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Get Jack'd

By Jack Wallen Tech expert ·
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Get Jack

by Jack Wallen Tech expert In reply to Get Jack'd

Get Jack'd is a throw back to my old column from the days of LinuxRepublic and TechProGuild. It's all Linux and all attitude. So if you want to read the point of view of an old-school, world domination Linux user, you've found the right place. Plenty o' Micro$oft bashing and plenty of penguin petting. Oh, and you might learn a thing or two in the process.

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those were the days

by Jack Wallen Tech expert In reply to Get Jack'd

I remember when using a computer was something special. I remember when knowing Linux meant you had serious skillz. I remember way back when Linux users swore one day their favorite OS would enjoy world domination. I remember when computing was all about bottom line, TCO, and rollout. I remember when computing was fun.<br /><br />I also recall the times when us proud Linux devotees had to fight, tooth and nail, for credibility over the Micro$oft dogma machine. Ah those were the days.<br /><br />But now things are different. Now most everyone who knows their way around every bit and byte of the PC is quite aware of the BS pumped out by M$s PR. We know their OS will cost more than we want to spend. We know the hardware requirements will be higher than necessary. We know the MS/Intel cartel was created so that one company would benefit from the other's gain. We know the next best Windows OS will be late, full of bugs, and cause most all IT pros one long headache.<br /><br />We also know that M$ will fail at most every promise they offer. But then, that is business as usual. And all the while we know the Linux community will slowly churn out quality, secure, efficient code that fulfills most all promises M$ can't seem to keep.<br /><br /><ul><li>It's on schedule.</li></ul><ul><li>It's secure.</li></ul><ul><li>It's cheap.</li></ul><ul><li>It's reliable.</li></ul><ul><li>It's proven.</li></ul>Now I know there are more M$ zealots out there than you can shake a mouse at. And I know how the M$/Linux war goes - I've been fighting it for over a decade. I also know that the entire computing landscape has changed drastically over the last decade. Gone is the underdog feeling that Linux held so dearly. Gone is the near 100% marketshare that Internet Exploder had over the browser war. And Gone is the idea that Linux is just a drop in the bucket.<br /><br />And now, with M$ Vista somewhere on the horizon (who knows exactly where that horizon is), I know that M$ is losing the war all on its own by putting off and putting off and, now, charging people to try out a beta version of software.<br /><br />But I do miss the days (in a strange, strange way) where Linux had to scratch and fight for every toe-hold it had in the industry. I still think world domination is coming. The big difference is that I think M$ is now unwittingly fighting for the opposition.<br />

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those were the days

by Justin James Contributor In reply to those were the days

<p>I remember when there were like 4 people using Linux, and the best one out there was Slackware, downloaded off of the Walnut Creek FTP site. I remember loading it, it took me the better part of a day. I remember being delerious happy to actually get DOOM running on it. Without sound, of course, because that required a full kernel compile, despite me having the industry standard, basic SoundBlaster card. This was well before X was really usable, and KDE & GNOME did not exist. The Jargon File could actually be used, in a sad, sick way, as a form of documentation, because of the legend and lore in it was still applicable to current stuff. I remember people telling me, "oh, don't bother with Linux, BSD is the real deal." I still beleive BSD is the real deal, at least server side. BSD is too miserable in its current state for desktop users, but it seems to be aimed at rock solid stability and security, not trying to be a Windows alternative. I see BSD as trying to be a Solaris or HPUX or AIX alternative, and that makes me happy. Things like Fedora Core really turned me off from Linux... I need a computer to transparantly work, no muss, no fuss. I am willing to sacrifice cutting edge functionality and half-finished features in exchange for no hassles. I always wonder what will happen to the world of Linux is Linus Torvalds gets hit by a bus. I fear that it will devolve into an 18 month long power struggle that rips apart and discredits the community, just as the NetBSD/FreeBSD/OpenBSD ruckus made people wary of BSD. I am not a huge fan of Solaris, but Sun's engineers are top notch. Sadly, Sun doesn't understand that the modern crop of *Nix user got their start with a Knoppix LiveCD and is slowly working their way down to learning the ins-and-outs of the CLI, fstab files, /etc, rc.d, inetd, and so on, instead of working their way up like you and I had to do. It is kind of scary to me, but people who learned *Nix is the last few years learned a *Nix that tries way too hard to replicate the Windows experience, instead of learning how to do things the *Nix way. I cringe when I see a server running KDE or GNOME. As far as I am concerned, if you cannot admin your server purely through SSH/telnet, you have no business calling yourself a *Nix admin. But this is what I see. I know "Linux experts" who call me to ask how ifconfig works. I have seen longtime Linux users baffled at the prospect of unpacking a tar file. These are the people who are the *Nix admins of the future, and it worries me. It is a good thing that Linux comes locked down out of the box, because far too many Linux users simply do not know how to run a *Nix outside of the comfortable confines of KDE or GNOME.</p>
<p>Sorry for the long winded rant, I am quite tired, and felt that I had to get that off of my chest.</p>
<p>J.Ja</p>

