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Working with Ubuntu daily

I switched to using Ubuntu 17.10 about two weeks ago. So far it’s been a surprisingly good experience. This is the first time I’ve use Ubuntu proper in years. I’ve used Kubuntu and Ubuntu MATE, but I was never a fan of the Unity desktop. When I heard Canonical was bringing Ubuntu back into the GNOME fold, I had to try it. I’ve had an interesting relationship with the GNOME desktop depending on the distribution. Due to a lack of consistency in performance, I stopped using GNOME, turning to Ubuntu MATE on my desktop and Antergos with KDE on my laptop.

Now, I would recommend no one to use Ubuntu 17.10 as your daily driver unless you understand that THINGS WILL BREAK. Seriously. I’ve had things not go as plan on this journey; but there have been more positives than negatives so I keep moving forward. Besides, I like helping where I can by reporting bugs and writing about my experiences using the operating system. If you’re going to use it in a production environment, then you’re as crazy as I am. Awesome!

After making a bootable USB stick of the latest Ubuntu daily build and booting into the familiar GNOME desktop, I poked around various settings until I was satisfied my ThinkPad wouldn’t burst into flames. After that, I said to hell with it and installed the OS. I went with an UEFI installation because I was too lazy to go into the ThinkPad’s bios to switch to legacy mode. All went well. There is a reported bug that if you are connected to wifi during this type of installation, a confirmation box will pop up that you can neither back out of nor move forward. On my next attempt I did the install offline and everything worked.

When I did connect to the internet, Ubuntu notified me of a few updates. I obliged like any good Linux user. After restarting, I installed my favorite apps and discovered a few surprises along the way, which I share with you below.

  • The version of CherryTree in the Ubuntu Software Store doesn’t allow me to save what I type. I had to install the latest version from the developer’s PPA to have everything function correctly.
  • There is no tray in the lower-left corner of the screen. I don’t know if this is a bug or if the Ubuntu team left it out intentionally. The only problem? Apps like Dropbox and AutoKey appear in that tray. Using TopIcons Plus doesn’t help. As of this writing, I am not aware of a fix.
  • Speaking of AutoKey, this is the first time the app worked for me out of the box. Every installation required me to delete the default folders and restart the app to get things working. However, I didn’t have to do anything other than start the app and add my most-used phrases.
  • Redshift works in Ubuntu 17.10, but much like Dropbox and AutoKey, there isn’t an app indicator.
  • Because there is no app indicator, if you install Dropbox, you will be syncing your entire Dropbox folder. Personally, I use selective sync to only sync my writing folder between my desktop and laptop.
  • Biggest surprise? My ThinkPad’s touch pad disables when I type, thanks in part to the newest GNOME Tweak Tool. When the GNOME developers hid this feature and my touch pad wouldn’t behave accordingly, I ended up moving to MATE and KDE, respectively. Good to see this feature working well in Ubuntu.
  • My JBL bluetooth headphones connected and disconnected without issue.
  • The network app had no troubles connected to my wireless network or my mobile hotspot. Yay!

That’s where I am right now testing Ubuntu. I still need to connect my laptop to my local network and printer. However, I can say Ubuntu 17.10 has been rock solid so far. I’m going to continue using Ubuntu daily to see if something breaks. If not, then this version may be Canonical’s best yet.

I can only imagine how stable the next LTS version is gonna be.

Published in Linux Technology

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