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Getting back on the horse

Posted 02-19-2007 at 10:20 AM by wolfger

First Windows threw me. My first ever store-bought copy of Windows was XP. I shelled out $200 to get it, because Windows Millenium sucked so badly. Then I got home and installed XP on my wife's computer. When I tried to install it on mine, it informed me that the key had already been used once, and was now invalid. My $200 didn't buy me any software, it only bought me a license. A license for a single computer. I was furious. XP informed me I could continue to use it for 30 days before I would need to enter a valid key. I told XP (which didn't appear to be listening) where it could stick its ultimatum. I had 30 days to install and learn to use Linux. I bought Mandrake Linux from the same store I bought XP from. It cost me $35, and I could install it on as many computers as I liked. At the end of 30 days, I wiped Windows from my drive, reformatted it as EXT3, and never looked back.

Until Linux threw me. This past Christmas, I got a new graphics card. I'd been jealous of my wife's graphics on our gaming addiction of choice (Guild Wars, which plays well via Cedega), and so I asked for and got a top-of-the-line AGP card. Nvidia, of course, since Nvidia supports Linux with drivers. Except it didn't quite work. After 3 days of fighting with the new card, several different versions of the Nvidia drivers, Cedega, and xorg.conf, I got my system "working". I could play Guild Wars, but the graphics looked the same as before *and* it had become unstable. I had a choice between revisiting XP or returning the graphics card. I choose to keep the card.

That was just before January. It's now roughly 2 months later, and I am so sick of rebooting my computer (or having it reboot itself), that I am ready to get back on that Linux horse, even if it means less-than-stellar graphics. That's a price I'm willing to pay for returning to my happy place. Now I just need to decide on a distro. I know I'll wind up with Gentoo again eventually, but for right now I just don't want to spend that kind of time on an install. Freespire sounded like a good distro, especially when I found out ESR was a supporter of it, but I found 1.0 to be lacking, and the Alpha for 2.0 is (as Alpha releases usually are) wrought with problems that I just won't tolerate right now. I got torrents for Ubuntu (which I keep trying and not liking, despite its bafflingly widespread popularity), Suse, and SimplyMepis 6.5 (beta). Since I've never liked Ubuntu before, I'm not going to start there. I installed Mepis this morning, and it seems to be working well. The new Mepis is based on Ubuntu rather than Debian, but it's not Ubuntu, which is a good thing. I'll report more after I get a chance to play with it awhile, but it seems to "just work" out of the box so far, like Mepis 3.4.3 did, which Mepis 6.0 didn't (for me) and Ubuntu never has and never will (unless you convince yourself that installing Automatix is part of "out of the box").
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