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Photography, software and new year resolutions01/01/2010 - 12:56 AM
As another year has just slipped away, it's not unusual to look back and reflect on the last twelve months and, more popularly, to set new goals and ideals for the forthcoming year. It's time for those new year resolutions.
One thing I've wanted to get around to doing is to give Linux a chance. More specifically, I've wanted to see just how suitable a platform Linux might be from a photographic perspective. Could Linux really be the third way? Is it suitable for the mass market audience? Is it worth the effort? For 2010, one of my less personal new year's resolutions is get to grips with Linux and to try and answer those questions. The thing is, I started early.
I bought a laptop about 18 months ago. I wanted a Macintosh but when you have a budget for fish fingers, caviare is off the menu. A ridiculously cheap laptop was purchased. It was only the poor battery life and the provision of Windows Vista that could honestly be held against it though. However, just outside the warranty period it stopped networking, followed about two months ago by the DVD drive failing. While both problems looked like hardware failures, I had a very strong suspicion that the problem was Vista.
With a failing installation of Vista the laptop was becoming less useful on an almost daily basis. After much contemplation I decided that it was Hasta la Vista, and that it would be a prime candidate to become a Linux test bed. A fresh installation of any operating system would determine if it was a hardware or software fault. So, a few days after Christmas I downloaded and burnt an ISO image of Ubuntu Linux to CD. The laptop was booted from this and the Linux installation commenced. Well, you wouldn't consciously install Vista on any PC, would you?
The process was smoother than Leslie Phillips at a society diner party. Opting for a clean sole installation meant the hard disk was formatted as part of the process, which can't have taken twenty minutes. Rebooted, the Ubuntu logo quickly gave way to a nice new desktop. Allegedly, getting Linux installations to talk to the internet can be tricky, so I was relieved to find that once I'd connected the laptop to the router, the internet was there, ready and waiting.
For those less familiar with the Linux, there are two particular points of interest. The first is the cost. Linux is free to use. The second is that (depending on the distribution you choose) a whole host of application software and utilities are bundled into the package. So, I hadn't just installed a new operating system, but also a significant proportion of the productivity software I would require!
So how is it going? Well, the hardware problems were clearly down to Vista. As this blog was written and uploaded using Linux, its going quite well. I'll keep you informed with progress as my experience grows.
Happy New Year!