Why use Ubuntu?
April 6, 2011 10:01 AM   Subscribe

Tell me why I should use Ubuntu.

Why should a 'normal' computer user use Linux, specifically Ubuntu? I have a netbook I am not doing much with at the moment and in the spirit of curiosity I got the netbook version of Ubuntu running on it. But it required a lot of checking forums and help resources to get it to recognise and connect to my wireless network, and now that everything is running I need to constantly check online to re-learn basic computing tasks.

Aside from the neural kicks of learning something new, is there an advantage I am missing? My computer use covers creating presentations, some Photoshop and Lightroom, quite a lot of writing, some gaming, Google SketchUp, and occasional light scripting with Python. Am I just not the right demographic, and if so, who is? Or do I just need to go a little deeper to understand the glory? Unbiased MeFi advice appreciated, as all I can find is propaganda.
posted by StephenF to Computers & Internet (29 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
I used Ubuntu and I'm pretty casual - web browsing, some command line stuff, presentations, making animated gifs. I made the switch because it seemed easier than wiping and reinstalling windows after another malware thing on my old laptop, and I've been really happy with it. It's been fun and a bit of a learning experience, but for the most part I don't really think about it.
posted by kendrak at 10:09 AM on April 6, 2011

Am I just not the right demographic, and if so, who is?

Probably not.

Various programers, researchers, people with large scale or custom internet server or database needs, people who hate/can't afford windows, people who enjoy DIY computing as a hobby.
posted by T.D. Strange at 10:11 AM on April 6, 2011 [3 favorites]

I'm running Ubuntu on a dell netbook. The machine came with a wounded version of XP and Ubuntu runs better than XP on that machine. I use it for internet surfing (Chrome), Mail (Thunderbird), IRC (Pidgin), reading eBooks (Calibre) and occasional spreadsheet things (OpenOffice) and these all run well enough and certainly better than XP equivalents did with one exception: Flash performance sucks ass.

Compared with other Unix systems I've built/run in the past, this is far less work for maintenance, which makes it closer to a consumer OS.

Since other consumer OS'es are equivalent or worse, it seems to be the lesser of the evils.
posted by plinth at 10:12 AM on April 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

While I haven't used Ubuntu regularly in about 2 years or more, to my experience, it really doesn't have anything that Windows doesn't, other than extensive customisability and settings, I guess. Gaming you can pretty much kiss goodbye, the rest should be easily manageable in Ubuntu (you will have to get used to Photoshop/Office replacements).

The thing about Ubuntu is that it offers a system that functions well, is cutting-edge and does most tasks while being free. Not having to pay for it is more or less Ubuntu's [and Linux's in general] strongest selling point for end-users, compared to OSX or Windows.
posted by Senza Volto at 10:15 AM on April 6, 2011 [3 favorites]

I installed Ubuntu on my parents' computers because we have relatives who like to send chain emails with attached powerpoint presentations, and my parents sometimes open them.
posted by alligatorman at 10:17 AM on April 6, 2011 [5 favorites]

Best answer: Aside from the neural kicks of learning something new, is there an advantage I am missing?

Well, you're no longer a giant target for viruses and other malware that you are on Windows variants. Granted, Windows 7 is a lot, lot better on that front than XP, but it's still really easy to pick things with with little to no interaction on your part. It's not entirely Microsoft's fault, as they're in a tough spot trying to both promote backwards compatibility and interoperability, while at the same time trying to add more layer of security - which for all purposes are mutually exclusive goals. You can shift a lot of the blame on to Adobe, as the majority of viruses these days are delivered via exploits in Flash or Acrobat. You wouldn't be susceptible to these threats on any variant of Linux.

...and now that everything is running I need to constantly check online to re-learn basic computing tasks.

Get ready to pretty much re-learn everything. Ubuntu is a lot better than other distros at giving you a nice little GUI to tweak some bit of functionality, but at the end of the day if you're doing anything serious, you're going to be editing a lot of text files from the console. You're going to be spending a lot of time on the Ubuntu forums (probably the most helpful of all the distro forums). It's just the nature of the beast.

Gaming you can pretty much kiss goodbye, the rest should be easily manageable in Ubuntu

There are some solutions for gaming on Linux
posted by SweetJesus at 10:22 AM on April 6, 2011

Why should a 'normal' computer user use Linux, specifically Ubuntu?

