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Thursday, May 25, 2006

Adventures in Linux, Part One. Guest staring some penguin in a tuxedo.

Yeah, I've decided I'm going to do some multi-part posts on differant subjects because I think they're going to keep on coming up and it makes it easy for people to skip over stuff they aren't very intrested in. The short story is that my copy of Mandriva Linux arrived in the post on Tuesday, the rest is me talking about it's shortcomings and benefites.

So this is my first foray into the world of linux. So far I've been fairly impressed by an OS that is still reciving meager support compared to it's evil corperate counterpart. It's bad rap for being confusing and hard to understand is ENTIRELY unjustfied. Knoppix (the Live CD Linux, bet you can't do that Mr.Gates, huh?) worked instantly, no buggering around. Mandriva was easier to install than windows.

Both Knoppix and Mandriva use the KDE graphical fontend (I've seen GNOME as an alternative, but KDE meets my needs right now) which has all the basic stuff you would expect if you've always used Windows or MacOS untill now. It has a desktop with icons, taskbar, startbar (renamed to the slightly LESS pretentious "K Menu") all of which are easy to customised and mess around with. Most intrestingly, it intergrates multiple desktops, so I can have something running on another desktop and not cluttering my workspace and still be able to check on it easily.

Madriva also came with a decent range of pre-installed packages. Enough to cover all the basics of what you might want to do with the system. Web Browser, Mail Client, Firewall, Desktop Publishing, Text Editor, Graphics package (Incidently, GIMP runs REALLY well on linux), a few games, a dual boot utility and loads of other handy bits and pieces. It has a ton of utilties that windows lacked, like a decent CD Burning Program. Thats before I even delved into all the extra packages stored on the CD and downloadable from the automate internet services. Man, the open source industry has been BUSY whilst I've been screaming bloody murder at Mircrosoft.

Things get a little complicated when you dive a little deeper, although I doubt the avarage user would try and push as hard and fast as I did to do intresting things with the OS. So far I've failed to install anything that wasn't packaged with the OS (I did find a copy of FreeCiv, how do you feel like playing a Penguin user Adam? :P) although I'm working towards it. The horrendous shortcoming of the copy of Mandriva I bought was the manual; which was WAY too simplified. I can work out how to browse the internet and work the mail program myself thanks. The most glaring error appeared when I wanted to try the games that came packaged, for some reason the menu item that was supposed to be for them wasn't anywhere in the menu. After about half an hour of buggering around I find they aren't even installed. Theres nothing in the manual about installing things. Luckily the install program was intuitive enough to work out by myself.

Yes, I've caught the Linux bug. Yes I like it. No I'm not going to start going to linux forums and arguing about which distribution is best. I'm having too much fun with the whole, drinking, dancing and general debachery thing.


Blogger kimlett said...

I finally make my way here and I can't read your blog at all because I don't speak NERD.


4:00 pm  
Blogger Titch said...

I deny!

I have social skills, that makes me a geek, not a nerd.

It's not my fault you ignored the generic warning for this post that it was about geekery.

5:47 pm  
Anonymous aD said...

Hah, he's right, the word "Linux" is on the first line so he did warn us.

Knoppix is rather cool, it seems to do a real good job of hardware detection. I seem to remember having problems getting it to use an NTFS driver a couple of years back which made it a little less easy to mount Windows volumes but was still very impressed.

Don't forget that Linux distos, like Windows, come with various services that run that some users don't use, so turning these off will help keep you more secure and speedy. (I may just be spouting old, musty, incorrect info though :-)

I'll have to fire up FreeCiv and get to grips with it again and see if we can get a game of longer than an hour this time!

2:43 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought it was a small wild cat that lived in the mountains - silly me!

M x x x

4:59 am  

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