Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Is Linux a four letter word?

I often used to say - "Java is a four letter word. And, so is Unix." Of course, it had nothing to do with the fact that I worked for Redmond for sometime. I often thought they were part of the "Unholy Trinity" - Intel, Microsoft & Dell - one influences the other's sales.

Anyway, recently I decided to install Linux on my new laptop. Part of the reason was that it was an old laptop - an IBM T22. So, I installed Suse 9.1 Personal on it. Did the install over broadband from an ftp site. The install itself went off without a hitch. But, hey wait a minute. why is the wireless card from Netgear not working? Checked a few websites, found something about prism54 etc...Tried all that and gave up.

Tried doing VPN to my school. First I had to download the software, build it and then install it. Yet, it did not work.

Then, tried installing BloGTK, an offline blogging tool. The install instructions listed three or four dependencies. I found that my version of software was missing most of it. So, I began doing the download, build and install process. The libraries themselves seem to be dependent on other libraries and that link seem to be never ending. Of course, what is built for another distribution won't work on mine. Finally, after about two months of effort I gave up.

I am not a geek but I am not computer challenged either. I don't believe that Linux is for the masses - the people who mistake CD Drive for cupholder, don't know that Internet over AOL is same as Internet over any other ISP. I think Linux is suffering the same problems as UNIX - multiple incompatible distributions. And, why can't someone create a single install file that checks dependencies, installs the necessary libraries and then the software. Of course, the cost of software is free but my time is not...

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