Note to self: This is why I use Ubuntu

“Have you checked your computer for spyware, trojans and other malicious software, sir?”, asked the support tech at Telekom Malaysia’s Streamyx Support Line.

“I use Ubuntu”, I said slowly and smugly, relishing her inevitable conundrum, not knowing what Ubuntu is, but being unable to admit it lest she seems ignorant. I let my superior operating system’s name sink in for a few seconds before I added, “Ubuntu Linux. I Use Ubuntu Linux.”

I could hear the relief on the otherside of the line as she recognised the word Linux, but before she could flip her Support 101 Manual to the Linux page I continued “my operating system doesn’t suffer from spyware, trojans and other malicious software.”

“Oh”, she said as she reliased that all of her other made-for-windows-cookie-cutter solutions suddenly didn’t apply.

You see, my notebook computer, which I’ve been using for some hardcore Internet interaction for the last 4 months, has encountered the grand total of 0 (zero) viruses, spyware, trojans and other malicious software. Why?

Because it’s Ubuntu. A community supported operating system of the highest calibre.  If any of the above exploits anything on Ubuntu, it’s patched even before most people know about it.  That’s of course assuming the nasties can figure out how to exploit anything, because each user on Ubuntu is self contained, and no malicious piece of software will ever have the power to destroy an entire Ubuntu installation.

And that’s how I know that virusses, spyware, trojans and other malicious software have absolute nothing to do with my slow Internet connection.

StreamyX doesn’t mix so well in my house

Yup, for months my broadband connection has been slightly faster than an ISDN line (remember those?) and after experiencing lighting fast connections, on slower packages no less, at my friends’ houses, actually watching a 3-minute YouTube video on the fly, I decided it was time to complain.

For the last week I’ve been in fruitless deliberations with the Telekom Malaysia’s tech support, them trying to solve the reason for my slow connection.  On 3 occations I had to sit through their 12-step solution-to-everything support exercises. It’s like calling to say your head hurts when you knock it agianst the wall, but then still different people ask you to knock your head against a wall to ask again you if it hurts.

At the support’s request, I’ve done more than 6 speed tests where I log into their ftp server with a piece of Java software that downloads a 1MiB file and confirms, time and time again, that I get max 245kbps off a connection that advertises 1028kbps and aims to deliver at least 80% of that.  As if by telling them my head hurts when I knock it against the wall isn’t enough, they have to see me knock my head and feel the bump before they believe me.

They’ve even sent over a technician (phone line technician) who looked at the admin area for my ADSL modem, saw that it says I’m actually connected at 1,536kps and took that as the obvious, irrefutable proof that they are in fact giving me what I’m paying for, yet couldn’t explain why his own website, www.tm.net.my took a good 3 minutes to download.

“It’s the computer” he says, pointing at my incriminatingly alien operating system. “Erm, no, it isn’t” I say as I repeat the slow-loading-tm.net.my page trick on my desktop computer that runs XP (and is riddled with malicious software that I got from sticking my pendrive into computers at my previous employer) and Julia appears, doing the same with her notebook that runs Vista.  But he has nothing to say about that.

Eventually he left saying he would switch the physical port of my line at the hub, but as it turns out he had the last laugh, as after he did that, my connection slowed to speeds I last experienced when I had to dial up.

The tech support saga continues, and I only hope that I can get up to a speed that will allow me to download the much anticipated Ubuntu 8.10 Intrepid Ibex that is due to be released in about 8 days time.

Yup, it’s good to be using a free, community supported operating system that releases an improved version with new features every 6 months.  I had my first whiff of Ubuntu when it was Ubuntu 7.10 Gutsy Gibbon, my first steps away from Windows.

Soon after I was awed by my current installation of Ubuntu 8.04 Hardy Heron, and I can only expect great things from the Intrepid Ibex.  I see also that the next release has been named and will be Ubuntu 9.04 Jaunty Jackalope, scheduled for release in April 2009.

Of course, a fast connection sure would make life…. faster.

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