I’ve written about using Linux before, in fact I think there are 20 odd posts dotted around from 2005 about making the switch, only for me to go crawling back to Windows a few months later. In those 4 or so years where I’ve been using Windows exclusively, yearning for enough money to buy a Mac, Linux has come on leaps and bounds.
It used to be that you’d install Linux and then hunt all over the Internet with another computer trying to find wireless support, graphics card drivers and trying to remember how to install something via the terminal. A couple of weeks ago, after Vista had decided to have the last laugh and go completely atomic (remember to back up your data, kids) I decided to make the jump (again) to Linux Mint.
I’ve always been quite curious about trying new things, especially when they mean I don’t have to run a bloated, virus prone, expensive and frankly ugly OS. When you spend 95% of your working day typing code and having to wrestle with Windows wanting to do its own thing, it gets quite annoying very quickly. When I discovered originally use Linux, it was because I was bored – probably after a late night session recording a podcast and not being able to sleep.
I was able to install it, get it to do almost the same things as I could do on Windows and then generally mess around until I missed either a) a decent MP3 player or b) some game that I wanted to play and so I’d go crawling back to Windows. Don’t get me wrong, I owe everything to Bill Gates et al, without them I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing today.
Fast forward a good few years and I’m back to Linux, only this time I’m running Windows XP inside a Virtualbox (virtual machine) that runs as a programme (in a Window) or seamlessly (as if I’ve booted in to XP). Obviously this takes up a tremendous amount of processor and RAM usage, but with my beast of a Laptop I can cope quite well. Now I can hear you Mac users (and maybe some, less/more geeky than me) screaming things like “we’ve been able to do this for ages” and/or “why?”
Sadly, the main reason, is my iPhone. Although you can attempt to run Windows software within Linux using something called Wine, it’s buggy and doesn’t always work. Without iTunes I can’t backup my phone or update it to the latest software. I tied to iTunes and without buying a Mac, I sadly can’t escape that. This isn’t a moan, I just sometimes wish Apple would be a bit more open in either developing for Linux, or enabling other programs to deliver updates to iOS.
More on my trials and tribulations with Linux in the months to come. This time I’m going to aim for at least a year using it, with a little help from Windows XP to sync my iPhone.