I’ve been running Ubuntu for about a year.Â I still have an XP desktop at home, but most of my time is spent on a Ubuntu laptop or the Alienware box I converted last July.Â Sometimes things are little harder or impossible on Ubuntu.Â Dual monitors on an ATI card was a pain, for example.Â However, support for USB devices seems to be awesome, and today Ubuntu did something easily for me that I couldn’t get XP to do.
I recently got a Sanyo Katana (SCP-6600). It has a VGA camera. It’s set up so that you have to pay some outrageous fee to send the pictures over the network, so you can download them from the Sprint Web site. Lame defensibility at work.
So, I found that you can buy a cable that has USB on one end and a connector on the other end that goes in the phone. Aside from all the stuff you might do to set it up for whatever network, it also allows you to pull pictures off of the phone.Â I found that I could buy the cable for $1 on eBay plus $6 in shipping.Â I’m pretty sure the shipping is outrageous so that the seller can skirt eBay’s seller fee.Â But I digress.
So, I got this cable and a little driver disk.Â I also got Bitpim, an open source program to talk to the phone.Â I installed the driver on my XP box, but it wouldn’t recognize the USB device. I guess there was some alternative drivers that were made for some commercial app, but they were pulled when the company got wise to everyone just showing up for the software.Â (The Bitpim site was sending people there).Â Anyway, 30 minutes later, I still couldn’t get the Windows machine to work.
So, next I tried my Ubuntu laptop.Â 15 minutes later it was working with no problem.Â First of all, right after plugging the phone in, I could run lsusb and see that it was really connected.Â Second, the Bitpim site told me I needed to give myself rights to the udev device. Simple. I think I did need to restart some daemon–I rebooted instead because I was lazy.Â And then it just worked.
I had a similar experience with my Canon camera.Â It’s so weird that Windows is trying to make it easy with all of it’s autodetecting USB devices and searching for drivers, but then it just fails.Â Ubuntu just works.Â Now I can pull these crappy pictures I take when I don’t have my good camera handy.