Switching to Shrike
RedHat Linux 9 (codename Shrike) makes for a nice OS. I have it installed on my home desktop PC. Which sits beside my G3 which are connected to a Linksys router (running Linux). These are in the same living room as our TV which has a TiVo -- another Linux device. I don't know if any of this is worrisome to Microsoft, but it should be.
The only Windows machine I have left is my laptop. It still runs XP. I'd switch it right now if there was a driver available for my 54g WiFi PC card. Linksys has no ETA for it, but I don't think there are any 54g cards available for Linux yet (check for yourself).
While I find RedHat 9 to be a decent desktop OS for me, it's certainly not for everyone. Yes, installation was a breeze, but general maintenance is not for the timid. For example: enabling anti-aliased fonts in XFree86. Or installing the latest nVidia drivers (this one required the kernel source code to install for my machine). Or adding the NTFS support so you can mount and copy files from a NTFS-formatted volume. Here's hoping that RedHat continues to improve usability. It would be nice to see it reach the level of ease seen in Mac OS X.
Speaking of Apple and Macs, I'm still tempted to buy an Apple G5. This weekend we took a trip to the Apple store near us so I could drool up-close-and-personal-like with the latest goods. Man, that place is built to frisk you of $1000-$6000 depending on what you can bear to part with. I would love to have a dual-processor G5 in my home, but I'm afraid I would be spending most of my time staring at a terminal window. Something I can just as easily do with a $200 PC. But wouldn't that terminal window look spectacular on an Apple Cinema display? I somehow managed to walk out of the Apple store barehanded, but I don't know how much longer I can hold out.
Speaking of freakin' huge monitors, the Samsung SyncMaster 240T is quite a beauty. It has the Apple Cinema 23" beat in many ways: one more inch of real estate. It has digital and analog inputs -- even S-video. You can split the screen between multiple sources -- great for watching a movie while you're working or reading. I'm afraid I might have to buy a more powerful video card to support a DVI-powered 1920×1200 display.
But I digress.
Software-wise, I feel pretty comfortable. OpenOffice is installed and running nicely. Mozilla Firebird runs better than ever on Linux. I can share files with my Mac thanks to the Samba support both have. jEdit is identical to the Windows version. No need for Putty since ssh is installed (and patched) right out of the "box". Gaim is no Trillian, but will do for now. The Gimp interface will take some getting used to (Won't someone add a Photoshop-like interface option for it? Photoshop-compatible keyboard mappings would be nice.) I still can't find a good replacement for TopStyle Pro. So Nick... if you're listening-- any plans for a Linux version? You have heard of Kylix, right?