Linux Woes

Posted by Tejus Parikh on February 7, 2007

Sometimes I feel like I’m in an abusive relationship. I’m with someone that keeps beating me up, keeps giving me headaches, but for some reason, I just can’t seem to leave it behind. That someone is Linux. After an update this weekend, the fonts in opera  a l l   s t a r t e d  t o  l o o k  l i k e   t h i s. Since Opera is 90% of what I do on my linux box, this was simply unacceptable. A lot of googling, some tweaking, much cursing, and a good bit of “this would never happen on a mac” later, it still looked the same. Somehow, I completely screwed up my fonts and I had no idea how to fix it.

However, there are no problems in life, only opportunities, so I decided that I’d use this as an opportunity to give other linux’s a whirl. I’m running Fedora Core at work and I’m really not that impressed with it. Open Suse 10.2 was what I was running when the font fiasco occurred, so I’d prefer not to run it again. That chosen field of contenders was Symphony OS, Ubuntu, caos, and Vector Linux.

Symphony OS was the one I was the most excited to try, since they have the experimental Mezzo desktop environment, which claims to offer an alternative to the dominant desktop paradigm. Symphony’s two active mirrors are in France and both are dog slow. I really like having a laptop and had little desire to wait the 28 hours it would have taken to download the entire iso. As much as I wanted to try it, this OS never even made it on the box.

Next on the list was Ubuntu. Ubuntu prides itself as being linux for humans and should be able to run that Mezzo environment I’m so fond of trying. Unfortunately, I’m a Jedi and Ubuntu finds my name, vi_Jedi, to be totally unacceptable and Mezzo environment is temporarily unavailable in .deb form. I kinda like the name vi_jedi and I’d much rather change my OS than my identity.

Vector Linux is a slackware derivative that claims to be the worlds fastest linux. I chose it over vanilla Slackware because it comes on 1 disk, as well as built in support for the ipw2200 chipset and XFCE. I really like the cleanliness, speed and efficiency of a good text based install system. What I like more is a graphical environment that works and the X server that shipped with Vector simply would not work with my hardware. Starting X would completely halt the system. It was like a kernel panic, but without the blinking LEDs.

My patience was wearing thin by the point I got to Caos. Now by this point I was pretty frustrated so I might have missed the part the the paragraph of text on the boot screen that said the caos install will re-write your partition table and nuke all your data. I just erroneously assumed that typing “install” would get me the installer, like every other linux distro since the 0.9 kernel days. But no, caos is lightweight and different, so there went all my data. Losing the data wasn’t a big deal, I have backups, but the X server did the same funky thing that Vector Linux did.

The field of four was suddenly the field of zero and reemerging from the ether was SuSE 10.2. All in all, it was a rather disappointing experience. What was meant to be a foray into the world of niche Linux distros ended up being a return to something that I was already using. Thankfully, it wasn’t a total loss. The Caos install wiping out my hard-drive gave me the perfect reason to finally start using LVM. Now I just need to remember not to update any fonts…….

Related Posts:

Tejus Parikh

Tejus is an software developer, now working at large companies. Find out when I write new posts on twitter, via RSS or subscribe to the newsletter: