so was the Edge browser. In order to make it work on the web Firefox and Chrome were installed (both for testing), Chrome works better for games, and Thunderbird had to be installed for the email program. The Microsoft mail program was junk. Firefox, Chrome and Thunderbird are open source sofware folks, not Microsoft programs. These are free and the developers ask for a donation. For Microsoft stuff you pay and pay. Microsoft office was $99 a year. I installed open source Libre Office for free and it has all the bells and whistles that Microsoft Office does. It reads their file format and can save in that format as well for others that are stuck in the Windows world.
In the first week of Windows there was 5 security updates, all interfering with either the start-up or shut down of the computer. In Linux you update when you want by going into the terminal at your leisure and typing “sudo apt-get upgrade” and entering your root password. It updates all the software, not just the operating system!
When you get open source linux you get a package. An awesome operating system, Firefox web browser, Thunderbird email and Libre Office. These all automatically install. There is no hours of putting in DVD disks to make the system work. It just works. The new development of Ubuntu 17.04 and 17.10 install your printers as well with no intervention. The more stable 16.04 you still have to install the printers.
Linux is still the way to go. Ubuntu 16.04 / mint, cinnamon or unity are all good GUI interfaces. It just works. If you have a newer system you might try 17.04 or 17.10 but you may experience issues with the touch-pad. Many older laptops are using ALPS touch-pads instead of Synaptic. This could create some issues for you even though Lininput drivers are supposed to support those older pads.
Desktops are a different story. With USB keyboards and Mice they will have no problems with the new versions of Linux. I plugged in a keyboard and mouse to the laptops that were having issues and the operating system worked flawlessly. I suspect in a year or so Ubuntu will have worked out the bugs in Wayland and it will be as rock solid as 16.04. I would wait until then to take the plunge.
In my opinion 17.04 and 17.10 are not ready for your mainstream go to laptops yet. There is too many bugs and if you depend on these for your daily business and they are not test machines – don’t take the plunge yet.