Sunday, December 5, 2010

Ahh Geek Out

The last couple of days have been taken up with getting my system to be a successful Linux Ubuntu system.  I've been running XP Home on a three year old Dell desktop since I got it, and the rest of our home network is on XP.  I've been telling myself that I was going to break with the Micro$oft empire, and finally got around to it.  It has been straightforward, and I'm blogging from Ubuntu now.

Ubuntu seems to be generally regarded as a pretty simple distribution of Linux to get up and running (Ubuntu, by the way, is the Swahili word for "self-impressed", or smug).  Sure enough, I ran off the CD in live demo to make sure most of my internet apps got up and running easily, and once I saw that, I installed it as a dual boot option.  That way, when the computer wakes up, it presents a boot option screen of Linux-Ubuntu or XP.  Ironically, I've done this partly because of system security guys like Borepatch recommend doing your online banking with Linux simply because of fewer attacks being possible, but my main financial/checkbook software won't run under Linux and requires me to use my Windoze partition. And a hat tip to another engineer I know who helped with some demonstrations for me. 

Being an old guy (Graybeard is a description, not an honorific), my first home computer was actually an S-100 bus computer with a tape recorder for program storage.  Kids, S-100 was the standard before the Commodore 64 and IBM PC were invented.  I got my first PC"compatible" (not "clone") in 1986, and have had an XT, 386, 486, Pentium, now a Dual Core.  I worked on DEC computers with octal programming switches that turned into very large, heavy paperweights if the program crashed.  I used command line Unix at Major Southeastern Aerospace Contractor but not a WIMP-interfaced version (WIMP = Windows, Icons, Mouse, Pointer), so I have my home computer chops.

A little learning curve must be climbed, but nothing wrong with that. 

But you shouldn't have to be this guy...


  1. Welcome, my brother. And I always took you for a PDP sort of guy. ;-)

  2. Welcome to Linux!

    I have run Fedora Linux as my main home OS since 2004. I also run ClamAV in Linux, with a nightly cron job that updates virii signatures. I have only found virii in e-mail attachments from buddies runing Windows, and have never had any problems with my Linux box.

    If you haven't already, check out Open Office. It serves well to replace MS Office. It's cheaper, too, being free.

    The only "gotcha" that lies ahead is that dual-boot Linux/Windows systems can't ever be upgraded to larger hard drives. Linux will be fine. But, Windows will blue screen if it ever detects a larger physical drive on boot-up than it was installed with originally.

    I was dual boot for the first 4 years, but finally abandoned Windows entirely 2 years ago upon needing lots more drive space and finding that Windows would not tolerate the upgrade. I could copy the dual-boot system over to a new drive that was the exact same size, and Windows was fine. But, since I needed more drive space, I finally just decided to abandon Windows. (I hadn't booted Windows in over 6 months at the time that I upgraded the hard drive.)

    I haven't missed Windows at all. (I also have a laptop that can run Windows, Vista, if I absolutely need to. This is most often because Windows is a little easier to use on the road from motels with Wi-Fi. Lots of motel chains effectively lock out Linux OS Wi-Fi access, mostly through the inane limitations that they place on acceptable browsers that can activate the free 24 hour access with a security code.)

    - G


  3. Congradulations Graybeard for making the first step. Linux isn't perfect, but I've been happy with it. Hopefully, you'll find yourself booting to Widows less and less.


  4. Welcome to software freedom! Roam, explore, frolic in the wide open fields of possibility presented by Open Source Software. Metaphorically, of course =)

    I've dual booted Windows XP with Gentoo Linux for years without problem, and I've only noticed one consistent gotcha: If you ever have to reinstall windows, it will wipe out your bootloader (presumably GRUB) and you'll have to boot the live CD and reinstall the bootloader. Not a big deal but one to be aware of.

    The command line rocks!

  5. Thanks, all. It has gone pretty smoothly so far, although I still have a few bridges to cross. Tonight I have not been in XP a minute, and probably won't until Wednesday, to get a weekly podcast. iTunes is still incompatible with Linux and apparently by design.