Tuesday, January 22, 2013

My Linux Path

 Political Entry

I have no intellectual issues with paying for a service or product including software. What I have had an issue with is how Microsoft does business. To put it mildly, they are a Monopoly and have shown all of the traits of a bully in their pursuit of having 100 percent control of the software industry. They have bullied competitors into pulling out of the industry, walked all over other organization's legal patents and pretty well ignored the law. Several companies have successfully sued Microsoft for their excesses.

So in the early 90's I was running OS/2 partly because of my dislike of Microsoft and partly because it was an interesting OS  which we studied during a Operating System Theory class  I took at Simpson. It was technically superior to the MS product of the day and even though IBM was a huge Computer and Software Co., I felt they at least behaved like a responsible citizen. MS did manage to keep the software available for the OS/2 platform to a minimum though, but could not completely kill it.

Something New

It was 2000 and I knew I was about to lose a job (due to a merger,) so I broke down and bought an Windows 98 box for a new job search. I won't say I hated it because I didn't. OS/2 was getting weaker all of the time and the word processing program I was using didn't convert well enough to Word in order to send professional looking Resumes.  But on the minus side, viruses bacame a problem for the first time and I had problems with the Registry.  There are benefits to running a Alternative OS.

We started to hear about a new Operating System that was totally free called Linux, and even better yet it was based on a earlier OS called UNIX, which I had studied aforementioned at Simpson. So with my Wife's approval I bought a used p90 to try it out.

Well, first I tried to load RedHat 6.0, which failed. So, I loaded RedHat 5.2 and then ran an upgrade to 6.0. That worked. I named this computer Oldboy, since the computer wasn't that new to begin with. Shortly thereafter I had figured out how to share the dialup internet connection with the two Windows boxes we had in the house and the Oldboy network was born, well it was funny for a little while.

Up to this point, whenever my Wife wanted to get on the internet, I had to get off and vice versa. This was a huge improvement. But dial-up is slow, and so cooperative internet use became the standard. When my Wife was going to download something big, I did light internet use (usually chess on FICS) and when I needed to do something that would use a lot of bandwidth, she would slack off

Next, I started playing with Samba (Samba creates network drives for computer workstations) and within a week or two we had a real home network and then followed learning about MySQL. MySQL became my all time favorite database and still is. I could write Delphi apps that would hit my MySQL server running on my Oldboy Server.

The old p90 did pretty good as long as I didn't log into X, My Wife said she could feel the internet slow down every time I started an X Session to do something. I started to learn to do more and more via telnet. But the p90 was kind of tired and when I inherited a newer computer, I quickly replaced Oldboy with Youngster. But the network was still called the Oldboy Network and my wife was getting tired of that joke. Around this time, I replaced my 98 box with a desktop that ran RedHat alone. Somewhere in there I started to learn a little PHP and Web Programming.

I transferred the Samba and MySQL servers from Youngster to my new desktop. But I left Youngster up running as an IP Gateway. I became a Gnome user, got my Wife to use Linux part of the time at least. She became a Ubuntu user and I continued to use RedHat. I read a lot and as it turns out that is a very good way for me to learn (read some, putter some.) The more I did, the more comfortable I became with the command Prompt.

I still could run most Windows Programs though.  I had purchased a product called Win4Lin, which was an early attempt to run a Virtual Computer.  It mostly worked, but it made updating Linux Versions difficult, so eventually I dropped it.  Fortunately, Wine has become much better and can now run most Win32 apps.  There are still a few programs that don’t run well under Wine, with ChessBase being my biggest headache.  To run ChessBase, i have to run  it under a Virtual Machine or boot up under Windows.  ChessBase if you are listening, please fix this.

Things haven't changed hugely. I find I can do 98% of what I want without touching Windows. My first Linux Desktop has been retired and I have moved on to a second. The current Desktop is also approaching retirement and I would like to replace it with an i5. My current Desktop is running Fedora and I also have a laptop running another Linux Distribution (Mint.) I still run Samba and MySQL on my Desktop. Since the Gnome debacle, my Windows Manager of choice has moved around, I have ran KDE, XFCE and Mate and haven't totally decided on any one. I am slowly replacing my Delphi Programming with Lazarus, which is multi platform. We have retired Youngster and replaced him with a Router and replaced dial-up with a Cable Modem and have wireless through out the house. My Wife uses a combination of Linux Mint and Windows, basically she has certain things she does on Windows and others that she uses Linux.

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