Sunday, March 09, 2008

The Linuxville embassy blurb

Linuxville is not that difficult to navigate, but it does depend upon your approach. I highly recommend the live-CD Linux because you can visit and leave at your discretion. You could employ a jump drive or a shared directory on your MS system to save your memoirs. If you plan to stay, you have a couple of options from dual-booting on two hard drives, two or more partitions on one drive to going the virtual machine route. So, putting down roots (installation) can be tricky or as straight forward as a fresh install making Linux your only OS (welcome to the neighborhood). The most comfortable approach is pre-installation, then you can just turn on, boot up, log in and enjoy.

Then, what kind of user are you? Your bio makes a difference. How Linux fits your needs is the key to happiness. Server and workstation admins and coders will probably want to know all about the text input options like, the terminal emulators and text editors. They need to have at the internals, configure, compose and compile programs and other system admin stuff. If you are a point and click artist, like me, you want the ins and outs of the GUI made plain. At some time in your Linux life you should venture to know a few command line things but it is not a prerequisite. If it is your own computer you are required to know about user accounts, permissions and basic file management. What car owner would survive without knowing how to add oil or change a tire. The car manual is the car user's guide to all the user accessible features. You've read what I think about most Linux user guides, but they are none the less very helpful. Also the distro of your choice has web pages, user forums and tutorials, and also fanboy/girl blogs are rampant. This is in lieu of "the missing manual". And if all else fails, "goggle it" or "yahoo it" (sounds funny), the info is on the net by other users (Linuxville citizens). Did I forget Linux user's groups and computer clubs?

If you are a tourist or road warrior (using the live-CD) you don't have all the rights and privileges of a resident. Depending on your hardware, live-CD's run slower and you don't have the (MS Windows compatibility) extras. So if the fonts in the word processor or web browser look funny or you can't play a video or you're unhappy with the live-CD selection, you must realize this is a foretaste of better things to come.
Some live-CD's come with tools to add stuff you want and then make a new live-CD, but that is yet to be explored by yours truly.

But the big question that is asked by all visitors to Linuxville is, can I do my normal computer stuff with Linux? The answer is yes, maybe and yes, probably. You have to look into the applications available to see if they meet your needs. This includes running MS Windows in a virtual machine or using a software called Wine (allows MS software to run in Linux).

Then, if my MS stuff works fine, why try Linux? You are free to try or not. And if the opportunity to try or adopt presents itself, the benefits are yours to own. In my situation economics, choice, history, philosophy, involvement and many other considerations made Linux very attractive. But, trying it, I liked it. The cost of ownership and the legal commitment of Linux is very low for an individual user (per seat). Maintenance is lower, security is very good, and stability is excellent. But the best part of Linux is that I did not have to buy newer, bigger, faster equipment in order to run the latest OS so that I could do the same things I've always done on my computer, upgrading was and is still an option. I get good performance and bang for my buck.

Regrets, you ask, are there any regrets for switching? Sometimes you are the only Linuxville citizen in a crowd, you do the same things as others but, the slight difference can be annoying or gratifying. Having a bumper sticker is fine but wearing a TUX costume is a bit extreme. I often feel a quiet desperation because others are missing out or are duped and in the back of my head is a notion to educate them. Practically, I have not missed a beat in my computer use and as I find out more about Linux, I find Linux can accommodate that expansion. And I have discovered the holy grail of the do-it-yourself world (if your that kind of person), bragging rights.

Linuxville, citizenship has its benefits.

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