Windows to Ubuntu and back to Windows

I was in Houston TX, before the Christmas break and as i was leaving the client’s site I suspended my laptop running Windows Vista and when I got back in the hotel room it did not return.  I received an error message to insert my Windows disk to continue.  This all happened before I was able to select safe mode.  With my Windows disk back home in Michigan, the only disks left in my bag were my Ubuntu disks from UDS Mountain View.

So booting into the live cd allowed me to connect a USB drive to backup my data so I could reload my system and then continue teaching the class.

I have previously tried to go Ubuntu only on my work laptop several times without much success but this time I was going to try and run Ubuntu for one month in hope that I could migrate my work machine from Windows Vista to Ubuntu 8.10.  Sadly I reloaded my laptop to Windows Vista and would like to share the applications I miss in Windows that caused me to switch back and also the applications I miss from Linux.

Things I missed running Linux:

These items all affected my day-to-day paying job. 

  1. Presentation Mode:  The current version of OpenOffice in Intrepid does not support Presentation Mode, that is the ability to have the presentation on one display and the speaker notes on the other.  While trying to teach a class I found myself looking more and more over my shoulder or putting my back to the class to make sure I was on task with the presentation.  PowerPoint 2007 does this very well
  2. Dual Monitor Support:  This was a pain to configure correctly and easily.  I always struggled in Ubuntu to make sure my desktop was extended correctly (to the right) for the projector
  3. Outlook:  I live in these two products.  I needed connection to our Exchange server with Outlook, not Outlook Web Access, especially the reduced Outlook Web Access that Firefox (non-IE) provides.  While some will say Evolution or KMail should work with Exchange, neither of these products would successfully connect to the mail server.  I received an error message and was pointed to a KB for Evolution on steps to change.  As I do not have access other then email to the Exchange server and the company’s IT guy did not have the time (or perhaps the motivation) to get this to work it was back to Outlook.  I attempted Outlook over Crossover, but failed miserably.  Outlook 2007 crashed all the time on me. 
  4. One Note: The other product I use all the time is One Note for note taking of meetings and conversations.  This crashed as well in Crossover for me as well, plus I have a large investment in One Note Notebooks.  I tried Tomboy, KNotes, KJots and found all of these programs did not make the cut for me.  They were cumbersome and seemed to be lacking what I felt were basic Note taking items such as bullet points, and numbering.
  5. VPN:  I tried unsuccessfully several times to connect and create a connection to both the Cisco VPN and also the Microsoft PPTP server we have running for VPN access.  These failed with very little error logging in networkmanager.  Impossible to do in knetworkmanager and kvpnc would freeze being connected in Intrepid (might be the fact its a KDE3 app in a KDE4 world).
  6. Wireless with TKIP support:  While people would argue that my work shouldn’t be using TKIP for wireless encryption once again this is something that I could not change nor fight.  No wireless connection meant I was tied to a desk (LAN) connection for access to anything at work
  7. Internet Explorer:  I know IE shouldn’t be a requirement but there are a lot of internal resources we use as a company that are IE only.  The big process is our scheduling program that I use to schedule other resources, revenue amount, etc which is IE only.  This sucks but guess what it is another utility that I need to use on a day to day basis.

Things I miss running Windows:

These items are mostly related to my Ubuntu work, which is non-paying the bills work so are not a requirement for the day to day operations of my laptop.  I do have a Dell Mini 9 that is Ubuntu only and I do a lot of the Ubuntu work on that machine and anything that I miss is resolved through running a VM.

  1. I do a lot documentation work for both Kubuntu and Ubuntu and have some downtime throughout the day and it was always nice to be able to work on some documentation tweaks without having to start up a VM, now I just have a Kubuntu VM running in the background if I want to do some work there
  2. bzr and related utilities:  I haven’t quite gotten bzr + ssh to work correctly in Windows but there were times that I would see a bug related to Kubuntu-Docs or Ubuntu-Docs that I could quickly fix and then do a bzr commit to resolve the bug.  But now I can do a VM to resolve these problems.  The 5–a-day bug reporting tool is Linux only which is why my numbers have dropped remarkably in that area, but once again, I am not being paid to deal with Ubuntu/Kubuntu/KDE bugs, I’m paid to do other items.

I hope this list helps out in areas for possible improvement in the tools/applications that are out there in the FLOSS market. Don’t get me wrong, I love Kubuntu and love how KDE4 is shaping up (my Dell Mini 9 runs Intrepid + the KDE4 ppa to stay on the latest/greatest), but for me I cannot make the switch in my job, there are just too many tools I miss.  When there is  the ability to switch without adversely affecting my job, then I will happily switch back to Ubuntu/Kubuntu full time


5 thoughts on “Windows to Ubuntu and back to Windows

  1. I am able to connect to Microsoft Exchange using IMAP (with firewall permission of course) which makes things a lot easier. If you could persuade someone to set this up for you, that would make your life a lot easier. I can use Evolution or Thunderbird this way. Sadly, this may not be an option for you.

  2. It sounds like your work environment is just setup in such a way that using something other than Windows won’t work. Most of your complaints above boil down to “Linux application X doesn’t integrate with/talk to MS application/technology Y”. With the exception of the One Note investment and points 1, 2, and 6. Unless your employers internal infrastructure becomes more platform agnostic, I think you’re going to be stuck in Windows if you cannot downgrade those items from “needs” to “wants”.

  3. @byroniac- If the server is running Windows Server 2007, getting Exchange support on Linux is a no-go. Evolution, Thunderbird (which I have never gotten to work on an Exchange server actually), etc. Microsoft has updated the protocol, and we haven’t been able to reverse engineer it yet.

  4. What I am curious about is whether your version of Exchange will support the IMAP protocol (the only way I’ve ever had success with Thunderbird). I think we are running Exchange 2003 though, and they specifically turned the IMAP support on. I do not know much about IMAP, and less about Exchange, but I enjoy being able to access my email on AOL and Gmail using IMAP as opposed to POP.

  5. I’m surprised that you had as much trouble with Outlook 2007 as you did. I’m running Outlook 2007 day in and day out under CrossOver against our Exchange Server (which is running Server 2003) and I don’t have many problems at all. Yes, Outlook *occasionally* crashes on me–our support for Outlook 2007 is not yet as robust as for 2003. But I find that I can use it on a day-to-day basis very easily. We’ve been working very hard on bug fixes for the 2007 family of apps as a whole, and I expect that its solidity will continue improving. Have you checked with our support folks for potential help?

    As for One Note: dunno what to tell you there. It’s not a supported application, and our various user advocates say that it performs anywhere from “Known Not to Work” to “Silver”, which is a pretty wide spread of opinion.

    Anyway, I’m sorry you’re having problems: if nothing else I at least acknowledge that “I hear ya” and I’ll let the support folks know. We *do* have a new release of CrossOver in the works, so if you’re a customer in support you should start seeing some betas in the not-too-distant future.

    Best Wishes,

    -jon parshall-

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