Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Linux in a Windows world ?

I guess I'm a bit strange when it comes to computers, if not in other ways. I tend to lag behind in technology, and see little wisdom in buying the latest greatest at the premium price. Consequently, our home computers have largely been running Windows 98SE or some flavor of Linux. Of course Windows 98 is no longer a viable option, and Linux is synonymous with "work". Last Christmas, I got Debbie a Netbook running Linpus Linux. It has worked well overall, but Acer's support is far from perfect. Often, a "live update" will alter permissions on certain files and render things unworkable until a search of the latest online user forums reveals a solution. I have a pretty good unix/linux background, but most normal people would just abandon the thing, or buy a Mac even. Additionally, these Netbooks with the Atom N270 processor are not fast. Browsing the web and viewing Youtube videos can be a bit  troublesome. Further to this, printing has been problematic under Linux. I've tried several different approaches, CUPS, HP Linux packages etc but none work right, if at all. So, our little HP P1005 printer can't be exploited. Nor can our 4x6 HP photo printer. Add kids with Ipods to the mix and it gets to be too much. What's my point? Well, I needed a cheap solution so I bought a cheap "off lease" IBM ThinkCentre from Staples. On sale for under $200. For me, its biggest selling feature was the included XP Pro CD/License. (An XP Pro CD still retails for about $180 in Halifax). With free delivery, it arrived at the door the next day. You get what you pay for, of course, but I think this will work just fine for now. It's a P4 3ghz small footprint box with an 80 gig drive, 1 gig of ram, and 8 USB ports. I can scrounge a bigger drive and more memory. Now I should be able to toss two or three older machines :)