Monday, January 19, 2009

My Conversion Story, Continued...

Well, I said in my last post that I might soon be posting using the power of the penguin. Well, I was right to expect that installing Fedora (Yes, I changed my mind yet again) would be easy, I just had no idea how easy it would be. The whole thing was gravy. When I install XP, I have to install all the drivers just to use the Internet. In this case, my wireless card was detected right away and Firefox was already sitting on the taskbar. I still had to tinker with a few things, but the issues were fixed in a matter of seconds.

The GUI bears some similarities with Macs, and because both Mac and Linux are UNIX-based, so does the filesystem. I was raised a good MS-DOS kiddie by my father since my first computer, and opening up the terminal, find this new shell very foreign. Many of the commands I was used to no longer work, and it's strange to have to enter the root password to access parts of the filesystem, but it's obvious how much more secure it is. I'm revelling in my new-found immunity to Windows viruses/worms/exploits/cracks and the large community of bothersome script-kiddies.

I'm still getting used to using shell commands, and Fedora 10 has some known issues with my particular graphics chipset. It makes rendering in Firefox a little sluggish and wonky. There's a fix, but frankly, it's a not a big enough nuisance that I'm in a hurry to try it right away. Worst case scenario means I have to rebuild my driver from the bottom up, but I don't think it will come to that. Beyond that, any issues I've had with Fedora are purely ones of orientation. I still am not quite so comfortable kicking around the system.

I did find everything I needed to get work done on my system though. I can read and write Word documents (though I should probably find a reader for the new office formats). It comes with, as well as some fun stuff, like DOOM. (You have to unpack these from Add/Remove Programs) It even has LaTeX and TeX installations ready for you should you want it. Sure it's easy enough with Windows, but I like an operating system that knows what I like. (Yeah, as an undergrad I don't really find as much occassion to use it, but I like having it anyway.)

One application that I'm going to find useful is Alexandria Book Collection Manager. I was thinking about making a database or a quick and dirty VB or VC++ app, but I never got around to the task, now I guess I don't have to. (Thank God, I would have had to learn VB or VC++, ugh)

The GIMP comes installed, which beats MS-Paint into the ground and steals its lunch money. I even used it back when I had Windows, even though I was still a Paint fiend when I needed quick and dirty diagrams. That was mainly because I wasn't all too sure how to use GIMP but like other Linux issues I find it's simply a matter of adjustment.

The one thing about Linux, and really the only thing, that makes me raise an eyebrow, is complicated installation of programs and add-ons in Linux. I'm not used to being so involved in the installation at the shell level, and you don't ever see that in Windows. There HAS to be a way around that, even if only through reprogramming the kernel. Oh, I'll do it if I have to. (No I won't)

All in all, I have to say I'm a fan. There's really no reason so far for me to go back to windows. Sure, I like playing computer games, but I already have a video game console. Meanwhile, so long as I can play Tetris clones Powder (Warning: addictive) on my PC, I'm okay. Suck it Winblows!


  1. GIMP is a lot like photoshop, except open source. I use it a lot for my comics.

  2. Okay, I have to say, the comics are a lot of fun. Also, that's a goddamn machete.


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