Harry Slaughter's blog

Cure for Windows: Part I

User frustration with M$ products is not waning. I recently started using an XP box for work (not by choice :), and wouldn't even know where to begin in describing that experience. Let's just say that I'm re-familiarizing myself with the hardware reset button.

A friend of mine recently complained to me about the frustrations with her XP box. I played around with it for a bit. It's a decent set of hardware, fairly new. I'd expect it to run circles around my own older Linux box at home, even after cutting my expecations in half because it was running XP. But this thing was definitely cursed. I'm not familiar with the latest Windows problems, but I suspect this machine had been overrun with spy/mal/ad ware: popups every few minutes (whether web browsing or not); mysterious spikes in disk I/O, mem useage, etc...

There's only one fix for a broken Windows box, and that's a clean re-install. My friend is relatively new to computers. This is in fact her first computer. I figured it might be an opportunity to introduce her to Linux. She'd seen my computer and noted the responsiveness, the lack of pop-ads, the fact that I was never forced to reboot. I told her that she could have the same experience if she ran Linux.

She agreed, and I picked the most user-friendly, stable distro of Linux that I'm aware of: Xandros.

It's Saturday and sunny and my dog is fidgety, so rather than sit here and finish this, I will continue it later. The results of this experiment will be revealed.

Damn good reasons to vote for Kerry

Whatever your positions, John, Kerry agrees with you.

Why I hate RedHat (II)

Well, I figured I'd give RedHat another try. Heck, they've had nearly ten years to come up with a functional Linux distribution.

So when it came time to order a new machine for work, I selected a box from Dell (another crappy company) with RedHat Enterprise 3 pre-installed.

To my surprise, the machine booted up nicely on the first go. I was quickly disappointed with their multimedia support -- Even though users are paying more than $100 for this distribution, RedHat still does not provide a version of XMMS (audio player) capable of playing MP3s (because they don't want to pay licensing fees).

KDE still sucks, and RedHat makes no improvements here.

And worst of all, their package management solution, up2date, is utter crap. It provides no way of selecting packages to add. For that, you have to go to RedHats cartoonish "add/remove software" application. But here's the kicker: After selecting the packages you want to add and remove, this alpha-state applications prompts you to insert CDs. The problem is that the files it's looking for don't exist on the CDs that it asks for! The packages are either on other CDs or aren't included on the CDs at all. This is at least proof that RedHat doesn't bother testing their add/remove software tool. I doubt they test the release CDs themselves.

Anyway, RedHat is still a piss poor distribution that does the Linux community a great disservice by perpetuating the idea that Linux distributions just suck.

Probably the best distribution for advanced Linux users is Gentoo, a distribution based on source code custom built to your hardware. Very cool, but also very time consuming and not user friendly.

For the new user with no ability (or interest) in learning how to admin a Linux system, I'd reccommend Xandros. Xandros is easier to install than any other OS out there (including M$ Winblows). If you're using a DHCP server (and don't have to configure your own network), you can have Xandros installed and fully functional (up and running) in less than ten minutes. This is not a free distribution. The basic version runs about $40, but comes with 30 days worth of support. For $80 you can buy a version that includes software called Crossover, which allows you to install and run Windows applications right off the Windows installer CDs.

Personally, I still use RedHat's abandoned child Fedora simply because it has the best hardware support and I've become accustomed to all the quirks and bugs in any RedHat release. And I don't mind having to put in a little work if I didn't have to pay anything. But as for the $150 RedHat Enterprise distribution, RedHat should be ashamed.

Censored by Kerry

Last night, I posted a polite but mildly anti-Kerry comment on this page: The Official Kerry-Edwards Blog.
This morning, my comment had been removed, and my ability to post comments to this blog has been removed.

I wasn't flaming or being rude. I posted a genuine question.

Just one more reason why I'll not be voting for Kerry.

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