[SATLUG] Greetings

John Kirby johnrkirby at gmail.com
Mon Mar 24 08:31:19 CDT 2008

Hello all. I'd like to take this opportunity to introduce myself.

I didn't intend for it to happen, I really didn't. I didn't think I was
going to be a Linux guy.

I've been using a computer since the CP/M days, and I'm 32- I started young.
Late in 2006, I bought a Vaio laptop and wireless router. My wife quickly
got used to having my computer around while I was at work, so about a week
later, she got an eMachines laptop. This meant our old workhorse desktop PC
basically became our daughter's computer. All were running XP. Fast-forward
about 8 months- the hard drive on the desktop started getting weird- running
slow, hanging up, refusing to shut down, weird processes, etc. At the same
time, my wife's laptop decided to just die for no apparent reason. Well,
after recovering the data from the dead laptop, I knew as a long-time
Windows user how to fix it- installed the recovery CD, wiped the hard drive,
and re-installed XP.

My brother-in-law is an Ubuntu guy, and talked it up whenever possible.
Jokingly, I said that my next fix was going to be "installing Ubuntu". While
I wasn't entirely serious, I guess it put the idea in my head enough that I
decided to look into it.

Found out I could run a "live CD", which I'd never heard of. So, download,
burn, try it on buggy desktop. Naturally, it worked like a dream. It was
quicker than it had been in years. Then the wife's laptop decided to die
again. Rather than wiping it out, I used the live CD, and- guess what?- it
worked. Well, all except the wireless card. Got to the root of the problem
there, which was a nasty little bit of malware. Got rid of it through
Ubuntu, and decided then and there to make it dual-boot. The wife was
thrilled, except that her wireless was gone. I tried, but I couldn't get
NDISWrapper to work. A lot of Cat-5 later, she was back in business. And,
with Ubuntu being virtually impossible to screw up when not operating as
root, we could let our 2 1/2 year old son play games, which was basically
his wildest dreams come true. It finally hit me one day that I was going out
of my way to use the Ubuntu computers rather than my own with XP. So, I
installed it. And haven't looked back.

I guess I was fortunate, as Ubuntu ran on my Vaio with everything "just
working". In fact, I'll fully admit that if it would have been exceptionally
difficult, I'd probably still be using XP.

It hadn't fully hit me until I installed just how much quicker Ubuntu was
compared to the live CD. I was floored. Still am, when I think about it.

My computer's still dual-boot, but I've only used XP a handful of times in
the past few months. A few weeks ago, my wife got frustrated with her lack
of wi-fi, so we got her a new Acer running Vista. Aspire 5520, which
apparently doesn't like Gutsy. She likes Vista, 'cause it's "pretty". But
the new Acer let us pass her old laptop on to our daughter, who doesn't mind
that it's wired, as she's not allowed to take it into her room. And after a
clean Ubuntu install and a wireless network card, the desktop became our
son's computer for games and Noggin.com and such. Greatest day in his life-
he was actually allowed to use a computer, 'cause he really couldn't screw
up too much.

So, to recap, out of the four people in my family, my wife runs Vista, my
9-year-old daughter dual-boots, I dual-boot in name only, and my 3-year-old
son refuses to touch any computer not running Ubuntu. I think he'll be a
lifelong Open-Source guy. And assuming Hardy Heron is good, that will
probably be when XP goes away from my laptop.

OK, now let's get back to military robots and tax software!


Sent from my Sony Vaio on my kitchen table.

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