If someone came to me and simply wanted a general use computer, to surf the net, do email, and general office tasks, and bump music? And have something with smaller target profile for viruses? I'd suggest Ubuntu.

i'm a normal computer user, and I tried Ubuntu a bit before going over to Peppermint on Linux. I do my gaming on consoles, and really the only thing I've been missing is Netflix instant streaming.

The only other thing I'd recommend ANY normal user to consider, linux-wise, is getting a Live USB drive with something like Mint on it - if your own computer gets jacked up on the software side, plug it in, boot from the USB, and you can still access your files. It's a nice workaround to have on hand.

It sounds like you're happy with your setup. Awesome, rock on.
posted by yeloson at 10:30 AM on April 6, 2011

Best answer: As backstory: I consider myself fairly adept with Windows and Mac, but have no programming/tinkering around with command lines and such experience with computers.)

Up until a few years ago, our household was a Mac household. My husband, who works with computers for a living, decided he didn't like Macs anymore and started switching to Linux. When my Mac laptop became obsolete, he suggested getting a laptop with Linux as it would be less expensive than buying a Mac laptop.

I hate it. Hate, hate, hate.

I have an iPod and have yet to find a music software program that does what iTunes did easily and instantly. It took me almost two years to find a personal financial software program that does what Quicken does easily and instantly. When I learned that there is no Linux support for Adobe Digital Editions (after I bought my nook color), I very nearly got violently angry (fortunately I'm able to run an emulator). Netflix Watch Instantly? Still waiting for Linux support. Fitbit? Still waiting for Linux support.

Any time I have a problem with a program and try to find a response online, the answer is always presented in a format that probably makes sense to a computer programmer, but not to someone like me. (So I have to ask my husband to help me, *again*, and he's busy doing other things, so I have to wait until he's available).

So basically every day I find some reason to regret switching.
posted by Lucinda at 10:34 AM on April 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

If you don't need to use photoshop specifically on your netbook, and don't need to use the more advanced formatting features of Word, it should be fine. I used Ubuntu exclusively for about three years. I eventually got frustrated with some features of openoffice and switched back to Windows, though sometimes I do miss the security of Ubuntu. Not getting viruses, or even being at risk for that, was great. It's a fine system I think for a secondary computer like a netbook.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:50 AM on April 6, 2011

Best answer: I'm a computer geek who's run Linux since the .9something kernels. I am not your sample demographic.

However, my wife put Ubuntu on her computers years ago because she got tired of me whining about how borked Windows is every time she had to ask me to fix something. Why is this relevant?

She's a relatively unsophisticated computer user, but I can tell from the other room when she's booted into Windows to do something, 'cause she's hollering about how slow it is (the machine is a 2 year old 17" desktop replacement machine) or how annoying the inconsistent hodge-podge UI is, or whatever.

Having said that, I'm this close to breaking down and getting a Windows machine to run Word and Powerpoint, because OpenOffice.org doesn't really handle .docx and .pptx files in any compatible way, and my current gig involves a lot of document interchange with that stuff.

And Gimp is not Photoshop, and Lucinda's note about the lack of various applications is valid.

But, generally, the reason she runs Ubuntu is that it's a fast consistent system that lets her do the necessities, word processing, spreadsheets, email and web browsing, with a current generation infrastructure for handling application and operating system updates and installation (unlike the Windows mishmash and abomination).

If you do contemplate a switch, be warned that it isn't without glitches, and that a lot of "intuitive" is really learned, and there will be pain along the way.
posted by straw at 10:53 AM on April 6, 2011 [2 favorites]

I run Ubuntu Server on an old PC for a cheap home server, but if you buy a netbook that comes with Windows 7 loaded on it there's not much of a point in putting Ubuntu on there in my opinion. There was a time when a lot of open source apps were Linux-only but these days there's not a whole lot you can do on Linux that you can't do on Windows, especially for normal everyday netbook stuff.

Well, you're no longer a giant target for viruses and other malware that you are on Windows variants. Granted, Windows 7 is a lot, lot better on that front than XP, but it's still really easy to pick things with with little to no interaction on your part.

