Thursday, October 25, 2007

Awe-Inspiring Experience of Spy der Mann - Must Read for Every Linux Newbie

Spy der Mann (a.k.a. M) came my way! And surprised me with his agonies (of windows experience) and ecstasies (of pclinuxos joyride). Somewhere in the innermost corners of evolved PC users there lives an M, who just can't settle for mundane things of computing (like windows), and must find his way through nobler things (linux in general and pclinuxos in particular).

Thanks M! You represent millions of evolved pc users through your nice posts on slashdot. I don't want to dilute your feelings. So, I am posting them as they are.

(Please visit and to see the original posts and other good tech literature)

Article #1 by M

My viewpoint on Windows after switching to Linux.

Remember this borg guy called Bill Gates? Well, I'm finally free from him, and from everything that he represents.

I'd like to share a thought with you guys. Perhaps it might help someone who's doubting on switching to Linux . The original post was written on one of the Microsoft stories. Everytime Microsoft plays dirty on you is a reason to switch.

Yesterday I switched to Linux from Windows. My Linux of choice was PCLinuxOS, which I find powerful and yet guiding (you can read my review on my journal). Anyway, what I wanted to share is that when I used to be a prisoner - and slave - of Windows, everytime I read these news on Slashdot ("Microsoft forces this update on you!", "Windows phones home", "Windows spies on your browsing habits", "Windows antipiracy measures screw up your install"), I used to get irritated and mad at Microsoft.

But just today, I felt very different when reading these news. For the simple reason that my main install is Linux. How? Well, let me tell you how I felt.

I felt like a spectator watching the tragedy from a tower far away, and giving thanks for not having been there. Or, as mexicans say, i felt like if I was watching the bullfight from behind the barrier. I was no longer angry, nor desperate. I was...


Being a V for Vendetta fan, I can compare with the feeling Evey had when she was under the rain, after having decided to go against the system, to the last consequences. Her thoughts and actions were completely free from the government. I can tell how she felt.

It was a feeling of freedom. It was a feeling of power.It was a feeling of being able to fight against the Statu Quo. I wasn't part of the system anymore. I felt like Neo after going in the matrix and realizing I *CAN* change things.

I was no longer a victim. I was no longer a survivor. I became... a fighter.

I no longer need to hack my way through Microsoft's limitations. I no longer need to download a crack to bypass the stupid region encoding or DRM imposed by Windows just to backup my movies or music CDs. I no longer need to fear the dreaded Windows update screwing up my system. I no longer fear the waste of time of installing, re-registering and cracking Windows "Genuine Advantage" every time I upgrade my hardware.


For ages, I had complained about our slavery to Windows and the lack of Linux user-friendliness that kept us in that slavery. And now I feel that PCLinuxOS had build the bridge that I needed to do the switch. To put it in biblical terms, PCLinuxOS was, at least for me, the Moses we needed to get away from the evil Pharaoh.

I am beyond Windows now. I have transcended. I am immune. I am free.

Now, does that mean I'm going to become another of those elitist Linux "fanbois" that blame everything on the user? Hell no! The path towards freedom is still very rough, and I'm convinced that the more cross-platform applications there are, the easier that path will become. And I said path towards freedom, not towards Linux. Because when ReactOS comes out, it will be the same freedom - but with a different choice. You can't promote freedom with a dictatorship. You need to let people choose.

But I disgress.

This power, this freedom, this liberty, is a feeling that can't really be explained. You NEED to experience it. After you do, you will never go back.

So, if you decide to switch, and if Ubuntu doesn't meet your expectations, try PCLinuxOS. Just don't be an idiot like I was, and backup your data. You need to do it, anyway!

I sigh with relief now. We're living interesting times. Every year that passes, Linux gets better. And friendlier.

I can see it... Microsoft's doom is approaching - it's very close, just waiting for something to happen. Soon Microsoft will fall. All empires do. And I feel grateful for being an eye-witness.

Goodbye, Microsoft. You will never be missed.



