The PhoneBoy Blog


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Juggling and Fighting Computers

The past several days I have been trying to find the right mix of computers to have sitting at my desk. Part of this was caused by a desire to decrease the amount of noise nearby as I seem to be a bit less tolerant of the “hum” of computers these days.

I had “replaced” my Linux desktop machine, which was living in a 4U rackmount case that was sitting under my desk, and replaced it with an old WIndows XP laptop I had. Forcing myself to use it for several days made me realize how utterly unhappy with Windows as an operating system. XP is a lot better than earlier versions of Windows, but let’s face it, it’s still Windows and even with using mostly open-source apps, I find the experience less than satisfactory.

Today, I pulled a different laptop out that had Damn Small Linux and tried using that. While I like Damn Small Linux, my big problem is that I wanted to turn it into a Debian box. Unfortunately, the latest versions of Damn Small Linux seem to do something that causes a normal apt-get dist-upgrade to horribly break.

I then decided to download a copy of the latest beta for Ubuntu Dapper Drake, or rather the kubuntu version of it. I used the Live CD just to get a feel for the OS and then I opted to install it using the new Espresso installer. The KDE UI for Espresso didn’t work, but fortunately the GNOME version did and several minutes later, it’s installed and running. I am currently upgrading all the packages. Hopefully when I am done, I’ll be able to find a package for Synergy so I can share my keyboard and Mouse with my day job’s Windows XP laptop and a PowerPC-based Mac Mini.

Of course, what I really want to do is make my main desktop one of those new Intel Mac Minis–or maybe splurge for a MacBookPro. I know from experience that Macs pretty much “just work” and the interface is a dream. It’s somewhat easier to find software for a Mac than it is for Linux and the stuff that does exist works a lot better.

I am rapidly reaching the point where I don’t really want to mess with the computers constantly to get them to do what I want. I just want them to work. So far, the Mac comes the closest to “just works” for me. Linux is open enough that I can pretty much make it do what I want, given enough time and energy. Windows, on the other hand, is fairly inflexible and forces me to work in an unproductive manner. If it weren’t for the fact there are several Windows applications I need to run, and they only run on Windows, I would not use Windows.

Meanwhile, I’ve been fighting this stuff for too long this evening and I should go to bed since I have an early morning meeting tomorrow.


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