Thursday, June 18, 2009

Trying something new

I want to try a new OS. My reasoning behind this is that Microsoft products have simply become too intrusive. While the products usually do what I need to do sometimes they won't allow me to do what I want to do without jumping through hoops, somewhat like the government. Couple this with the fact that my favorite Microsoft OS, XP Pro, is going away and I have no interest in trying Vista or Seven. Add in the cost of upgrading a Microsoft OS and you see why I want to try something new and preferably open source.

I'm not saying that I'm not willing to pay for an OS. I am saying I would prefer to try an OS that is less expensive that can be customized to my preferences and needs.

I have three reservations with trying a GNU/Linux derivative although I've been reading up on them and they have piqued my interest. Maybe one of my two readers can answer my thoughts.

1) I will need to aquire another computer to run this OS on, as I'm not going to replace the OS on my main computer nor am I going to try to set it up as a dual boot system. The main computer is a Compaq N410c, and, while it is old by most standards, I've had it quite a while and it does everything I want so therefore it's not obsolete.

I will probably build a medium power desktop computer but how do I know what hardware is supported and what drivers are available? This is probably my number one reservation.

2) Later this year I want to purchase a netbook, preferably with a SSD instead of a traditional HDD, bluetooth and built in 802.11n wifi capability. Whatever OS I decide to use must be compatible with the hardware of this netbook.

3) The OS must have a good GUI to use while I am learning to use the command line again, as I have only used the command line rarely in the last 13 years since I gave up Windows 3.11/DOS 6.1 and went to Windows 95, 98, 2000, and XP Pro.

I also wonder about the fact that various drives (CD/DVD, flash drives, floppy drives and external hard drives) must be "mounted" and "unmounted or dismounted". Is this a major hassle? Can these procedures be automated or at least can you set up a shortcut on the desktop to provide these functions?

Can someone that has a working knowledge of various GNU/Linux distributions help a brotha out? :)

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