With a spare machine, and well and truly over the whole Windows thing, starting from scratch, I set out yesterday (from a position of almost total ignorance about the product) to determine whether Ubuntu Linux was ready for prime time yet. I'd downloaded and burned a 10.10 CD, and it very effectively resuscitated a decidedly-moribund XP machine, in very short order.
From the start, I was very taken with the user interface, "out of the box", and really delighted that it solved the issues I'd been expecting to have with my wireless network adapter card about 20 minutes before I was ready to roll my sleeves up and tackle the problem. That was yesterday.
Today I started thinking "could it be that at last I have an affordable platform for non-profits?", and I seriously think I do. The icing on the cake would be the ability to run a Notes client on it, where I can drive some stand-alone Notes database applications that I built and am already using for my own favourite charity.
Before I could even ask that question, though, Ubuntu refreshed itself (with my consent) because it seems I just got my release 10.10 installed in time for 11.04 ("Natty Narwhal" to 10.10's "Maverick Meerkat", in the style of Ubuntu's offerings) to come along. NOT small -- some 300+Mb of download, but not an issue, either, because in the time it took me to go away and have my lunch, it had been downloaded, installed, and re-started. Sweatlessly. (How cool is this?!?!?)
Well, by this afternoon, I was ready to go looking for a Notes download, and found it quickly enough. To lay my cards on the table, I've been in the game long enough to know that I really don't want to know any more about Linux internals than I ever needed to know about Windows. Don't get me wrong -- I've more than proven myself capable of mastering the technical intricacies of software in the past, and while I know it's a real buzz to be the real boss of the box, I just don't really need that sort of fulfillment these days.
I went looking for some install instructions, and frankly couldn't easily see what I needed on IBM's impenetrable website, though I'm sure it's there somewhere. The few blogs that I skimmed effectively said, "it's dead easy, all you need do is enter this 570-odd-character command string, and Bob's your father's brother!" I wasn't too reassured, either, to see that no-one addressed the specific combination I was interested in, namely the 8.5.2 client for 32-bit Linux on Ubuntu 11.04, but it was at least acknowledged that it was too early for that.
Well, I guess I'm now THE authority, though there's really nothing to know. I downloaded the "tar" (400+Mb) while I was away from my desk feeding the dogs, and came back to find the contents nicely itemized. Wasn't altogether clear what was what, but the 306Mb piece HAD to be the Notes client, so I just did a bit of double-clicking, and the install process launched itself.
AND IT WORKED!!!
(very swiftly, too, compared to a Windows install.)
A bit of setup and validation, and I've already opened and used my primary database, which I'd loaded onto the machine yesterday.
My congratulations to everyone (else) who made my experience so enjoyably possible. And my condolences to everyone who's on an earlier platform. I know I'm the tourist that a former boss of mine had in mind when he said, "You know how you can tell the pioneers from the tourists? They're the ones with the arrows in their backs ..."