Every year I have thought about it. Every year, when the virus scanner/protection subscription comes due, I think about it. Every time a new MS Office program comes out promising to organize my life better, just for a quick $350, I think about it. Finally, we took the plunge. I say we because this is a joint effort of mine and my husbands. Me convincing him that Linux is the way to go.
We got a black screen of death this time. The NTLDR file was missing, and the computer was moving achingly slow. I’ve known that we should wipe the drives once a year and start over for almost a decade… but I was dreading this task. If I wipe the drive, we have to reinstall windows, reinstall office, reinstall the virus, get all the drivers going… and the list goes on, wrapped around a headache of dread.
Two years ago, a friend said , “Michelle, Ubuntu is the way to go. It’s top of the line in ease of use, just do it.” Anyone considering taking the plunge into the land of Open Source Software, with computer knowledge akin to mine (just enough to be dangerous) knows the fear it can instill… the what ifs come creeping up and shout, “You’re dependent on Windows, you can’t turn back!” I even got the discs, straight from Canonical (or similar, I”m sure they were shipped somewhat local) because I couldn’t burn a good disc. Well, it’s two years later, we’ve replaced the CD drive with a CD/DVD burner that works. And, now we have the black screen of death and are informed that our trusty copy of Windows XP will no longer be supported – Microsoft forcing people to Windows 7 (since Vista bombed a big one). If we took that route, it’d be $120+ per computer for a license, plus $350 for the new copy of Office we’d probably have to get since we don’t have any good discs around here for two computers.
My dated copy of Ubuntu 7.10 stared at me whispering, “Install me, try it out.” So, I used my UBCD4Win, wiped the drives good – I did the paranoid round which took 32 hours. And I tried to install 7.10. It didn’t work. The live CD worked, but the install failed, miserably. Checked out the website, and learned I was way behind the curve… 7.10 was 4 versions too old! Thankfully, we do have the two computers. Burned a good copy of 9.04 and gave it a go.
It’s been a learning curve, to be sure. I’ve jumped headfirst into the land of Ubuntu Forums and Linux Tips & Tricks. I’ve learned the philosophies behind Ubuntu, what other distros exist of Linux, and played with my Linux shell bolstering and improving my confidence every step of the way. We are only on Day 15, but I do not want to go back. I’m waiting, excitedly for the stable release of Karmic Koala so we can get a taste of the new features Canonical has put together.
For linux to work, it has to be easy. I know just enough to be dangerous, so it has to be easy for me to fix when I screw something up. It has to be easy and intuitive for my husband who is of the opinion that computers are necessary evil. He mostly wants to use the web and download a few pictures, so the multiple desktop environment can irritate him if he touches the wheel on the mouse at the edge of the screen. He’s gotten used to that bit. We’ve gotten used to the music player. He likes the look and layout, and I like the flexibility. So, here we are, day 15 and going strong.
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