I've been going back and forth between Ubuntu 8.04 and Kubuntu 8.10, and I miss Xubuntu. There are items in each I like and to have it all in one installation proves to be a tangled and unmanageable mess. Xubuntu is mostly gray in color, but has that right mouse click menu access that is very handy. Kubuntu is stylish with its' Mac like Plasmoids, Dashboard and organized menu. Ubuntu with the Gnome desktop is tweakable and maintains a solid feel and simplicity. Add to this mix the Compiz desktop effects and.............ah! The ones I like are the wobbly windows and the screensaver that is a slide show or the desktop wallpaper slide show. When I was looking at the Metisse desktop on Mandrvia One, I was impressed with the grid array virtual desk. The pager view in the corner of the display allowed me to slide open windows any place in the array without zooming in on that part of the grid. One click and I was focused on any chosen open window. Metisse is like Compiz, more a desktop effect than window manager like Gnome or KDE. Now I wonder if Compiz can do similar virtual desktop tricks. I will have to explore deeper.
People are asking on the net how will the present financial crisis effect the computer world. Will people short on capital turn to seek relief in Free and Open Source Software or will coveting and looting become business as usual. I don't know but I don't have to worry, I use FOSS all the time.
Some observations after looking over the net today. Like I said the common choice these days is the laptop computer. You can get smallish notebooks, netbooks or souped up workstations and game machines on the high end. Those all-in-one computers similar to the iMac are both the bomb and the rage. HP has one that has a touch screen display. And if you are into small format computers there are a number of desktops that take up very little room yet offer big desktop performance. If all I want to do is non-intensive computing, I could use a $300 PC no sweat. But with my graphic urges I want more RAM, a choice of video card and a meaty CPU.
So what PC impresses the heck out of me? One that takes 4gig of system memory and is able to boot from a USB device, be it jump drive or a rotating disk drive. Why? Because you can put your other OS on that drive and use that OS when you want too. You could have a huge drive for each OS if you want to. And if you have an older PC, you could put 4 IDE disk drives in it, turn it into a NAS or network attached storage to hold all your stuff. Geek heaven is a room full of stuff you can hook up in all kinds of ways and FOSS to glue it all together.
I am still holding out hope that my local library will catch the FOSS bug. It has two Open Office.org books but needs a couple on GIMP, and a few new Linux books. It is good that FOSS lives on the net, especially instructional videos for graphics apps. Now get out there and oogle your Google or do your Yahoo to get all the info.