Saturday, December 13, 2008

My Linux adventure begins...

Any of you who have followed my blog for the past year have probably witnessed the frustration I have felt with Vista. It's been a long road - I really tried to get over that "initial resistance" that all us techies are supposed to have to new technologies. I couldn't fall in like with this OS. I appreciate many of the technologies Vista has to offer and many of its thoughtful little features that are supposed to make my life easier. I just couldn't get over my astonishment at some of the basic ways the OS fell on its face. I couldn't get over how the engineers so often seemed to paint themselves into corners and came up with yet another band-aid solution. Where was the master architect??? I need something better.

Why don't I try Linux. I know people like it. I know it's been around a long time and that the technology is proven. I have to stop being so ignorant to this large portion of the personal computing world. In truth, although I am a reformed Novell man and senior Microsoft techie, I do have some limited experience with Linux. I installed my first Linux distro in 1992 when it was released on 90 diskettes (I think I have installed it twice since then). I have used Cygwin to create a Linux environment within Windows so I could run unique applications only available in the Linux world. Let's not forget those embedded devices! I find Linux in the most unlikely places - like on my Tivo or shoved onto someone's Xbox, etc. It's been around and I've edited the occasional config file or set the occasional permission, but it was always when following instructions and hardly because I knew what I was doing.

I want you to know where I am coming from so that perhaps you can relate to the adventure I am about to undertake. It might explain some of the assumptions I make or some of the troubles I create for myself.

I am going to install Linux. I am going to start using Linux. I am going to slowly try to use it for everything I want to do and wheen myself off of MS. I'm retooling this blog - it is now going to be a diary that follows my progress. Jump in with comments or suggestions anytime - I welcome the feedback! I won't pretend to be an expert - my articles will reveal all my warts (ignorance).

Although this is a home project, I won't be easy on myself or Linux. To start with, let's take a look at the computer I have chosen for my project. It is a small 12.1" HP tx2600 series laptop, but it is pimped out with features:

  • AMD dual-core QL-60
  • Dual Layer DVD burner w/ Lightscribe
  • ATI Radeon HD3200
  • Dual screens
  • Card reader for SD/MMC/MS/MS PRO/xD
  • Ethernet 10/100/1000
  • Wifi 802.11a/b/g/n
  • Bluetooth
  • IR receiver and remote
  • Fingerprint scanner
  • Touch screen (finger-based)
  • Wacom tablet features (pen-based)
  • Webcam
Have I missed anything? I even got a dock to test changing configurations. I want all this stuff to work in the end. If I can get all this stuff working - and working well, I think that will say a lot about Linux. Then it'll be time to explore the world of Linux applications.

At the moment the laptop is running 64-bit Windows Vista Home Premium. I've familiarized myself with all the features and how they should operate 'normally'. I'm quite impressed actually - I think I better multi-boot this puppy so I can go back and forth between operating systems.

I tried playing a full-screen 720p video sample under Vista using the VLC player from VideoLAN. It was unwatchable. The sound played but the video skipped constantly and dramatically. I'm curious to see if I get better performance using the same player under Linux...


911allo said...

I have the same machine and the same o/s ! j am very interested in what you are doing!

Gordon Martin said...


Check out the rest of the articles under "Linux" in the "Major Topics" section on the right.

I guess I better get to configuring that Wacom tablet and webcam soon eh? :-)