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The magic of Ubuntu Linux

by Jack Wallen Tech expert In reply to Get Jack'd

My love for Linux started WAY back with Caldera 1.0 and Red Hat 4.2. Back then Linux was, quite honestly, a huge challenge to work with. But when it did work it was magic. Sure the resolutions sucked. Oh yeah getting a modem that worked was next to impossible. Sound? If you're lucky. But eventually you had everything going smooth and freaky-like. <br /><br />That was then, this is now. <br /><br />After many years of loyalty to Red Hat Linux we all had to jump the shark over to Fedora Core (that is if we wanted to continue with the layout of the land we had mined for so long.) Life with Fefora Core was, well, less than splendid simply because we were working within the confines of a "test-bed" operating system. Fedora Core's initial mission was to roll out releases quickly and remain at the head of the pack as far as "cutting edge". It did that for a long time. And with every new release you had to fight with getting hardware that had previously worked to work yet again. Sometimes getting your system back up (after an upgrade or fresh install of the latest-greatest) was certainly a task no Micro$oft admin would even consider undertaking. But for us Fedora folk, it had become par for the course.<br /><br />After five releases of the Core I found myself with a bit of a bad taste in my mouth for Fedora. Red Hat had long since left behind the cuddly hacker it helped to primp and preen into post-puberty 'l33tn3ss. The new, improved Red Hat was looking more and more like the M$ of the Linux community. <br /><br />So where was a long-time Linux zealot to turn? Where else but a community of people who will ship you, free of charge, as many Ubuntu CDs as you wish just so you can spread the love. Yes, Ubuntu was the OS for me. <br /><br />And not only did their world-hugging attitude attract me but so did the fact that the Ubuntu OS was the first to successfully get the broadcom chipsets used in the iBook airport cards to work. So I grabbed a copy of Kubuntu (the KDE version of Ubuntu) and loaded it up on my trusty white companion. And it did work so wonderfully. I was free to use the programs I had so long ago grown accustomed to using. <a href="http://www.scribus.net/">Scribus</a>.<a href="http://www.gimp.org">The Gimp</a>.<a href="http://www.gnucash.org/">GnuCash</a>. They all worked without the hassle of fink or darwin. I was one happy boy! Giddy, you might say.<br /><br />And so, after many many years of sporting the Fedora redly, I have moved over to a fresher, debianier, huggier operating system. It's a welcome back-to-the-future leap to how I originally felt about Linux. Now, I'm working with something special again. <br />

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The magic of Ubuntu Linux

by groenem In reply to The magic of Ubuntu Linux

<p>I also started out with Red Hat, then tried Mandrake, and now I am using Kubuntu. Linux from the beginning was meant to be a free OS. It was not "free" anymore when the big distributors came in the picture with everything bundled together (understandable). To download the entire ISO image is expensive in South Africa, so I was forced to pay to get CDs ordered and delivered to my address.</p>
<p>When I discovered Ubuntu, and that their whole mission is to make Linux totally free, I was in seventh heaven. I think what struck me most, is the fact that they are the only distributor that sends the CDs for you free of charge! They make you feel like wanting to give them donations to help them fund their work, not forcing you to buy something to have a PC working.</p>
<p>I must admit that Linux still has a road to walk to be as user-friendly as M$ (hardware compatibility and configuration), but it is a small price to pay for the freedom Linux offers. I will rather struggle a bit to get something working in Linux, than to pay a lot of money for something that forces you to follow their way of computing. Through the struggling, I find that I learn more of computers and feel more like a "Computer boffin". I also like to be different than the majority. Kubuntu Linux offers me more diversity and more software at one single location than any other OS.</p>
<p>For a OS to be run completey off a Live CD, without installing it on your PC - whow! My friends can't believe me when I tell them that.</p>
<p>Linus Torvald (and all the Linux developers out there) - you are my hero!</p>

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The magic of Ubuntu Linux

by mist27 In reply to The magic of Ubuntu Linux

<p>I have been trying versions of Linux for several years now, And also just about every version of Windowz, Point and click is the name of the game for me. Alas Linux was sadly lacking untill now. I contacted the Ubuntu people, who have sent me several versions of Ubuntu System. Now this is where the fun begins, The last one was Edubuntu, and wammy it does everything I want with no hassles, even the updates download and install all with just a click, no terminal needed, seemless install. also i can now access my hdd etc similar to windowz, USB no problems, and the other thing is it has the largest amount of educational stuff for the kids I have ever seen. Furthermore I will make a statement that Ubuntu will be used world wide within the next couple of years. Nice peacfull people I love them. </p>

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The magic of Ubuntu Linux

by Jack Wallen Tech expert In reply to The magic of Ubuntu Linux

I totally agre with all you say. Ubuntu, in my opinion, has brought back the what Linux stood for for years but lost to the big corporate feel. <br /><br />I applaud Ubuntu Linux and their efforts. I am sold on their product and will pimp it as often as I can!

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The magic of Ubuntu Linux

by Jack Wallen Tech expert In reply to The magic of Ubuntu Linux

I totally agre with all you say. Ubuntu, in my opinion, has brought back the what Linux stood for for years but lost to the big corporate feel. <br /><br />I applaud Ubuntu Linux and their efforts. I am sold on their product and will pimp it as often as I can!

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The magic of Ubuntu Linux

by dnevans In reply to The magic of Ubuntu Linux

I have tried several distributions over the years, but still consider myself a
newbie to Linux because I've never felt comfortable enough to use it as my main
OS and ditch Windows. I've tried Redhat, Mandrake, Xandros, Fedora, Simply
Mepis, SUSE, and now Ubuntu. I was reasonably comfortable with Simply Mepis but
my main problem was it didn't recognise my Netgear Wireless PCMCIA card, so
I benched it in anticipation a future release would automatically detect my
card.<br /><br />In the mean time I was particularly keen to take a look at SUSE 10.1 as I'm Novell certified
and feel some loyalty to their offerings. It took me an hour to install SUSE on
my older P3 1GHz PC and I couldn't walk away as I was prompted for responses
before it could continue to the next step. I eventually finished the install,
but was disappointed that I could not set my screen resolution higher than
800x600. It also seems to run quite slow.Then along came Ubuntu LTS 6.06
- 6 steps to install and completed in half the time (on the same PC). Once I
logged in and started looking through the menus I started to get a good feeling
when I saw things like Add/Remove Programs & a pop-up notification
for Automatic updates. I know the reason being is that these were familiarities
which I had become accustomed to with using Windows for years. Admittedly, I
still had to install Flash Player & Java Run Time Environment manually using
the Terminal, but was pleasantly surprised when my Skype for Linux download
automatically installed when I double clicked on the application icon (just like
it would in Windows). The Synaptic Package Manager is fantastic but there are
still some apps you have to install manually.<br /><br />I believe if Linux software
developers could distribute their applications to install like they do as simply
as the Skype install did (Windows like), then your average Joe Bloggs who just uses their PC to send/receive email & surf the Internet would be
much more likely to convert from Windows to Linux. With the latest user friendly
version of Unbuntu, I think I'm on my way.<br /><br />Edit:<br />I have know successfully installed Ubuntu LTS 6.06 on my wifes PC, my
laptop (it automatically detected the built in wireless network card!),
and one of my PC's. I also worked out how to install Flash Player & Java Run Time Environment from the Synaptic Package Manager after a little help from the Ubuntu Forum.<br /><br />I've still got one PC with WIndows XP which I'll
keep. But that's purely for testing an study purposes. After all I work
in IT & I still have to know the ins & outs of the MS OS until
Linux becomes the preferred commercial desktop OS. :-)<br /><br />Many thanks to the Ubuntu
community.

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email and linux

by Jack Wallen Tech expert In reply to Get Jack'd

I've run the bases with Linux email clients. From Pine to Balsa to Arrow to Evolution to Kmail to Thunderbird the list leads like a science text book. But I'll give you one guess as to which client I always seem to return to. Did you guess Pine? You guessed correctly.<br /><br />Email is one of those Microsoftian double-edged swords that can totally make or break your day. Any given email can bring down your email client due to scripting, corrupted attachments, memory leaks, yadda yadda yadda. And every one of them caused me headache after headache - except for Pine. Pine is the little email client that could. Sure Pine is a text-based only client. Sure Pine can't view images or html email. Pine can't show little smilies and allow you to click on a link to view a url. Pine won't hit a game winning home run. But Pine can serve as that trusty outfielder always waiting in the green for that long ball to sail into its glove.<br /><br />What I like about Pine is its simplicity. It's text-only so its footprint is tiny. It's text-only so it's reliable. It's text-only so it can be used via a secure shell or (heaven forbid) telnet session. Pine is simply flexible.<br /><br />Sure I know most emailers are hooked on bells and whistles that the Microsofts of the world have pimped. But this old-schooler knows that, when push comes to shove, the one networking application that I can always count on is Pine.<br /><br />It may not be for everyone, but Pine hits a home run for me every time.<br /><br />Pine. Its what's for dinner.

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