The following question came from one of the readers of my blog:
Q. Does Ubuntu sometimes act buggy for you? It does for me. For example, sometimes on my Indicator Applet Session, my username partially repeats and covers up the power icon, so that I cant use that menu to lock screen, switch user, shut down etc. I’ve also had my screen re-lock just after I unlock it, forcing me to enter my password twice. I would like to think that these problems are my own fault. Otherwise, I could not convince as many users to switch to Ubuntu. (Where is is actually practical to do so) I’m using a computer that’s probably 4 years old, so I wonder if that has anything to do with it. I also wonder if I was not careful enough about verifying the hash of my iso, and checking the integrity of my cd. Those are the things that are somewhat in my control. I know you use newer hardware, so I was just wondering if you experience anything like this. I suppose on the server edition there is less to go wrong…
A. Interestingly enough, I occasionally have the very same problem with the power icon on my Ubuntu 10.04 laptop. I’ve never had the issue on my desktop, which is still runing 9.04. I don’t know if the problem is machine specific (such as a driver issue), or whether it is a problem specific to Ubuntu version 10.10. I’ve not done any research on the problem, since tapping the power button on my laptop brings up the power menu with all the options that are missing from the top of the screen. I think it is safe to say that the problem has nothing to do with not verifying the integrity of the CD or the hash of the ISO.
Although desktop Linux is commonly promoted with claims that it is more stable and faster that Windows, I’m not convinced that either is universally true. The core of Linux is very stable and fast, but once you add X Windows, background applications and the like, it is comparable with other operating systems. In some areas it is faster and more stable than Windows, but in other areas it is not as good. The main reasons I use desktop linux instead of Windows are cost and security, and it has some other minor benefits as well.
However, in my opinion the server version of Ubuntu is definitely faster and more stable than Windows Server. I’m basing this on my experience with the 2000 and 2003 versions of Windows Server. It is possible that Microsoft has improved their server products in later versions. In the years I’ve worked with Ubuntu Linux servers I cannot recall ever having something “strange” happen. In other words, when something is not working it simply means I have not configured it correctly. Ubuntu server is also faster and takes less disk space, letting you serve more people with less hardware investment. At work we put several “virtual” servers on each physical server using a Linux-based product call Proxmox VE. My estimation is that I can host six to eight virtual Linux servers using the same hardware resources required to host only two or three Windows servers.