Crossing Over

Boy, I just don’t update these days, do I?
I was thinking about that on my way home from work today, moving along a few feet at a time on the 10 freeway.
I think a big part of it is that it’s summer, and I’d much rather be outside, and I’ve been travelling A LOT since the middle of July. I’ve been to SLC, New York, Chicago, Atlanta, Vancouver, Alaska, Sacramento (twice) and I’ll be heading to San Francisco next week for the EFF event.
So when I have some “free” time, I’ve been giving it to my wife and family, and when I have some creative energy, I’m giving it to Arena.
It’s not like I don’t have stories to tell…there’s the trip to Alaska, the trip to Chicago, Camping with Anne and the boys last week….and boy do I ever have NEWS!
I’m going to give the news items their own entries over the next couple of days, because we just finished 2 episodes of Arena and I’ll have time while Anne’s at work (the boys are with their dad for his part of summer vacation.)
However, here’s a very exciting New Thing In Wil’s Life(tm):
A few weeks ago, my computer blew up. Smoke and everything. So I freaked…and just as I was about to go run the damn credit cards up to get a new machine, one arrived in the mail…this cool Sony VAIO thingy, that has a cool story all it’s own, that will get told later on, too. Trouble was, it wouldn’t start up. Or more correctly, it wouldn’t load Windows. It’d just choke.
So as I was starting to freak again, another computer arrived in the mail. This time it was a gift from many, many people, who all pooled their resources together to replace the old POS 5000 that had recently blown up.
This new computer was a gift, and it worked as soon as I plugged it in, internet and everything.
The thing is, it was running Lindows.
Now, I’ve been toying with dumping Windows for almost a year. The Open Source movement really appeals to my anarchistic and individualistic tendencies, and everyone I know who uses Linux tells me that I won’t miss Windows at all. I don’t really use any software that’s windows-specific, except Dreamweaver, and I’m told that I can run that under WINE, or find a comparable OS editor.
So I’m running this Lindows for about 3 weeks, and a couple of days ago, I break it. 100%. I messed up some dependencies, and even with the help of some really smart propeller heads, I just couldn’t fix it.
So last night, I crossed the rubicon and installed Mandrake 8.2.
This install was the easiest thing I have ever done, and there wasn’t one single problem. The only glitch came when I was trying to get my soundcard to work, which was hammered out quickly and painlessly, thanks to the monkeys in the soapbox.
I’m using Gnome, and I’ve never been happier.
I am now going to become the world’s number one Linux cheerleader.
I’m off to Think Geek to get a sticker for my car, and a T-shirt for my huge pectoral muscles.

94 thoughts on “Crossing Over”

  1. I wonder how many of the Wil-ites out there will get the Ren reference (pectoral muscles) Hmmm..

  2. Congratulations :)
    Don’t worry about screwing things up…well, worry about it a little, but don’t let it make you feel stupid. I’ve been running linux for years, compiled countless kernels, and I’ve suddenly managed to screw things up in such a way that I’ve been fighting with it for a day and still haven’t fixed it.
    Mandrake rocks. I wish I were using it instead of RedHat right now. I probably wouldn’t be having the aforementioned problem.

  3. sony vaios are great…dells and they are all i’ll use (except @ work where they use macs) try calling customer support

  4. So now you need to get a Tux the Linux peguin doll, I have one on my car, and it helps me weed out who the really cool people are that ride with me.

  5. Congrats on making the switch. I switched to a Mac myself – but any switch away from windoze and mr. gates is definitely something to cheer about.
    Hope you enjoy Linux!

  6. Linux rules. and it is good to know there is another person on the right train :)
    good to read your summer is going well.
    Take care.

  7. Congratulations Wil, you’ve left the Microsoft treadmill behind.
    What web browser does Mandrake install by default? Hopefully Galeon – it uses Mozilla for rendering webpages, and puts a pretty Gnome interface around it. The speed is incredible.
    Feel free to explore, and don’t fear the source – use the source:)
    Also, if Mandrake doesn’t have packages for it, go pick up a copy of OpenOffice – works great.

