Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy New Year...

Yes, I am fully aware that I am a good month and a half late and "Happy Valentine's Day" would have been a rather more appropriate beginning. But we can debate that another time. Right now, I need to get to this blog entry, caused by my wife (as in, she told me: "You need to blog").

You might wonder why she would do such a thing. Well... because, when everything is said and done, I remain a geek. She let me go without blogging when I starting doing online research on freestyle swimming technique (because, quite frankly, I was wanted to get faster in my workouts). She overlooked the fact that I decided to start making yogurt (in fairly large quantities, because I happen to like yogurt and I happen to like my yogurt unadulterated by fruit, gelatin, or any other additives). However, when I told her what I did with my laptop, she finally had it and sent me blogging.

For years I have run Fedora Linux on my laptop. For the most part, it did what I needed it to do. Every once in a while, however, the tweaks and twists that the Fedora developers put on the software meant that it sometimes broke what was working. So, when I tried to install the Eclipse IDE (which, by the way, I really like) and it caused a Java error trying to validate some html code, I had enough. So I backed up my home directory and decided to try Ubuntu. Unfortunately, both methods I tried for installing a specific amd64 system froze. So I resorted to the default - OpenSuSE, which has been running flawlessly (as part of a dual-boot system) at church.

So far, so good... but then I started thinking... All this stuff that just works straight out of the box, it just isn't fun. I need a Linux distro that I can do stuff with. After poking around a bit, I settled on ArchLinux. So, after re-partitioning the hard-drive by hand, I started installing ArchLinux as a dual-boot. Now, ArchLinux does not come with a graphical interface by default (not in the CD install, anyway). So I had to poke around, install graphical passages, find the proper drivers for the graphics card and working settings for the display (sometimes changing files by hand, doing some trial and error, educated guessing, etc). Now I was having fun.

It took most of one of my days off, but right now I am the happy owner of a dual-boot Linux machine. OpenSuSE to do the work I need to get done at home, and ArchLinux to have fun with. And, as a side comment, the pacman updating program for ArchLinux blows both yum (Fedora) and yast2 (OpenSuSE) out of the water when it comes to speed. Just one of the fun things you find out when you embrace your inner geek.