Friday, June 24, 2011

Just formatted our last remaining windows desktop. Welcome Ubuntu!

We all were using Windows about 5 years ago. My office desktop was also Windows, even though I was enjoying OS X in my MacBook. As we began to develop enterprise applications at ITF (IT Front), slowly and one by one desktops began to get converted into Linux. Ubuntu was the winner. By about 2-3 years ago, everything got reformatted. Everything except my desktop machine which was running windows XP!

Something kept me from formatting that machine. Was it some unknown fear/hesitation that we should not totally depart from Windows world, or was it a reasonable judgement that we may need to run certain Windows only applications once in a while, or was it just the inertia working against change... ? I don't know but I kept that machine going, I was working with Ubuntu at office, comfortable with Open Office, very impressed with stability and performance Ubuntu gave us while in development. Above all, we were free from viruses, malware and system crashes. Come to think of it, there really wasn't a very critical windows application that I couldn't do without. In that sense this outcome was always something which was written on the wall. On yesterday night, it happened!

For some urgent task at Araaya, I needed to install Python in my home desktop machine, the Win XP one. Installing python was never an issue in anywhere. In fact, in my office Ubuntu desktop, it was there by default. However, Windows installer didn't work. It just stopped without giving any output when I double click on it. I downloaded a different, newer version of Python and picked the so called 'very good'  windows installer, a MSI. Then tried an older version too but all with same result. No error messages, no clues, just hanging up. I had to go to task manager and manually kill the running process. I was in a hurry to get my task going and it was just a matter of time me realizing that installing Ubuntu and work with Python there is going to be a lot surer and possibly quicker way than further investigating why the installer failing on XP.

A critical point! Should I try to keep both OSs ? no I didn't have enough hard drive space left for that. Also, there was so much junk in the windows installation which has accumulated over time that the mere thought of cleaning it up was a refreshing thought. You all know how Windows get slower and slower as the time goes and so many left overs from past applications have accumulated etc don't you ? Well, I suspect my machine had few viruses as well! Not series ones but when I use my pen drives in other Windows machines with paid proper virus guards (I didn't want to pay for a virus guard and haven't had much success with downloaded free ones after my old McAfee auto update stopped responding, a result of another virus) they always complained about a virus or two.

So in the end that seemingly mighty hard decision which put me off for 2 years just happened in the course of few minutes! I carefully copied my content in Desktop, My Documents etc into another drive and all was ready in just 10 minutes! C drive was ready to give way to Ubuntu 10.10. ! Just put the installation CD in and after a few more minutes I had a brand new, blazing fast, hassle free, easy to use operating system in my old machine! And I had enough time in the night to do some Python and Java code too!

So, there went the last windows machine in our office... I really liked windows XP despite some of it's obvious weaknesses. However, enough was enough! Ubuntu is actually not even my favorite OS, that honor goes to mac OS. We are waiting for our laptop to arrive with Mac OS X - Lion, (on which we will develop iPhone versions of our games) but I will continue to work with Ubuntu too.

There is really nothing special to say or hints to give about Ubuntu installation or usage, just put the CD in and all very simple! no hassle at all! If you want to download and install anything on Ubuntu, Just use the built in Synaptic Package Manager and it will be ridiculously simple, while staying clean, fast and legal all the time!

Having said all that, once our Mac OS one arrives, We will still have to install a parallel Windows 7 or a XP there using Bootcamp. Why ? because for our users! For those who going to use our game site in IE browsers. We need at least one machine where we can get hold of a IE for testing. So Windows will still be staying with us, after all.

Talking about the game server, good news is that it is now in the amazon cloud going through final round of testing! It will be available for all for free and pretty soon too! stay tuned....


  1. You know you can just spin Windows on a VM, right? Especially if it is only for browser testing, a physical machine running Windows natively is not really needed.

  2. @ Anno,
    Tx, a good suggestion. I was thinking of using Bootcamp of a Apple laptop and install Win as the second OS there.

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