Somewhat off-topic, but Sandboxie solves most of these types of problems on Windows for me at least. Just set up your web browser and any other net connected apps to run from the sandbox by default, and manually sandbox anything else that seems sketchy. I have had zero problems with malware since using it.
posted by burnmp3s at 10:56 AM on April 6, 2011

One reason I've seen cited why you would use Linux rather than a commercial operating system is because you believe not being beholden to a corporation / not accepting their EULA, etc is worth the offset of having to live through the trials and tribulations of using a "different" computing platform.
posted by csmason at 11:04 AM on April 6, 2011

Best answer: - It's Free (as in beer and as in speech)

- The release cycles are faster. If I find a bug in a program, I can often file a bug report and get a fix within a day or two. Good luck getting that kind of support out of Microsoft, Apple, Adobe, etc.

- Flexibility. I can work fine on a stock install, but if I feel like messing around, I can customize everything from keyboard shortcuts to window managers until I find something that fits my style.

A common problem among computer users is that you'll find yourself saying - "I love everything about this program except for one or two niggling details". On windows, (and especially on Apple), you have to train yourself to adapt to the problem or ignore it. On linux, there's probably a way to fix that problem. It makes the computing experience feel more like an extension of yourself, as opposed to someone else's machine that they let you play around with.

Really, I'm still at the point where I recommend linux for two groups of people: Power users and computer novices. People with that low-to-intermediate skillset and strong ties to specific programs like Word or Photoshop are more likely to have trouble adjusting.
posted by chrisamiller at 11:23 AM on April 6, 2011 [4 favorites]

I wouldn't want my Ubuntu box to be my only computer but it is my favorite computer. Ubuntu will not do some things you can do on a Windows or Mac computer, like stream Netflix or do your taxes with TurboTax. No problem; we own a lot of computers, as do many folks. You can install Wine and do those Windows things but I like keeping my Ubuntu box pure. I can surf, word process, do spreadsheets, edit photos, play music (although I use a Mac to sync iPods etc.) and it is all free, well supported, fast and STABLE. Even the Macs hang more often than this thing and I never see the blue screen of death. The only time I reboot is when an update requires it. It is also not the target of virus writers. The box's hardware is showing signs of impending doom and I am already planning a replacement which will run only Ubuntu. If you are not bitten with the urge to tweek you need never learn anything but the GUI. If you desire to tweek, this is paradise.
posted by caddis at 11:54 AM on April 6, 2011

This probably isn't along the lines you're looking for, but the Netbook Remix of Ubuntu is really great for small-screened computers, that Windows isn't designed for.
posted by alby at 12:05 PM on April 6, 2011

I've wanted to scream several times getting iTunes on Windows and an iPod to work well together. On my Ubuntu laptop, I plug in my IPod or my generic MP3 player, Rhythmbox opens up, and everything just works. YMMV

When my wife's XP died a couple of years ago, I paid $50 for a box on Craigslist, blew away XP and installed Ubuntu, showed my wife where the Thunderbird and Firefox icons were, and pretty haven't heard a complaint since. My son dual boots, but isn't allowed to go online from Windows, he uses it for gaming only. My daughter still uses Vista, mainly because she enjoys tormenting me by sticking with Windows :) And she hasn't done anything to lose her Windows privileges. And I have been Linux exclusive for about 3 years.

I wonder why anybody uses Windows. My at home tech support time is down 90% since I have 3/4 of us on Ubuntu pretty much full time.
posted by COD at 12:15 PM on April 6, 2011

Best answer: when i was putting together a dualboot vista 64/ubuntu machine, I would have been SOL without the ubuntu partition because the drivers included by the manufacturer for the networking hardware weren't 'signed' for Vista 64.

actually, ubuntu actually has better hardware compatibility with some things than windows, like say my apple slim keyboard...(tho often worse).

the ubuntu live disk is very useful for troubleshooting hardware/software problems with windows machines.

also, because of the way the so much of the software for ubuntu is distributed from a central repository, there's less of a search for free software, and less worry that the pop-up/under loading website you downloaded said free software from is piggybacking mal/spyware.

but the question is kind of a red herring, you *shouldn't* use any OS, ubuntu is my primary OS because most of the software I use is fairly native to the linux ecosystem. i would only recomend ubuntu to someone whose primary computer use was office/photoshop if they

a) couldn't afford to pay for the software

b) didn't mind troubleshooting/trawling forums for solutions and or basic documentation

c) didn't actually use office/ps really, but just needed to do basic word processing and photo editing.
posted by ennui.bz at 12:41 PM on April 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I have Windows 7. It's really got the best user interface of any Windows product, and I like it.


