Start-up! uuuh. Sorry, system inoperable.

I tried. I really wanted to go with a free, open-source operating system and programs. There were clear benefits, including not having to worry about viruses and anti-virus software. I wouldn’t have to locate and disable hidden options that compromise privacy, including the “keylogging” option [checked “on” by default] that sends your every keystroke to Microsoft! I opted out of the whole pay-to-compute scheme. It was liberating, and I came to like the clean, simple, uncluttered, Ubuntu OS. But there were annoyances, inconveniences, drawbacks, red flags, and then a full-on deal-breaker.

I was willing to sacrifice proprietary software, including Photoshop, which was my main artistic tool for a quarter century. The free alternative, GIMP, was much more clunky than I’d expected, and nothing like Libre Office, which I am learning to prefer to Microsoft Office. That was just a crutch I was going to have to slowly and painfully overcome.

I couldn’t find a decent working timer, which struck me as cuckoo. The one that comes loaded doesn’t notify you when your time’s up, which makes it utterly useless. The audio program didn’t allow me to change the volume until I did some unintuitive altering of plugins. My printer wouldn’t work with the Linux equivalent drivers, and nobody had bothered to create a fix for my model. Guess I’d have to buy a new printer. I could work around these. I used my $150 smartphone to do things my $1,500 computer couldn’t do.

I have two internal hard-drives, but Ubuntu only recognized one. Well, I’d already bought a new external, so, not a biggie. I then discovered Acer didn’t make the program to monitor CPU and GPU temperatures and control fan speed for Linux. I couldn’t find a Linux program that would allow me to monitor my fan speed. I tried several.

Next, I noticed my monitor was dark. I couldn’t see detail in shadows in my own artwork. There’s a simple slider to adjust brightness, but mine was mysteriously missing, and in all the places where you could access it. I looked it up. Sure, just type some code into the terminal, and it will fix it. Ah, if it doesn’t — it didn’t — then you gotta’ put on your next-level geek helmet and start tinkering with programing.

OK, I was stuck with a dim monitor.

The system had some anomalous error messages popping up. Saving Libre Office files took 30 seconds. Cycles render wasn’t working in Blender sometimes. Blender was freezing.

And then I booted up to a black screen with text. That was the deal-breaker. Much as I detest the bloated monstrosity that is Windows 10, it hadn’t crashed on me once since I got my new laptop. No bue screen of death. And here I was, after just a couple weeks of using Ubuntu, with a black screen of death.

My girlfriend has been running Ubuntu on her desktop for a year or so, and she’s had this same problem. She knew the code to type in to fix it! She typed in the patch — which she has to do about once a month on her computer — and then after a lag, text just started to cascade over the whole monitor, endlessly, as the computer fans revved at capacity. Ah, the computer was in self-destruct mode, hell-bent on frying itself! We tried it again and got the same result. Force shut-down.

Fortunately, the governor of our city lifted lock-down the day before, and my local computer shop where I bought my laptop was open. I brought it in and asked if they could put Windows back on it. The main technician let his fingers fly over the keyboard, quickly discovered my original Windows was still on the C drive, and immediately booted it up. Voila, my old system was back, even the old crap on my desktop. He just had to do another adjustment to get it to recognize my slick, extra, solid state drive, and I was good as new. It cost me nothing, and took 5 minutes.

Now I’ve got my Photoshop back, and it’s a stand-alone version that doesn’t require a monthly fee. My laptop is designed for gaming, and I’d souped it up with a NVIDIA GetForce RTX 2060 graphics card loaded with 20 gigs of RAM (on top of the 32 gigs of RAM I’d opted for in the machine), so, it can run Windows without a hitch. Compare this to a bargain HP laptop I bought at Walmart a couple years ago in an emergency. That one came with Windows 10, and was just $50 more than Windows alone. Well, it worked fine for about a week, until Windows updated, and there wasn’t enough room on the hard-drive for Windows, period. I put Ubuntu on that system, and it ran like a dream, but I only used it for the internet and text editing.

So, I’m back in the fold of the big tech monopoly on computing, but at least I didn’t have to fork over another $140 for a new version of Windows. I still hope to switch to free, open source programs when they get the kinks out, and you don’t need a next-level geek helmet just to adjust the brightness of your system, or to get a timer to ding, or to monitor fan speed, or to get it to boot up at all.

