an Independance day spent with FOSS


I was real lucky this time round as we had only two classes on thursday. So, I left on Wed itself. So,  i had thu, fri, sat and sun to myself. I came back to college only on Mon and even then the morning classes  were cancelled. And i didnt have to miss any more classes.

well, what more could I ask for, yeah? This time when I went home, I found out that all the computers in my father’s office were down with Viruses. And, its not that nice when computers holding critical data become corrupted. In fact my father was really desperate and was willing to pay anything for a LEVEL “PARANOID” antivirus solution which will kill anything that approaches it, including little kittens which might pee on the keyboard. So, I decided that the time was ripe to try linux at my father’s office. After all, I couldnt ask for a more ideal setup. Being an office, no games, graphics or other applications except the most basic ones were required to run on the systems. And most importantly my father was a very forgiving person…

 So, i downloaded Ubuntu, Xubuntu, Deli Linux and fluxbuntu. I tried Ubuntu and Xubuntu on the systems and a few blasted problems cropped up and the whole project had to be trashed. I lost atleast 3 nights of sleep and had to format the computers a few thousand times. Then I realised that, it would take some more time for Linux to be adopted on a larger scale in commercial applications. The reasons are pretty simple… One, the free office suite Open Office is not quite as slick as MsOffice and its very difficult to retrain staff to use the new suite without loosing productivity as they are not very computer savvy. Second, Ubuntu is noticeably slower than XP and Win98. Infact even Vista on a well specced computer boots up faster than Linux. And for all the talk about stability, in truth Ubuntu should be handled with the utmost care. You just cannot experiment freely with it. For example I tried running Msoffice on Wine which is supposed to have undergone a lot of development by now. But, still the uninstall feature doesnt work and you have to create a separate user to handle wine, if u dont want non existent applications cluttering up the menu. Moreover, you just cannot delete the “program files” folder of a particular application in Linux and forget about it like you do in XP. Its unbelievably easy to mess everything up with Ubuntu. And some of the free software that is available are not entirely free of bugs. Sometimes nothing short of a clean reinstall will solve the problem(atleast for an inexperienced user). This is especially true if u have experimented with archived packages or played with some of the drivers.

But of course Ubuntu has its advantages… It supports an incredible range of hardware right out of the box, is immune to viruses and a lot of malicious software, provides you with a lot of flexibility and gives you great insight into the inner workings of an OS. Infact, for a guy with common sense who uses his computer for simple things like word processing, email, internet and multimedia, there cannot be a less bothersome OS than Ubuntu. Besides there are a lot of people like Thumbi, who believe in the freedom that such software promises and that might sound more abstract than it actually is.

After my failed attempt, I called Thumbi and shouted at him to console myself about the failed attempt. After all, there is no better medicine for frustration than shouting at somebody. For me Thumbi was the bodily embodiment of everything that has anything to do with linux. Infact I hear from sources that Thumbi’s whole family is involved in this international FOSS racket. hehe…

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