  8. I didn’t understand half of what you said back there but I’m real glad to hear you’ve got a working computer :)
    It doesn’t matter (that much) that you don’t update as much as you normally do, enjoy your summer just like the rest of us.

  9. Wow…now I’m even more curious about Linux/Mandrake.
    Especially after my crappy Windows ME machine crashed about 5 times last night. I think it’s the worse OS (strip out/hide the DOS so you’re even more screwed) Micro$oft ever came out with! Argh.
    So, specifically are you going to be in SF so I can scream a lot & try to throw pies at you.
    People write some awful stuff & I think your weblog is soo much better than a certain relative of Herman Melville’s.

  10. Way to go Wil! I just let Slashdot know of your conversion, better get the moose ready in case they consider it newsworthy. :)

  11. Wil,
    Yeah you have returned. I am still running Windows ME, been running it for a year no troubles with it here. What is the EFF event you were talking about? It is good to have you back.
    I love comming here and seeing a new message in the blog. Until your next post.

  12. wow, there sure are a lot of people coming out of the linux closet today. Mandrake definitely rocks for the ease of use (look out for Mandrake 9.0 soon with Gnome2), but I couldn’t live without debian unstable and apt-get. Congrats on making the changeover, I hope everything continues smoothly for you, and if not at least there are a load of people to help you out.

  13. Wil, congrads on crossing over. You have got to try Red Hat 8 when it comes out. It rocks! Id love to give you some tips on my favorite stuff in the Linux world. Mozilla (Web), GKrellM (Task Manager), XMMS (Music Player), XINE (Video Player), Gabber (Jabber chat), VMWare (WAY easier than WINE for old Windows apps).. Enjoy dude !! And visit my sublime page .. laates

  14. Congratulations Wil, nice first step!
    Of course you realize that Mandrake is not a real distribution, so don’t get too comfortable.. The next step should be Debian: keep us posted when you get there :)

  15. Mandrake Linux: Not a bad choice
    SuSE Linux: Very freakin slick: choice of most Linux Users Groups… look one up in your area
    Gentoo: Balls to the wall when you want to be the leetest kid on the block. Will only install just enough to install other packages such as vi or XFree86 but in the end, you have a significant performance increase over other Linux distros.
    FreeBSD: You are going to hate Linux if you switch over to this Unix-based gem.
    MacOS X: Have you Unix command-line and slick GUI, too.
    I personally run SuSE and Geetoo on Sun SparcStation 20’s with no problem. I love the stability and relibility of Sun hardware and combine that with Linux, even old Sun hardware smokes like a big phat doobee.

  16. Hi Wil,
    Great to see you’re not using Lindows. Lindows is basically GNU/Linux without any real security: you run everything as root! In other words, you’d might as well be using Windows. Also, you have to pay for a subscription to get apps and updates (not good, since these apps are supposed to be free).
    Like you, I’m a Mandrake and GNOME user. You should probably know that Mandrake 8.2 uses GNOME 1.4, which is a little long-in-the-tooth. Mandrake 9.0 comes out next month, and it includes the new and improved GNOME 2.0 (which is _way_ better and much faster).
    I’m an admin over at , a (quite popular) site for GNU/Linux desktop users. We used to be Mandrake-specific, so we have a strong Mandrake user following (we’re more distro-agnostic now, but we still love Mandrake). I’d like to invite you over to visit our site. I’ve been hooked on your site for almost a year now, so maybe you can get hooked on our’s. Please drop me a line and tell me what you think :)
    If you have any problems with Mandrake, try the mailing lists ( ). I’m quite active there so I should be able to help. Everyone else there is very friendly and helpful, unlike the people on many other GNU/Linux lists.

  17. Welcome to the world of Linux :)
    I had been using RedHat for a couple of years now and loved it, but recently I entered a situation where I needed to run some business-specific software, that absolutely would not run under Linux no matter what I tried, so I’m back stuck with Windows again *sigh*.

