Monday, November 29, 2004


Mandrake Linux 9.1, running Fluxbox
I'm waiting for the newest version of Mandrakelinux to arrive.

My main computer is a laptop— an IBM ThinkPad T20, Pentium III, 700 MHz, 384 megs of RAM, 11.2 gigabyte hard drive, running under Mandrake Linux 9.1. I've grown very much attached to the computer, and to Linux. You couldn't pay me to go back to Windows.

I jumped the track a year ago in September. Ordered a boxed set of CDs and manual from Mandrake— I could've ordered the disks cheaper from elsewhere, or downloaded them from Mandrake and burned my own CDs for free, but ordering a boxed set is my way of supporting the Open Source movement.

Installation was surprisingly easy— about 45 minutes, and there I was. I had to go in and edit one config file afterwards to cure the S3 Savage "scrolling hang." And of course with Linux you generally need an external modem (I got a Zoom Modem PC Card) instead of an internal winmodem. Also, I eventually got smart and cured several minor annoyances at once by disabling supermount. Apart from that, installation was easy and trouble-free.

It took me two or three months before I found my sea legs with Linux. It is different from Windows, after all. There's certainly a great deal about Linux that I haven't yet mastered. But I've long since reached the point where I can do everything I ordinarily need to do, easily and without thinking. And like I say, you couldn't pay me to go back to Windows.

Linux is all about choice. The two most widely used Linux desktops are KDE and GNOME. I use a third choice, the Fluxbox window manager (pictured above).

Now I'm waiting for Mandrakelinux 10.1 Official to arrive. (Note, now spelled as one word, due to legal wrangles regarding the name of a certain comic strip magician.) When it arrives, I'm going to do a full reinstall on my computer. Ah, this ought to be fun!



Blogger Caltechgirl said...

One language at a time for me. All the linux I learned in college is gone, I'm afraid, and it will have to wait in line behind HTML and French.

Monday, November 29, 2004 3:16:00 PM  
Blogger Chris Reid said...

There's probably an easy way to upgrade your installation, without losing all your data. In Slackware I believe the command is upgradepkg --distro or something. I don't know if you've ever had to format and reinstall Linux before but it's usually a much more annoying process than with Windows, since there's alot of config files and such which need to be tailored to your machine before it works properly. Unless, of course, you have your /home mounted as a different partition...

Monday, November 29, 2004 7:17:00 PM  
Blogger Paul Burgess said...

Yeah, /home is mounted as a different partition. Though I'm planning to back up my data to zip disks, just in case— I'm going to repartition and free up a 1.1-gig Win98 partition which I never use. No more dual boot for me! I'm planning on the whole process taking up all my spare time for a while.

Tuesday, November 30, 2004 7:05:00 AM  

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