Sunday, August 15, 2010
My company computers were hacked in 2005...a three city network went down due to the Bagle virus, specifically referred to as W32/Bagle.J@MM
It was fast, it was tenacious, it spread through Outlook and it was devastating.
That was when I migrated my company computers and network to Linux. Of course I had help and without a good friend who knew what he was doing, it would have never happened...
But it did and it worked for us....Professionally
Personally, I was hesitant to make the move on my home computer. Why? Well if it ain't broke, don't fix it. We were using Red Hat back then at my shops. My people were trained and after the obligatory bitching, things settled down and worked well for us. My computer at work did the job it was meant to do. Appointments, scheduling and email mostly. It didn't need to do much to get the job done.
Ah, but my personal computer? Windows XP. All those apps I used at home didn't have a Linux equivalent. I couldn't be bothered with a changeover to Linux. Until I hosed the registry so bad it had to be reinstalled.
That was the point where I felt I needed to get in line with my office machines...
But Red Hat? No. It was not what I wanted to see when I got home. I looked at it all day.
First up on the hit list was Knoppix. Back then, Knoppix was touted at the most new-user friendly distro, and if I remember correctly, it was...
But it didn't quite do the job. Then I moved to Kanotix.
Ah...sweet relief. Kanotix seemed to do the trick. At least for a while. I cannot remember just what I did to screw it up...It was most certainly a loose connection between the chair and keyboard.
It most usually is with new Linux Users.
I decided that it was the fault of Kanotix...of course I would. I tried another distro that seemed to be catching on.
Most people who knew me back then will remember that I became a Zealot for this particular distro. When I put this distro on my computer, everything worked without any hassle or drama. I was ecstatic.
No...it goes deeper than ecstatic.
The clouds parted, Heaven sang, the dog quit peeing on the carpet and that obnoxious engine noise in my pickup truck stopped without reason.
I made it my job...my calling to announce to the world that this Linux distro would be the salvation of the computing world and I trundled forth extolling the virtues of said distro.
I did it with the zeal of an Avenging Angel, fiery sword in one hand, a live CD in the other.
For a while, I was even listed in the Distro credits as the "Marketing" guy.
But as everyone knows, today's Golden Boy is often tomorrows Pariah.
In forum after forum, I went forth extolling the virtues of this Distro. It chops, it blends, it slices, it dices...it cleans out the cat box for you.
My well-intentioned sermons did nothing but stir an already chaotic pot...better known as The Distro Wars. And while I am no longer a soldier in that war...
The war rages today as brutally as it did in 2005.
Recently, I installed a Linux System on a client's computer. Because of some known problems with the Sis motherboards, I installed a Community Edition of Fedora on his computer. I like Fedora but personally I prefer a Debian-based distro. Given the problem Sis boards cause in Linux, I put the only distro on that computer I know to work with that board and chipset.
All was right with the world. I set it up to include the good repositories, I set his resolution (which needed some minor hacking of the Xorg file) and everything worked just fine.
Until Fanboi entered the picture.
Having a friend visit from Portland Oregon, my client showed him his new system. Immediately the Portland visitor began chewing on Fedora. He told my client that Fedora sucked and there was a much better distro to be had.
He talked him into letting him replace Fedora with Ubuntu.
Nothing worked after install. The boot defaulted to busybox and of course Fanboi had no clue as to why. What had been a perfectly functioning machine became a large desk ornament.
My client's computer went from zero to doorstop in 1.2 seconds.
So here's the deal and this is a lesson learned at my expense...and the expense of others that had to experience my misplaced enthusiasm.
Linux is a tool. (yeah, yeah, I know it's a Kernel) No, it is a set of tools and those tools are called distros. Some distros do a job where another will not. Because something works for you personally does not mean it will work for everyone else.
We primarily use one particular distro for the purposes of The HeliOS Project and we customize that to suit our purpose. However it does not always work and we use other distros as the hardware and needs of the user dictate.
Ubuntu is a phenomenal Linux Distro...but it isn't a cure-all. Sure it works on most machines...the operative term here being "most".
I believe we all need to remember this before we set forth to change the world.
One more nit to pick and then we can get to the flame war this is bound to produce.
We operate a small enterprise that helps people migrate their business and personal computers to Linux. We use the proceeds from this project to help fund The HeliOS Project. There isn't a month that goes by that we don't get a phone call that follows a conversation line something like this:
"Helios Solutions, this is Ken".
"Hi Ken. This is Curious Computer User. I want to find out a bit about Linux and if it will work for me."
"That's great Curious. Have you had any other experiences with alternate operating systems?"
"Well, we did try Ubuntu for a while but I didn't like it. I think we want to give Linux a try."
"Uh...well Ubuntu is one version of the Linux operating system. There are several choices of the Linux operating system for you."
"Oh, OK, I thought Ubuntu was a system in itself."
I can understand why someone would think that. Go to Ubuntu.com and show me the word "Linux" anywhere on the front page.
Now I am sure that the brain trust behind Ubuntu may think that the word "Linux" will scare off new users.
No it won't. Maybe talk about it as "The Premiere" Linux distribution...
Or something. Remember on who's shoulders you stand.
Of course, the vapid fanboi will want to argue the point...but that brings us back to the subject of Fanboi-ism.
It's doing more harm than good.
I'm just sayin'...
blather and mumbling provided by Ken Starks at 10:23 AM