Last week, I heard that Ubuntu Linux 6.10 was out. I was struggling with Max OS X 10.2 (Jaguar) on my iBook. I can't upgrade iTunes without 10.3, and I was having trouble doing a few other things. I figured if I was going to be stuck with an operating system with somewhat limited capabilities compared to what I'm used to on Windows, I would just put Linux on this iBook. At least Linux is updated for free, compared to Apple which releases a new operating system every 20 minutes ans expects you to pay for them. I burned a Live CD of Kubuntu and fired it up. I found a wireless helper which saw my Airport card but could not handle the encryption on my router. Wireless, for now has been my deal-breaker when it comes to Linux.
I installed Kubuntu and found a beautiful, stable, and easy to use interface. The software catalog is very comprehensive and easy to use, and I quickly found updates to KDE that I have used in the past. I downloaded the KDE Network Manager, which didn't see my Airport card at all. I did a search on Google, only to find that it's hard to set up Airport Extreme on Linux. I don't have Airport Extreme, but apparently nobody else has tried to set up a regular Airport card on Linux.
As much as I loved the interface, reliability, and stability of Kubuntu, I went back to Mac OS X. I broke down and ordered Tiger (10.4) from Ebay, which will hopefully arrive today. I'll wait until the next round of Linux releases come out.
Linux distributors are finally starting to understand that if they hope to attract Mac and Windows users, they have to offer us an attractive interface that is also somewhat easy to use. Not everybody wants to be a Unix programmer hobbyist. People like me are easily smart enough to figure it out, but we'd rather be using our computers than hacking .conf files. I definitely don't mind some configuration work and troubleshooting, and I even enjoy it, but I do think that my operating system should be able to play a DVD out of the box, and it should be able to see my wireless chipset and connect to my router with 128 bit hexadecimal encryption. As exciting as it is to take part in a revolutionary movement against proprietary software, we still want our software to work, and the market will move in the direction of the best solution to our problems.