Enjoying The Mint
On the weekend that I was going to convert my main laptop (and last remaining Windows computer) from Windows XP to Linux Mint, I got the call to come to New Jersey. Since then, I have been pretty busy—a few projects I was working on have been on hold while I am gone, which usually means they never get completed. But then, I was getting frustrated with the slowness and crustiness that a Windows installation acquires after a year or so. For example, I often had to reboot the computer in order to burn a CD or DVD. Why? Because when I inserted a blank disc, Windows could not see it.
This example event was by no means a new thing: I experienced it early on in the life of this Dell XPS M140. MJ went ahead and did a full system restore on his Dell, trying to speed the thing up. I, unfortunately, spent my intended conversion weekend in airports and the highways of New Jersey.
As a result, when I could not stand it any more, I spent part of Mother's Day installing and updating and configuring the computer. Right away, the annoying restart to burn a disc was eliminated. I have also found that the Linux drivers for the wireless card seem to work at least as well as the original Windows drivers.
Does a computer user need Windows? In my opinion, for most people, the answer is a qualified no. Like anything else, there are some tradeoffs that you make. For example, I give up the option to fight with IE7 to try to get it to respond to my wishes instead of someone in Redmond or some fiend in the banner advertising industry. I gave up the option to use certain Windows-only programs that I support in my workplace. Not that I owned or used any of them myself, but if I one day had wanted to, I could have.
I also gave up the "option" to have Windows reporting back each time I turn it on so that MSFT can decide whether my license is still legitimate. I gave up the option to have MSFT continually trying to download and install ever more draconian anti-theft measures into my bought-through-the-OEM operating system on my Dell laptop. I gave up the option to support someone who opposes the very freedoms I support.
All in all, I’m happy with it, the same way someone in the old Soviet empire might be happy to cross the Berlin wall and give up the option of having midnight visits by secret police seeking "explanations" of privately-made comments that might be interpreted as non-supportive of the government.
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