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Marty's "Living life in chapters" A self development blog: Platform choice

Marty's "Living life in chapters" A self development blog

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Platform choice

There have been more than a few occasions now when I've heard my teenage son moan and curse at his PC in that incredibly impatient fashion that I experience myself (impatience being a major flaw in my personality!) Popping in to his bedroom to see him, I witness the incessant double clicking of his mouse, followed by a loud sigh and a few choice words. I smile quietly to myself imagining all those overworked Microsoft "mice" coming out on strike due to overwork with far too many background applications.

"Why don't you reboot to Linux?" I suggested to him. "It's so much faster and you don't get nearly so many screen freezes."

It was about 18 months ago that I finally decided to seriously take a look at Linux as an alternative operating system to the Microsoft genre. It was about that time that Ubuntu first appeared as a pre-loaded system on some laptops. A work colleague back then persuaded me to take a look as we both salvaged an old PC for the clients to use. I'd never seen any Linux system in operation and I was pleasantly surprised to see how easy it was to use, not to mention the slick boot up sequence and obvious speed advantage. I'm not a real convert. Around 90% of what I want to do on a PC, I can get out of a Linux derirative. The best part is that it is virtually all "Open Source" meaning programs are, in the main, not commercial and therefore are free. This includes games and many other software packages that would costs quite a bit to buy on the equivalent commercial market.
My choice of system is Ubuntu Studio. I like this because it has numerous packages relating to video and music production. I've put the same (as a duel boot) on my sons PC bearing in mind he is studying music at college. Commercial programs such as "Reason", a program that costs £128.95 has an equivalent called "Ardour" which is free, as in REALLY FREE!. There are many more. I've still yet to persuade my son to look at and use Ardour, but I'm sure he will soon.

I still keep XP on my PC. There are still things I need it for, in particular my Lexmark cheap printer because Lexmark have yet to release drivers to work with Linux. (if you don't know what I mean by drivers, it basically means that the printer won't work under Linux....... yet!)

If you haven't tried Linux yet, I recommend giving it a try. You can download Ubuntu Linux to burn on to a CD or DVD and boot the kernel (operating system) direct from the disc without installing it on your hard drive. The standard Ubuntu is not aesthetically (visually) my preference being a muddy brown colour, but that can easily be altered once installed. There are plenty on guides on how to use a Linux system. There are thousands of guides and snippets of advice on many newsgroups. There is a massive community out there ready and willing to help.


---ooo000ooo---

Day 2 at my new job and I'm still happy. I feel so much more relaxed. If anything, it has made me even more aware of the degree of stress I'd got myself into over the last 7-8 months. As the saying goes, a change is as good as a rest. Of course, there is the novelty aspect of it that will fade after time, but I'm certain I made the right decision to change jobs.

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