So - I'm working on getting a demo application ready for a client. It's a java application, so I figure the easiest way to work would be on a linux desktop, then jar it up and scp to my windows box for testing.
I have installed Ubuntu 7.10 on my spare machine here. Well. Where to begin. This system is definitely not for java developers. It ships with the stupid gij/gcj system which doesn't actually work apparently when running a simple Java 1.2 application that opens a window with one menu 'File' with one item 'Open'. Stunning. Stupidity 1, Linux 0.
First I try and get it connected to the network, but by default it comes in 'roaming mode' which means it doesn't find a network connection. How stupid is that? Stupidity 2, Linux 0. I have to manually change it to DHCP, which then doesn't work immediately, I have to start dhclient manually (I only know about this because we were messing with it on Marn's laptop the other day). Stupidity 3, Linux 0.
Then I try and get VNC working so that I can VNC in from my windows box and use the linux box 'remotely'. This is important as the tools I use for image maniuplation aren't on linux, namely photoshop and illustrator (You can talk about GIMP all you want, but it won't open a PDF and let me extract images from it). Well - I installed the vncserver package, and basically it doesn't work. After trolling the web a bit, I get some suggestions, but they don't work either. Stupidity 4, Linux 0. I go on IRC, the infamous support network for linux, both on #ubuntu, and on #gnome-hackers as I was hoping to use this setup for working on Metacity. No help there. Stupidity 5, Linux 0.
Then after working in firefox a bit, firefox crashes. Not only that, but it apparently takes X with it as no application will now start, with a connection refused message. Stupidity 6, Linux 0.
Ok - so I download the JDK for linux from Sun and ant from Apache, get them installed, and my JAVA_HOME set correctly, and I manage to compile and run my simple test application, hooray. Stupidity 7, Linux 1.
Ok - now I need to get my images off the windows box. Let me think how to do that - oh yes, SCP. Well - this is Ubuntu Desktop, so sshd is at least not running. which is reasonable. After trolling through the menu for some kind of services application, trying a couple of things - I find nothing. Wow - even the Mac has this shit guys, for pete's sake, do some basic research, OS X has been out for years. Stupidity 8, Linux 1. Ok - well maybe something that can tell me if it's installed, some kind of package manager, well there is something labeled synaptic package manager. Not really clear what this does from the name if you don't know that Ubuntu (and most other distros) is organized into packages. Well give one for each side on this: Stupidity 9, Linux 2.
Hooray - my search finds openssh-server, and I get it installed, and it starts! Woot! Stupidity 9, Linux 3.
So after nearly two days of wrangling, I am actualy starting to get some work done. Not what I had really pictured as my ideal outcome.
Oh - and the compiz window manager. Well - the effects on the Mac and Windows Vista are somehow pretty and unobtrusive. Not so with compiz. Too much bling going on, it's very distracting. Now I just have to figure out how to switch back to metacity. Plus I work on metacity a bit, so I have to use metacity out of principal and hate compiz :).
Is linux any better on the desktop than the last time I used it seriously 4 years ago? Nope. Still has major holes even if you just want to connect to a network for pete's sake and browse the web. And let's not even get started about how UGLY firefox rendering is in linux. It's not a patch on IE 7. At least I hear they are working on a new rendering engine in FF 3.
Update: I downloaded the Firefox 3 beta, and after some wrangling got it working. Could they make it more difficult to test it? The rendering engine was crap like in Firefox 2. IE 1, Firefox 0.