It’s 50 days now since I last used Microsoft Windows, which leads me to wonder whether my six year migration to Ubuntu Linux is finally complete.
My relationship with Ubuntu began in early August 2006, when I inserted a live CD version of Ubuntu 6.06 into my laptop. I liked it enough after a couple of weeks of occasional use to try installing it onto my hard drive and begin the process of switching to it permanently.
The plan was to dual boot, to have the flexibility to use each operating system when I wanted them. But the initial install didn’t quite work out as planned. The installer process crashed leaving me with the ability to boot into Ubuntu but not into Windows XP. I had inadvertently performed a 100% cutover on day one.
Looking back on this now, it was the perfect opportunity to jump feet first into the deep end of the Linux and Ubuntu swimming pools. I learned a lot about user forums, the most important lesson being that there’s an awful lot of conflicting advice on the internet. It took me a week to find the right solution and restore myself to the intended dual boot state.
And that’s how it stayed for the next 2,200 days, until October this year. For a couple of yearns now I have used Ubuntu almost exclusively, booting into Windows only every few weeks when I just couldn’t find a Linux solution for my needs. Using Wine (recently in combination with PlayOnLinux) I have been able to run Windows software when there is no alternative native Linux solution available. (Admittedly, there is a performance penalty in running software on Wine, but still it’s better than switching to Windows for a few minutes at a time.)
So, does this mean that the cutover to Ubuntu is complete? Sadly, the answer is no. There is always functionality that requires the Windows operating system.
The latest example of that for me is Lovefilm. Streaming online movies through Lovefilm Instant requires a Browser with a Silverlight plug in or extension installed. Mono, the Linux alternative can be installed but won’t work with Lovefilm. So, when I want to stream a movie, I have to boot into Windows.
Will I be able to go another 50 days using only Ubuntu? No. At some point I’m going to want to watch a movie, and to do that I’ll be booting into Windows 7.
The cutover to Ubuntu isn’t 100% complete, but it’s so close that I’m effectively there.