I got sent to Paris from work (came back last night, flew there Monday afternoon), and the only thing I bought
there (except for dinner) was 4 bottles of mineral water.
I was there for 3 days & nights, most of the day spent at the client’s office; the closest I got to sight-seeing was
the view of Paris at night from the resturant “Ciel De Paris”(?), which is on the 56th floor of the Monparnase tower.
Apparently, the Eiffel tower at night is lit up like a Disco. On the last day I took a cab to the airport, squezed onto a
nearly-full flight, and was rushed straight onboard the plane, without the chance to even glance at the Duty Free.
So I’m back, shame-faced and empty-suitcased.
Still, the weather was terrific (15-20 degrees C), with overcase skies and rain. Glorious.
Now I’m back at 30 degrees C in the shade and 90% humidity (or so it feels like), sweating as I type, but at least
Speaking of typing, french keyboards are bloody confusing. “Q” and “A” swapped, “M” out of place, and all the top row
(number keys) printing either accented characters, among other differences.
Mice work the same, though.
So, much improvement on the Linux front.
Set up the printer and it works great.
Found what was causing my hostname to change and preventing me from launching new apps once
kppp (modem connection) started – just a matter of unchecking a checkbox (the help file explains
that if this box is checked, you’ll get exactly the problem I had – great documentation, if you read it…)
Downloaded some Hebrew stuff, including a Perl script that imported my Hebrew windows fonts,
and Fribidi & GTKBidi; trying to configure & make these packages resulted in my understanding that
I was missing a lot of stuff needed for development and compilation; installed all that, and now things
Installing RPMs is very nice, although I think their quality varies – some have good management of their
dependencies and some falter in this department.
Looked at KDevelop a bit, a very nice Visual Studio take-off, very well done.
Played more Reversi & Mah-Jong; I used to play a Mah Jong game called Shanghai on the Mac at the lab when I was
a graduate student, and this was a worthy successor. Reversi still beats me every time. I think I’ll play more games
with Linux than I did with Windows…
Still no sound, which sucks. Lothar (Mandrake’s hardware detection program) seems to detect the sound device, which
lives on the motherboard, but doesn’t realize it’s a sound card (maybe because it isn’t a card, as such).
Attempting to post from Linux now.
The desktop was sort of functional, the browser (Netscape) works fine, the font situation is deplorable.
Something annoying has happened and now I can’t launch new applications for some reason in KDE. I think it has something to do with the DISPLAY environment variable, but setting it doesn’t seem to do much good.
Guess I’ll restart X/KDE.
I repartitioned my drive and installed Linux (Mandrake 7.0, from a PC Plus magazine CD) yesterday.
The install went very smoothly, and soon enough I was presented with another OS to boot into at my lesiure, with a very Windows-like
desktop (KDE) and plenty of programs. The Linux desktops (KDE, GNOME) beat windows easily in the category of pre-installed little games to waste
your time. Some are really crappy, like SmileyTetris, and others are very slick (like Reversi, where the program whupped my ass 3 games in a row).
Also, because it’s a new OS, you can spend a lot of time playing at installing stuff and getting it to work. Not much joy there. Mandrake’s hardware
detection doesn’t detect my soundcard, which means that I can’t listen to CDs or MP3s, fiddle with sound software, or hear any of the cool sound effects
that are used in any of the Desktop themes. Nor was I able to set up my Wacom penpartner, which requires changing a configuration file and restarting X.
Setting up the modem was pretty easy though, once I got over the hurdle of finding my provider’s DNS server IP.
But what do I have, when all is said and done? An OS that has less hardware support, less applications and poorer Hebrew support than Windows.
Still, it’s fun if you like fiddling with your OS. Much better than messing around with alternate shells on Windows (like LightStep). And KDE is a very liveable environment.