Ubuntu Linux and I go way back, and we’ve had a love-hate relationship with each other that ultimately goes as follows: (1) a new version of Ubuntu is released, and I’m interested, but remember how the experience was last time, and I stay away from it as long as I can. (2) My curiosity gets the better of me and I give the new version a try, taking a liking to it almost immediately. (3) I come across some big issue that makes it completely pointless for me to use Ubuntu, or I just realize that most of the things I want to do still give me a better experience on Windows, and thus (4) I abandon Ubuntu yet again, until step 1 rolls around a few months later. This cycle almost continued with version 10.04, but this time it was partially my fault. Either way, I’m a bit ticked off about it, so here’s what happened: I used the fabulous Wubi installer to install the 32-bit version of 10.04, thinking that it would probably be the most compatible version, and in about 30 seconds I was to the CD’s installation script, which went okay until the end when it froze. I rebooted, and found myself at a kernel panic. I retried and I guess 32-bit Linux just doesn’t like running on a Core i7, or there was some other hardware issue, because the same kernel panic occurred. I decided to try the 64-bit version, against the opinions of my friends and even the Ubuntu website which states that the 64-bit version is “not recommended for daily use.” Even so, it installed correctly and I was brought to a nice dark-themed Gnome desktop. I was extremely pleased to hear the logon sound, see an extended desktop on my HDMI output, and to be able to simply open Ubuntu’s new Software Center and install Chromium without needing to configure my internet connection, but the good times turned rotten when I opened up Evolution Mail and tried to bring up my email. Evolution saw my e-mail address and assessed that the best server to use would be “imap.aol.com” (yeah, so I still use AOL’s email… so what? Unlimited space FTW!), and I said OK, sounds good. I should have paid more attention, but hey, Thunderbird also uses the imap server by default, as does the iPhone’s Mail.app, so why should I have to check and make sure that Evolution isn’t going to connect to the IMAP SERVER BUT USE THE POP PROTOCOL?! Well, it did just that, and by the time I knew what had happened, all of my 3,000 emails were gone from the server and neatly filed on a virtual Linux partition in a program I wasn’t even planning on using. Just. Great.
Who even uses POP anymore? With services like Dropbox making it so easy to share files and Microsoft’s SkyDrive giving you 25 GB of storage for simply signing up, who needs to send large files via email? Not to mention the fact that most e-mail providers give you a ton of space to store attachments and whatnot, and that you could probably store thousands of text-only emails on a mail account if you really wanted / had to. If you’re at work and it’s part of your company policy to keep all important emails, it would make no sense to me that they’d store the mail on a workstation that could break or be replaced rather than storing it on a backed up server. POP is the reason I’m always hesitant to reinstall operating systems on my client’s computers because they’ll tell me they have 10 years worth of mail on their computer and it’s all stored in Outlook Express (which I really hate backing up) and that they couldn’t do without it. USE IMAP, PEOPLE!
Anyways, I slowly started moving messages back onto the server, but the server really hated this and bumped me off every 5 minutes because I had too many connections or something, but after turning off auto-fetch and any other background server interactions the server still fussed about too many connections, and thus I’ve only copied back 3/4ths of my mail. Oh well, at least I have a clean inbox now 🙂
After this whole email fiasco, I decided to move on to another problem: getting my email. Huh? Yeah, my university uses a FirstClass server for all email communications, and while I’ve taken a liking to the client, I dislike its webmail interface and am not too pleased with the fact that they make you use the client if you want to read email in other “conferences” than your own private mailbox or send mail. Sure, they let you forward email to another address, but it’s kind-of like watching a TV program that was captured by someone’s webcam pointed at the screen, then compressed to 15MB and uploaded to Youtube: it’s better to get the mail from the source. So I went to my good friend Google and found the client available as a .deb, installed it and it’s dependencies, started it up, and… nothing. Apparently FirstClass didn’t like the fact that I was running 64-bit Ubuntu, and so it refused to load until I got a few more libraries. Well, at least it’s working now, but wouldn’t the package manager notice this? It seems to do quite well every time I try and install a package and it alerts me to the fact that the package is the “Wrong Architecture.”
I could make a long story longer, but to kill it while it’s still slightly interesting (I hope), I’m still running Ubuntu quite often, and I can do a lot of fun things with it, some much better than on Windows, but I still prefer Windows for getting work done and playing games. Windows makes my life easier, and at the end-of-the-day, isn’t that what computers were designed for?