Article #2 by M

Goodbye, Windows! Good morning, PCLinux OS!

This is the sequel to my previous disappointment with Ubuntu Linux.

I tried to install PCLinux OS 2007 from a burned ISO I downloaded. Everything worked fine, until I rebooted. Another error 17. But behold! The LiveCD included a chat application (XChat), which automatically connected to the PCLinuxOS support channel!

There I met a guy who explained to me that I had my partitions wrongly set up. He told me everything I needed to know - the partitioner was really cool, there was an option to autoallocate that created your root, home and swap partitions.

I repartitioned, rebooted, and voila! :D I'm in Linux! No more error 17.

Some apps weren't up to date, like GTK 2.0 and the drivers. Fortunately, the chat guy told me what to do about the drivers. There was no commandline at all! Everything was done graphically.

There was something wrong when I updated the screen to 1280 x 1024 (i was suddenly in text mode - eek!), but a reboot fixed it. Also, i had remembered the startx command that booted up. Well, it's still in beta, so I hope by the next version these glitches will be fixed.

The next problem was accessing the Windows partitions. Unfortunately, the partitions weren't enabled by default, but clicking on the "advanced" tab on the Administration Center / Partition thingy showed me how to enable them. I clicked on "mount", and voila!

Synaptic installs everything for you - no need to reboot except on special rare occasions. I installed Pidgin, and copied my buddy icon from my old windows partition. Still, I miss the MSN custom emoticons. This is one thing I'll have to do without. But I can't base my freedom on my personal tastes.

Since I have often to use the console (i find the "My computer" stuff ackward and slow), i right clicked on the Konsole icon and a menu popped up. Oh, didn't I metion? The window manager is very similar to Windows. Specially if you choose the "Redmond" theme (wink wink, nudge nudge). So, I clicked on "copy to desktop", and ta-da, there was my lovely terminal on the desktop.

Firefox is installed by default, but I forgot to import the settings from my old account (oopsie), so I have to add my bookmarks by hand. What a pity. Or was that option in Ubuntu and not PCLinuxOS? I forgot - sorry. Anyway, the flash plugin is already installed by default, so whee! I can watch my favorite youtube clips, like Silent Hill Chibi Edition, or some of the Bleach AMV's.

Amarok doesn't have the winamp interface, but the player looks similar to a simplified version of Winamp. It doesn't have an "open" button, but if you click on the playlist, the full window appears and you can choose stuff. Looks very advanced - too much for my taste, but oh well.

Now, for the downsides: The font for textboxes on Firefox looks awful. I couldn't reboot to the Windows partition - I'm stuck on Linux for the moment, but I can access my files, so it's no big deal. Anyway a boot from the Windows CD will fix the problem if I want to go back. I really hope i can find some tech support that will fix my boot manager. .... and that's about it. The task bar looks weird with those HUGE icons, but these are minor details.

Another thing that has kept annoying me is that the numpad, when used with shift, returns numbers instead of the cursor actions. I'm accustomed to using it. This is one thing I hadn't liked about Linux.

One warning: You should update Firefox, this version is and the latest is I don't want to get infected by some java virus or something :P

Well, it's all about upgrading packages and installing replacements for Windows ones now - The OpenOffice is 2.2, and I want 2.3 - and I need an html editor for my webpages. I had tried running the other one with WINE (wine hapedit.exe), but the font's all messed up. It's better to use native linux apps - they work out of the box.

It's hard to imagine that Linux is THIS easy. All those misconfigurations, application crashes are a thing of the past. The setup, altho difficult for non-standard settings like mine, was swift thanks to the live tech support on the irc channel.

Now if I only knew how to fix this ugly font on Firefox...

M, not only you are a techie, but a great scribe. Linux community needs such convincing bloggers like you.


Anonymous said...

Thanks M for such convincing linux literature.

Anonymous said...

It's good to see pclinuxos race growing!

Anonymous said...

It was specially registered at a forum to tell to you thanks for support how I can thank you?

How about this