My First Linux Desktop
My only encounter with Linux has been flashing my wifi access point with dd-wrt firmware (which is great, btw) - but that is obviously not the same thing!
Would it be possible to easily connect to wpa2-protected wifi? Will it recognize my digital camera - and if so, how easy will it be to manage my pictures? How good will the web browsing experience be given the various plugins one needs to make today's websites work? Lots of questions; time to find out for myself...
To my surprise, I found the experience pretty good. Connecting to my home network was easy and web browsing worked fine using Firefox. I tried BBC iPlayer streaming using Flash and that worked fine too.
Getting pictures of the kids transferred was not a problem. I did have some issues with connecting to my network-attached storage, but that is probably my lack of knowledge. While I think the user experience has some way to go in order to catch up with commercial operating systems, the basic functionality is there.
The one thing I was surprised about was the performance, or lack thereof. I would have expected the operating system to squeeze everything out of the dual processor laptop. Perhaps the issue would be addressed by new updates which were available, but I could not get it to install properly.
Another more fundamental thing I wondered about is the mainstream business applications most people use every day. While good progress is being made with efforts like OpenOffice, I think that future evolutions of Google Docs and the like have a better change of moving the needle.
I am glad that I got a chance to test drive Fedora and as a result have come to believe in the potential of Linux as a mainstream operating system.
As Ashley said in this post last year, the BBC does a lot of work with open standards already - but in the future we plan to do more.
We want to make iPlayer work on all operating systems including open source ones like Fedora and I am confident we'll make good progress on this before the end of the year.
And we also encourage communities to play with our stuff for example at events like Mashed where several hundred developers gather in Alexandra Palace to bring the best technologies together with cool content. Mashed happens this weekend and Matthew Cashmore has more details.
Erik Huggers is Group Controller, BBC Future Media & Technology