It is a family tradition of sorts not to take the easy way out; a tradition I hope to outgrow as I get older, but so far to no avail. Why take the path of least resistance when the road less traveled is probably just that for a good reason?
Hence, while the Linux install on the PowerBook 1400 has gone as expected over the past several days (constant failure, although those who have achieved this elusive goal have mentioned that it would be a chore), I turned my sights on my top-of-the-Old-World list PowerBook G3 Wallstreet and a variety of Linux and Unix operating systems that might run on it — Debian and NetBSD being the finalists (although I am told that SuSE will run on Old World Macs — more on this another time, perhaps).
Fortunately for me, the Silicon Valley Linux User Group holds its installfest on the third Saturday of the month in one of the buildings on the Google campus in Mountain View, Calif. So with daughter Mirano in tow (my wife was under the weather), we made the trek “over the hill” on Saturday to see if they could help.
We were met at the door by Jason, who signed us in and guided us to the room where the installfest took place. The fact that he was working on a pair of Macs dispelled my fear that I’d be the only Mac user.
SVLUG president Paul Reiber, working on what he described as the group’s “Frakenstein” server, and Mark (whose last name I didn’t get — sorry, Mark) and I discussed options for my installation adventure. With the caveat that this model Mac is not the most Linux friendly, the two of them got me pointed in the right direction.
Left to my own devices with Linux folks nearby to ask questions possibly was the most comfortable environment to take the plunge from my Mac OS comfort zone to the new world of Linux with my Old World Mac. Mark occasionally stopped by to see how I was doing, and while I seemed to always on the brink of a breakthrough, I never got Debian going on Saturday. Time constraints (I had a real job to go to) — and a cranky 9-year-old who finds a group of computer people interesting only for so long — forced me to leave before I had successfully installed Debian.
In leaving, Paul mentioned that I would probably get everything going later, having taken a wealth of information from the meeting (which I did) and applying it at home. He was right: On Sunday, I tried some of the options I hadn’t done — or hadn’t occurred to me — and got Debian installed on the Wallstreet. Now to get it up and running . . . .
While extending a grateful “thanks” to those who helped me on Saturday, I would like to reiterate that getting involved with a user group is a great way to get started if you’re new to open source. While I don’t know how involved I can be from Santa Cruz, the folks at SVLUG have not seen the last of me.