Why Ubuntu? – 2

In the preceding post, there was a confrontation between some Linuts and the all-mighty SIGMA. SIGMA, as always, blows away the opposition. πŸ™‚

We said a lot of nonsense that day, and it was a miracle that they didn’t catch us. Well actually, thinking about them, it would have been a miracle if they actually caught us…hehe.

Only the technically inclined may venture ahead.

But a lot of things we said that day was true for Linux then. Most distributions needed technical experts or Installfests to help you get started. The only distributions that had a decent installation sequence was Mandrake, and Red Hat/Fedora, both of which were unusable. Fedora especially was a silly distribution then, because if a newbie was let loose into the system, it was very easy to break it, with random permissions and owners coming up at places you least expected. Even then, you needed to know how much memory to allocate for swap, boot etc. for different kinds of computers.

The only distribution that I actually fancied then was Debian, but installing that on my computer was a nightmare. You had to go through an entire DVD of packages, or 14 CDs of packages (then DVD drives were not very common for me.); the packages numbered to anywhere between 3000 and 14000. It was either this, or getting caught in the web of RPMs and its never-ending story of dependencies in the Fedora distro.


One thing was true always for Linux though, ever since my roomie, Vix introduced it to me in our second year, and that was you never got tired of Linux, like you did with Windows. If you are given half-an-hour with Windows, you would have it figured out, and never ever find anything new. (unless it was the Excel 97 Moonwalk Easter Egg… aah, those were the days.)

On the other hand, Linux, even it’s most basic command prompt version, could give you hours of endless joy, if you were up to reading sometimes arcane manuals, and books of the 80’s vintage, I recovered from the recesses of my mom’s library. I even downloaded Floppix once, since that was the most Linux I could use at home and download in one sitting (took almost one hour) on MTNL’s dial-up Internet. It is based on Debian 2.1 and it was on this quaint distribution I discovered the joys of vi, and bash scripting.

But, being a newbie on Linux then was daunting. One had to be really motivated, or excited by the prospect of maybe erasing your entire hard disk with one command or text-only browsers, and read through man pages. (No, I never did erase my hard-disk; Floppix cannot access your hard-disk, even if you are root.) Even then, Linux was then severely limited with respect to serious vella-panti stuff. Like watching movies and listening to music for instance. It’s not as if you couldn’t, but you needed to download “proprietary” packages and install them. Which even just before the conference, we tried to do on our 24×7 internet-connected SPIDI server with Fedora Core 4 installed on it, to configure it for live video-casting. Which was Pure and Undiluted Hell.

It was because of these pain-points, that I resigned myself to never working on Linux, except if by some quirk of fate, I had to become a software-engineer after an MBA. Which could still happen, by the way.


But one fateful day, Sidin announced that he had installed Ubuntu on his computer, as a dual-boot.



6 responses to “Why Ubuntu? – 2

  1. People like to see anything against the current order – be it Microsoft, be it Apple – when I first realised the anti-Microsoft rallying that is currently on, I was like – what is this fuss all about? Why do people hate windows? Well, I wasn’t aware about choices anyway, but still – I didn’t see any pertinent flaws in windows.
    Now I guess its because everyone needs a bit of anarchy in their lives- Microsoft for Windows, Apple for iPhone, Google for Google – everything becomes boring after a while. And people enjoy seeing a superstar fall down. Yeah, thats what gives them joy.

    Anyway :D. Nice blog! You have a copy of Namesake ebook btw?

  2. I am not so much anti-Microsoft, than pro-Linux, well because it’s mostly cheap and better; atleast I think so.

    Microsoft is good in a lot of respects, especially in the business segment. Linux has millions of miles to cover in that.. Some of the latest products especially those related to Outlook are just out of this world. For example, if you have it correctly configured, your voice mail can come into your mail inbox! I mean, can you imagine the coolness factor in an office environment of that one feature!

    Still, Linux gives me a kick. I am still a techie at heart.

  3. Macha… did you ever try knoppix da? That was the first of those slackware cds that I ever had… brilliant I would have said πŸ™‚


  4. Oh yeah, I did. There was this time, where I almost recompiled my knoppix (wnoppix), yeah but knoppix is murder for slow computers (~ 586), and I particularly didn’t have a functioning CD-ROM then.

    These spoilt brats of today…

  5. hmm……. though a late comment , but a required one . I use linux as a normal user and believe me it is simply loving . In windows i had to go for anti virus updates every week and was always fighting one or the other virus . In windows finding answers to problems wasn’t easy . Check out ubuntu : no fear of viruses and a large helpful community . For you try out the live cd ( it would be shipped to your earthly address for free ) https://shipit.ubuntu.com

  6. Uhh.. I am on ubuntu πŸ˜› But thanks anyway.. πŸ™‚

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