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Monday, June 18, 2007

Living with Linux on the Laptop: A Week with the Penguin

I’ve been using Linux in my server racks for a long time. I’ve been teaching Linux for a long time. I’ve just never really used it on the laptop or the desktop, so I decided to make an honest man out of myself. I’ve got a week of teaching PIX/ASA firewall classes which doesn’t require much other than a good terminal program, so this is a great week to put Linux to the test on the desktop.

I have no loyalty to any operating system. They are, after all, just operating systems; mere tools for solving workplace problems. (I don’t understand people who get passionate about operating systems…art, sure…music, of course...sports, naturally, but operating systems…oh, please.)

In the interest of full disclosure, I am a small Microsoft shareholder, but that has nothing to do with technology and everything to do with the fact that I think it’s a good investment.

Anyway, I decided to see what a week with Linux on my laptop would be like. I’ve got a four-year-old Toshiba Satellite M35-S359. I chose Fedora 7 because I know Red Hat products better than any of the other Linux distros. Lots of people like Ubuntu or SuSE. Again, I have no loyalty to Red Hat, but I do know it better than other distros and I like some of the tools supported by Fedora (such as yum and the “service” scripts). So, for the next week (at least), I’m committed to living with Linux on my laptop and seeing what I think and I’ll share it with you.

A couple of comments from the start: There are some applications I use regularly that simply aren’t available for Linux including Quickbooks and Visio. I’m prepared to run them either in a VM or on a desktop computer at my office which I’ll access through Remote Desktop. In essence, what you’ve got here is an IT guy in the role of a regular user (okay, a power user, but still a user nonetheless) with Linux on his laptop. So, here goes…

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