Monday, October 25, 2010

Living the Linux life.

PC users are of several kinds, the casual user, the business user and the enthusiast.
I guess I fall under the enthusiast, because my love for computers extends beyond what they can be used for. I became a guide by virtue of hands-on experience but I am not an expert via training or ego. I make no claims of guru status though my wife will exclaim to friends a certain nerdiness and geektatude.  I am compared to a hot rodder knowing enough to detail a car but not to make the show circuit and collect trophies.

I read all about computer operating systems in Byte magazine before I even had a computer. DOS and DOS front-ends were replaced by MS Windows 3.0 thru to XP. I stumbled upon Linux in a library book. LST Linux was a German distribution I almost got to work on my 286 DOS machine. I still am not a programmer, if I load it on, push the enter key and it doesn't work I'm done. I tried Slackware, at that time formatting separate partitions for each system folder was my understanding. Today I make one partition for the system and one for a memory swap area. I think one for the home or user files should be done so that upgrading is less a pain. The part many don't get is that they don't have to install it to use it. Just pop in a live-CD Linux, reboot, use it, save to flash drive, shutdown, remove CD and done, without changing your PC. Do your homework if you plan to install and/or get knowledgeable help.

Once you have a working system you don't usually go around comparing your system to others. But, because you do get to use other systems, you notice what annoys you and what sparks your praise. The system you use the most is the standard and defending that is normal. Believe me, no one is objective, bias is rampant and spin is everywhere. It's cool but, nice but, ugly but, expensive but, and cheap but. Butts are standard on users and concerning their PCs.

Linux was like a mystery to be solved. How did Linux run on equipment meant to run Microsoft? I had to pay for every Microsoft software and so-called free-ware for it was awful. Here is Linux, not great but OK, with open source free and better than any free-ware for Microsoft. The improvements over the years were steady and the cost did not go up, what is this? How can this go on and people not regard? I think because I was willing to go a little deeper into PC stuff, I got hooked. Linux lets me play with my collection of PC hardware and get stuff done too. Hot rods for show are cool but to be able to drive it like any other cars is what makes it cooler yet.

My kids visit, I don't dual boot for their sake. They have few questions or no questions about Linux. They use what's on my machines, it's not difficult or different. To me the Linux desktop is simplicity and works well. Sophistication and polish often gets in the way of efficient working. I'd rather have simplicity and polish. Linux does this, especially the Gnome and XFCE desktops, though some would say this of KDE desktop, I don't feel that way. What ever is your fav, I am sure the simplicity and polish factors are high for you.    

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