Bit of background on my Linux fun

Friday, July 21, 2006 5:01 pm By BigLig

It occurs to me to post this to Mugshot's Ubuntu Lover's group, so that people can watch me struggling, in which case a few notes on "Why Linux" are in order.

Firstly, I am an Windows sysadmin by profession, working in a Microsoft shop (sysadmin talk for a business that uses lots and lots of Microsoft products, we don't sell XBoxes or anything). So I use Windows a lot; have done since Windows 3.0; I am the person who installed the first NT box into production anywhere in my organization. I need Windows to do my daily work - Outlook, Microsoft CRM, Netsupport (remote control software), BPCS (ERP system).

And I rather like Windows too. I have XP on my laptop set up just right, with a toolset that I've built up over the years to do everything I need.

So why change?

Firstly, I like the ideas behind Free Software. The computer is the greatest tool man has ever created; better than the club, or the wheel, or the printing press, or the AK-47. And tools are what give us the luxury to be more than animals. There should not be a company with control of, or a monopoly on, such a vital tool.

Secondly, I like the ideas of Open Source (which is not, please note, the same thing). Everytime I try a new distro, I'm amazed at the degree of improvement I see. When I'm working on a machine with IE installed instead of Firefox, it's actually painful.

Thirdly, it's tremendous fun to learn a new OS, and I can't afford a Mac.

Fourthly, it's the future. I want to be the person who installs the first Linux box into production anywhere in my organization, and to do that I need to know what I'm talking about.

So, if Linux is so great, why haven't I done it before? Well, I've tried a few times, and come close, but it's not quite been there yet. Stuff didn't quite work, sometimes even after a lot of effort. I've run it on plenty of secondary boxes, but I can't really learn something unless I'm using it day in and day out. But each time I give up and reach for the Windows CDs, I make a note that this time it was nearly there; that next time might be the time....

So, now we have Dapper Drake, and something is telling me that this might be the time. not only is it very slick, but I believe that the tools are in place to let me find a way to run those stubborn windows-only applications. Tools like remote control of a windows machine, WINE, and VMWARE.

So, time for some fun.