Hasta La Vista, Vista

I was offline from March 30-April 4.  My machine is a Dell Laptop my mom won from the St. Louis Public Library in a Summer reading contest.  It came with Windows Vista on it.  I had been without a computer for 8 or 9 years.  The last computer I had was a Windows machine, so using this new one was easyish.  I had to relearn a few things and learn some new stuff, but overall I had no problems.

The computer came with wi-fi, and there are 2 open networks I can access from my house.  For the past 8 months I have enjoyed free access to the Internet, and what a boon to my life!  I have grown accustomed to looking up whatever, whenever.  I started blogging on Thanksgiving.  I love the Internet and I love blogging.

Suddenly, my computer decided to only grant me local access.  I couldn’t get to my email or anything.  My computer friend looked online and told me that it is a known vista issue.

A month or so ago, I visited my friend Kate who has very cool chain mail here.  I noticed her computer display showed the taskbar thingy at the top of the screen.  I asked why and she said she uses Ubuntu, a distribution of Linux.  I thought that is very cool, because I know Linux is open source and really appeals to the Daoist in me.  I thought Linux too difficult for me, but Kate got me thinking.

Then a fellow blogger and Daoist whose blog I read in rss posted about his Windows problems.  His solution was to install Linux.  I decided when my computer started to give me problems, I too would switch to Linux.

I talked to my computer friend about Ubuntu.  We decided to try reinstalling Vista and installing Ubuntu.  Everything on Vista seemed to work at his house.  We couldn’t get Ubuntu to see the wi-fi.  My friend knew it was a drivers issue and we would fix it.  I took it home and it was back to local only.

I explored Ubuntu and it looked really cool.  It came with all the software I wanted right off the bat – photo editing, word processing, drawing, etc.  I couldn’t surf, but I felt comfortable using the system.  I was happy.

The next day my friend suggested we install fedora, another distribution of Linux.  I said ok and 2.5 hours later, Boom – computer working perfectly, internet and all.  But fedora didn’t come with all the software I need.  I have been using it for 2 days and can’t, on my own, figure out how to install OpenOffice.  I can use the add/remove feature in system administration, but OpenOffice isn’t there.  I downloaded it, but have no idea what to do next and I am afraid to try to hard.

Really, installing either Linux distribution took FAR less time than installing windows.  I emailed my friend, asking about just reinstalling Ubuntu, since it has all the software with it.  Hopefully, we will do that tonight.

Either way, I am interested in knowing how to do some of the complicated stuff.  It is a whole new operating system.  It is free and so is the software. It is open source.  The world of Linux is a giant collaboration of many developers and millions of users.

By the way, I lost none of my bookmarks.  I joined xmarks, which saves your bookmarks.  Yay!

I am really disappointed in Microsoft Vista – after only 8 months of use it stopped working.  Yes, my version was free, but if Linux offers the same or better and it’s all free and community driven, there is no good reason at this time in my life to use Windows.

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