Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Trials and Tribulations of Changing Operating Systems

You think it would be fairly easy to do this stuff. After many trials and tribulations with Windows Vista--problems like automatic shut-downs, frequent error messages, problems with the hard drive--I decided to go to a Linux OS, thinking it would work better with my system and make my life easier.

The first trial was with Mandriva. It seemed good at first, but there were some problems. Like a sound system that sometimes did not let me control the volume, and problems with the way files were stored. It was not logical to me and I was forever looking for files. The Home folder was a complete mystery to me--I didn't know it existed, and therefore couldn't find files. There were other problems. Like pictures. The Mandriva photo manager did not allow me to rotate pictures, so all of my portrait view pictures would load onto Blogger and Facebook sideways and upside down. I couldn't use them.

After a few weeks of this, I was ready to bag Linux altogether, and sent my friend the Techno-Wizard a message saying so. He suggested that we partition the drive and change out from Mandriva to a more logically formatted Linux System. He suggested Ubuntu. I agreed, and he took my machine home to do the deed. I picked it up again last Thursday, and having a deadline to get a Business Plan Questionnaire done, I logged into Ubuntu. I thought I should log into Ubuntu because when the Techno-Wizard came to take my computer, I had been working on that document, and done about two hours worth of work. But no documents existed at Ubuntu.

Oh. The Home folder had been loaded on Windows.
So I logged into Windows.
After some searching, I found that the Home Folder had been loaded there under an abbreviation of my name.
But even after loading Open Office, I could not download the files.
We think its empty. Well actually, the Techno-Wizard does.
Me, I USE computers. And I hate it when they DON"T WORK like I expect.
You've heard of Road Rage?
You've heard of PMS?
Hell hath no fury like this woman confronted with a deadline and confounded by empty files and lost folders.
And upside-down pictures!

But Windows is such a pain, that I am willing to deal with fury in order to get to something better. And better do it now, while I still have some estrogen--albeit it comes in unpredictable flashes-- to protect my heart from the sudden escalation of fight-or-flight.

Patience, they say, is a virtue.

Here is a You Tube video from College Humor that puts this all into perspective:

Ubuntu? I'm going to learn Ubuntu.

Just one question:

Where the heck do they get these names?


Mark said...

I don't know about Mandriva or other distributions, but Ubuntu gets its name from an African philosophy which basically says we're all in this together, that what makes us stronger as a community makes us stronger as individuals.

Desmond Tutu defined it in 1999 as follows: "A person with Ubuntu is open and available to others, affirming of others, does not feel threatened that others are able and good, for he or she has a proper self-assurance that comes from knowing that he or she belongs in a greater whole and is diminished when others are humiliated or diminished, when others are tortured or oppressed."

Nelson Mandela explained it like this: "A traveler through a country would stop at a village and he didn't have to ask for food or for water. Once he stops, the people give him food, entertain him. That is one aspect of Ubuntu but it will have various aspects. Ubuntu does not mean that people should not enrich themselves. The question therefore is: Are you going to do so in order to enable the community around you to be able to improve?"

I dunno - sounds awfully collectivist to me...

Elisheva Hannah Levin said...

Mark, thanks. I have been busy getting Evolution E-mail set up and haven't had time to look it up.

Tutu's definition is less collectivist than is Mandala's example. If you think of ordinary good manners, the Tutu's applies except the idea that you belong to a greater whole. An individualist would phrase it this way:

A person who is open to others socially, affirms the goodness and ability she sees in others, and understands that her rights are at risk with every violation of the rights of others.

Human beings are social individuals. We are unique, but we wish to share that with others that we associate with. We all appreciate that.
Where these definitions become collectivist is not in the idea that we should treat other individuals to the same courtesies we expect, but in the idea that the individual is lost in some greater collective. This is to be expected from an non-western culture, because individualism and the unique nature of every person's life comes from the early stages of western culture and was refined through the political philosophy of the scholastics (including Maimonides) and then further defined into the concept of individual rights during the Enlightenment.

Retriever said...

Well, I love my Macs, tho I have to admit I really enjoyed the Linux on my old 7 inch Netbook (only it wsa an early one that couldn't log onto a secure wireless network so I stopped using it and gave it to the kid to write stories on).

I find Mac perfect, and had been quite contentedly using Iphoto for my photos, and Pages for any word processing (supposedly WOrd compatible). But now my editor says that when I send attachments from Pages they aren't legible in WOrd, so I end up having to just paste them into my emails...hmmm.

Good luck.

I will NEVER go back to Windows tho I have to use it when not on spreadsheets etc at work.

Elisheva Hannah Levin said...

Retriever, I started as a Mac user in the early days of the Biology Grad Student Computer Pod at the U. And I still have certain Mac habits. I am a PC user because they are more affordable. An I-Mac, for example would simply put too much of a crimp in my book-reading habit.

So Linux is an alternative that I am willing to go through the "new computer" time crunch to have. And I think this Ubuntu is the one for me! We shall see.

Anonymous said...

Elisheva, consider getting a home server, a separate machine, cost approximately $200.

Through a home network, very simple, you can store and backup your files--AND retrieve your files to whatever machine and operating system you are using. You're not limited to one file system.

Here're two sites for starters:


I've been messing with computers since 1974. I've recently gone to Windows 7 Professional, 64-bit. It is a good and forgiving OS, certainly by far the best Microsoft OS to date.

Perhaps you need more than one guru.

Tullia said...

As the last PC holdout at my house, I'll be interested to see how Ubuntu works (or doesn't) for you. My son has been using it occasionally for a special application on his machine--so far he gives it grudging compliments even though he's a Mac fan. Describing your You Tube link made me the star of the family's after-dinner conversation yesterday.

Elisheva Hannah Levin said...

Anon. : the Techno_Wizard and I discussed the same thing last night. That is probably the most sensible way to deal with it, however, it will need to wait a few months. Moving is expensive! :)
But I don't mind having several gurus.

Tullia: So far, so good with Ubuntu. And I like the Evolution Mail Program, too. One small problem--I can't get Ubuntu to recognize my speakers. I mark it as a preference, but there is no "apply" button, and when I go back, it has reverted back to the tinny speaker in the laptop itself. Since Linux has a lot of Mac features, maybe one of you Mac people can tell me what to do on this one.