For years now I have been hearing about Linux, the free open source operating system, that will run on just about any machine. All those machines that are in the landfills could be running Linux, and go to needy homes. After years of being scared by the fact that is free, and you know what they say, you get what you pay for, I took the plunge. Curiosity did get the best of me. I was able to download, Ubuntu and Freespire ,as well as the commercial Linspire (which in reality is just a Windows ripoff). I thought that this experiment should take place on my Toshiba laptop and not my main computer which is a G4 iMac. The laptop didn’t have much to lose, and if it crashed and burned, I wouldn’t be heartbroken.
Both Freespire and Linspire gave me nothing but problems. For some reason I wasn’t able to even get past the initial install screen. Everything froze on me. I even tried the grub fix disc, but nothing helped. Before reinstalling Windows again, I thought I should try “Ubuntu”. Ubuntu these days seems to be getting most of the press, as it has been penned the most user friendly out of all the Linux Distributions. I have to say that the install came off without a hitch. So far the only problem I have had, is getting my no name USB laser mouse to work. For now, I am using the laptop trackpad. If one thing did come out of it, is that I have finally learned to use my trackpad, instead of relying on the mouse all the time. The trackpad, sucks when it comes to games. I’m sure I will figure it out in due time, but for now, I’m just learning how to imput the unix code. You could probably get away without using code, but I know in the long run it will make life easier.
I have to say, they still have a long way go go, before the average user can use Linux. If you expect your windows machine to just do all the maintenance on it’s own, the same way you expect your car to do all the oil changes then stay clear of any Linux distros. Perhaps in another 5 to 10 years, Linux might be a true Windows competitor. If you like to trouble-shoot and putter with your computer, then this is the OS for you. For now, my penguin will be a distance cousin that I see periodically.