  18. By the way, in the years I’ve been messing with it, the best place I’ve found to get help, espcially in discussion group form, is

  19. I switched from Windows to Mandrake 8.1 and agree that it’s a very good, user-friendly Linux distro. Fumbling my way through learning Apached at the moment. It always fascinated me that such an unstable OS as Windows continued to thrive. Now I think with Lindows, Mandrake, and a few others, Gates is finally realizing that he has some competitition and it’s got to infuriate him that it costs about $150 or so less to get a better OS.

  20. Wha…!
    I go away for a couple of days and you switch to Linux! Woo hoo! Way to go…
    Pay no heed to the guy who switched back to XP above… he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Building your own software is so incredibly easy: ./configure; make; make install . Just remember that at least the “make install” part has to be run as root (the superuser).
    If you really want to have fun building your own stuff, try Gentoo. Yes, it’s not for the faint of heart, but it’s not nearly as difficult as many have made it seen. The Portage system works a lot like RPM or like Debian’s system… it’s just that, under the hood, it’s not just installing files, it’s compiling source code. Really, if you want gnome, just type “emerge gnome” and sit back while the entire system compiles. (Yeah, it can take a while to install stuff… :-)
    If you’re running Mandrake (which was my distro of choice before Gentoo), make sure to use MandrakeUpdate regularly, or get Ximian and use Red Carpet.
    And, as so many others have already offered, I’m willing to help if you encounter any problems.
    You rawk man! Your coolness factor has just increased by about 10000 points.

  21. hey, i have no clue what it is…but it sounds neat…im glad that you like it!Lindows, it sounds like a parody or something. any ways, have a great day, i think your doing fine, but of course that doesnt matter. only what the eyes of God see’s and i’m sure he’d be proud too! live in the faith,

  22. I am having the same problem with mandrake Will, can you tell me how you fixed it. Or post me a link to the site

  23. Stick with it; Mandrake’s a nice little system (and I use “little” in the figurative sense.)
    The most annoying thing you’ll find is that media apps just aren’t there. I work in print and suitable CMYK modes just aren’t there. Black generation? What’s that? 😀 Keep around another OS Just In Case(TM).
    Oh, and if you’re into it for the UNIX-like experience, and since you’re probably making f**ktons of money on residuals ;-D why not get a new G4? OS X is coming along nicely. Just installed Jaguar on a work machine; my only gripe is that Apple managed to break USB support in Classic mode. Again. And TWAIN drivers are nonexistent under OS X. Oh, and thanks to the Fink project, a number of those free apps (including a number of Gnome apps) are around. You can fool yourself into not missing Windows under Linux; if you can’t do without the commercial apps, you CAN do away with Windows entirely. Not that Apple is much better than Microsoft, but at least they don’t try to do away with 30 years of computing history. ;-D

  24. Use Mac OS X v10.2 “Jaguar,” man. UNIX-based goodness while equally anarchistic as Linux. Sure you have to pay for it, but it’s the number one alternative OS. Rock on, brother.

  25. Most excellent, Wil. You’ve taken your first steps into a larger world. Not to mention a freer and more versatile one.
    “For those about to geek…we salute you!”

  26. You really want to cross over? Get one of the new G4s with Shaguar installed, you’ll love it! It’s got a *nix BSD (not that LOONIX crap) core and a nice lickable Aqua GUI! Plus you could prolly convince Steve Jobs to do a Switch ad staring YOU! That would be fantastic. Think about it.

  27. Welcome to the world of freedom and knowledge Wil. I also switched from Windows to Mandrake 8.1 a while back and I have to tell you that I am really happy I’ve done that. Linux world is so much better then greedy world of Windows. Here people are more then happy to help other people if they have problem and they write programms for the good of humanity. In some way it is like Star Trek world. And you have a lot more control over yout hardware and software in Linux. I also like Mandrake very much. It gives you tools to do some stuff quickly and easilly but at the same time you still have access to the very core of all apps and if you wan’t you can do whatever you would like to do. And another thing is that you also start to feel you need to know more to have even more power over your system and you start to learan and suddenly you know a lot of new things.
    Live long and prosper Wil!

