Of operating systems, and stability

After upgrading my wife’s PC 2 weeks ago, mine went in for it’s upgrade.   Coming home with a box that hardly has any remnant of it’s previous self inside means “Re-install ALL the Operating Systems!!!”

So, off we go with my Windows 7 install… But no – that just doesn’t work right.  I get a blue screen as my PC starts up after it’s installed the base OS.  After much fiddling, I find that it’s my graphics card causing some kind of fault so I give up and start using my on-board card.  It’s not great, but neither is my 5 year old card that’s giving grief.

I had NO IDEA that Windows 7 would require SO many reboots to get all the windows updates in place.  So now I have spent way too long trying to fix my PC and in the process have managed to “repair” my PC so it sees the old install (on the old 300gb drive) and the new install (on the new, and bigger drive)  and I now have to wait 30 seconds, or click a button to get windows to boot up.

Sigh 🙁

Now I think “lets get my linux install going again”.  After hearing rave reviews about “Mint Linux”, I thought – lets try this out.  Download, create bootable USB drive, install… and … First impression “Wow, this is slow, and ugly”.  So I start talking to the friend who recommended it “Oh, crap – I used to use Mint, but moved to Elementary recently because it’s super awesome”

Sigh number Two – I can’t work in a slow and ugly OS that has taken the worst from both Windows and Ubuntu’s UI’s and somehow mashed them together into pure frustration for me.

So – lets go download Elementary OS.  It looks pretty darned awesome in their video.  Download it (smaller than Mint), install it, and… “Wow, this is fast, pretty and kinda cool”.  Except, wait… It only seems to pick up my one monitor.  I hack around in settings, start googling, and am not getting much other than people praising the OS.  While that’s going on, I decide to install Chrome.  I download the right .deb package, open it, install it… and <Insert some unintelligible error here>!

Sigh number Three – Pretty OS, Nice and fast, but one monitor (and it picks the resolution of the worst of my two), and when installations of simple apps that “just work” on Ubuntu start failing then I start giving up on the OS.  I don’t want to fight my way to a working system, I want a working system. 

The point of my Linux install is because I want to fight with programming ideas, not Operating System issues.

And so, that brings me full circle to Ubuntu as my OS (the download is progressing nicely in the background)

I’ve learned a few lessons:

  1. I didn’t know there were “pretty” linux distributions out there. I’m glad I got to try out Elementary
  2. Swapping OS’s is much easier now, than it was 5-10 years ago.
  3. If you want ease of use, sticking with mainstream is sometimes good. (Windows and Ubuntu are popular because they’re common… and sometimes that’s just what you need)
  4. I’m finally learning to not get sucked into “Yak shaving”.  When I’m recompiling a kernel to test out a driver that allows me to activate a beta setting of a subsystem of the OS that lets me do <insert simple task>… I’m doing something wrong.  I’ve done it in the past, so the fact that I stopped myself quickly here makes me kinda happy that I’ve learned from previous time wasted.

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