Linux, eBay and Books

Installing Linux (an operating system that is an alternative to Windows) is a bit like buying something on eBay. If you buy an item and it’s not right, you try and convince yourself that it was worth it anyway. As least I do – I don’t like to admit that it’s all a big mess up, even to myself.

Linux is a bit of a cult operating system and I like it, I’ve just installed Redhat’s latest release, Fedora Core 2. The problem is hardware support, because so few people use linux, manufacturers tend not to write drivers for it, and there are a few problems on my laptop (all of which there are work arounds for) but it’s still annoying. You have to know your way around a computer, and have time to spare to make it work. Once it is all setup and running nicely though it is really cool. For a start yum is really nice – imagine Windows Update but able to upgrade all of the applications on your computer not just the ones from Microsoft. Jamie Zawinski once said that “Linux is only free if your time has no value”, things have improved a lot since he said that and will continue to improve I’m sure but everytime I install a new version I’m reminded of those words.

My girlfriend Em, a veteran blogger who is just setting up a new blog (so be gentle if it looks a mess when you visit, her site is being built as I speak) has decided to change to Linux, I wish her well and she’s smart and she has time on her hands so I’m sure it’ll work out fine and she’ll learn a lot about computers in the process. I can tell I’m a geek as I find it really cool that I can talk to my girlfriend about rpms. It shows the way the wind is blowing though, more and more people are going to install it and as it improves you are going to need to be less and less technically adept to get it working and there will be more and more hardware support. If I was Microsoft I’d be worried.

I started out by mentioning buying things on eBay and there was a reason for that; I just used it to buy a digital camera. When it arrived, although it had been fairly well packaged, the packaging was ripped and torn and the LCD screen was smashed; it looked like somebody had played football with it on the way to my house – not good. With a company you’d ask for a refund but when it’s a private individual and it’s not their fault, that seems unfair – I should have paid extra for postal insurance. What started out as a very good deal has turned out to be a complete waste of 50 – I guess that’s the risk I was taking and I’ll just have to be philosophical about it. Ho hum.

Still, on the plus side, every book I read at the moment turns to gold; everytime I pick up a book I’m really enjoying it. I’ve just finished War of the Worlds and thought that was suprisingly good and I’m really loving High Fidelity by Nick Hornby. Next up is A Certain Chemistry by the guy that wrote one of the funniest websites on the net. It’ll be hard to live up to his last book, “Things my girlfriend and I have argued about” but I’ve got high hopes. We’ll see I guess…