Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Independence Day Projects

Happy Independence Day!

Two blog entries that really have had me thinking in the past couple of days:
One about ways to protect your data in case of computer failure, and another about adopting Ubuntu Linux as your full time operating system. Both are topics that have been on my mind, and they really have given me the encouragement to make some plans and move forward.

The article about protection in the face of computer failure is mostly about having a backup plan. It frightened me enough to dust off that stack of blank DVD’s and burn off my music, photos, documents, and source code form the last year or so. It took a lot longer than I would have liked, but at least it is done, and I can sleep more peacefully knowing that my important data isn’t living singly on a disk drive that could fail. Things should also be happier having defragged the drives.

I am still a bit hazy on which image program I want to buy. I am currently looking at Norton Ghost and Acronis True Image. My requirements keep changing, but I think that the easiest option for the imaging would be to image the laptop’s disk, and the desktop’s primary disk to the secondary drive on the desktop. The sales propaganda at the two sites hasn’t made it completely clear that this will work. I’m also not completely sold on the idea of spending $140 so that I can image my disk drives. I guess what I am saying is that maybe my data isn’t worth that much. I suppose that a secondary answer would be to buy an external hard drive and back up that way. I do really like the idea of images though, as sitting through another install of XP has little appeal to me at the moment, and everyone knows that it seems at least every year or two every windows OS seems to get hashed to the point of needing a format and reinstall.

The article about the switch to Ubuntu Linux really has given me some hope. Last year for a systems class that I took, I managed to install SUSE Linux on my laptop and desktop as secondary operating systems. I’m grateful that I got SUSE to work, but I never managed to get EVERYTHING working as I needed it to in order that it be a replacement operating system. Perhaps I am just not 1337 enough to make it work, or maybe I’m just not that great of a hacker, but there were too many things that didn’t work the way that I expected them to in order for me to adopt it as a full time OS. The article I read made it sound like it was doable, and this was coming from a long time Mac user who defected because of the proprietary lock-in that Apple has been adopting as of late. Until reading this article, I was really holding out for an Apple, as I know that it has a Unix shell, but this Ubuntu thing sounds like it could be doable.

I am still somewhat baffled by all of the different *nix flavours, and don’t understand the difference between all of them. If I go for a *nix solution it needs to be sufficiently easy that a bone-head like me can install it, get software for it, manage it, and use it for everyday applications. Additionally, it would be great if I could do some development in that environment as well. I’m registered for an OS class this fall, and the assignments will necessitate using a *nix box, I would like to be over my fear by then. I may purchase a book on Ubuntu, and see if I think it is workable. Maybe with a guide, I might make it past the setup. But before I do that, I need to get my current laptop hard drive imaged somewhere else so that I can try it as a single boot, dedicated system.

I’ll let you know how it goes. If you have any suggestions, I’d be glad to hear them.

In other news, I listened to Capitol Steps this evening. If you have a liberal streak, or enjoy listening to parody, I suggest you listen to What a Difference DeLay Makes.


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