One thing I have noticed about getting older is that I have the attention span of a gnat. I never was a great thinker or ponderer, but now I find my interests flitting about like a butterfly on a Summer day. It can be useful to some degree when multitasking at work, but it can be a detriment too. I mention that as I am now on my fourth laptop operating system in a few months. Yeah, I know...
I got a nice new laptop last Christmas - a surprise gift that was really a surprise! It had Windows 7 64-bit installed, and I used that alone for a while. I then put on Window 8 preview as a dual boot, meaning you can have two different operating systems, and choose which one to use each time you start the computer. After a couple of weeks with Windows 8, I removed it and set up Windows 7 and Linux Mint as a dual boot instead.
I like Linux Mint real well and have used it before. It's based upon Ubuntu, which in turn is based upon Debian Linux. Ubuntu recently introduced a new style of User Interface called Unity, which I did not like the look of. Mint, on the other hand, has a more "Windows-like" version of the Gnome desktop, and is less jarring for a long time Windows user.
Well, my laptop stopped booting one day (probably something I did), and rather that fiddling around, I thought I would just reload with Mint 64-bit by itself. I did, and have happily used that for that past month or so. However, a couple of times lately, I have have had odd lockups which seemed to be display hardware or display driver related - the display would break up into colored squares and I would need to perform a hard reset.
As more of a hardware test than anything else, I decided to reload again, with the dreaded Ubuntu this time.
As you probably guessed with all this back and forth, I don't have a whole bunch of data on my laptop; I have a cloud storage account and can just transfer data that way, it's only a little over 2GB currently. I loaded up Ubuntu 12.04 64-bit, the current release. I loaded the standard Unity UI version, just to force myself to spend some time with it (killing two birds with one stone - a hardware check and a UI test).
After a couple of days, no lock ups so far, and to be honest, Ubuntu is not as horrible as I remember - perhaps my time with Windows 8 made me more sympathetic. I really disliked the new Windows 8 UI. It worked smoothly enough, and I can see it on a tablet, but it seemed distinctly not a desktop operating system, at least to me.
So the Ubuntu interface is one of those deals where things are moved around for no apparent reason - such as the "X" symbol to close an open window is on the left side (a'la Mac OS X) rather that the right as with Windows and most other Linux UI's. But, after a bit of a learning curve, it's not dreadful. Maybe I'll keep it for a while...