Monday, February 23, 2009

The Linux Box

Ok, this is for all those indulgent tech geeks out there. I, Shifter, have put together a Linux box.

I can't remember if I mentioned that I rebuilt my wife's pc a few months back. I pretty much put in new everything except the case and one hard drive (the original hard drive became a backup drive). The whole thing cost about $250, so I was pretty pleased. The build went really well and I thought from the get go that I wanted it to run on Linux because I didn't want to give any more money to the Evil Empire. For you non-tech geeks out there (who haven't already fallen asleep), I'm talking about the Windows Activation system. Starting with Microsoft XP (or maybe 2000) Windows went to this system where when you install an copy of Windows, it has to be certified online or it will stop running in a week. They did that so that you couldn't install multiple copies of the software on multiple machines with just one disk. When you Activate the software it records that particular disk and won't allow you to activate an install from that disk again. Anyway, the problem with this is that if you say rebuild your machine, as I did, Windows detects that and requires you to re-activate. And in the past they've said that if you build essentially a whole new machine (which I did) that you should buy a new copy of Windows (which I was not willing to do). So Linux, which is free, seemed the obvious answer.

I installed Linux, was very proud of myself as I got it running, got it set up with alternative programs for all my wife's usual software needs, got all the media transferred, and generally ironed out the kinks. But it was not to be. Two things happened. 1, during this whole process I ended up having to reboot to Windows on the new machine numerous times to retrieve files and program settings (like Outlook address books) for the Linux programs (like Thunderbird). Only when I did, I had to re-activate. And when I did guess what happened. It activated. No problem. No "you owe us $200 more for our buggy crap" just BLIP and it was activated. So I no longer HAD to do Linux. But I still WANTED to. But then we hit thing #2. Thing #2 is that my wife didn't like it. You can do most things in Linux that you can in Windows, but you have to use slightly different programs and have to tweak it a lot which my wife, as a non-tech geek, did not want to do. By way of demonstration, my wife would have stopped reading this post at about, oh, the title. That much of a non-tech geek. So learning a whole new OS, even a spiffy one, was not for her. So back to Windows we went.

So what's cool? Well I was so disappointed I went and got out an old pc that was literally collecting dust and has been for the past 6 years. 6 years ago it was an awesome system, and it can still run Linux just fine, so I installed it there and now I've got my very own Ubuntu 8.0x install on an old pc. I'm looking forward to trying out some of the software and learning how to work with the OS. It'll be fun. And you thought my running was twisted. I'll make sure and let you guys know when I'm updating the blog from the Linux box (I just know you're all dying to know).

The nice thing about an imaginary audience is they can be interested in just about anything.

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