Saturday, November 22, 2008

At a crossroads

I think I have come to a point where I am going to either love Linux forever or turn my back on it in frustration.

There are a lot of things about it that find awesome about Linux. Many things are downright easy. Annoyingly, some things (which are normally 1, 2, 3 on Windows) are infuriatingly difficult.

Here are six things that should be dead easy but need a lot of work to do:

  1. Watch a video on YouTube.

  2. Edit a photo.

  3. Copy a Firefox profile from the old PC to the new Linux box.

  4. Watch some trailers on the Apple site,

  5. Connect to a wireless network.

  6. Copy a CD to the iPod.

1: This one wasn't too difficult. Any browser on any OS (that I know of) will need to have Flash installed in order to get it to run Flash videos from a website. So this one isn't really fair, but on the plus side, installing the Flash for the browser is quite easy.

2: Many distributions of Linux come with OpenOffice which is quite nice, but the Office Draw function that it comes with is counter intuitive, plus it is a vector based drawing program. Great for doing what it does, but not very friendly if you are used to using MSPaint (yuk!). On the pus side, the distro that I am using came with GIMP which is pretty much on par with PhotoShop, and isn't too hard to work out.

3: This one defeated me for a long time. I eventually worked out how to do it (most sites won't tell you that you need to change your preferences so that you can see the hidden files). Once you find where the Firefox files are hiding, then it's not too hard.

4: This one totally stumped me. It looks like it is natively impossible for Linux to run .mov and other Apple video formats, unless you are running WINE (a Windows emulator) and something like Explorer. Also, Apple does not support Linux, at all.

5: This one is also the reason why I didn't run Linux on my laptop like I originally wanted to. The short version is that one needs to download the 'proper' Windows drivers, run a small program to rip the important information out of them and then drop that information into Linux so it can use the wireless stuff. I couldn't get mine to work, though apparently it is "easy".

6: This one is pretty hard to do in one step unless you rip the OS out of the iPod and install a third party system into it, like LinPod or something. Not to mention that iPods are pretty temperamental anyway, it makes for a frustrating experience.

On the plus side, I did end up using Linux to do all my ripping and library management (such as editing the ID3 tags) and that worked a treat. The only problem is that for album art, my discs are usually the "Australian version" so it makes it harder to find the right covers. Other than that...

So I am about to build a new box. I don't want to run Vista, I might run XP, but I might go with Ubuntu 8.10 which is supposed to be pretty good. I just have to work out what I want the computer to do. And if "games" comes in almost anywhere, then it'd pretty much have to be Windows.

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