Friday, March 24, 2006

I've been playing around with Linux on my old Compaq computer. For a period of two days, I got wireless networking to operate. The USB wireless adapter now refuses to use the channel on which my router broadcasts. Having nothing to lose, I tried Mandriva 2006, which at least tells me the driver for my adapter doesn't exist in its database. However, that's only during startup. Once the computer has started, it dumps me at the command line. I want it to boot into the desktop.

The only reason I installed Mandriva on the Compaq was because I just purchased a used laptop with Ubuntu Linux on it. It only cost a couple hundred bucks and is screaming fast. It's a PIII with a 20G hard drive, and 512Mb of RAM. I have to confess, however, that I didn't read the auction too closely. The seller said the laptop was "WiFi capable," now "WiFi equipped." So I bought a wireless card, put in the slot, but I still can't enable WiFi on the laptop. Wlan0 just doesn't exist.

This is why Linux will never be able to replace Windows: It's not user friendly enough. Much as I hate to admit it, Gates and Company have done one heck of the job making the technology accessible. When someone asks, "What does that person want to do?" the Linux community answers by saying "Well, they want to configure the drivers and enable the Internet connection." Microsoft said, "They want to check their email," and they made it idiot proof. Linux users, on the other hand tend to be more computer literate, and, well, geeky. They love the idea of tinkering under the hood of the OS.

Don't get me wrong. I like using my Linux computer. Ubuntu is sleek, and the desktop looks sharp! I just want to be able to connect to the Internet without jumping through a zillion hoops. It's almost enough to make me buy Windows XP and install it on the laptop. I wonder if Micro$oft will let me install a beta version of Vista on it?


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