Thoughts on the new Ubuntu for the Nexus 7 and installing a different shell for Ubuntu.

Posted: October 30, 2012. At: 4:26 PM. This was 5 years ago. Post ID: 4772

OpenBSD UNIX desktop.
OpenBSD UNIX desktop.

I have just found out that the Nexus 7 tablet now has an Ubuntu distribution that is working on that tablet computer. The Unity desktop does not seem to be very stable on this device though; it would be better to develop a proper tablet touch oriented interface like the Windows 8 Metro interface; the Thunderbird E-Mail client and the default Firefox web browser would be very fiddly to use on a touch interface unless you have a very large screen to use to operate the buttons and drop down menus. A tablet is an annoying thing to use when you are trying to write very long documents and you are using an on-screen keyboard with no tactile feedback. That is beyond annoying unless you have a Bluetooth keyboard. A desktop PC is still the best alternative when you are wanting to do content creation and gaming; unless all you play is Angry Birds or Facebook games. They are not porting the Unreal Tournament games to the tablet platform. On that note it is a real shame that the Unreal Tournament 2007 release is not available for Linux; but I am sure that Doom4 will be available for Linux when it is released. That game is promising to be a hit when it is showcased for the first time. The original Doom 2 game was heaps of fun; but the city maps were not that realistic.

If a new Doom comes out that is filled with awesome levels and monsters; then it will be very popular; hopefully it does not have as many dark areas as Doom3 did. Sure that game is fun; but the levels sometimes are very dark and foreboding indeed. A change is needed; the outside areas could be very bright and the insides of the buildings could still be dark. I just want to see a game with realistic and interactive city areas and buildings that you can enter and search for goodies. Since the performance of 3D on Linux is very good; a Linux client for Doom4 is a must. The Nexus 7 tablet would not be the best gaming platform; but neither would the Microsoft Surface; that thing looks very fragile indeed; and the keyboard is ugly as sin. Why could they not put more effort into the design and not create something so pig ugly as this Windows tablet. This is the last effort by Microsoft; they are being overtaken by the Linux based Android and the iOS platform. The Windows 8 operating system and the Surface tablet are their latest project and they are depending on this to stop them from going under. Personally; without the Windows Media Centre and the other things that have been excised out of the Windows 8 operating system; it is a wonder that anyone actually wants this at all. I will wait and see if anyone can install Ubuntu onto the Surface tablet; that would be an interesting exercise.

Gentoo Windowmaker desktop.
Gentoo Windowmaker desktop.

The Ubuntu distribution has a choice of command-line shells that enable the user to control their system. If you type sudo apt-get install tcsh you can install a nice shell that is a variant of the csh shell and is just as customisable when you want to create a lovely customised prompt. The zsh shell is also a nice option for the Linux user that wants to use a nice shell as an alternative to the Bash shell that the Ubuntu distribution comes with by default. The tcsh shell is very capable and usable; I recommend giving it a go and deciding for yourself if you want to use it or not. If you install FreeBSD; the sh shell is the default and gets annoying very quickly. Therefore installing, the tcsh shell is one way to make the command-line experience easier when you have a more usable shell. I find that the FreeBSD UNIX distribution is easier to install than the Gentoo Linux distribution. The process is more refined and the repositories are very good and a large amount of software is available for this distribution and there are not just source packages, there are binary packages, these are installed with the pkg_add command. For example pkg_add -r emacs. This makes the setup of the system after the installation very easy. But the lack of good drivers for FreeBSD compared to the Linux distributions makes it less of a contender on the desktop.

The hardware support available for the operating system is very important if it is to take off on the desktop. The Linux; Windows and Macintosh OSX desktop operating systems are dominant on the desktop compared to FreeBSD due to the excellent hardware support. The FreeBSD and OpenBSD UNIX operating systems are better suited to the roles of server operating systems; they excel at that; especially the super-secure OpenBSD operating system. I wonder how secure an operating system you could build if you used the Darwin UNIX kernel and added the GNU Coreutils and Xorg to create a new UNIX operating system using GNU code. That would be a cool experiment to embark on. The kernel modules could be written by a team of enterprising hackers that could create the framework for a new operating system. But the ones we have now are doing a good enough job as it is; some of them could use a better desktop design though; copying a tablet interface on the desktop does not really work out very well.

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