Friday, July 01, 2011
With that being said, there are things in Windows I miss.
I find myself in the clumsy position of having to do some last minute editing. As if mentally linked, my friend Mark and the host of my article, Helios; almost simultaneously informed me that if there is anything I miss about Windows software, we can be happily reunited via a program called VirtualBox. I have since rejoined the few Windows applications I mention below. I thought I should bring this up before any readers feel the need to recommend this solution.
Having a second degree in marketing, the advertising duties for my newspaper have been delegated to me. They are not strenuous or over taxing, but they remain a duty. In executing that duty, I used Microsoft Visio almost exclusively for that task. I have to create many charts and graphs to accompany the dog and pony show that most marketing meetings actually become. Visio was perfect for my purposes. Plus, please note, I don't have to purchase any of these applications, they are supplied to me by my employer.
One of the first things I did after getting settled into my new system was to search for alternatives for the software I used in Windows. Say what you will about Microsoft Office and their operating systems, once you have a great amount of time and effort invested in learning a complex piece of software, it's hard not to resent having to learn something else.
Thus I think I have accidentally exposed one of the major stumbling blocks to Linux adaptation. Sorry, I am the queen of digression and stating the obvious.
Google has become a close friend in the past couple of months. Doing a search for "Linux Visio replacement", I found a few candidates, those being Dia, LibreOffice Draw and a KDE application called Kivio.
I'm still working with a couple and again, the learning curve has me leaning sideways a bit, and it is not comfortable. Dia has some promise, Draw makes me want to bang my face into my desk until all goes dark and Kivio has been changed and is now being worked on under a different name. Since it too is an under cooked chicken, I will wait until the insides are no longer pink before I go there.
My hesitation with Kivio was that it is (or was) a KDE application and to be honest, I don't want to muddy my pristine Gnome home with a ton of long-staying visitors. I have heard both pro and con for mixing the two but my Linux mentor and friend Mark has advised against it, at least until I have some more experience and have learned to fix what I break by myself. He won't fall for the helpless damsel in distress schtick any more unless I buy the pizza. Mark can eat a lot of pizza.
Another application I used heavily in Windows is Skype. I used it both professionally and personally and I love it. The recent bad news that Skype has now been acquired by Microsoft makes me a bit nervous. I have gotten it to work in Linux and under several distros but in every one of them, I had to fiddle with the sound and mic settings for a long time before I was able to get it to work to my satisfaction.
"Can you hear me now" is not funny anymore.
Neither is the fact that Microsoft now has complete control of Skype. My worst fear is that Linux support will either stagnate or completely disappear. I have a couple dozen friends who reside overseas and I've established communications with them exclusively through Skype, both with video and audio. I am now experimenting with Linux alternatives but the thought of asking all those people to change protocols is not reasonable. I sure as heck would not do it if asked.
Then there is Photoshop. Again, as a marketing employee, I must do a large amount of graphic creation. I have been using Photoshop for my entire college and professional career. Of course, I immediately found Gimp in my menus and began exploring the possibilities.
Before I say anything that can or will be perceived as negative, let me say that I can do everything I need to do in Gimp that I could do in Photoshop. I don't have complex photography tasks nor do I need CMYK+ support. What I do need is a decent working interface. Anyone seen one for Gimp?
Outside of these picked nits, I am a happy girl. My computer does not freeze, I am not nagged by update cues and for the love of Pete, I can stop worrying about opening every little Windows attachment that comes my way. Of course, I am a gmail-ite because I travel extensively and need my email available to me via a number of portable devices. Since my laptop has gotten extremely long in the tooth, I am looking at the new Samsung Galaxy 10.0. Mark is buying one when he goes into Forth Worth on the 5th of July so I will see what it is all about then.
I mentioned that my computer does not freeze. It darn well shouldn't. It has a 64 bit dual core quad processor with 4 gigs of RAM. Windows 7 infuriated me just as much as Windows XP did with it's intermittent stalls for no obvious reason. To be fair, a few Linux distros had momentary freezes with a slight darkening of the screen but after a bit of research, I turned Compiz off and it stopped doing it. Personally, I don't see the point as I didn't find it useful, just wobbly and shiny.
Well there it is, for what it is worth. That is my journey thus far into the world of Linux computing. If I may, I'd like to add an observation. Given what I have read, it is going to be ignored or put off as impossible but here it is anyway.
Please stop this incessant chest-beating over what Linux distro you use. When I was doing my research and learning how to use Linux, It never ceased to irritate me, the amount of "mine is bigger and better than yours" I encountered. The problem seemed to dominate in two of the top five distros and no, the distro I use isn't included, at least not that I noticed. Look at it through my eyes as a new Linux user and you might get a new perspective. Of course, a lot of it borders on religious zealotry so I say let those zealots fight it out until attrition wears them down or weeds them out.
Again, this comes from one of the great unwashed. For what it is worth.
I'll be around.
blather and mumbling provided by Ken Starks at 8:39 PM