The Masochist’s Computer

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I used to use linux. I used to. I used to love it. I loved it and cuddled it and it sat on my PC being stable, effective, good. All was good. Except for one teeny tiny little thing. Installing software was like pulling teeth. Normally, being as I was a SuSE user, the software would be available as a package – but only for RedHat. Sometimes, nuts as I was I’d install these. They’d not work.

So then I got quite good at building from source, but the process appeared to be one designed by someone with a somewhat masochistic trait. Applications would invariably require a huge list of unspecified dependancies which could only be found by building the application and waiting for the build to fail – at which point you’d track down what it had not checked it needed but actually did need, and then you’d enter some sort of mandlebrotian fractal process in which you would repeat the process of attempting to install the stuff it depended on… which needed you install stuff it depended on… which needed you to install stuff it depended on…

You get the picture?

But for the most part – since I never turned my PC off and so never had to endure the week-long boot time I was happy with Linux. Being as I’m not a complete idiot it remained virus free and because I was reasonably with it and kept updates up it remained obvious-route-of-external-attack free.

But the move to university eventually forced me to give up my linuxoid ways – the university providing some stuff in Word documents that were so hideously munged that StarOffice / OpenOffice just couldn’t render them in any meaningful way. So with some substantial difficulty, and much cursing, I switched to Windows 2000, and thence to Windows XP. Don’t think for a second it was easy. It took days. Transfering data from Ext3 do NTFS is not a job which is fun. The machine had to be reinstalled afterwards, the Ext3 driver having caused much chaos – at least apparently.

But I have now reached that painful stage of fed up with Windows again. Windows has died a death on one machine and on my laptop, well, it’s the now unsupported 98 which has never remained happy for more than a few minutes anyway. And so I find myself considering Linux. I was thinking about OSX on PC, but… well. I dunno. Maybe. On the desktop. But this laptop with it’s PIII / 500 processor isn’t really up to that. I’ve got as far as downloading Ubuntu and burning it. And suddenly had the urge to look at WINE again, and pondered the possibility of xmplay and Premier Pro on linux – which are the only applications I’ll *really* miss (to be fair, IO only really use applications that are multiplatform anyway). Well that and possibly Fwink. Clearly I am some kind of masochist.


Kate is lord and mistress of all she surveys at