02 December, 2008

A day without Windows

I've had a laptop around since 2000 or so. The latest one I have is an old Dell C600 Latitude that a friend of mine picked up for me. I never used my laptops as my main computer; they were back ups in case I had trouble with my main PC. The laptops have always had the same operating system as my desktops. Which means they all had Windows. This Dell of mine started to suffer from a bad hard drive about a year after I aquired it. One day it finally just wouldn't work any more so I packed it away and forgot about it. I eventually decided to put a new hard drive in it and start using the laptop again. This time around, however, I decided to not install a Windows operating system. I'd toyed with the idea of using alternative operating systems for years, but could never take the plunge and install it on my desktops. I'd downloaded and burned "evaluation" CDs before to get a taste of some Linux operating systems and found them impressive. The main factor for not installing a Linux OS was that it seemed to be too much trouble to try and get my flight sims (which are made for Windows operating systems) to work. The laptop is a different story. Having a freshly installed hard drive, I decided that Linux would be the operating system on my laptop. Having done some research on the different flavors of Linux out there, I chose Ubuntu. I used my desktop PC to burn the installation CD and proceeded to install it. Before Ubuntu was even installed, I knew I was going to like it. Installation was flawless. Not one problem. I love open source software :) Learning to use Ubuntu was also very easy. There are some peculiarities to it, but if a person understands how to use a Windows OS, Ubuntu will be easy to learn. The software that comes with Ubuntu is amazing as well. A full suite of office software, audio/video software, games, tools... I love it. My desktop PC has a power supply that decided to retire on me tonight. What did I do? Pulled out the laptop. I haven't had it on for a month, but as soon as it booted, I was notified of 87 available updates. Believe me, when a problem is found, it gets fixed and updates are made available. No hassles at all. Try to get that from Microsoft. I had an interesting time trying to watch vids on YouTube tonight, though. The last time I tried getting the necessary Flash player for Linux, it didn't seem to work for me. This time it went just fine and that makes me happy :) I'm glad things work so well with this operating system. Until my new power supply arrives, I'm going to be using this laptop with its slick OS. If you have an extra computer laying around, I suggest giving a Linux OS a try on it. You might be pleasantly surprised with it. More people need to be aware that they don't have to be stuck with Windows. There is an alternative. The best part of it is that Linux is free. All it will cost you, at most, is a blank CD. Let's have more days without Windows.

I just realized that I'm an OS activist. I'm such a dork....

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