Sunday, September 09, 2007

Desktop revenge of the nerds

Well, as of now all is well on my Linux desktop. Previously I got a little greedy for desktop video playing in the background of my near perfect setup. I changed the video drivers to accommodate the fancy graphics and boom! my Linux wouldn't boot at all. I tried all kinds of rescue boot disks to no avail, the system was hosed. There is something to be said of non-programmers waiting for stuff to reach the mainstream. I heard that both Mac and even MS Windows could do background video, I thought surely Linux could do it too. I am not alone in my quest. Others are seeking this in Linux also. It is possible but, I want to see it without adding both extreme hardware and software. After all, I am a man of modest means.

Hosing your system brings on a whole slew of lessons to be learned. The biggest one is to backup both personal data and settings. It also gave me a chance to practice things only a Linux user can appreciate. I am talking about using the dreaded command line. It does come in handy when a Gui just can't be summoned. I can not understand the gasp! at the thought of using a command line. A little knowledge goes a long way in Linux and there is very little to figure out if some helpful person gives you the script to type in and shows you what to expect on a web page. I think command line fear is over rated. I also use the command line in MS Windows because some things you just don't have access to in the Gui.

I figured a few hours of downloading and tweaking and playing around and all is restored on my Linux desktop. I even found a program to dress up the boot loader with color. My Linux desktop now plays the Airwolf theme song on startup and the Knightrider theme on shutdown. Dumb but cute. There is quite a list of software packages to explore in Linux, all for free. Finding the ones to do what I want to do is a job in itself but, part of the fun of computing. Do I have a wish list of things I'd like to see in Linux? Well, the desktop background video for one, but also I would like to see something like Incredimail, a Window's program that has full color email, for Linux. Gee, I'll have to give some time to XP one of these days just to visit the few programs I miss.

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