For a few weeks, I’ve been slowly, slowly learning my way around the Open Source operating system Ubuntu Linux. Lots of things work just fine. Indeed, they work incredibly well considering that I downloaded an entire operating system with office software for free from the net. But every now and then I run into things that force me to boot Windows XP or lower my expectations. They may be fully possible to do in Ubuntu, though too complicated for me to accomplish at my current level of ignorance; or semi-possible to do in Ubuntu through an ugly kludge that’s not worth it; or they may simply be impossible to do in Ubuntu.
Here’s the list as it stands today: things I wish I could do in Linux.
- Connect to a protected wireless access point whose password I have.
- Access the contents of my hard disk’s NTFS partition (where WinXP resides).
- Communicate with my Pocket PC handheld computer over a USB cable.
- Communicate with my Garmin GPS navigator over a USB cable.
- Access and edit a Pocket Query geocaching database file.
- Use a web page as desktop wallpaper (“Active Desktop” in Windowese)
- Share the laptop’s touch pad between user accounts. Currently it only works for the first person who logs onto the machine!
- Get Ubuntu to work reliably with the laptop’s power management mode. Currently, I’m getting a lot of freeze-ups.
I guess some of these issues may have been resolved in last Thursday’s release of Ubuntu, ver. 7.04 Feisty Fawn, and that more improvements will be forthcoming. Meanwhile, Dear Reader, if you happen to know any easy fixes for these problems, don’t be afraid to say so. My main general complaint is that it is still far, far too complicated to install downloaded software in Ubuntu. Just gimme an icon to double-click, OK?