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Category: Tech
Tuesday, April 11th, 2006 @ 04:26 pm
Posted By xerxes7
Two weeks. Ha.

Where were we? Oh yeah. We were there, and then we were there. Thus leading us HERE. The grand third chapter of my trilogy of what it's like to switch to Linux and never look back. Except that I have kind of looked back. Most people do for varying reasons. We'll get to that in a moment.

First up, why has it taken so long to get this part up? Easy. We got a new computer. I managed a P4-3G with a whole G o' RAM for 5 ben. It's nice actually spending some time with a computer that isn't a good five years old. Everything just works so smoooovely. Of course, a gig will do that when you are using THE DEVIL'S OWN OPERATING SYSTEM THAT IS CALLED WINDOWS XP. Yep. I took it home and didn't strip the bastard off. See, this box was boughten for two reasons.

1. To allow for the playing of games that have been released in the last three years.
2. To allow me to break the living hell out of the old computer and not cause panic when the love of my life needs to do something online and she can't because I was "just trying something".

It'll get Linux installed eventually, there's just no big rush right now.

Something the last few weeks have given me is a fresh perspective on what it is like to use Windows. See, I work on winboxen all day, but I never get to just idly goof around with them. I cure their ills and move along. I've had plenty of time to goof recently, however. And I've learned what I've heard from Mac zealots since forever.

Windows is ugly.

I don't mean in some really obvious way. I mean, it's pleasant enough. I hear that a Mac will just automatically make your eyes weep because of its inherent beauty. Now I'm not going to claim that KDE as I have experienced it is capable of that kind of glory, but I will say that there is an ugliness deep down in Windows that no amount of graphical sheen and polish will fix. It's some kind of intangible thing that I think ties into the root of Windows itself. Kind of an "it's what's on the inside that counts" sort of thing. All I know is that after a day or two on the new computer I was struck by this ugliness thing and I haven't been able to shake it. Thank you, KDE.

So that's my story of returning to Windows. Now to wrap up the migration to Linux.

If I were to give a quick double-tap to my scroll lock key right now I would bring up the other computer. The Linux box. The O to the muthafuckin' G. I would see a screen holding before me a positively dizzying list of things that I can include or not when I compile Gentoo (that's spelled R-I-C-E-R) Linux for the very first time. I mean it. That shit is vertigo-inducing. Every single option begs for my consideration. Is it important for me to include "Patch providing support for content scanning"? I honestly don't know. I don't recall using such a thing before, but maybe I did. Either way, I get to decide now. And if I screw it up? It's cool. There's a whole other computer around that won't be affected. Is it important that I compile the whole damned thing anyway? Certainly not. But I find that I want to. I want to learn more about Linux, and I understand that installing Gentoo will either teach me more about Linux and the almighty command line or it will just scare me back to Kubuntu-land. But either way, I'm willing to toy with this stuff. I'm not just willing, I'm looking forward to it. With Windows, after I learned how to fix a few minor problems and install hardware and such, it just became rather routine. It's kind of fun, don't get me wrong. But I'm looking for something a little more personal, and my time with Linux has taught me that it is most certainly more personal.

Sometimes when I come home from a long day at work, Linux has prepared a delicious meal for me. Linux listens to my problems while rubbing my back. And at the end of it all, Linux takes me to the boudoir... where we fsck.

Windows never did that. Windows facilitated easy installation of games, but it never cared for me. It never asked what my needs were.

So we'll see where this goes. I'm for sure going to finally learn about make, makeinstall, and whatever. I'm going to learn it so hard that it's the only thing I'll be able to think about. I'm going to learn about piping outputs to other commands and all kinds of shit. Hell, maybe a few installs down the line I'll just forgo the gui and go straight up cli. But whatever happens, I don't feel that I'll ever really need or want Windows around except as a backup. There will probably always be some program that we just have to run that won't work well in WINE. And I'm fine with that. But I do look forward to the day that the only reason to switch to the other box will be to check on how something's running over there, not because the other box will be running windows. Or the only reason to reboot will be because the damned thing has locked up on me, not because I need to go into that ugly wasteland of an OS.

But in the meantime, there are n00bs that need pwning in UT2k4 by that woman o'mine and life-altering decisions that I need to make regarding "Patch providing support for content scanning".

The following links should be of some help for anyone looking at making the switch like I did.

Knoppix is the first live distro that we played with. Simply go to the downloads page, download a disc image, burn that to a disc, and reboot your computer with the disc in the drive. This lets you play around with Linux without commiting to anything, as it just runs in RAM. If you do try this out, keep in mind that it is running more slowly than it would normally, since it's constantly having to load things off of your cd. Still, a nice way to stick your toe in the pool.

Kubuntu is the distro of Linux that we used when we actually made the switch. Kubuntu has a look and feel that should be familiar to anyone who is even slightly comfortable with Windows. It is a very easy to use distribution that automates everything. It recognizes most hardware and just all around makes things about as simple as they can be. I highly recommend this.

Gentoo is what I'm starting to play with now. It's not user friendly (by design), but it's supposed to be a very good way to learn about this magical operating system at a nuts & bolts level. This is a good few yards more of rope than you need to hang yourself with.

So, I hope this has been even just a little bit informative to the four or five of you reading this site that have little to no idea of what options you have available to you as far as operating systems go. Feel free to drop questions or concerns in the comments section. I'm down with helping anyone I can who would like to free themselves of Redmond's shackles.


Saturday, April 15th, 2006 @ 12:02 am
So now I'm having to work with Windows after having gotten used to Linux. This sucks.