Thursday, January 24, 2008

Linux, Another Shot...

Was going to format a hard drive anyway the other day, so for kicks I tried installing some different OS options.

I started with KnoppMyth, as I thought I'd give it a quick go to see if it would work well for my media center options. The Front End does look nice and would probably work well, but not for me. Some head banging later, and I finally got it to scan the channels on my Hauppage 250 card. Only problem was that it missed almost every other channel. Useless. I suppose with enough reading and researching and trial and error it would be a really good media center option. I just don't have the interest when I know I can get that easier ways with options I already know.

So, I formatted again and fired up the Debian 4 install. Thought I'd see how that looks. The install went pretty smooth actually. Fired it up and did the updates and started poking around. There's a lot to like - after installing mplayer, VLC, and ffmpeg, it seemed most of the normal Linux media problems were solved. Ran DVD's and video files. Then Amarok was installed and it's a pretty decent iTunes alternative. Not quite as slick, but certainly usable. aMSN for the IM client, and the included Outlook clone (Evolution?) worked great for email, calendar, task list, etc. And I still really like that Eye of Gnome picture viewer. Somebody knew what they were doing when they made that.

The big drawback once again is the browser. With Debian, their having hissy fits about the Firefox logo I guess, so we get a Firefox clone called Ice Weasel. Not bad, but once again the terrible font problems rear their ugly head. I couldn't find a setting that looked half decent. And that's no good, cause I have the browser open a lot.

So, this little Linux experiment certainly went better than my last one, and the install and usability were a lot better than my Ubuntu 7.4 experience. I haven't tried the latest Ubuntu option, but I could see using Debian without a problem for most things. Just wish they'd find a way to fix the font problem. Still, they seem to be coming along nicely and it's by now a very viable OS option, even for complete Linux newbies like me. Especially considering it's completely free!

Comments on "Linux, Another Shot..."


Blogger kozmcrae said ... (January 24, 2008 10:30 AM) : 

I'm the kind of person who doesn't want to mess around with anything. It just needs to work (mostly) and that's it. If not, I move on to something else. I use PCLinuxOS. I also have a lot of respect and admiration for SimplyMepis.


Blogger Eaglewing said ... (January 25, 2008 3:10 AM) : 

Thanks for dropping by. I like the Mac OS best myself, but I figure it's a good idea to learn my free OS options too while I'm at it, and Debian was surprisingly easy to setup and use. I still don't like the browser font issue though.


Blogger kozmcrae said ... (January 28, 2008 1:35 AM) : 

From a standpoint of design and utility I don't think a Mac can be beat. The problem I have is with their price. It tends to be a little trend inflated. I try to avoid the thing that everyone wants. It's usually the product of a very slick marketing campaign. I once had a marketing guy tell me "we tell you what you want to buy" or words to that effect. There is another problem. It's proprietary. What's wrong with that? Almost everything is proprietary. Imagine if somehow, someone managed to corner the market on the automobile in the early 1900's. Once it got beyond a certain point no government, no industry body and no people would be strong enough to overcome it. Besides, the common mind could not possibly imagine cars that got better than 15 MPG or weighed less than 3,000lb. And to think anyone who earned less than 200,000 could afford one. We're approaching that point now with computers and their operating systems. No long-term good can possibly come from ownership of common standards by a single company. Once the public is "locked in" they have no choice but to pay the price or do with out. Unfortunately, the "do without" is not an option. People think Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer are the most dangerous when it comes to our digital rights. As far as I'm concerned Steve Jobs blows them away. He is far too smart and ambitious and too good at what he does to be ignored. If you ask me, after Steve Ballmer pops a vein while throwing a chair and Microsoft's stock is at $1.52, it'll be all we can do to keep Mr. Jobs from putting a Mac on every desk. For $2,000. Well they're worth it. Aren't they?


Blogger Eaglewing said ... (January 28, 2008 7:33 AM) : 

Not at the over pricing, they aren't worth it. However, there are good deals if one can wait and scope them out. That's how I got my Mac Mini, which is about the Mac I could afford.

Still, I agree with the closed off systems not being a good idea. Apple is on the way to the next great evil corporation after Microsoft shot themselves in the foot with Vista. Apple is certainly good at marketing though, and just might be able to convince people that a $2000 computer is better just for the OS, even if the hardware is the same as the $700 PC. The savvy ones though find a way around.

That's why I try to keep my options open. Right now, I've got hard drives setup with Mac OS X, Windows XP, and Linux Debian. And Linux is a few buggy steps away from being a serious contender, in my opinion. Till then, I'll enjoy the Mac Mini and let other people figure out how to afford the $2000 Macbook Air the marketers told them they need.


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