Day2: Going To Where The Grass Is Greener

Cheating on Debian

Narrowing Down the Options

Ubuntu 13.10 was a bust before I even got to testing my list of necessary tasks. Incredibly disappointing, but I haven’t given up. Since then I’ve wasted quite a bit of time willy-nilly installing Linux distributions in an attempt to find one I enjoy, but am starting to feel as if I need more direction before my poor mule becomes schizophrenic. Time to hit the ever enjoyable research mode!

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Day1: Going To Where The Grass Is Greener

Cheating on Debian

Choosing A Base To Build On

Linux in and of itself is just a kernel. That’s really all any operating system actually is: a program that creates an interface between the user and the machine. I personally started back in the MS-DOS days (and Atari before that) where you were greeted with something like the picture on the right after booting up your machine.

MSDOS 6.0

MSDOS 6.0

Later, Apple created a graphic user interface and Microsoft was quick to follow with their “Windows” environment that sat on top on DOS. One thing led to another, and eventually our operating system became large, hulking desktop environments that did everything from perusing attached storage to browsing the Internet.

With that paraphrased history in mind, I’ve already chosen Linux as my base operating system to build off of, but now I need to choose what’s called a “distribution” (a collection of software built on top of the Linux kernel) that’ll give me all of the goodies that I’ve grown accustomed to having. Numerous choices exist, each with their own goals and addendum, and it’s a been a bit of a chore finding the one that I’m most compatible and comfortable with.

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Going To Where The Grass Is Greener

Cheating on Debian

I’m not going to veil my intentions here. I’m tired of Microsoft Windows, and I have no desire to learn yet another Windows paradigm (namely, Windows 8, 8.1, or 8.whatever it’ll be called after their next “fix”). If I’m going to learn something new, then it’s going to be something I can stick with for a while. So folks, it’s time to pack up the mule and head on out.

Though I’m tempted to follow the crowds heading over to the Apple orchards, I’m not convinced that those trees will continue to bloom with their original foreman now absent from day to day operations. Those golden Apples also happen to be incredibly expensive.

This more or less leaves me with destination number 3: Linux land. Where, hopefully, the grass is greener, and I don’t have to buy myself a new mule.

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Coping With The Death of Windows XP

windowsxpdeath

For those unaware, Windows XP will be dying in April of 2014. The funeral was scheduled for much sooner, but Microsoft has repeatedly pushed the date back in order to accommodate their customers. The company’s patience is running thin however, and it is widely anticipated that another reprieve is out of the question. This will be a problem for, according to NetMarketShare’s September OS statistics, more than 31 percent of the world’s computer users, both personal and business alike.

Windows XP was one of Microsoft’s best products. Relatively stable, with a good underlying foundation, and generally considered their best operating system ever, XP became the choice of most computer users across the globe. That was 12 years ago, or in computer years, an eternity. XP was an innocent child as to the ways of the modern Internet, and Microsoft’s primary goal back then was to win “the browser war,” which it did by integrating Internet Explorer so deep into the workings of the operating system that it can’t even be uninstalled. Internet Explorer (IE) won the browser war by a landslide and then, content with the victory, Microsoft let it stagnate in features and technology alike… for Windows XP anyway. They continued to release an up-to-date browser, but only for their newer versions of Windows.

Most users didn’t follow the proverbial carrot on a stick. Windows XP did what they needed it to, and the hefty pricetag of Vista (and its long list of complaints) was enough to keep users where they were. Microsoft eventually came out with a solid follow-up OS called Windows 7, but by then many users had learned to be content with what they had on their home computer and started putting their hard earned money towards smartphones and tablets to offset their needs.

All of that leads us to where we are now: a bunch of users still using Windows XP and feeling as though they’re safe. Much like the stranger on the sidewalk holding his sign stating “The End is Near,” I’m here to tell you the same thing, and what to do about it.

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The Forgotten Question of Vendor Lock-in

padlock

With Microsoft, Apple, and Google all set to bring about the latest versions of operating systems and productivity software, PC users once again find themselves in the crossfire of choosing a particular path for their computing interests. Many will undoubtedly stay with what they know, or base what could be a monumental decision on merely aesthetics alone. Windows 8 has been given a beautiful makeover, Android 4.1 (a.k.a. “Jelly Bean”) is sweeter than ever, and Mac OS X Mountain Lion will surely be even easier than its predecessors.

It would appear though that users have forgotten to take into account the safety and longevity of their greatest computing asset… their data.

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