Invariably, someone will ask me, “How’s your day going?” Most of the time, it’s a family member, but whomever is asking, the answer is usually “great” because, for the most part, it usually is. But what I do during the course of the day, in my capacity as editor/publisher of Open Source Reporter can be revealing.
For those of you keeping score at home (and I don’t know why you would, to quote a San Francisco Giants announcer), this is what I do:
On another note . . .
While visiting the Fluxbuntu Web site, I noticed that they had a screenshot for an Old World G3 PowerBook Wallstreet, just like the one I just sold (argh!). So I asked when the PowerPC version of this distro would be ready and I was told that it will be ready within a couple of weeks. I also learned that when you’re in an IRC chat, you don’t have to ask “Can I ask a question” (Duh! Sorry guys, that was me).
That was the question du jour today: While caught in traffic on my way to pick up Mirano at school and with the thought of what is on my computer planted firmly on my radar, it occurred to me that I don’t really know how to pronounce the operating system I now have on the iMac.
Is it eks-ubuntu? Eks-buntu? Zoo-buntu? Zhoo-buntu?
I find when I return home that it’s been a significant discussion in the Ubuntu forum, and while everyone seems to be right — or, at least, everyone has an excellent point in pronouncing it the way they do — pronouncing it zoo-buntu as I had been doing all this time is currently the most popular and might be the correct pronunciation.
Might is the key word here. You see, in the international scheme of things, where — oh, I don’t know — English is not the only language spoken, there seems to be some alternatives; alternatives that deserve strong consideration, rather than just attaching my own native language’s rules when it comes to “x” in front of a vowel (think “Xerox, Xanax,” etc.).
According to one post, from RaiSuli: “I pronounce it Zoobuntu but I know that in German it would be pronounced as Ksubuntu.”
Or then there’s the Spanish version, where the “x” like in Oaxaca is pronounced like an “H,” making it hoo-buntu, and I could go for that (thanks, pdxuser).
Says pdxuser: “I did some research, and it turns out that in Xhosa and Zulu, an X is a clicking sound. And you thought people look at you weird when you say Ubuntu….”
But then again, Xubuntu — however it’s pronounced — is based on the Xfce desktop, and that’s really pronounced Eks-eff-see-ee. All of which is to say eks-ubuntu or eks-buntu also has a considerable amount of merit.
If it interests you, take a look and see what you think.
Me? Leave things alone? NoooOOOoooo. Not me. I sat at home fiddling with Xubuntu 6.06 on the iMac and wondered aloud, only to the cat, “Gee, you know maybe I didn’t give those other distros a fair shake.” So I went through the drill again, starting around 6 this morning, of adding and removing distros and seeing how they fared.
Again, here are the players: indigo iMac, 256MB RAM (not 128 as I previously mentioned — what was I thinking?), 7GB hard drive, and the 6.10 version of Kubuntu; Gentoo 2006; Slackintosh 11; and Fedora Core 4; some coffee) and the new cat watching this time from the floor while I talked to the computer.
Basically, the test was installing, browsing and tweaking parts of the desktop and, in one case (see below), networking to an eMac.
Kubuntu kalling: I know how kool and krisp KDE is as a desktop. It is. Honest. And I’m not taking anything away from it when I say it’s really not for me. Maybe I’m just not kognizant of how great a product KDE puts out — but I would venture to say that I am. It works really well. I wish I could put my finger on what it is about KDE that leaves me kold. But I can’t, except to say that it’s not for me.
[Note to Linus T.: If you really prefer KDE over Gnome, that's your right, and I will defend it to the death, both yours or mine. However, while I wasn't the one to come up with a kernel that set the industry on fire -- for which all of us are truly thankful -- I don't consider myself an idiot because I prefer Gnome. 'Nuff said.]
Sorry, Slack and Gentoo: Missed again. Someday, when I’m a lot more proficient at GNU/Linux and know can fathom installs with only the command line, I’ll be back.
Putting on a Fedora: Fedora Core 4 was a pleasant surprise once I got it up and running. Not only that, it actually networked with the eMac that my wife has commandeered right away, without my having to prompt it (okay, so it asked me first, but I hadn’t thought of putting it through those paces, to be honest). The only failing seemed to be browsing — pages and e-mail took forever to load. But it looked great and, with some work, I bet it would make a very good PowerPC option for GNU/Linux users.
Meanwhile, over the course of several hours the cat got bored — imagine that — and I went back to Xubuntu.
Whew. For the what-to-do-on-your-day-off file, try choosing a distro to go on an indigo iMac, which is what occupied my Tuesday (between trying to figure out why my network fizzled between Macs — something on which I am still working).
Here are the players: indigo iMac, 128MB RAM, 7GB hard drive, and the 6.10 versions of Ubuntu, Xubuntu and Kubuntu; Gentoo 2006; Debian 3.1r5 (all 14 disks burned — sheesh); Slackintosh 11; OpenSUSE; Mandriva 2005 Limited Edition; and Fedora Core 4; some coffee; daughter Mirano’s observations (likes Mandriva’s Tux with the stars in his eyes) and the new cat perched in my lap after pulling him off the keyboard.
The winner and new GNU/Linux operating system on this machine: Xubuntu 6.10. More on that in a minute.
Debian disappoints: I don’t know why — and I’ll be the first to admit that it could be yours truly performing the ritual PEBKAC drill — but every time I try to install any version of Debian on any of my machines, it doesn’t work. I’m crushed because I first tried GNU/Linux using Debian installed on a friend’s machine and liked it. As a sentimental favorite, it’s one I’d really like to use. Yesterday, same thing: Downloads but can’t boot, and now I have 14 disks here . . . .
Slackintosh, Gentoo and Fedora all gave me the option of the command line from which to continue and my futile efforts to go past that point proved fruitless. Again, the problem very likely comes from operator error, but a little guidance would be nice.
OpenSUSE provided one of the world’s greatest mysteries. How can an installer just abruptly stop three or four times in exactly the same spot? Neat trick. Next . . . .
The *buntus, lucky for me, were fairly idiot friendly. But Ubuntu 6.10 had a screen issue (as in an unresolvable black screen problem) that I couldn’t get fixed. Kubuntu was adequate, but the more I use various distros, the more I find myself gravitating toward Gnome rather than KDE for the desktop. Don’t get me wrong: In many ways, KDE is tres cool, but I find some of the features a little bit much for my computing use. But as the auto ads say, your mileage may vary. Xubuntu 6.10 provides a fairly clean and light desktop and it doesn’t appear that the learning curve will be all that great (which is why I avoided Kubuntu).
So there you have it. As soon as I can get an Intel box (which is soon), I will probably try again, this time with additional distros that provide fully free software (free as in freedom, not price). These include gNewSense, BLAG, Ututo, and a fourth one that Richard Stallman mentioned in his speech in Berkeley that I can’t remember off the top of my head.