linux rant (blame Charles Stross)

[Quick Edit] Just in case, the “blame” is for making me think. In this day and age, however, its worth disclaiming that up front so there isn’t any misinterpretation. [/Quick Edit]

Had a good chuckle this morning reading Charles Stross’ blog (yes, that’s what I was doing instead of working on the practice novel, or organizing the six million stamps that are out of order and uncatalogued, or even instead of checking in on the sickly child). Talking about Xandros on the EEEpc, Stross comments:

Xandros didn’t so much tame the beast[linux] as lobotomize it and give it a Mickey Mouse hat to conceal the bandages.

This had me in stitches, probably due in part to the fact that I spent some time yesterday “sneaking” around and checking in on Gentoo, and in part for the social guilt I feel over the fact that I actually don’t have a linux workstation any more, any where (not really).

The latter is actually easier to explain than it might sound – while I dabble at writing, I have discovered that I really, really, really love using yWriter, which unfortunately only runs on Windows with the .Net framework (and I’ve tried running it under wine, and no, it doesn’t work, not completely). So I find myself compelled to use windows on my laptop/netbook so that I can keep using the novel building software I’ve chosen. At work, it became a matter of practicality – in the end, now that I waft near middle management, there is a convenience and time factor for just using a corporate image of windows and running linux in a vmplayer, where if it goes down oh well (I no longer have the luxury of spending 6 hours on trying to figure out why upgrading part X impacted parts Y and Z to present me with an unusable system).

But I won’t deny missing that life. Even seeing the list of bugs that tove is dealing with for the perl folks in Gentoo (begging the other question, how did it all fall on tove??), and the fact that despite being out for a year or two now, 5.10 still isn’t in the official tree. There was a certain joy and sense of living life at least in sight of the frontier working on a project like Gentoo. I am a geek; unfortunately, I am not the kind of geek that something like Gentoo needs (but I could be…I scored a 26 on the test I posted about earlier ;), and frankly I don’t have the time and sense of commitment that a project like that needs.

But looking at my netbook, and my aged refurbished laptop, I do wish I had a working command prompt. Mostly late at night, or when I wish I could just do a quick find/grep (without the hassles of cygwin). And knowing that the cd/dvd drive on this emachines laptop would start working again as soon as windows is off of it doesn’t help.

How did I get so tied to a stinking piece of software in the first place? Does yWriter really offer me everything I think it does, or am I being lulled by its ease of use? I’m using windows right now because for the most part, I don’t have to dick around with anything, It Just Works(tm). Mostly. Except for the whole cd/dvd thing. And the toolset. And the fact that the only windows-only software I’m using is yWriter – otherwise its all Abiword and web browsers (ok, so I am using Chrome, which isn’t available on linux yet, but that’s minor).