Time to clean the windows

Sunday, February 18, 2007
When I was a lad...

I remember the old Dos Shell that was the starting point for launching programs on the computer. How lame was that? You looked for .exe files and when you clicked on those, a program would launch.
I remember Dos upgrades and the first windows Microsoft launched. As if that wasn't enough, even back then I had a keen awareness of "The Man," so when I discovered Geo works, I was smitten. Love at first sight.

But then came better versions of windows, and software that ran on windows, like it was suppose to.

The next challenge was keeping the thing safe from outsiders. Virus software had to be learned, then there was the spy/ad stuff that you had to watch out for.

But honestly, the looks of Windows just tires me out, completely boring. So last fall I tweaked things around here a bit and came up with a screen that looks like this. (Click to enlarge)

But now it's changing to something called Vista, and I'm nervous.

Some of the digital rights stuff makes me uncomfortable. The cost and demands it places on a system also mean spending money on new machines, and I still quite love that little 666mhz Windows 98 HP sitting in the kitchen corner that we still use every day.

So, I've been flirting with Linux lately. You know, trying this little thing or that. Boot DVD's that load an operating system onto your ram and can give you a feel for the real thing.

And I've been getting my courage up, doing a bit of reading on dual boot systems.

Well, last Thursday evening while at the Airport to pick up Hillary, I wandered into the duty free store to snoop. And they had "Linux Format" in the magazine rack. Its a UK publication, and the beauty of it was that it contained a disk with with a full OpenSuse 10.2 operating system on it. Synchronicity indeed.

I grabbed it and last night was my first chance to install.

Nervous but sure I had covered every eventuality I went ahead and installed it.

Install went sweet, no problem. Partitioned without a hickup. I chose the KDE interface and was able to get the 3d stuff working on it. I think I still need to tweak some of how it looks as it resembles a bit of a chunky look and feel to it. I prefer fine lines and not so much the chunky cartoonish look and feel to some of it. I'm hoping that will be fixed with updated drivers for the video, etc.

And I'm still fighting with a way to access the Internet via WiFi. That battle isn't being won easily, yet.

So yeah, look at me, I'm dual booting it. Woohoo.

But Linux does require one to think differently than you did with Windows. The structure and where things are requires you to relearn it, in Linux. And that might be the steep curve for me. Too steep to travel? We'll see. Once I get an internet connection then I can go to town on it.

I am excited by what these opportunities could mean for people who want options when it comes to an ever shrinking world of windows. And the cost! No more payments to Redmond. No licensing fees, no buying new software, because its free.

I'm not a Bill Blamer, I just like to keep my options open. And these options look wide open.

What's next, a triple boot?

Bring it on baby.


  1. Randall, I wish I had your courage. I'm very interested in such things as learning Linux but afraid of complications I might not be able to resolve and of course the learning curve. I'm not even sure what types of things i might need to learn. I suppose with the dual boot I could always go safely back to XP to read up on my issues. Right now I just want to get my new vid card in to replace the malfunctioning one then think about it from there.

  2. I remember when being able to launch programs by typing commands at the C:\> prompt was exciting stuff. Being able to click on an .EXE file was like science fiction.

    Of course that goes back to the days of creating JCL command files to run Fortran programs on a mainframe IBM computer and waiting for the cryptic messages on the printout to tell me if the job ran successfully or the source code needed debugging. At least I never had to work with IBM sense cards.

    Sometimes I'm tempted to try Linux, but I must confess that I like the variety of user-friendly Windows software. I have been assimilated. Resistance is futile....

  3. :D

    The dual boot community grows. Well done that man!

    Now I want to triple boot my system so I can have games that run at a decent rate. Lets say that even the latest 'XP-approved' version of mechwarrior is very poor with XP.

    Come to think of it, Mandriva is supposed to have software to run windows games well.

  4. Windows has indeed lost something to me as well. So much so that when my wife and I contemplated our home computer, we eventually decided on purchasing an Apple. We use that computer for some light word processing, blogging, surfing, pictures and hope to be able to do some video on it. I thought... why not just get an iMac?
    So we've made the bigger plunge, it will be delivered in a week or so. Oh, and I hear, you can dual boot Windows XP (or Vista) on a Mac. I was surprised too. I haven't gotten mine yet, but if half of what I've been led to believe is true, Windows will go the way of DOS for me. Although I do miss the fun I had with my 486DX33 with 4mb of ram with a MIDI sound card!!!


I'm moderating all the comments these days.

Copyright Randall Friesen. Powered by Blogger.