Ubuntu vs Windows @ work

OK, I finally got fed up of the crappiness of Windows and how slowly it runs on our, rather old, work computers. So I decided to install Ubuntu Hoary 8.04 (after first trying the live CD) on my laptop as a dual boot… and here is what happened.

  • The install was very smooth from the CD
  • Once installed, my first challenge was to see if I could somehow access out Microsoft Exchange 2007 server. I’d read a fair bit about it before I did the install, and had concluded that the best option was probably to get IEs4linux and access it over the web (makes a simple install of IE 5, 5.5, 6 and/or 7.0 under wine, although the 7.0 didn’t work for me). This failed a couple of times whilst installing, but did eventually work as I played randomly with some options. Once installed, I could run 6.0 and access OWA which seemed to work just fine, apart from CPU-hogging, which made my laptop fan whir permanently… far from a perfect solution! (I followed this guide by the way)
    [Note: evolution-exchange should support Exchange 2007 soon, but it seemed to complex for me, see here]
  • I also tried VMWare Server to see if I could get it to boot up a copy of XP that is on the laptop too, but it wouldn’t build the kernel module 🙁 (I was following this guide, but to no avail, even with the patch)
  • Accessing network shares seems a bit weird as you can select to connect to a Windows server from the Places menu, but then it says there’s no handler for smb://. Then it still makes a link on the desktop to it, which, when you click on it, duplicates and works just fine. I unmount one of them and am happy. Also I did mount some using smbmnt as I’ve used this before and appears to work somewhat more predictably…
  • Printing was pretty simple, but still not for the faint hearted. Had to go into add printer, Windows printer, type the full server & printer name in (none of the 3 I use were auto-detected although others were). I also had to enter my username & password for each one. 2 printers were in the database already installed and fortunately Xerox provide a load of ppd files including one for the final one. All seem to print nicely.
  • I managed to do my ssh tunnelling like I had with PuTTY (ssh foo@sekrit.server.com -p 443 -L 9898:localhost:9898 – maps my local port 9898 to the remote server 9898 over ssh on port 443 to fool the MS ISA Proxy – I WIN! FYI port 9898 on the server is running tinyproxy so I can get around web filtering of facebook!.)

Amongst it all I had 3 weird crashes:

  • On the Live CD it hard locked (no response to SysRq or anything) – I have this periodically in Windows too, so probably something wrong in hardware somewhere.
  • I left the computer for a while and when I came back it wouldn’t turn the screen back on and the hard disk was churning. I waited a few mins, then tried SysRq to killall and unmount and sync… and then reboot which it did. Somehow that feels better than just pulling the power.
  • Programs stopped opening one time after I’d been using IEs4Linux, which could be down to the fact that they were resource hogging, but I actually ended up rebooting as I couldn’t even open a terminal to kill it!

That’s all so far I think, I may update with more things I do or remember I did! You never know, this might be helpful to someone someday…

Author: Alex

I am X3JA

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