November 21st, 2007 by tungsai

So I decided to try a different operating system besides Windows on my laptop. I told my friend Brent that in 2-3 years, Linux will be a good operating system that can compete with Windows. He doesn’t think so; they’ve been saying that for years. Well, what the heck; I decided to put my money where my mouth is, so to speak, and try it out.

Ubuntu is the one I decided to go with, just because it gets a lot of hype. The other one I might have chosen is probably Fedora.

Final result: It doesn’t do everything right. First, it would not work with my wireless Bluetooth mouse. I will say that it came very close! it could SEE the bluetooth mouse on the system; but actually getting it to sync with the laptop failed.

Second problem I ran into: getting this built-in “Evolution” e-mail program to work with my @purdue e-mail address. It simply crashed every time I started trying to run the setup wizard.

But perhaps the most involved problem I’ve tried to solve has been to try and listen to the Dave Ramsey show Archives from his web site. In order to do this, you must install many “Packages” as they call them, which are extra sets of programs, to make stuff work. Here is the typical way you fix problems in Linux: 1. Try to do something. 2. If it fails, look for any error messages. 3. Google the error message, find an article or news posting from somebody else that already had the problem. See if anybody offers a solution. If so, try it. If it fails, go back to the google search and look for more information. If nothing pops up in a quick google search, then you may have to post a message to some forum. this sucks because then you have to wait for somebody to reply, IF they ever do. If not, then you can try a more non-google-based method of searching. If there was no apparent error message, you can look for log files. Sometimes when a program breaks, an error message is written to some log file somewhere. Finding it in Linux requires probably again a google search.

There is no central point of documentation for linux stuff. It conglomerates in certain areas, like the Ubuntu forums, but sometimes you will find solutions elsewhere too.

SO ANYWAY, to make Dave Ramsey work I had to first jiggle with the Firefox browser settings; then I had to install mplayer, xine, gxine, and some packages that allow windows format streaming audio to be decoded by the linux computer.

End result: I can hear the show, but I cannot fast-forward through commercials like I can in Windows Media Player. They do have a RealPlayer option, but I absolutely refuse to install RealPlayer on my Linux computer. I hate RealPlayer because they are ad-laden, cater to the corporate pop culture, and their software is invasive. By invasive, I mean, it always wants to run in the background and have retarted pop-up messages about pop music, and other shit they are trying to sell me.