Thursday, May 14, 2009

so much Linuxville, so little time

The absolute saddest part of my job as a Linuxville guide is not being able to try everything, do everything or know everything. I guess this is why I only dabble in art. If I am blogging I'm not making art. If I fixing PC's I'm not making art. It is not just me, count how many general practice doctors you know, then how many specialist (todays trend). Why can't you specialize in general medicine? It pays better to know in depth and people respect you and say to their friends, you are a geek, nerd, guru, pc whiz or techie. You have karnal knowledge of the OS (the wizard of OS!), and maybe can sense my problems before they happen. Please come and work your magic. "That will be $.25 for the parts and labor and $175.62 for the advice, thank you."

Oh, Arnold, what did you do? I loaded Gnome desktop on my Xubuntu, what a mess. My thought was to explore Gnome as an alternate now I'm stuck with Gnome as my main desktop. You see, when installing multiple desktops there is not much to isolate them from each other. XFCE and Gnome share somethings but Gnome tends to be the dominate personality. In some distributions I've used in the past there was a check box to enable/disable which desktop manager was ruling the roost. This is not the case here, so until I sort this out my Xubuntu has become Ubuntu.

XFCE is a little leaner in resource use but who cares, if I really wanted lean, I'd use Fluxbox or IceWM. What is really nice about XFCE is how it is set up. Simple menus, simple configurations, it just does not get in your way with whiz bang zowie, look at what I can do!!! Gnome, I can set up to look like XFCE but it's not zippy like XFCE. There are more options like transparency in the panels "behind" the icons. I do like the timed wallpaper changer and the ability to easily customize the theme colors. Performance is not bad in Gnome, I increased my RAM to 1024MB. XFCE is already zippy but more RAM and it's zippier yet!

You ever wonder why some well padded folks own a fleet of cars? Believe me if one car could satisfy that person it would be quite a car. Holographic skinning outside and inside. I wonder if chameleon skin could be wired to a computer? Multiple fuel tanks and a golf cart to Autobahn speed regulator. The ability to convert from Mini to Hummer at the drop of a hat, a gear shifter with seamless gear meshes and selectable car noises from stealthy to a gas guzzling HEMI. The funny part is someone will want a fleet of those, oh well. It's human to not get enough.

The kick the ATX PC case to the curb project is rolling along smoothly. Here's how you can get one. First buy a bigger laptop, one with the regular keyboard. Then drop it, oh did you break the display? But instead of replacing the display, remove it with the lid. Now dig out the video cable and LCD monitor from your former computer (check the closet!) and plug that in. Hey, this works quite nice as a desktop. I've got leg room and shelf space. They could make it a convertible/transportable kind of desktop computer thingy, I love it!!

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know about those all-in-one PC's with the computer built into the display. It's just like those TV/VCR combos, if that is your only one and it's broke, you got to send the whole thing in to be fixed. As a techie I stand for the separation of computer and display and church and state. I will not compromise my principles! (vote for me, please!) I will fight for your desktop PC but there needs to be a CHANGE.

Speaking of standards, the ATX PC standard is recognized by all hardware manufacturers, but laptop makers enjoy a design engineer's free for all. At least they are not devising new ports on the fly. What would happen to the laptop market if a standard laptop manufacturing format emerged similar to the ATX standard? Can you imagine your favorite laptop brandname being reduced to a system integrator of OEM parts? Hey, it's not our fault, we didn't make that part! (hey Harry, I think we need a different gadget vendor, our good name is getting besmirched by poor quality). Think assembly lines diverging to different points from the same warehouse and different logos for different brands being slapped on. And you thought going to that better store got you better cheese! Ha!

My current realization has been that I am now comfortable with using Linux. I am not a Linux system admin wizard maintaining servers and flocks of networked PC's. I am a humble personal computer owner who has found Linux able to run wonderfully and meet all my computing needs. The Linux OS runs great, now what? For me, it's all about the applications. I am throwing down the mouse hand glove. To administer systems is one world, to manage and use a personal computer is another. Who doesn't know Linux on servers or high-powered workstations? But also, who knows Linux on the average personal computer? This is the part people wrestle with. The history of Microsoft and Apple is engrained in our computer user memory, but still we ask, when did Linux came about. If you were a Byte Magazine fan like I was, you'd know. Byte Magazine tracked all the computer happening in geekdom. I am showing my age here, I know Byte was before many of todays computer user's time. I miss the focus and the coverage. There is no mag covering it all today, we have divided off into MS, Mac or Linux based interest and support groups. We flaunt our loyalities and allegences and logos. The machines claim user-friendliness and the users don't.

So much talk about Linux the OS, now that I got it, what do I do with it? Run applications, just like with MS Windows or Mac OS. First people ask can I run my Windows or Mac stuff on Linux? If you bought a Mac you don't ask if Windows stuff will run on it. The same for Windows. You learn about the software that runs on it. Linux is expected to run what you already know, but Linux has its own stuff. At your insistance Linux has accomodated some of your wants through emulation and virtualization. In that sense Linux is becoming a universal OS. But again, Linux has it's own stuff. As your Linuxville guide I try to explore the Linux stuff. I don't care about comparing GIMP to Photoshop. I just use GIMP. That which is better, knowing which is best, competition, there can only be one thing is dumb. If Photoshop ran on Linux and Windows the way that GIMP does, then we'd have a fight. Besides, how many graphic packages on the Microsoft platform make Photoshop a non-issue, many of which are free?

Take it from the Linuxville guide, when you come to Linuxville leave the MS and Mac bags at home. You don't have to look back when you know you can go back any time. If you settle in here, you can manage a remote residence, or go back to visit or have dual citizenship. My intent is that you can appreciate what's here. And even I haven't seen everything that's here, I am but one person still discovering and my interest are probably not yours. So, if you explore, you can be my guide. This is normal in Linuxville.

2 comments:

Michael said...

Hay Big A. If you have a separate /home partition, you can reinstall the /. Just don't format /home. Any extra partitions you can mount after installation. Need any help, let me know.

rnojonson said...

You know the second distro I encountered was Slackware. At that time setting partition sizes for each system folder was the thing. It scared me away from Linux. A separate /home partition is a wonderful thing, I would go further by putting /home on a different drive.

Thanks for the offer, I feel more secure already!