Review: Every few years or so, I come over all magnanimous and take the view that I really should try Linux again. After all, I am old and befuddled and it probably isn't as bad as I remember it being the last time I tried it. Wrong.
Several years and two houses ago, I tried some flavour of Ubuntu with a silly name. Constipated Chicken, I think it was. It was crap and refused to talk to my Windows (XP in those days) boxes on the LAN, so I gave up with it. On a whim this afternoon, I downloaded the latest RC version of Ubuntu with another silly name - Wonky Wombat or something. Version 9.10 is due for unleashment in a couple of days and it's, err, just as crap as the last version I tried.
This machine has a Core 2 Duo, 4GB of RAM and three SATA hard disks. The C: drive has a copy of Win7 RC on it; the D: drive has all the data on it; and the E: drive has Win7 RTM build 7600.
Downloading the ISO image for the great new OS, I burned it to CD with no problem using the idiot-proof ISO burn feature available on a right click in Win7. A quick reboot from CD asked me if I wanted to just try the thing or install. As I have no intention of ever using the RC version of Win 7 on the C: drive again, I chose install, expecting to be presented with a screen showing me the disks, partitions and installed operating systems already in place.
Was I so wrong as to expect this?
Ubuntu then went away for about five minutes and eventually returned telling me that there were no operating systems on my machine and showing only the two terabyte D: drive (SATA 1) which indeed has no OS on it. There was no sign of the C: drive that I wanted to use (the one with the boot sector on it), or the E: drive which contains my production OS.
At this point the alarm bells began to ring and I decided that discretion was the better part of valor and told Ubuntu to push off. But instead of having the decency to do what it was told, it then loaded some ghastly looking desktop. I took the disc out of the DVD drive and pushed reset.
Perhaps in another three or four years, I may try Linux again (assuming it's still around). I'm pretty certain it will still be what we techies - who started on mainframes in 1972 - refer to as 'shit'.
Honestly. If what claims to be a state of the art rival for Windows 7 can't even spot three hard disks on a machine and also fails to notice two pre-existing OS installs, what sort of confidence is that expected to inspire in non-techy users? It certainly scared the crap out of me.
Linux is like a really ugly baby: only its mother could possibly love it. So, yet again, it's a case of not even close and definitely no cigar.