This is the third entry in the continuing "cave dwellers" saga and their new lives with Ubuntu. Someone posted a comment on the previous cave dwellers entry about iTunes not working on Linux and I was absolutely sure that it did. It doesn't. Much to my surprise (and disappointment), iTunes isn't available as a native application on Linux. What's a penguinista to do? Try WINE of course!
I installed WINE, downloaded iTunes' latest Windows application and installed the file. Quicktime and some other applications installed but no iTunes. I tried several times--still no iTunes. I googled. Nope, still no iTunes.
I turned to the youngest cave dweller (13) and said, "I know I've heard you play music on this, how did you do it?" He said, "Napster." I then asked him how he downloaded and synced music with his phone. "We don't. Not since you gave us Linux. We have to use Mom's laptop (Vista)."
I sat silent for a moment until my wife said sarcastically, "Linux not working for you, dear?"
"Yeah, it works for the important stuff" I retorted.
I told the boys that I would research these issues and get back to them.
My wife also asked about printing to our printer (Canon iP1600) from their laptop. I said, "I don't have that working yet." The printer is shared off of my Windows XP workstation. I tried using alternate drivers but it's no use, it would never print their documents. My workaround was to copy their work to my Windows computer and print from there. It's just as well, since their papers need much editing and polishing before being turned in to their teachers.
Yes, I updated the system. Yes, I searched for applications and extras to make everything work. Yes, I'm going to wait for 9.10 to see if it makes any improvements before concluding that this isn't going to work for them. Although they aren't particularly put off by Ubuntu's or my shortcomings on these, I still feel responsible.
They can do 90% of what they need to do and 50% of what they want to do on Ubuntu. I still think it's the best choice for them and me. I've heard no slowness complaints, no viruses, no spyware, no oddball connectivity problems and no random freezes requiring a flurry of reboots.
Ubuntu works. Not perfectly. But it works. It's not for everyone. It might turn out that it isn't for them either but at least I'll be able to say we tried.
Write back and tell me what works or doesn't work with Ubuntu or other distros. I'd be glad to try anything to get printers, iTunes and mobile phone syncing to work; so let me know your experiences.