Open Source

So what's the deal with

As part of

my media PC for the home project (see previous blog post) I decided to install Linux

on one of my test boxes here in my work cubicle. (I currently have three test boxes and a production PC in here with me –

Hmm toasty!)

I have

always been under the impression that installing Linux was a time-consuming and

often frustrating task that involved gathering drivers from weird Web sites.

You know, drivers that some guy reversed engineered and then wrote because he

had that printer and wanted to install Linux to stick it to the man


It was with that mindset that I began my first Linux install on a

late Friday afternoon. I was anticipating missing dinner.

Boy was I

wrong! I installed Suse Linux Enterprise Server 9 and was up and running in

about an hour. I didn't have to hunt for drivers or fiddle with configuration

settings or any of the other horror scenarios that had been placed in my head

in years past and that I so stubbornly held onto through the years. It was a

simple process. If my test machine was a little faster in the CPU and disk

drive departments, it would have been much less than an hour I'm sure.


experience leaves me with one burning question (well probably more, but only

one right now) – what's the big deal? With my query comes the realization that

the operating system is the least important determining factor when configuring

a Media PC.

The important factor is what applications you want to run. There

are two very good Media PC apps for Linux that I know of, so I'm thinking that

may be the way to go. But the key factor is not the OS, but which Media app is

going to work the best for me.

If you have

some experience with LInux Media PC software, perhaps you could share some



Mark W. Kaelin has been writing and editing stories about the IT industry, gadgets, finance, accounting, and tech-life for more than 25 years. Most recently, he has been a regular contributor to,, and TechRepublic.

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