Revenge of the Penguin

I've been an advocate of linux for years now (once rabid, rather tame nowadays). I've been a believer in open source software and use it where I can. Problem is that I've had to admit that for most of my personal desktop type use linux just hasn't cut it for some time. I haven't been able to easily view DVDs, multimedia content on the web, play games, use my wireless network, etc etc. Even though most of these tasks were possible, they weren't easy or convenient. I usually just decided to use Windows rather than spend several days trying to configure a linux box to do these tasks. Recently after a great deal of frustration with Windows XP I decided to try moving to a linux desktop again. I've been a long time SuSE user, and I still think they make a great distro. However they have always aimed more at the business market than the personal desktop, and this has become even more true since their acquisition by Novell. I still use them at work and think they are a great distro, but they just don't have the bells and whistles I want on my home computer.

Looking around I came across VidaLinux, a distro built atop Gentoo by a company in Puerto Rico. It looked fairly promising so I tried it out and ended up bying their distro ($30). I had a few initial problems and my first install was kind of a mess, but I tried again and managed to get everything up and running. VidaLinux's tech support answered my email about my account rather quickly, and their forums had all the other answers I needed. So in about a half day I have my linux desktop running, playing DVDs, handling all the multimedia files I've thrown at it and connected via my wireless G card. The only problem I have left to conquer is getting proper permissions to my network share setup (running windows unfortunately).

While half a day may seem like quite awhile to get an OS up and running, anyone that has installed Windows XP lately will know that it can take that long just to download all the updates. Not to mention that I have a complete office suite, no need for anti-virus or anti-spyware programs, and a suite of other programs for that initial $30. Everything on windows cost extra. And that $30 I spent was just for convenience, I could have done all this for free if I had wanted to spend another day downloading and compiling much of the base system.

To most people none of this matters, but to me its getting back in touch with my inner geek, something I've been meaning to do.