I started all my computer stuff on a Commodore Vic-20, which while i donâ€™t advise you to try and purchase one it was a really good system, didnâ€™t crash and you had nice cartridges that you could plug into the back. I grew up and got my first 8086, and then a 486 and then went through the pentium strainâ€¦ I was windows onlyâ€¦ then i got a consulting gig that forced me to learn linux, and iâ€™ve used it as my desktop software for the last year and a half, and now, 2 days ago, I bought an apple Ibook. My father called me a traitor. Someone told me my computer was â€˜very cuteâ€™. Very cute, i mean, how can you do any serious writing on something thatâ€™s â€˜very cuteâ€™. Is it any wonder that i ended up talking about leaves falling in the intro paragraph?
My transition to linux had been part learning experience, part psychological breakdown. I do alot of work on these little beastiesâ€¦ i develop curriculum, i communicate with my friends, i test software, i do a radio show, i consult with those who are kind enough to consider my advice worthwhileâ€¦ I need a computer that will work, and that has the range to perform a vast quantity of tasks RELIABLY. And i donâ€™t have time to spend a whole weekend figuring stuff out. Linux is, right now, an excellent solution for a couple groups of people. If you can get someone to set one up in your office (which i can now do, thanks to the last 2 years) it can run exactly like your XP or Mac with far fewer problems than the first, and cheaper than the second. It is by far the best option for a computer lab, a distro like edubuntu set up in a computer lab would be ideal. Super cheap(you could easily get the computers second hand for 200 bucks (or less and have good use out of them), all the functionality you need, and the students will be unable to mess it upâ€¦ Two great uses, desktop youâ€™ll never touch or computer lab. For me, itâ€™s just been plain murder. Crash, blank staring, crash. Skype crashed about a million times, it didnâ€™t like my usb mic, java had to be installed by hand, etcâ€¦ the linux people tell me – go check it out, figure it out yourself. Wellâ€¦ i have. and for either of the two groups mentioned above, youâ€™re good, for meâ€¦ i just canâ€™t do it anymore. I waste hours some days looking for that perfect piece of information that will get me what i want. Iâ€™m keeping my linux desktop, but itâ€™s going to second placeâ€¦ a testing areaâ€¦
Windows, well, most of you are familiar with it. Itâ€™s buggy. It crashes alot (my linux crashed too, more than i figured it would) it gets more viruses than a 2nd grade teacher, and they charge silly amounts for their software. Now, with all the open source software you can get around some of that stuff. Using firefox or opera will help alot, openoffice.org makes a great office package and most other software can now be downloaded leagally for free (see gimp and othersâ€¦ ) it is however what people know, and there is a great deal to be said for using what you are familiar with. That and almost everything works with it. Some things you just canâ€™t do with Linux or Mac unless your willing to â€™spend a whole weekend with itâ€¦ although this is far more true of linux)
I was worried about the mac. I remember all the propaganda about how expensive they were, how hard it was to get the software, how it didnâ€™t perform as well as the PC unless you were doing â€˜artsy stuffâ€™. Two days inâ€¦ iâ€™m cautiously converted. The damn thing crashed twenty minutes inâ€¦ and has been singing along perfectly ever since. (now mac-heads are coming out of the wooodwork and saying that theirâ€™s only crashes a couple times a yearâ€¦ and not – never) The transition was pretty painless, installing software is pretty hilarious, download, click and drag, â€˜thank you for installing your softwareâ€™. The service is different. they actually seem to care if my computer crashes. They offer advice in a non-condescending manner. But hereâ€™s the clincher, for all the stuff that i do, in 48 hours, i have only once wished i was using XP. I wanted to install openoffice.org and i needed X11(whatever that is, windows emulator of somekind) but then found neooffice, which seems to do everything i want. Thatâ€™s it, once, and i found a solution. Be not afraid windows user, come over to the white sideâ€¦ itâ€™sâ€¦ very cute.