Wednesday, August 09, 2006


The copy of Windows XP on the tired old PC in my kitchen has been complaining of late that it's a pirate copy and that "I may be a victim of software piracy." Yeah, spot on... (well, sort of.)

It's funny though that only now- when they're (supposedly) close to releasing Vista - they've started asking people to pay up for XP. I 'built' this computer about four years ago! The odds of me being willing to pay (directly at least) for a copy of Windows XP are pretty slim. Similar to the odds of selling me, say, a 10 year old Ford Fiesta for £3000. Yeah, it was alright in its day, but now it looks to me like Microsoft are getting left in the dust. Maybe they'll pull it out of the bag with Vista, but they're taking their bloody time!

Anyway, all these piracy warnings were doing my head in so I thought "OK, screw you then", and stuck a copy of Ubuntu on there instead.

Now for those of you who don't know, Ubuntu is a computer operating system (i.e. like Windows) based on GNU/Linux (i.e. not like Windows). It's also free and open source.

I thought about setting up a Linux machine a few years ago, mainly for the learning experience and a bit of a project, but it all seemed to involve just slightly too much effort - doing things like compiling it yourself and stuff.

This on the other hand was really easy. I just downloaded a CD image, burnt it to disk, popped it in the drive and clicked a button. It even runs a demo version off the CD without changing anything so you can see if you like it. No techie questions asked, no settings to set, just two or three steps and it's done in about 20 minutes.

Anyway, this may be a bad reputation move. I'm forever trying to shake off the 'techie guy' image. I do creative work for a living and 'creating stuff' is what I enjoy most, but I can't help it - curiousity gets the better of me. Must... play... with... gadgets...

So... hmmm... I now run two Macs, one Windows PC and one Linux box. OK, maybe I'm a bit of a geek then. But please stop saying I 'work in IT'. Innaccurate. And no I can't come round fix your network, I've forgotten how. Honest :)


Peter Gasston said...

I installed Ubuntu on my home PC last month (dual-boot with XP); it's fantastic.

gridrunner said...

Yeah, but I don't think I'll be going as far as ordering these though.

gridrunner said...

Got it looking slightly nicer now. It is indeed fantastic. Now a dual-boot system as well.

What I've yet to work out is how to connect to it as a file server from Windows PCs or Macs. They see it but it won't let them in. And, vice versa, I can't browse Windows shared folders or log in to my Mac from Ubuntu. Any tips would be gratefully received!

Peter Gasston said...

For file sharing you need to install Samba and/or NFS.

Not sure if you've done it already, but installing the correct kernel to suit your processor is a good idea; I was running off the default (386) kernel and have now switched to the AMD (K7) kernel, and there's a significant increase in speed.

BTW, do you have a account?