I have the taskbar set to hide. Inevitably, the Explorer process that runs the taskbar leaks memory, and after it get to about 30M, the taskbar refuses to hide, covering the bottom of my apps. Not an issue with KDE

I have a small screen, 768 pixels high. I KDE, I can completely hide a window's titlebar. I Windows, I can't, without going to fullscreen mode, which has its own problems.

Windows intermittently pops up the shutdown dialog on awakening from suspend, which steals focus.

The Windows command prompt still is not as user friendly as the bash prompt, even when I run bash under windows.

Connecting or disconnecting a bluetooth device requires a right click, a click, a right click, and a click, and three successive windows. Really??? Just to disconnect from my stereo?

If Ubuntu supported my trackpad, I'd be running KDE.
posted by orthogonality at 2:01 PM on April 6, 2011

I installed ubuntu (specifically mythbuntu, actually) on my HTPC to run as my awesome-looking HTPC interface that makes people ooh and ahh. That's one reason.

The only thing I can't get to work that I wish did is my USB wifi device. It's not a big deal, since the machine is close enough to a router, but still.
posted by King Bee at 2:38 PM on April 6, 2011

I use Ubuntu cos I was sick of windows, and sick of paying for anti-virus software.

I use my laptop for web browsing, writing, light gaming (which I actually like not having many options as it means I'mless distracted and actually focusing on working), and trying to teach myself Python. I also record music, but I haven't yet done any since switching to Ubuntu.

The only issue I've had has been trying to find a media player that I like, and syncing my ipod, which is now running pretty smoothly thanks to Rhythmbox.

My wife runs vista, it is so slow to boot compared to Ubuntu. I can be running and online, while her computer is still showing the Windows logo. 5 minutes compared to 45 seconds. in fact, she leaves her computer on all the time 'cos it takes so long to boot.

So far there is nothing I haven't been able to do on Ubuntu, without a little forum checking. I still haven't done any audio recording and multi-tracking yet, but I plan to very soon.
posted by robotot at 3:06 PM on April 6, 2011

Well, you're no longer a giant target for viruses and other malware that you are on Windows variants. Granted, Windows 7 is a lot, lot better on that front than XP, but it's still really easy to pick things with with little to no interaction on your part.

THIS. Gone are the days where you could be perfectly safe just by watching what you downloaded. Multiple times now my machines, including one running Windows 7, got infected simply by visiting some guy's blog, because the ad that was being randomly displayed had exploit code in it. Probably 80% of my friends' machines have been infected; those that haven't are complete internet shutins or don't even have internet at their house. It's not just Flash and Acrobat; once I'm fairly sure it happened with Java.

If you are using Windows and you use the internet for anything other than the most boring uses possible (Facebook and email), then your computer is bound to get compromised sooner or later. If you use P2P then make that sooner. It's going to happen, and if it does there is no guarantee you can overcome it without restoring from factory images. I've seen malware that survived Microsoft Security Essentials, AdAware and MalwareBytes. I got fed up enough that I simply don't run bittorrent on Windows anymore, and don't recommend that anyone does.

Contrary to what some people have said earlier, it is in fact very possible to run Ubuntu without editing text files, at least for my usage experience, which is a bit more technically knowledgeable than the average, but still not really up there in the rarefied heights. I've actually had to do more text file editing on my old PowerPC Mac Mini! It doesn't want to work with my USB wireless device without hacking up a kext, the usage of which causes it to crash about once a day but without it it'd just be an internetless computer, that is to say, useless. Thanks Apple.

I have an iPod and have yet to find a music software program that does what iTunes did easily and instantly.

This is in fact mostly Apple's fault, they want everyone to use iTunes on their iPods and put technical obstacles in the way for those who don't use the approved channel.
posted by JHarris at 4:00 PM on April 6, 2011

One way to think about it is as public transportation vs. your own car.

If you take the bus, you don't have to drive. You don't have to know anything about buses, or driving, or navigation. If the bus goes where you want to go, you're all set. You can be smash drunk out of your gourd. Maybe the bus doesn't go exactly where you want to go, so you may have to live with walking a few extra blocks. And there's a certain exposure to risk because there are lots of evil-doers out there.

