Originally Published: Sunday, 5 December 1999 Author: Jerry Hatchett
Published to: featured_articles/Featured Articles Page: 1/1 - [Printable]

Good Grief, What a Week!

Have you ever had a week when your brain just didn't cooperate? When every mental task you attempted seemed to frustrate you to no end? When no line of text or no line of code came naturally? I must confess that I've had one of those weeks since my last appearance here. I write regularly on several different topics, and have had a nasty case of writer's block across the board for the past few days. Every time I pull up a keyboard, my brain goes "dohhh." Every paragraph I write embarrasses me when I read it back. I tell you, it has been a frustrating week. And it doesn't end there......

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Have you ever had a week when your brain just didn't cooperate? When every mental task you attempted seemed to frustrate you to no end? When no line of text or no line of code came naturally? I must confess that I've had one of those weeks since my last appearance here. I write regularly on several different topics, and have had a nasty case of writer's block across the board for the past few days. Every time I pull up a keyboard, my brain goes "dohhh." Every paragraph I write embarrasses me when I read it back. I tell you, it has been a frustrating week. And it doesn't end there...

The computers at the office are by necessity Windows boxes. I hate that. I really do. Because I hate Windows. Really, I do. With 256 MB of RAM on a PIII-450, I try to run four modest applications and come face to face with the blue screen of death. I reboot. A few minutes later, same old story. Lather, rinse, repeat. Attempts to find the problem are a total waste of time. Lather. Rinse. Repeat. I find myself wondering how such an operating system came to dominate in the way that it does.

When the day at the office is done, I head home to an old PII with a comparatively anemic 64 MB of RAM and a recent distribution of Linux. Out of sheer curiosity, I decide to run my own sloppy (and quite worthless) "crash benchmark." Ten applications running, no problem. Fifteen. Twenty windows on the desktop, and she's getting pretty slow. Twenty-five, she's crawling but she has not gone down. Finally, she gives up the ghost at thirty-one. From another room in the house, I hear a Microsoft commercial asking me where I want to go today. I do not answer.

The next day, I go back to work and suffer through the same frustrating cycles that are a normal part of daily life for those trapped in a Windows world. Blue screens of death. Illegal operations. Frozen screens with no warning and no apparent reason. Lather. Rinse. Repeat. I think about the old machine at the house and long for the day when the applications I run in my business are available to run on a nice, stable operating system like that one.

My son tells me that he saw someone at school with a Red Hat bumper sticker on their car, proving that the person or persons inside were "Linux nerds." I ask him if he thinks of his Dad as a "Linux nerd." He does not answer.

At some point during the week I log in and check the comments regarding my last article here on Linux.com. There are only two, leading me to the conclusion that maybe people who visit Linux.com just don't give a hoot about the Business of Linux. One of the comments is nice and very complimentary of my writing. I choose to believe that it was written by a fine fellow of much intelligence. (I hope he can forgive me for this disjointed set of snippets.) The other labels the article as nonsensical ignorance, and I form a quite different opinion of its author. :-)

On the brighter side, I'm thrilled to report a dedicated server of the Linux variety up and running for an Internet startup that I'm leading the charge on. I had a long conversation with the hosting provider that we eventually chose, and without telling him anything about my predisposition, I asked for his personal preference between Linux and NT. I'm paraphrasing to the best of my memory, but the core of the answer went something like this: "Oh, that's easy. These Linux servers run for months and months without even needing a reboot. We have to reboot a lot of the NT servers once a week." Mark one more on the board for the good guys!

Well, that's all for this week, folks. Thanks for reading, and if any of you had a trying week as I did, keep your chin up. Next week will be better!

Jerry Hatchett, hatchett@linux.com.





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