I’m happily setting up shop in Ubuntu. There’s much to do, and now that I’m actually using it, I’m even more scattered in my approach. I run around getting this or that working as needed. All of which takes time, which is one reason I haven’t written much lately.
Another reason is that my writing resistance has been stronger than my will to open up the WordPress editor. One of the things I did to keep that specter at bay was move my local WordPress instance to Zodiac after having got it all set up on Prometheus. (Which prompted a couple of updates to my installing WordPress howto post.) Wasn’t hard to move, though, so I had to keep diligently practicing writing avoidance in other ways. (Not hard to do either.)
There are several things I have in mind to write about:
- Setting up dual monitors with Xinerama. (It was easy. But I cheated.)
- Free vs. unfree codecs and drivers and whatnot.
- (Transitionally) Using Wine for homebrewed VB apps.
- A review of Rush‘s latest album, Snakes & Arrows.
- Thoughts on paid links, Google’s treatment of same, and the loud complaints of those made unhappy by Google’s policy.
- Public vs. private numbers.
- Copyright. (But it’s such a big topic, with so many angles, that I may hide in fear for a while before picking this one up.)
- (This one just from today!) A response to a letter in the StarTribune about Google’s book-scanning project. Real brief.
- A Java PermutationIterator class that I’m working on.
Please don’t take this list as any kind of promise. (Or dreary threat.) Now that I’ve listed them, my brain may try to convince me I’ve adequately addressed the topics. (And at my current posting rate, it could take a long time to cover all that.)
Joy, Joy, Joy
Did I mention I’m enjoying using Ubuntu and all the free software it enables? Not only just the using of it (ok, I’m a geek), but I’m reveling in the freedom of it (ok, I’m some kind of hippie tree-hugging flower-child). I’m making some compromises in that freedom, for now, which is one of those topics above to be discussed later. (For example, I’ve installed the Flash plugin so I can use Google Analytics and have my MTV. I mean: my YouTube. Here’s hoping Gnash keeps coming along.) But overall, it’s a great feeling, to be moving over to something that feels so right. This is the future of software. Information will be free. Knowledge will be shared.
It’s turned out to be very easy to start using GNU/Linux on a day-to-day basis. It just feels normal and natural. I go about my business and sometimes forget that I’m in Ubuntu. That is, it can strangely be almost unremarkable to be here; in a place I’ve been looking forward to for so long. I feel right at home. I think GNOME is a great desktop environment.
In the past I was overly critical of things that I couldn’t immediately use as effectively as I know how to use in Windows. Now I’m taking the attitude that I can get by using basic functionality in some cases, and gradually learn those things that I gradually learned in Windows to become more of a power user there. (And there are many things that I’m already using in Ubuntu that are better than what I had in Windows. It’s easy to see now why people who use GNU/Linux have the opposite problem of being frustrated by Windows. A lot of it is what you’re used to.)
Making this move hasn’t been a matter of sacrificing for the sake of freedom. I have a better operating system now. There may be some sacrifice in the form of specific applications I have to do without, but I don’t mind. (Again pointing out that I’m willing to make some dirty compromises for now to use some proprietary thingamajigs.) However, it is the freedom that was and still is my primary motivation in moving to GNU/Linux. Having a better system is a nice fringe benefit, but it’s not why I’m doing this.
What now, and what next?
I’ve spent a lot of time this weekend moving all my files over from the backup hard drive to Zodiac. I probably have about 50,000 or so files to deal with. A lot of those are zip files that hold thousands of other files, of course. I’m trying to tar and gzip up more stuff that I’m not really using right now but don’t want to part with. This is a great opportunity to purge a lot of old crud and get set up with a better organizational scheme. My old scheme evolved over 12+ years of using Windows. It’s served me well, but I think I can do better now. For an accomplished OCD pro like me, I could go under for a few weeks of marginally useful categorizing. It may be just what I need to avoid substantive writing and actually doing something with my wonderful new free machine.
(But I’ll try getting to that list up above for your sake, gentle reader.)