  28. Congratulations on entering the wonderful world of Linux. I myself am running Mandrake 8.2 (though I use KDE 3.02 as my WM) and it is very stable, efficient and fun!
    Cool to see you are also using Movable Type! Great blogging tool, I use it for my own (political) web site:
    And to those OS X people: we Linux users still love you. Let’s make an alliance instead of fighting against one another; after all, we share a common foe in Redmond…

  29. Resistance is futile, you have been assimilated.
    Having installed around 27 different versions of linux to date, the one thing i would tell you and everyone is they all rock.
    They are also evolving at an absolutely incredible rate!
    Anyone who is just starting out and is not a programmer or engineer, do yourself a favor, start with Mandrake. IT ROCKS!! For those who do program a little or have somekind of engineering background, You will probably prefer Suse, Slackware, BSD or Gentoo
    Redhat is nice too, but its made more for servers than a desktop. Mandrake has much much more polish and way more tools, redhat has one GUI package manager, maybe two, Mandrake has 4 or 5.
    While XP finally has “SOME” ability to customize the look of screen. The user cant really get inside it and do it themselves. You are instead driven like the cattle Bill Gates thinks you are, (please have your credit cards handy)to run out and by Micro$oft Plus pack or whatever they hell they call it.
    The one thing though that is happening is windows is getting more and more complicated. Linux on the other hand is getting easier and easier.
    The other big difference is Linux Users go out of their way to help each other “generally”. Window users however seldomly do.
    After 5 years of being a Linux user the only thing i miss is being able to develop in flash. Havent tried it out in wine or codeweavers wine yet though, just to many other things to play with, its like being a kid in a big ass candy store with no frelling cash register in sight!
    And to you Wil, Welcome!
    You are now amongst a MUCH larger family of friends! Look forward to seeing you at EFF.
    Peace, Love and Penguin Power!

  30. So, you cross the Rubicon… and discover a real Linux. Wasn’t so painfull… Now, and you allready know that, you found a real OS one for the next generation.

  31. On your personal ‘burial’ of “Windows”: ‘Way to go!!! I myself have built a (my) dual-boot, Windows/Linux machine. I plan to lose the MS Windows as soon as I’ve mastered the Penguin, so to speak.
    p.s.: Mandrake 8.2 IS great!! Anything Linux beats the hell outta Windows …

  32. whoever mentioned trying to get Apple to hook Wil up as part of the “switch” campaign… that’s a really great idea.
    wil’s exactly the type of person who would benefit from a switch… Final Cut Pro, DVD Studio Pro (or iMovie and iDVD if they won’t kick down for free and you don’t want to spend the $2K on software) etc.
    linux is an excellent low-cost solution for servers and people who don’t need the big (read: expensive) apps, but i can’t say enough nice things about Apple and OS X… apple is our best chance for seeing a fully functional unix on the desktop. but GOD i wish they’d fix the @#$%@#$% windowing system though… even with 10.2 it lags (when resizing a window there is NO reason for the arrow to become disjointed from the window frame).
    make a few calls… see if you can get a FREE machine… the new iMacs are amazing, but a G4 with a 22″ cinema display is like heaven…
    regardless of whether or not you can wrangle a macintosh… woohoo! microsoft lost another one. enjoy yr linux box and try not to break it too much. : )

  33. All these people saying to use this, or use that, trying to sell you their religious choice.
    Use whatever you want. If you are liking Mandrake with Gnome, then keep on using it.
    I agree with you, Mandrake 9.0 does look cool. (Though I think most new and unreleased things look cool, and I am a whore when it comes to OS’s and computers, using just about everything.)

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