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?

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» Linux and OS X from Rodent Regatta
Brad Choate has switched to Linux on his home PC. He talks about the pros and cons and what he's... [Read More]

» Notes on Linux as a Desktop OS from Gadgetopia
Switching to Shrike: Brad Choate has some good comments about making Linux your primary desktop OS: While I find RedHat 9 to be a decent desktop OS for me, itís certainly not for everyone. Yes, installation was a breeze, but... [Read More]

» Switching to Shrike from Quick Links
Brad Choate on using RedHat 9 as a desktop OS. I want his living room! [Read More]

» Y'all hear that? We're using codenames. from Invisible Literature
It seems the new Linux release from RedHat is also nicknamed "Shrike". I'm curious about the origin of the name,... [Read More]

14 Comments

Dusty said:

Topstyle Pro on Linux would be such a blessing...

Here is that 54g driver you've been looking for. :)

Ronaldo said:

Can you point me to some info on enabling anti-aliased fonts on X? Having some trouble with that :-)

Mario Spina said:

I'm looking for the same driver. Unfortunately the chipset in the Linksys w54g (wpc54g) card is not from Atheros but from Broadcom . Broadcom is refusing to release specifications for Linux dev. Too badÖ I guess we will have to buy another card.

Sorry, Brad - a Linux version isn't in the cards.

Porting TopStyle to Kylix isn't as straightforward as you might think due to the number of Win32 API calls I use, not to mention the fact that I rely on the IE and Mozilla ActiveX controls. Plus, some of the third-party controls I'm using don't have Kylix versions.

More important, though, is the fact that supporting more than one OS is time-consuming. I have enough trouble just supporting Windows users!

Todd G said:

I actually find the industrial design of the Cinema displays pretty crappy - they take up a huge amount of space and are not too adjustable. Then there's the price.

I "settled" for a DELL UltraSharp 2000FP 20-inch Flat Panel, which after following a discussion filled with gaming geeks and others who know too much about this stuff, learned was actually a Samsung panel. Sure it's a big ugly Dell-black beast, but 1600x1200 for way cheaper is great.

Has all the stuff you mentioned too - DVI/analog, S-video, etc. $799 at the moment at Dell SOHO. Note to plug it into a Mac you'll need an ADC->DVI adaptor, around $30. Still cheaper than a Cinema!

Sorry gang, when I posted earlier, I wasn't intending to imply that the madwifi driver was for the LinkSys cards. I was merely trying to point out that there IS an 802.11g solution for linux. Sam Leffler has done some great work in making this happen.

Dave said:

I'm just waiting for better support for the ATI Radeon 9700 Pro and my ASUS TV Tuner card and I'm in business with RH9.

I actually use it on another box to act as my router/firewall/fileshare.

Roshambo said:

I'm switching from Mandrake 9.1 (Bamboo) to Redhat 9 today as well. Mandrake much more liberal of a distro, but frankly their graphics are driving me crazy. The whole thing feels like a WinAmp skin (like Linux in general, actually) and I'm really not in the mood to modify the bootloader images and what not. Plus Mandrake's KDE has been crashing on me several times a day. Redhat 9 is a good release.

Matt said:

Have any of you Redhat 9ers have run into problems importing TrueType fonts. I have tried to install several fonts into RH9 and it tends to crash.

I'm also a JEdit fan, but I find that performance tends to degrade faster on RH9 than Win2k (maybe the JDK?). Curious to see what others may be experiencing . . .

Justin said:

Gotta agree with the maintenance point. I find that, with Linux, INSTALLING is really easy. So if you can install anti-aliased fonts (using your example) out of the bag, it's ultra easy. But then if they come out as a new feature and you need to ADD them.. it gets super complex.

SuSE has, for one, gone to some lengths to make upgrading and installing new things as easy as the initial setup though, so there's hope yet..

Claude said:

Good move Brad. I hope I will have the courage to switch my home working machine to Linux. 19 days left...

For the last 4 years or so, I have been hoping to switch to Linux. But over these years, I kept upgrading windows.

I just installed Mandrake 9 and installation was really really easy. I now have to get by the fact that the GUI (KDE) is slower than XP, I have to learn basic Linux tricks, and figure out how to talk to my familly Windows machine.

sean said:

On my home machine I am Windows free. I use Debian Linux, so installing most applications is a snap, and upgrading them is even simpler. I love my Debian.

Claude:
GUI slower? When I use KDE it is much faster than any Windows machine, but Debian is less bloated than Mandrake. I recently decided to ditch Gnome & KDE for FluxBox http://fluxbox.sourceforge.net/, which can't get any faster, but I am a minimalist.

sean said:

Also, you can run Photoshop under linux using WINE.
http://lindows.prodigydigital.com/tutorials/photoshop7.html
Where you see 'lindows' imagine 'linux' and ignore any 'click-n-run' mess. Lindows may claim to be a whole new OS, but it is really just another version of Linux.
Random screenshot from the fluxbox archive, with Photoshop running: http://fluxbox.sourceforge.net/zoom.php?shots/rojaro_fluxbox.jpg

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This article was published on September 24, 2003 1:27 AM.

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