I may have had some bad luck and flukes. I don’t mean to discourage others from trying Linux, but since I’d announced I’d made the switch to open source, I don’t want to maintain a false impression. I haven’t used my emergency computer (fondly known as the “egg beater”) since I got my new laptop, but I assume the Linux OS still works just fine on it.

~ Ends

9 replies on “Confession: I had to abandon Ubuntu

  1. I enjoy your blog and admire y’r fortitude. The forces of POMO-and-circumstance serried against you notwithstanding, I hope to live long enough that I see you much more recognized. Y’r ol’ Bud, Fike

    P.S.- I’m running ubuntu 16.04 on the ‘other’ machine and windoze-10 home on ‘this’ one. Since I’ve never had a printer comfortable with linux nor’ve tortured linux into running Corel graphics suite [OLD! v9] programs most of my primitive graphics is done UNDER windoze.

    I guess ubuntu’s there for when windoze gets sick which, after win-7 is almost never.

    FOOTNOTE: My life in computation started at age 40, 1982, when I realized that as a PhD organic chemist I’d be at a disadvantage compared to the young persons joining our company if I were afraid to sit down in front of a computer and f**k up, so I bought a VIC-20, read ‘every’ book in the local liberry on computers computing, etc. and, after plowing through a Commodore 64, my first “real” MS DOS machine, a sanyo with TWO [count them!] 5.25″, 360k floppies and finally climbing the ladder of Windoze versions here we are nearly 40-yr later playing on the current suet boxes.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Shame. You were very brave to try moving off Windows etc`. Sorry it didn’t work out.
    Although I’ve used Firefox, Open/libre Office, Paint Shop Pro over many years I’ve never dared to get off the Windows treadmill. You’ve sadly confirmed that this probably avoided a load of hassle!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, I didn’t want to disuade people from switching over, as I believe in the cause, but, the free and open source community could do a little more, perhaps, to make their alternatives easier for people who know nothing about programming.


  3. There are a variety of “flavours” of Linux, and maybe one might have worked better for you overall… though given the sheer number of trials it put you through, you were probably heading down a road with more of the same.

    I don’t have the guts to try putting Linux on my principal livelihood machine, but maybe someday I’ll try it too, and see how much pain I bring upon myself.

    I did put Linux on an older laptop that is sort of a household backup now. It was a very pleasant feeling gutting the Microsoft out of it and replacing it with a free operating system, I have to say. Maybe the manufacturer / model matters too, as far as how many problems you might encounter. It’s working well enough (this one’s a Thinkpad), but is only really used for Internet and stuff, so we haven’t pushed it hard at all. I have a number of semi-dead old laptops now and would like to revive them someday with different light-weight Linux flavours, just for the learning and comparison purposes.

    Virus protection is a requirement on any OS, open-source or otherwise!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That’s exactly my experience and feeling about it. Got it on a cheaper, older laptop, and felt great to dtich Microsoft. And I agree that my particular laptop might have some additional conflicts, for whatever reason. It has its own proprietary program for monnitoring and controlling heat and fan speeds, and that seeThat’s exactly my experience and feeling about it. Got it on a cheaper, older laptop, and felt great to ditch Microsoft. And I agree that my particular laptop might have some additional conflicts, for whatever reason. It has its own proprietary program for monitoring and controlling heat and fan speeds, and that seems to work with the physical design which has over-sized fans and vents to prevent overheating during extensive gaming.s to work with the physical design which is tweaked out to overt overheating during extensive gaming.

      I’m glad my backup machine, that’s not good for much more than surfing the internet and blogging, is on LInux.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. It’s possible that another GNU/OS distro works better with your hardware, but to find the perfect one will take a 2nd boot partition and some time. While GIMP is great to replace MS Paint, you need to check out Krita as better alternative to Photoshoup.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I tried Krita, and I liked it a lot. I did a quick piece with it that I shared on the blog. It seems really good for digital painting. I really liked the way the default brushes performed. It might even beat PS in some aspects. Good stuff!

      Right, I tried MINT at first, but it wouldn’t instal because of a partitian issue, and some program connected with it. I probably could find an ideal operating system with enough work, and educationg myself more on how to use Linux and get under the hood a little bit. For now I’d rather focus on mastering Blender.

      Thanks for the tips.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Good choice! Mint is easy and very popular ✅ My next distro is going to be Manjaro 🙂

        Krita is by far the better tool for painting and image editing compared with PS (imho) much like blender 3D/2D (COA) vs C4D.

        Have you already used Materialize or Pixaflux to create PBR textures for blender?

        Liked by 1 person

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