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Working with Ubuntu: All in a day’s work November 23, 2006

Posted by Nigel Ajay Kumar (NAyK) in Linux, Software, Ubuntu, Working with Linux.

I’ve finally done something I’ve never done. Work for a whole day on Linux (Ubuntu on my Lenovo). Of course I have to add that the work I did could have been done in 1/3 of the time in Windows… but that was partly my fault, partly the fault of OpenOffice, and partly the fault of Ubuntu’s Network/Printer Manager. Let me explain.

My task for today was to work on some letters using mail merge. Well, mail merge as is found in OpenOffice is entirely different from MS Word (and useless for my needs). I spent about an hour on the internet trying to figure out how to do mail merges in OpenOffice and apart from addresses, it didn’t seem to be able to allow fields within the text (or at least not intuitively). Finally I avoided the temptation of going back to Windows and did it manually.

The frustrating thing for newbies like me is that there’s no way to know when it is MY problem or UBUNTU’s

The other fault seemed to lie within Ubuntu. I connected the printer after a fiddling with smb configuration; and finally got my test page printout. What a great feeling! Then, I printed a document and it didn’t print. What? Why? I tried again, and after many tests it seems that I need to enter the network password everytime I try to print. Or at least keep all the printer dialogues opened. I still haven’t fully diagnosed what exactly the problem is, or the solution, but I did eventually get to print… but it was really irritating to keep typing the password, then run to the printer (which is on another floor in my office) and check whether it printed or not! (next day update: I tried printing again, the first thing I tried this morning. I sent the print command, then opened the printer dialogue box from ControlCenter. That started the printing, and I didn’t need to enter my password. That doesn’t seem soooooo bad, but still, I think it should naturally print, shouldn’t it?)

Anyway, the third cause of the delay in my work was the distraction within Ubuntu. I’m really liking this distro… believe it or not. And I’m freaking out on all the customisations etc. playing, and often wasting time in the extras. I find the side bar really useful and I experimented with gDesklets etc. At one point my system tray disappeared and subsequently Ubuntu crashed! But I eventually found the solution and it was fixed.

Keeping all things in mind, the delays in Linux(ubuntu) are caused by learning a new distro, but perhaps some bugs in the distro itself. The frustrating part is for newbies like me, there’s no way to know when it is MY problem or UBUNTU’s.

Anyway, I tried to file a bug report, and then it connected to internet and then asked me to attach a file and closed. What? Which file? How am I supposed to attach it? There was no clue. So there too I was frustrated. However, I found another bug in Evolution (Calendar) and reported it without problem.

I know that for veteran Linux / Ubuntu users many of these problems have easy solutions. And I guess I’m glad I’m confronted with “working” issues rather than installation issues. Ie. I do feel I have graduated. I feel like a Linux user finally! Oh, I forgot to mention. All the while I was working, I was connected to Internet Radio through Amarok. Which was also a nice experience.

Well, all this to say that I remain commited to give Ubuntu a fair run. I plan to run this as my primary distro as much as possible (except for two pending office projects where I need Adobe Pagemaker and Macromedia Dreamweaver).

I’m tired after this hard day’s work. And am looking forward to tomorrow. Though I doubt I will have time to tinker with Linux too much. Hope everything basically works. (another next day update: I had hibernated my system last night, but this morning when I turned it on, the machine rebooted to Ubuntu. Bug or freak incident?)



1. laosboyme - November 24, 2006

Try NVU than Dreamweaver…

2. NAyK - November 24, 2006

To laosboyme: Hmm, NVU… well, I’m using Dreamweaver for the company website and I do it using coding plus HTML. Even in Windows I avoid any program that tells me that it’s so easy I don’t need coding. Because I do. I never use Frontpage etc. But I’m going to try NVU for my intranet site. That should be fun. :)

3. laosboyme - November 28, 2006

:) I have NVU but i don’t know where to upload my site :) if you use html code use Bluefish

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