Saturday, 2011 November 19

My father has an old desktop that I built up for him many years ago. It doesn't work very well any more - I didn't exactly use the highest-quality components when I built it and it's always been a little temperamental, but for about the last year it's just about been unusable.

It's running Slackware, of course. Pretty much all of my computers run Slackware, with the exception of my MacBook. I love Slackware; I love the simplicity and the purity. I love the control. I love the stability. Every time I try a different Linux distribution, I quickly give up in frustration and come back to Slack.

So when I bought my father a new Acer Aspire netbook for Christmas, my first instinct was to replace Windows 7 with Slackware.

I struggled mightily to do that. I really did. I have several pages of notes I took while I was fixing first one issue, then another. I was going to put together all of those notes into a blog post describing the glory that is a fully-functioning Aspire running Slack (because it's a very nice little machine). But no matter how many issues I fixed, I could never quite get it to be as functional and as stable as I'd like.

As an example, apparently it's a well-known issue that there's some instability between the wired network card, the network drivers, the Gnome Network Manager, and wireless networks. So that about 75% of the time when it would reboot, the entire machine would lock up as it attempted to join a wireless network. The workaround? You have to set the BIOS so that the machine attempts to network boot first. After finding that gem online, I never had it lock up on me again. But that was indicative of my experience. So many things almost worked.

I'm sure that, given enough time, I probably could have gotten something that worked 95% of the time. But after about three weeks of fighting with it, I came to a realization: I wasn't having any fun, and I didn't think I'd ever get it to the point where I would consider it 100% working. This saddened me slightly, but didn't really surprise me.

This netbook fiasco came at about the same time I was experiencing various annoyances on my main desktop. And I haven't even tried to upgrade my DVR lately because every time I do, it results in me being angry for a day over all of the things that the upgrade broke. I'm just tired of the constant battle to keep my Linux machines running.

Several months ago I installed Windows 7 on a new desktop for my wife. My work laptop also has Windows 7. As much as I dislike Microsoft, Windows 7 has impressed me. I've never seen it crash for a non-hardware-related issue. With a few tweaks like focus-follows-mouse it mostly gets out of my way and lets me work. And I've never been broken by an upgrade.

So I said "screw it". I restored the netbook to Windows 7. Hell, I even installed Windows 7 on my main desktop. Sure, I still have Slackware - I'm typing up this post in vim inside a Slackware virtual machine. But for the foreseeable future, for the first time in probably a decade, I'm willingingly running Windows as my primary OS. Because I'm just sick of fighting with Linux.

Sunday, 2011 November 06 Sunday, 2012 June 10