If you have your own car, you can go where you want, when you want, following the route you want to take, at the ridiculously high speeds you crave, with locked doors. However it takes up more of your time and effort: you have to learn to drive, to navigate, the rules of the road, maintenance and upkeep, pay for insurance, etc. And no intoxication for you.

So, are the pre-made computers controlled by someone else (Windows, OSX) good enough for your uses? Or do you want a custom tailored souped up free! machine controlled by you that runs rings around the others, but that requires you to spend significant time to actually learn about the thing?
posted by phliar at 6:30 PM on April 6, 2011 [3 favorites]

It's funny you should mention the car analogy.

A while ago, my husband was trying to explain to our son the reasons for his dissatisfaction with Apple in recent years (as for the longest time, he was a Mac user and fan).

My husband said something like "Imagine if you could only use a Chevrolet, and drive on Chevrolet roads to get to Chevrolet destinations. That's what it's like to use a Mac."

This is what it's like, for me, to use Linux:

In order to get to your destination (which, most of the time, is a Chevrolet destination), you have to hope that there's been a road built already that will lead you to that destination. If not, you can't go there at all.

And the car won't have a radio, or comfortable seats, or cruise control, or anything that you were used to in a Chevrolet.

And sometimes, in order to get to your destination, you have to disguise your car so that it looks and acts like a Chevrolet and hope that it doesn't blow up the car.

And it's a manual transmission and you only know how to drive an automatic.

And if you need to get directions from someone along the way, they can only give you directions using latitude and longitude coordinates.
posted by Lucinda at 7:19 PM on April 6, 2011 [2 favorites]

It took me almost two years to find a personal financial software program that does what Quicken does easily and instantly.

It's been two years since I switched away from Quicken to Gnucash precisely because Quicken is utterly incapable (or was at the time) of handling multiple currencies, and Intuit's suggested workaround, entering the foreign currency as a mutual fund, was hindered by the fact that attempting to open to the mutual fund editor was one of the many things that caused Quicken to crash with no warning.

Bugs in frequently used open-source software tend to get fixed pretty quickly. Bugs in commercial software that aren't zero-day exploits tend to get fixed slowly, if they get fixed at all.

My Mac started overheating last year, so I ended up using a netbook running Kubuntu as my primary machine for a while and began to realize that I could get by just fine using Linux. That, and if you wait for a sale, comparable hardware can cost about a third of what it does when you buy it from Apple. I can synchronize my documents, my profiles for Firefox, Thunderbird, and other applications, and various other settings and files between my netbook and my main computer (and it's not really all that difficult to get the Firefox and Thunderbird profiles synchronized to a Mac, either).

The downsides to switching include: no iTunes or iPhoto (there's a Mac for that), weird display/conversion anomalies with OpenOffice.org to and from .doc format, and the fact that if you're running cutting-edge hardware, you will have problems with drivers. I finally bought a cheap USB wireless card for the computer I'm typing this on because I was sick of installing, removing, purging, reinstalling, or even contemplating linux-backports-modules-compat-wireless. That, and the aforementioned netbook still has major problems with playing video files in fullscreen mode.

Closing thought: the Unity interface is horrid. Use KDE instead.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 7:56 PM on April 6, 2011

Best answer: I use Xubuntu on my netbook mainly because it is fast and responsive, even on less-than state-of-the-art hardware.

I use Ubuntu on my work machine as well, for somewhat different reasons:
  • It's stable, so I can let data analyses run for days and not worry that Windows is going to decide it really has to install an update and reboot, right when my script is 90% complete.
  • apt-get/synaptic is amazing.
  • I often have a bunch of spreadsheets and browser windows open that I'm trying to cross-reference. In a Linux system, you can use tiling window managers (like dwm or XMonad): I find them great for getting the most out of your monitor space and arranging windows in logical groups.
  • For huge IDE-centric programming projects it doesn't matter so much, but the Linux command line is great for "glue" scripts and data munging. The data I need often comes in lots of incompatible formats, so this is a big help.
  • Our clusters and servers are Linux based, so it's relatively easy to write programs that compile both locally and remotely.
I just switched to Ubuntu on my home machine around a year ago. My old machine was a G4 and it was cheaper to build a desktop than to buy a Mac that had everything I wanted. Anyway, I like the new machine overall, but I have to say there has been some adjustment:
  • I had to spend a night or two effing around with iPod Touch support libraries before I could get them to work properly.
  • I have to virtualize Windows to watch Netflix streaming, which itself required further tweaking before the quality was watchable.
  • Finally, using the computer to write music also turned out to be non-trivial (for instance, I had to find and then learn new composition software, which turned out to be Wine-dependent because there are so few production-quality audio apps native to Linux; I also have a Firewire soundcard, which requires extra TLC).
Fortunately, I enjoy tweaking things and solving puzzles and the whole DIY shebang, and I finally have a setup that works for me, but to be totally honest as far as my desktop goes, I definitely miss OS X now and again. I think where Win/Mac really shines is with the "prosumer" stuff, as well as with things like DRM'd media (hi, Netflix).

