The Yugo of Operating Systems

Tuesday, May 16th, 2006

Seems FreeBSD wants to reach feature parity with desktop Linux. Excuse me while I guffaw for a minute. That’s like saying you’re designing a car and want to reach feature parity with a Yugo. When FreeBSD starts aiming for feature parity with the Mac, then I might take them seriously.

Why, oh why, do so few developers of free software know or care about user interface design? Or reversing the question, why do so few developers who know how to design user interfaces have any interest in working on desktop Linux? What little effort there is, is simply applied to imitating Windows. For a couple of years I saw some hope at Eazel, but then the money spout got turned off and the developers who actually knew what they were doing lost interest and moved on to other things.

Shopping for an Intel Mini

Tuesday, January 24th, 2006

This site is served by an eight-year old, 300 MHz Pentium II, Debian Linux box in my home office. It works well enough for my needs. However recently the system has begin making occasional whining noises for intermittent periods. I’m afraid it’s on its last legs.

I had hoped to replace it with an Intel Mac Mini; but sadly that did not arrive at MacWorld, and seems unlikely to arrive before April 1 at the earliest. In the event I need to quickly replace this system, what do people recommend for small, quite, cheap, energy-efficient X86 box? Here are my requirements:

Linux 2005

Friday, September 23rd, 2005

I upgraded my desktop to Ubuntu 5.04 Hoary Hedgehog a couple of days ago because I needed the USB support in the more recent kernels. The good news is that Linux is getting better. This is a huge improvement since I first started using Linux with Mandrake 8 some years ago. The bad news is that it isn’t there yet as a serious desktop operating system. The install process is much less painful but still doesn’t pass the parent test. Despite already having a system partitioned for Linux, the installer still asked me about partitions, and required me to choose my partition setup. Otherwise, though, it auto-detected my network card, my sound card, my mouse, my keyboard, the DHCP server, and almost everything else. However, it still couldn’t handle my widescreen monitor. Widescreen monitors were a little unusual when I bought this one back in the late 90s, but today they’re extremely common. Why Linux still can’t believe that 1600×1024 is a reasonable resolution I don’t know. Not everyone lives in a 4:3 world. Still it was a vast improvement over the installers of yore.