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
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.
Jay Garmon has a vast and terrifying knowledge of all things obscure, obtuse, and irrelevant. One day, he hopes to write science fiction, but for now he'll settle for something stranger — amusing and abusing IT pros. Read his full profile. You can also follow him on his personal blog.