Linux comes into its own with the hackability and the open culture. Even totally simple, single-use programs in the OS X ecosystem to e.g. fix your iTunes library or whatever seem to cost $20, which has always boggled me a little. If you google around, someone in the Ubuntu forums is likely to have written and posted a bash or Python script that does what you need. And of course, if you're inclined or if you need something a little non-standard, it's often easier to DIY on Linux. This is in part because most apps (especially from the command line) speak plain text, so it's straightforward to string them together.

Anyway, wow! tfl,dr. I think the main advantages of Linux for a "home user" are probably 1) security, 2) stability, and 3) hackability. So probably the scripting you mentioned is one area where Linux will excel and where you might want to explore further -- whether for utilitarian uses like organizing files or automating boring tasks, or more frivolous ones like rotating your wallpaper automatically based on the weather, or whatever. Hope this ramble helped at all.
posted by en forme de poire at 9:29 PM on April 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Ubuntu is interesting. All philosophy aside (free this or that, anti-corp whatever, etcetera), it's a sleek, fast & friendly piece of work. I'm going to assume that the netbook is not your primary machine.

First off, the Netbook Remix is kind of a mixed blessing. I really liked the auto-maximizing that happens with apps, but I couldn't really deal with the weird strip down the side of the screen that controls everything. Apparently I'm not alone in that as Canonical, the company responsible for Ubuntu, has killed the Netbook Remix.

Try the regular version of Ubuntu and it might be more akin to what you're used to. I'm running 10.10 and I got on the bus back with 8.04. I've been a troubleshooter for all flavors of Windows and Mac and I have found that most tasks feel pretty intuitive after you've played in any particular garden for a bit.

What I like about 'stock' Ubuntu, as opposed to the weirdness of the Remix, is how fast everything feels. Firefox and Chrome both run faster on the same hardware than they did when I was still dual booting Windows. The method for acquiring software and removing it is also interesting. Have you tried it? It's this wonderful thing called Synaptic.

I'll get weird ideas about some process I want on the box and I launch Synaptic. Go to the search bar and begin typing. Synaptic starts revealing applications with my terms and sometimes I find things I'm interested in. Sometimes I end up a long way from where I started.

The cool thing is that the software on offer from the Ubuntu appstore is vetted and pretty much ready to go. And if you don't like it, Synaptic will remove every last trace of the evicted app.

If you're going to use the netbook for web stuff, writing, maybe some light image work, I'll bet that running whatever version of Windows on it will never run as smooth as regular Ubuntu. And regular Ubuntu will run much better than the Netbook Remix, too.
posted by artof.mulata at 11:45 PM on April 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks guys as ever for the thoughtful and informed remarks, very helpful. artof., I found your comment the most convincing, and I will definitely check out the non-netbook version.
posted by StephenF at 5:27 AM on April 7, 2011

Lucinda, can I suggest you just buy yourself a Mac† & be done with it? You own a pile of peripherals & applications that don't have decent Linux support at this point in time. What do you expect to happen?

Tell your husband that he doesn't have to touch it & if it has any problems you'll sort them.

(The Mac promise is that if you stay within the walled garden, everything will just work. Some of us find walled gardens personally offensive, even if we never actually step outside them, because that's the way we're wired. That doesn't mean that we don't understand the attraction though.)

Or hackintosh your existing laptop if you're short enough on cash to make that more attractive. Not sure how reliable that approach is though.
posted by pharm at 6:28 AM on April 7, 2011

Glad I could help StephenF...
Have fun!
posted by artof.mulata at 2:02 AM on April 9, 2011

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