July 28, 2006

An odyssey with Linux

How long can you have a conversation with somebody about something? Chances are a few minutes, if you can be bothered, and you already know a bit about the topic in question.

Ok, so what happens when discussing Linux with a penguin–head? Ten seconds? Even if you have a modicum of knowledge, it seems to encourage them to go deeper and deeper into it until you’re well and truly lost. And what happens then, is that if you showed a bit of initial interest, they took it as permission to ramble on endlessly, ignoring your body language (such as shuffling in the opposite direction…).

Linux has definitely got its attractions. Mainly, it’s free, and that * Microsoft lot haven’t found a way of making any money out of it yet. (and SCO are trying even harder).

It’s just that my attempts at installing it, and getting it to do what I want, have not been successful. I’ve always foundered in a sea of devs, vars, etcs, dhcps…the list is endless.
Linux to me is like walking around a marquee, trying to find the entrance, and becoming more and more convinced there isn’t one. The few times I’ve spotted a gap, I’ve looked through, only to find that there is another * marquee inside, again with no sign of an entrance.

Anyway, I’m not best pals with Windows XP. Not only am I really racked off with those little yellow boxes that keep appearing every time I let my mouse pointer stay in the same place for more than a second – what are they called, by the way? They always cover up the bit I want to read.
BUT ALSO Microsoft have stopped supporting Windows 98, even though I am quite happy with it, and my machine hardly ever crashes these days.

Let me put it another way. My house is 97 years old. My car is 13 years old. I have 4 guitars, between 14 and 30 years old. All of these things are serving me nearly as well as if they were brand new, but Microsoft think an operating system is fit for nothing but the scrapheap after 8 years. It probably would have been much less, if Windows Me hadn’t been such a mound of manure.

Also, I’ve got a Hauppauge Freeview card, which a quick look at the DigitalSpy forums assures me works much better under Linux.

So here goes. A voyage of discovery.
Hopefully I’ll keep in touch.
Helpful, encouraging comments are welcome. Even ones which take the proverbial, if they make me laugh. Just no jargon.

- 6 comments by 2 or more people Not publicly viewable

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  1. Max Hammond

    Try Ubuntu or Debian

    29 Jul 2006, 00:10

  2. I have to agree with the ubuntu route. There's nothing quite like thinking "hmm I think I'll install Ruby" and typing

    sudo apt–get install ruby

    and then you have Ruby. And yes there is a graphical front end to apt–get called Synaptic, so you don't actually have to type anything if you don't want to (which is typically the bane of Linux, being forced into the commandline).

    29 Jul 2006, 01:50

  3. Another vote for Ubuntu here.

    The little yellow boxes are generally called tooltips, by the way.

    29 Jul 2006, 18:53

  4. Roger Lindley

    Thanks chaps. Ubuntu it is then.
    Only thing is, after going on about my 13 year old car, it broke down yesterday.
    Gearbox. Could be expensive.
    And time consuming…

    30 Jul 2006, 09:20

  5. To be fair to linux, have you ever tried installing Windows from scratch (i.e. on a machine which hasn't had it on before)? Most people never do this.

    31 Jul 2006, 20:26

  6. Roger Lindley

    Yes, many times. One machine I had I tried about 6 times to get a stable installation of W95, then some years later, when I had the case open, I powered it up, to discover that the processor fan wasn't working…..!
    About 3 years ago I had 2 goes at installing Red Hat, and it isn't the actual installation process that is difficult so much as things like getting networking/internet access working. I'm told it's a lot simpler these days. Hope so.

    01 Aug 2006, 13:18

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