In our last episode,

I confessed to being unable to handle a tarball from the command line.

After some justly due mockery, I began trying to extract Ruby and

RubyGems from tarballs using the command line, and I quickly tied

myself in knots–mostly because the setup script that Ruby on Rails

told me to use wasn’t present in the extracted files. It’s hard to run

“setup ruby.rb” if it isn’t there. This brought me to a moment of


It may be an unfair comparison, but I was able to roll with Ruby on Rails

in Windows with almost no hassle. That’s not to say that the ONLamp

tutorial exactly matched my system–I had to change some script details

and filenames on the fly–but I’m a 15-year Windows veteran. I knew

enough about the environment to roll with the punches. I can’t do that

on Linux.

That’s why I’ve decided to “retire” the Wacky Laptop column until

summer. I want to learn Ruby on Rails. This is actually a more useful

skill for me right now than knowing Linux (laptop notwithstanding)–I

need to be able to prototype some app ideas before taking them to my

director or my engineering team. I can’t learn Ruby and Linux

simultaneously. (Okay, I can, but it’s going to be much less

efficient than me learning Ruby on Windows and then tranferring that

knowledge to the Linux platform, so my Penguin ingnorance doesn’t

hamper my coding learning curve.)

Besides, Ruby notwithstanding (and forgetting the battery problems),

the Wacky laptop is doing what I need it to–acting like a leaner,

meaner Windows notebook that I can use for writing and Web surfing.

Ubuntu delivered as promised–it took a newb into a comfy

quasi-Gatesware GUI and kept me from having to actually learn

Linux. That may be cheating, but it has some serious market appeal. I

can use the Wacky Laptop for all my basic needs right now, and I still

don’t grasp any of the elementary command-line basics of Linux. Good or

bad, it’s the truth.

In the mean time, I’ll be scouring the bargain bins for a replacement

battery, and I’ll be waiting on a true release of Rubuntu–a distro of

Ubuntu designed specifically for Ruby developers. When those two

conditions are met, I’ll see about rebuilding the Wackytop’s hardware

and software to work as roving Ruby dev box. Until then, make room for

the Windows-based Ruby Newbie.