New Machine

I’ve finally broken down and aquired a new windows machine, dual booting XP and some form of linux. It seems like a powerhouse, since by pure clock speed (and video ram) it’s faster than all the other computers in the office put together. Things have been a bit rough though:

  • They shipped the wrong keyboard and mouse– $10 specials instead of ergo/optical.
  • They didn’t include the root password for the linux install.
  • They shipped a different video card than ordered. (ATI 9200 SE 128, vs a 9000 64mb DDR) I’m not sure if it’s better or worse, but it doesn’t seem to be as well supported in the default X configuration. I probably just need an update, see below.
  • They shipped a different processor than I had expected – A 1.9 ghz Athlon 2600+ vs. the 2.13 Ghz 2600+. I think AMD just bumped the stepping while keeping the same part name, as it appears that I have a Barton core chip, instead of the older Thunderbird.
  • Redhat 9’s up to date function appears to be defunct.

So I’m looking for a desktop linux distro. RedHat is basically a non-starter, given the lack of an update service. I basically want Debian with modern packages, so I may try unstable, or maybe Mandrake or Fedora.

I was a little suprised at the lack of any ‘first time through’ windows walk through, to setup a net connection, download updates, and setup a non-admin user. After installing a bunch of programming tools and servers and such for windows, I’m a little annoyed that the standard process is: find, download, install, run windows update for essential security updates, and sometimes reboot. For Debian at least, the package you download always has the most recent security updates. I’ve also run across cases where the setup program must be run from the command line with some extra switches, cryptically noted by an obtuse dialog box.

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