My life with Linux
It’s cards on the table time. I’m a Windows man. I started with Windows 3.11 and DOS, migrated to Windows 95, suffered through 98 and ME and revelled in Windows XP. In following the winding Windows road I’m joined by millions of others who’d shudder at using anything other than Microsoft’s ubiquitous operating system.
But recently Linux has finally begun to offer itself as a serious alternative. Those £200 netbooks that have undoubtedly become the hot technology of the year now routinely ship with Linux, while public demand has prompted Dell to offer an Ubuntu alternative on an ever-expanding range of its PCs. Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Canonical, the company that sponsors Ubuntu development, believes the next release will be the one to finally prick the public consciousness, and has begun hiring people to make sure that when it hits the mainstream, Ubuntu is pretty enough to hold the attention of those accustomed to the glamour of OS X and Vista.
Their confidence is infectious, so I decided to take the plunge. I handed my life over to Linux for seven days to see how well we rub along.
In practice that meant installing two versions of Linux – one for the office and one for home – and recording every success, failure, thrill and frustration along the way. Here’s my diary of my week of life without Windows.