Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Charming, goofy lo-fi linux ad

I've been messing around again with a little linux lately. It's been an easier process for me now than it was ten years ago when I tried to put Red Hat on an aging desktop. Ubuntu and Puppy Linux have been my distros of choice.

On my bulky five year old I've tried out Ubuntu. With no configuration, it worked right off the Live CD, which is great. On the down side, the fonts are ugly. Here's reddit on Ubuntu Firefox:

Blech. I don't consider myself a font nazi - Comic Sans is fine by me - but clumsy font rendering really bugs me. I think that the problem might be solved by copying Windows fonts into Ubuntu, but blogs discuss the option in such cagey terms that there must be licensing issues. Regardless, these ugly fonts make it hard for me to use Ubuntu for everyday browsing.

On the sexiest computer I've ever owned, the super slim ten year old Dell Latitude LS, with its powerhouse PIII 400 MHz processor and 12G hard drive, I've opted for a smaller installation. Puppy Linux runs mostly reliably, but it won't remember my wireless settings from session to session. It's a pain in the ass to set up ndiswrapper each time I want to browse the internet. Which is a lot. I've had other issues, but these may be of the Dell's decrepitude. The Dell also only has an external CD drive connected by a proprietary cable that likes to come unplugged, so Live CDs are inconvenient.

I wish that these distros offered a Windows installer that would set up a dual boot without partitioning. Live CD's are nice, but I have a gig here or there to spare (on my five year old, at least) for the option to choose OS at boot-up and not worry about setting shit up again. The Live CD mentality seems to stick Linux in a bit of a mental ghetto - sure, you dabble in it, but you wouldn't want to commit to using the OS full time.

I would also very much like to get GeeXbox running on the Dell, but it won't. That distro acts as a Front Row-style operating system, turning the computer into a dedicated media player. I would love such a program, particularly if it would let me browse a filesystem for mp3's, a feature lacking in Front Row.

I can certainly envision the time when I stop using Windows altogether and move to a Linux installation - it seems like a fun adventure.

I would probably also start saying "GNU-Linux" habitually.

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