I still remember the first faint whisperings that hit my ears about Linux
. At roughly the same time, I can remember hearing about strange, new technologies called "v.90
", and mp3
, and Quake
. I can recall the way they used to fill me with uncomfortable glee
, when I would go to a website, utilizing the processing power of my 33.6
beast of a phone modem
. Still, to this day, I find myself divided amongst all these weird sciences, it seems, all theses unique and different softwares that are creeping up. Windows
, and Linux, mp3.
Windows has dominated the computer mentality for a decade or more. I still have my Windows 2.0 disks, my Windows 3.11 disks (all of which were on floppy, I might add), and Windows 95, which I admittedly ripped off from a computer store a long time ago, in its original box. eBay, anyone? The format was great, and you could use a mouse! Windows gave the user a GUI, a graphical user interface, combined with the extreme fun of adding sounds to any event that occurred on a computer. Never mind that Windows was at first - and arguably, still is - a visual representation of DOS. That's alright, because DOS is an excellent little operating system - it allowed you to go from point A to point B. Amazing technology. Not to mention that Doom II came with a Windows version, and for myself, my old 386 (with a monstrous 32 MB of EDO RAM) ran both Windows and Doom II just fine. Back in those days, I never encountered The Blue Screen Of Purgatory - did it even exist? - but I know that my performance was lacking, in retrospect. I look at the specs on the machine I have now; it's got about 470 quintillion times the processing power, it feels, and looks much nicer. My monitor is huge. But now I pay for it with the The Blue Screen Of Purgatory popping up, in deep blue grandeur, across my 19 inch technical masterpiece. Over some time, however, and a year or so of playing with Microsoft Windows 98, I so rarely get a blue screen that luckily, it is fading from memory. But what happens next? Linux blows all my privately held ideals away, with a whole new way of looking at computers, a whole new way of operating a system.
Look anywhere around you (online) and you'll hear praise for Linus Torvalds and Linux. You'll hear about the ease of use, the way it was scavenged from the maniacal halls of memory of script kiddies and programmers everywhere. There is a pile, horrendous in size, of tweaking that is involved with Linux, to get it up and running on a box, but it's all good, when one considers the final product. A damn l33t box with true multitasking capability. That's what we all want, isn't it? A true computer, with no limits. I've seen advertisements that say, "Linux Without Limits," and I tend to agree - Linux is a brilliant premise with a unique potential to diversify our previously held misconceptions about what computers do, and are able to accomplish. And who doesn't enjoy free stuff? My only problem, on a personal level, is of course, the lack of games for Linux. I'm an avid gamer - I've bought, killed for, and played any game there is out there, and I love them all. There are some games I have more of a passion for than others, but of course, I'm forced to use Windows for them. Here's the tryst I am involved in, the tryst between Windows, Linux and I: Do I sacrifice the sheer grace and power (maybe even glory, I haven't decided) of Linux, for the games of Windows? Either way, I am still able to enjoy my music, my mp3z.
They say music is the univeral language, and maybe it is, but I'm from a day when mp3 websites were as frequent as pornographic and warez sites. I'm from a time when mp3 files were a sought-after and viable commodity. Then comes Napster and changes all that. I'm not upset about the change, I'm merely upset ast the RIAA's reaction. But I'm sure there's a million and seven nodes on that subject, so I'll avoid it. The point is that I love my music, and it's great not to have to look for my CD's, or to listen to a mix CD - after all, I don't have hardware which allows me to listen to mix cassette tapes. (Note: I think it'd be kind of cool to have an 8-track player for my computer, installed in the front, under my tape drive. People would ask, "Why'd you do that?" I'd invariably answer, "The Beatles' White Album sounds the best this way.")
The ultimate point of all this is that both systems run my music. So who cares? All I do is write anyway. I'm a proponent of both ideologies, Linux and Windows. I don't disagree with Microsoft, or its business ventures. I don't disagree with the GPL, or the Free Software ideology. I agree with working software, to make my computer-tinkering a little easier, rather than simply staring at a screen which blinks "keyboard error" over and over again. My opinion is that, if some of the brilliant people from both Linux (doesn't matter which, be it RedHat, PhatLinux, Debian, or whoever else) came together, and came up with something new, it would be the high grand poobah of operating systems, and we'd all get along much better in the end.
Note: Thanks to yerricde for pointing out that Doom does run on Linux - my point was that three or four years ago, I didn't know that such a thing was possible, and would have seen little point in doing it anyway. Why not just run it on Windows?