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Re: Trying different distros, and playing with XP

__/ [ Kier ] on Sunday 02 April 2006 23:26 \__

Welcome back, Kier.

> I've spent the last few days playing musical distros, having a bit of a
> change around. SO now I've got SUSE 10 on my new laptop, and Debian Sarge
> on my old one.
> I'd never installed Debian before, and found it to be fairly easy, but I
> then had a few problems getting X up and running, and had to do some
> Googling and guessing to get it working. Pleased with it so far. I've
> always wanted to try a pure Debian system. I'm going to try upgrading to
> Etch once I've sorted out how it's done.

HP are selling (Ubuntu) Linux laptops these days. They start with SA and will
probably expand this once the experiment is shown to have been a success.

With OEM's support, Linux on the laptop will become an 'out of the box'
experience and will not lead you to any frustrations, which I believe you
try to mask. Remember that you are trying to fit Linux onto a Windows laptop
where everything was built for Windows, tested under Linux and drivers
are/were probably provided for a single platform. Any O/S-centric comparsion
would be unfair, to say the very least.

> My SUSE 10 laptop, a Toshiba Satellite M40, is also working well. My
> previous SUSE install on it was 9.3, which had a few minor but annoying
> problems I hadn't been able to sort out. Wifi is still a bit dodgy, with
> very poor speed, though it does work reliably within its limits. Must get
> down to sorting out the driver. Wired lan now works properly, though,
> which is great. The only downer is I can't get the battery monitor to
> work. As teh battery life of this laptop is not good (less than two
> hours, sadly), it's a bit of a nuisence not having some indication of how
> much power is remaining. Otherwise I'm pleased with just how well I've got
> Linux working on this laptop, which isn't the most Linux friendly machine
> I could have bought :-)
> My mother got herself a nice new laptop last week, which I've been setting
> up over the weekend. Got XP on it of course, and this si the first time
> I've seen the most up-to-date version.

Why do you say "Got XP on it of course"? Would your mother be unable to use
Ubuntu, for instance? I hear of many parents who happily use Linux, having
never seen/used it before. The only peril I can foresee is support. The
next-door neighbour will not be able to assist with basic 'stuff', but can
/you/? Other than say RTFM?

> I played with it for a while, and was reasonably impressed by some of the
> software. The new Media Centre (Center, I suppose it is, really) is nice.
> The machine's battery life is excellent (it's a Dell Inspiron 6000). Apart
> from those two things, and possibly Google Earth, I wasn't really all that
> jealous, though it would make a good Linux laptop.

Google Earth will be probably ported to Linux. There already exists a NASA
tool which is similar to Google Earth and is Open Source. People keep
talking about Google Earth because all they know is Windows/Mac. Photoshop
likewise. It doesn't make other applications inferior, but only less


> I know a lot of posters here say how terrible XP is - well, I'm not one of
> them. It has good points and bad ones. My brother and I made sure this
> laptop is well-protected, I have installed firefox for browsing,
> thunderbird for mail, and the wifi link is encrypted. Yet no matter how
> polished it is - and it is, there's no point saying it ain't - I still
> found myself turning back to Linux without much regret. Why? Not because I
> hate XP - though I do find the pop-up warnings and such a pain - but
> because I like and enjoy Linux more.

I can't say that I agree with your assessment of Windows. With Open Source
programs it may be fine, but under the surface of its so-called 'friendly'
face lie proprietary formats, DRM or -- to be succinct -- lockins. Then
crops up the detriment which is security and problems such as DLL hell, lack
of 'scriptability', Registry issues and a restrictive desktop environment.
The more years you spend with both platforms, the clearer it all becomes.

> Yes, I'd like to have Google Earth and that shiny new Media Centre, but I
> can live without them. They were like toys I played with at my
> grandmother's home when I was a kid. I loved playing with them there, but
> I still went happily home to my own much-loved playthings.

What is this obsession with Media Center? MPlayer (and others) with all the
needed codecs, as well as AmaroK, deliver the goods just fine.

> What did I find myself missing most in XP? The virtual desktops, and file
> browser capabilities. And the general versatility.
> IMO, it's not a bit of use us sitting around here slagging off Windows.
> We should be concentrating much more on the capabilities and virtues of
> Linux. I use Linux because I think it's a great OS, and because I found I
> liked it more than XP, despite some of the nice things XP can do. I've
> never regretted becoming a Linux user, despite some frustrating times now
> and then getting stuff to work. I might buy a Windows PC, but I would
> never go back to Windows as my sole OS. Linux is my OS, Windows is just
> something I use now and then.

Best wishes,


Roy S. Schestowitz
http://Schestowitz.com  |    SuSE Linux     ¦     PGP-Key: 0x74572E8E
 11:50pm  up 25 days 13:33,  10 users,  load average: 0.98, 0.82, 0.88
      http://iuron.com - Open Source knowledge engine project

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