Sunday, September 02, 2007

Escape to Linux

It was four years ago this weekend— yes, Labor Day weekend 2003— that I went over to Linux. I had ordered and received a boxed set of Mandrake 9.1, and also a used and reconditioned IBM ThinkPad T20. Installing Linux on the ThinkPad was a breeze, though it took me two or three months to find my sea legs. You know, little things like getting the computer to work with floppy disks or a printer. But before the end of the year I found myself doing anything with Linux that I pleased. If I didn't know how, I could look it up. Wrote a little piece about my experience, Escape to Linux, which achieved some minor notoriety in certain limited quarters in cyberspace.

After Mandrake 9.1, I went over to Mandrake 10.1, then to Mandriva 2006, and most recently to Mandriva 2007. I dunno, I might feel tempted by Ubuntu, but I'm long since familiar with Mandrake/Mandriva, and there is that learning curve to consider. Basically Mandriva just works, or pretty close to; easy to use, and yet at the same time it's easy to get down and dirty with the technical side of things if you want to.

The most annoying thing about Mandriva is their carelessness with quality assurance: you can just bet each final release will come with an armful of obtrusive bugs, some of which they will never get around to fixing. Oh well. Mandriva 2007 is the best release in this regard, of those I've used, since Mandrake 9.1.

And recently I've come full circle: brought that second computer back from vacation with me, the one with Windows XP on it (mostly as a bargaining chip with my ISP, which "doesn't support Linux"). Though I still rely on my ThinkPad, and Linux, for my everyday work and leisure.



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