One fortnight in: Linux on the laptop

I’m back from my extended holiday trip, Ubuntu laptop in tow. I’m just over two weeks in to my Linux experiment, but I am absolutely enamored with it. The laptop followed me all around Houston and didn’t give me a lick of trouble. In fact, I was able to use it to image a drive for another XP laptop and replace it with a larger drive.

As I said before, I love how easy it is to install new apps. With exactly one exception, I haven’t had to drop to a command-line and compile. And with the Debian-repository-based install system, upgrades for the apps are almost completely transparent and automagical.

As I side note, I think this is an awesome opportunity for the CF community. Now that the CF Admin interface is officially extensible, it would be great to see someone build a synaptic/aptitude/apt-get distributed repository system for CF apps. Wouldn’t it be nice if installing Model-Glue or Transfer or BlogCFC was as simple as typing the name into a widget in the admin? And if the apps automagically updated themselves with bugfixes? No need for a centralized repository—I’m sure you could whip up a CFC-based repository that could be dropped into just about any CF site and transparently handle versions and whatnot.

Hook that repository system up to RIAForge and UDFLib and picture how much easier that makes your life.

But I’m getting off topic.

Don’t get me wrong: Ubuntu isn’t perfect. The PPTP problems were almost a deal-killer. Sure, Banshee is great, but it’s missing a few features that I’ve grown quite attached to such as remembering playback position and sorting my iPod Shuffle’s playlist order. There’s no HomeSite. I haven’t tried to do any really heavy lifting like managing a SQL Server, but I get the impression that a number of tasks would fall into a First you need to VNC into the Windows server, then … pattern.

I have, however, started a small bit of desktop application development via Mono and monodevelop. I’m working on something that has applicability to web coders, as well, so if it goes anywhere I’ll be sure to prattle on about it. It’s a little weird to step back into app development after doing web work for almost 15 years, but I find it’s not too bad. C# seems to be close enough to what I remember from C++ that there haven’t been too many impedance-mismatch issues. And, really, isn’t OOP pretty much OOP no matter what the language?

I’ll give it another few weeks with the laptop before I’m completely ready to wax my workstation and start over, but so far there haven’t been any glaring problems.

By Rick Osborne

I am a web geek who has been doing this sort of thing entirely too long. I rant, I muse, I whine. That is, I am not at all atypical for my breed.