Donning the Red Hat

I have ascended beyond the ranks of mere mortals. I have broken the chains that hold my body restrained. I have finally taken the next step in human evolution.

I … have installed Linux.

Hey-ooooooooh! I have workstations, now! Workstations!

That’s right. I’m one of those nerds now (That was almost the title of this post (“One of Those Nerds” (I opted for the poetic instead))). All I need to do now is vote third party and I’m practically moving to Montana and mailing people “care packages”.

And, yes: Using Linux makes me better than you.

It has been … a learning experience. Much easier than I thought it would be. All this came about because of my laptop. It’s at best half-dead. My first tip-off was the disc drive. It started making very, very labored noises when I tried to do anything with CDs. Then I lost sound. Then the USB ports on the right side all stopped working. It’s like my baby had a stroke! That’s when I frantically started backing up my data (by using one of the two still-functional USB ports to load everything onto my 4GB flash drive, transferring it to Christina’s laptop, and burning it onto DVDs with her computer). It was quite the process.

So then I had a choice. We have a computer that was given to us by the university, but it has Chinese Windows on it. Chinese Windows helps no one. I will now admit that Linux was not my first solution. Instead, I tried to install this obviously pirated version of English Windows that was given to me by a tech-y Chinese teacher at the university. It installed fine, but Windows’s new Verification Bullshit boned me. Should I feel indignant? I want to. Mainly because it’s Microsoft—how dare they make me buy a legitimate version of their product! However, with my current salary, dropping one hundred and thirty bucks American is a big chunk of my income. In short:

Fuck that.

And this is when I took the first step (leap? I’ll call it a leap) towards the open-source-and-loving arms of Linux. I had no idea which one to use. There’s, like, seven bjillion. But after a quick tour of wikipedia I had my answer. I would use Fedora. Because my love of noir holds strong.

There have been some hiccups, though I’m realizing now that has more to do with the Chinese shit-ass hardware. Installing it took well over three hours because the stupid disc drive decided to take a break ever three seconds. But, a few quibbles aside, I really like Fedora. I instinctively got the latest version (10), though now I’m not so sure if that was a good idea. Less in the way of software developed. But (most) everything’s free, I haven’t had to pay a dime yet, and now there are zero viruses written for my system.

And I have workstations.

I only have three major points of frustration: 1) No VPN. Or, rather, there’s no free VPN service that I can find like Hotspot Shield for Windows and Macs. Not a huge problem, except that I live in China, so, once again, my internet is censored.

2) No Quicktime. You’d think some nerd would have thought of a substitute by now, but, alas, no such nerd. That’s more just annoying because all it means is I have to go to Christina’s laptop in order to run the software that came with my digital camera.

3) There is a steep learning curve. That certainly shouldn’t discourage anyone from trying it—there are a lot of easy to find FAQs and How-tos … but, the second those assume any kind of knowledge on my part, I have quite a bit of googling to do before I unpack what the hell they’re talking about.

But I am willing to learn, which I have discovered is probably the only thing you really need to be in order to tackle the L-to-the-inux. My friend, Nate, once told me that he thought Linux fit better with my mindset. I dig that … in that I’ll assume he was talking about my socialist leanings in a good way. Does that make me an elitist, nerdy schmuck? Why, yes, I do believe it does.

Seriously, though, Democrats: step it up—I’ll vote Green.


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