Adventures in Linux-Land

Look, I’m a software guy, okay? I’ve been banging around on computers since my first TRS-80 that my dad bought in 1982. I’m a software engineer for the world’s largest aerospace company. And I’m here to tell you that as far as computer operating systems go, we as a civilization peaked with DOS. Microsoft Windows sucks. We all somehow intuitively know this, but we’ve been in denial for twenty years because until recently there just weren’t that many alternatives.

I have a little bit of experience with Unix/Linux. I had a Silicon Graphics workstation on my desk for a few years. I played around with an early version of Red Hat. I even downloaded the original Ubuntu and loaded it on an old Toshiba laptop just for kicks. My opinion back then was that a lot of progress had been made, but that we still weren’t there yet. The Windows-like GUIs were pretty good, but the application software support still wasn’t there.

So recently, after seeing the slick Xandros load on my Eee, I decided to give Linux another shot and tried to install the latest versions of both Ubuntu and Kubuntu on a home server that I’m setting up. You know what? Linux sucks too, albeit for different reasons.

It’s an extremely difficult operating system to configure right out of the box. There, I said it. We all know it’s true, but everybody seems to be in denial about this too. But the complexity of Linux is a well known punchline, as you can see here. That video is several years old, but nothing has really changed. Despite the open source community’s best efforts, Linux is still cumbersome, buggy, and frankly, not ready for primetime. Or at least not ready to expand their market much past the legions of nerds who have nothing better to do than “check your version dependencies.”

Now I know that many of the Linux faithful will attack me for saying this, so I’m going to offer this little challenge. Point me to a Linux distro that 1) installs from a single disc (either CD or DVD), 2) includes both VNC and Samba right out of the box, and 3) won’t take me to “sudo pico” hell trying to “config it” and I’ll take back everything I just said. Any takers?

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