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The Shorter List

August 11th, 2009 No comments

In an earlier post I had said that I had narrowed down my list of potential Linux distros to a mere four contenders: Debian, Fedora, Linux Mint and Mandriva. I have since then decided that by the end of this week (or, if I’m lazy, early next week) I will have knocked this list down to my final choice. The way that I have chosen to do this is potentially the most annoying way possible: I plan on filling my post quotas by only removing one choice each post :P

So without further ado lets kick one of these to the curb!

Debian, you are dead to me

Why I had considered it: Very stable, lots of support, lost of software, one of the oldest distros.

Why its just not making the cut: As I am somewhat familiar with Ubuntu and have read about its relation to Debian, I feel as though Debian is just simply not that different. Now before all of you bearded basement dwellers start telling me just how wrong I am, keep in mind that a large component of this experiment is about the perception of our selected distribution as well. I am sure Debian, like Ubuntu, will offer a great experience to those who use it, however I feel that my person use of it would almost be a violation of rule #1.

Well there you have it! Debian is off the list leaving me with Fedora, Linux Mint and Mandriva. Who will survive to see the install screen? Stay tuned!

To be continued…

Release the hounds!

August 11th, 2009 No comments

Apparently Dana’s been making snide remarks about my lack of participation here, suitably prodding me to make an appearance on the front page. To get started, I’ve selected Gentoo Linux as my distribution of choice for the experiment beginning in September.

While there are certainly many hundreds of flavours of Linux available, Gentoo seems to be the best “mainstream”, workstation/desktop-class choice that I don’t already have some level of experience with. My current job involves maintaining servers running RHEL, Debian, SuSE and Ubuntu – so all of those choices are out given the restrictions on this project. I’m looking forward to trying Gentoo out but not necessarily all the compiling of software packages.

I’ve also recently acquired an Asus 1005HA eeePC, but have yet to decide on whether I want to run Linux on it full-time. My initial attempt at installing Ubuntu Netbook Remix failed miserably; transferring the image to a USB stick with unetbootin and then attempting to install it resulted in a stripped-down shell prompt with no discernable way to launch the installer. From the online reviews I’ve read, running Windows on this particular machine results in two additional hours of battery life over Linux.

While I try to decide about the laptop, I still plan on conducting this experiment on my main desktop system.

A few of the things I’m anticipating that will give me grief compared to a Windows or OS X environment:

  • Instant messaging. I use Windows Live Messenger under Windows, and Adium while on my MacBook Pro. The main instant messaging clients for Linux that support MSN are Pidgin and aMSN – I don’t really like how either of them display alerts or interact with the windowing system. There are numerous IRC clients available for all platforms, and I expect I’ll continue using irssi (The client of the future!) for my ongoing shenanigans on EFNet.
  • BlackBerry support. Up until recently, many BlackBerry tasks such as upgrading device software required the availability of a Windows machine. With the impending release of the OS X Desktop Manager, synchronizing calendar events and music should be significantly easier. Unfortunately there’s no equivalent to Desktop Manager in Linux. I expect this problem would manifest itself with any popular smartphone as well, but I may have to spend time on a Windows system if an OS upgrade for my Bold materializes. The barry package looks like it might be acceptable for the sync end of the equation, though.
  • Media management. Will VLC, Amarok or other popular media library applications be sufficiently workable so I’m not enraged? Let’s find out!
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