I Broke Up With Windows

I have an Alienware laptop that I love. I mean I really love this laptop. Her name is Inara (not Vera, sorry, Jayne!) I think geeks feel about their computers the way some people feel about cars. Seriously, Mr. Rochester just built a computer, which we dubbed Nightcrawler (we have decided to go with an X-Men theme from now on), that I am fairly certain he would marry if we were not already legally joined.

I bought Inara about 4 years ago because I needed something small to take to conferences and she has served me very well. I was running Windows XP on my system. Somewhere in there, I had some issues and had to partition the hard drive and install a second instance of Windows. From then on, things went down hill. There was increasing slowness, the CMOS battery died on me, and bootup and shut down time was like pulling teeth.

Mr. R has been wanting me to try Linux and I have considered going open source but that was such a big step; I was not sure I was ready. I love technology, but I hate coding. HATE. IT. It requires more patience and rational thinking than I believe I possess. I just want someone else to build the guts and GUI and let me play with it and teach other people how to play. I know what I want, but I want someone else to build it.

This is the general reason why I have resisted Linux, but I kept hearing how fabulous Ubuntu was and really, my computer was in the throes – the I might throw it out the window throes.

I read this Tom’s Hardware article and took the plunge. I installed Ubuntu with a clean wipe. No partitions. No more Windows. No more pain. Mr. Rochester changed my CMOS battery (I think this bothered him more than me) and it was like I got a brand new computer.

Ubuntu has been a dream. Ubuntu comes with email, Open Office, Rythymbox, and a slew of other useful stuff. If I want more programs, I simply look at a list and click “Install” and it magically appears, for free. FREE. Need a program for screen shots with editing? Free. Need a compressor? Free. Need a flickr uploader? Click. Install. Need a program to convert all those pesky MP4 files from iTunes into a usable format? No problem. The Software Center makes installing plugins and getting other programs simple and does not require me mucking around in the /root and remembering what to type when, in what order.

The one thing I have not done yet is try to sinc my iPod shuffle with Rhythmbox. I have read articles on people’s various success with this. I only use it for podcasts and I figured if it did not work, I can use one of our other three computers for that.

Now I wonder what held me back. We will always have a PC with Windows in this house; we are gamers after all with triple the amount of computers and consoles as adults in the house, but I think my laptops will always run Linux from now on.

If you have hesitated to run a Linux machine, if you have a computer that needs to be freed from Windows, or if you simply can not afford the overpriced software on a Windows or Apple machine, I recommend taking the plunge. Install Ubuntu and never look back.

–Jane, all hail open source computing