November 19, 2002

Fun with Linux

It’s not so much leaping in, as it is sticking a toe in and saying, “That’s not so bad. Just get used to that, and in a few hours we’ll go up to the ankle.” That’s how I’m describing my slow experimentations with Linux. Every so often I’ll take a dusty computer and pop a RedHat CD into it. I’ll play around for a bit, then forget all about it and put the computer away. This year, though, I’ve been doing it more frequently, and this week especially has been full of activity. I’ve been pushing my T1 line to the limit by downloading RedHat 8.0 (1.9GB…Disc 3 is coming down right now). I’ve been playing around with it, and I’m finally quite impressed with the Gnome package RedHat has put together.

The times I used RH7, it wasn’t that impressive. It came with Netscape 4, for one thing, and I spent hours trying to learn exactly how to download and install Mozilla. And then it seemed like there weren’t too many tools that came with it. Everything could be downloaded, of course, but that took more time. And then I’d wipe everything clean and pop the CD in again, and I’d have to start from scratch.

RH8 has improved that a lot. It comes with Mozilla, it comes with Ximian for e-mail and Gaim for instant messaging. There’s been a lot added to the main menu, especially in the way of configuration ulitites, which is a big help to someone who is used to the Windows Control Panel. Someone like me. And the whole look is just snappier than RH7. It runs like a dog on my 200MHz PC, and it’s not quite as peppy as RH7, but I know whose fault that is.

My next job is to dig into the guts of the beast and learn about Apache and PHP, FTP, all those scary things that need the command line to run just right. And at the pace I’m going, in another 15 or 20 years I might just be able to dump Windows all together!

Filed under The Computer Vet Weblog

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