I finally had my fill of Visaster on my office desktop. The final kick in the teeth delivered by Visaster was a document that flat out disappeared while I was attempting to move it to a remote shared drive. Explorer did its typical "white-out" and then locked up the desktop and the system had to be power cycled to get responses from the keyboard or mouse.
I got permission from the IT department to go back to doing my own IT admin work. I went into Visaster's Disk Manager and shrunk the third partition (D:) on the 640 GB drive. That gave me about 300 GB of open drive space. I installed Ubuntu 9.04 and set all 3 of the Linux partitions manually. 80GB for /, an 8GB swap space (overkill) and the rest for /Home. I set them up for ext3. So now I have a dual boot system. Visaster and Ubuntu, with Ubuntu as default. As I manage to copy project and doc files from the NTFS D drive to /Home, I'll shrink it further.
A definite upgrade for Visaster is Ubuntu 9.04 on the same hardware. Eventually I'll be Visaster-free at work like I am at home.
Open Office 3.0 works fine for what I have to do. FireFox of any version is far superior to Internet Exploder 6, 7 and especially version 8 for access to the crappy commercial wiki I've described before.
While working on the Visaster I discovered something interesting and unexpected. This being a DELL system, there are 3 partitions setup for Visaster, a hidden DELL repair partition of 60 odd megabytes, the C and D NTFS drives. All three of them are primary partitions. The three Linux partitions are primary partitions as well. MS DOS, 16 & 32 bit Windows all have a limit of 4 primary partitions on a drive. But this one has a total of 6 primary partitions and Grub seems to run all of it just fine. Nice.
This particular system has an Intel Core 2 Duo running at 2.8 GHz with 4GB of DDR2 RAM so its no slouch. Ubuntu 9.04 on it has done some pretty things I hadn't seen before. Application windows open and close with fades in and out with the panel moving towards and away from the user. Transparency of the task bar and application bars are independently controllable.
Another desktop feature I have not seen before is related to the mouse. If you push the mouse hard over to the right, it shoves the desktop to the left so suddenly it appears as if your desktop is twice as wide as the display (1600 x 1200 turns into 3200 x 1200). The desktop space actually is twice as wide, the setting for the video controller becomes a sliding "window" on the desktop. I suppose its just a variation of the virtual desktop feature but it was totally unexpected and a cool effect! You could park an application window off the right hand side of the screen totally out of sight. It also allows for a mid-range setting so that the "display" window is centered on the desktop range.
Ubuntu 9.04 definitely picks up some significant “snap” with a high power processor. I was impressed, as far as I'm concerned it beats Visaster SP2.