Entering The Linux World and The Re-Enter

It’s been almost 10 years or so since my last tango with the open source world aka Linux. Back then Linux was still in its infancy. Not very user friendly, not colorful and complicated to understand and use. It was totally a different world from Ms-Windows. Like a parallel universe somewhat. This post is going to be pretty technical if you have nil knowledge of Linux, so beware! ^_^

Circa – When I was around 25

My first experience with Linux was by accident. Being a total geek made me somewhat of a loner but still with a few close friends. Got into the computer club in school since 13 and up till 18. All that I can learn from the school computer club was not enough to satisfy my hunger for more information. I once saw a movie back then of a kid’s story communicating from USA to Japan just by typing on the computer screen. It made me think computer can do much more than just simple word processing. It was like an internal movie in my head that one day I would be doing the very same thing.

Fast forward to the when I was 25, I got myself working in a computer firm and it was around that time the internet was just beginning. Suddenly my mind just went BANG! All I can think was with the all the information my head can handle from the internet was going to be one hell of a RIDE! I got myself a Desktop Computer at home while I was doing my computer diploma. From there I started to really move forward, venturing into more wild adventures of the information superhighway. All I was using was Ms-Windows 95. Then just one day I stumble upon the open source system on the internet. Read about UNIX, Linux and Mac. One particular system catches my eyes which is Linux. It’s a free system and distributed worldwide. Dig out more information on how, when, who and the sorts of things. It was like a Zen moment that time I started my journey from being a newbie to a power user. It was crazy! I took my desktop MS-Windows 95 system and convert it to DUAL Boot with Linux. I tried Slackware, Redhat and a bit Debian. Basically, I got myself so deep into the linux world that Ms-Windows 95 on the other side of my desktop hard disk was 80% ignore. Heck! I can do a lot of the same things I wanted to do in MS-Windows 95 in Linux. So, why not I just convert my whole hard disk I think to myself. Being back then, Microsoft was fully monopolized, making the idea of a totally conversion was not possible because Linux is open source, no specific supports, has to get solutions and trouble-shot thru communities forums and from other people experience. By then, my desktop system was going to be out of date as 5 years has passed since my first journey with Linux. I can’t put my Desktop into more use other than the plain old Vanilla MS-Windows 95. MIA from the Linux world ever since.

The Present

It was last year the ending of 2010. I have just reviewed my wish list of all the things, I wanted to get for the New Year. Next on my list is a new laptop to take the place of my good old Compaq which I have been using for the previous 5 years. Running on MS-Windows XP, has its ups and downs. I wanted to get another brand new Compaq and perhaps with Windows 7 in it? I had my budget around RM1,500. I comb thru HP website looking for the perfect laptop that suits my budget. All that I can see is a nice laptop with FreeDOS as the OS. I was thinking to myself, what am I going to do with the FreeDOS? I could buy a separate Windows Pack? Nope, that would require another RM300! It’s out of my budget. I halted the decision to buy the new laptop until the end of February 2011. I asked some advice of what to do with a FreeDOS laptop with Faizal. You see, Faizal is a Mac and Open Source fanatic. Just like that, he mention Linux! He told me Ubuntu is the current easiest Linux GUI in the market. I was like ermmmm, not sure if I wanted to re-enter that world. I was thinking all the debugging nightmare, headache and sleepless night before. He said unless I am a hardcore gamer, I should be fine doing the normal stuff like typing, internets, music and movies. As I think to myself, yeah it could work out this time. I mean after so many years of my MIA surely Linux has grown-up a lot right? Errr….well kinda XD

The day I got my brand new Compaq laptop from Karamunsing, I also bought some blank CDs to do some burning of the Ubuntu OS. I have also done somewhat a little bit of reading about installing Ubuntu before that. It was errrr a nightmare revisited! Firstly, Faizal recommended that I install the Netbook version 10.10 without knowingly that it should be for netbook not laptop! Gone thru the installation process and BAMM display resolution all wrong, no sound, no nothing! I was like OMG, here I go again! Then I related my terrible nightmare to Faizal, he said it could be the version problem, netbook has limited support in terms of hardware. I was like ok, yeah that make sense to me. Proceed to install the Desktop version 10.10 and BAMM again another display resolution all wrong, still no sound, even got the X Server bootup problem and won’t auto boot to GUI too now? I comb thru the Ubuntu support forum online looking for answers and solution. Perhaps someone out there has done it before and has the answer I am looking for? It has been the 5th day since I started my venture with Ubuntu. Sleepless nights digging the internet and the Ubuntu Support Forum for an answer. No luck in my editing of configuration files, drivers updates or new packages installation. I posted a help call in Ubuntu FB twice and suddenly some Chinese fellow from China told me to re-compile the Kernel to an older version. A bit blur, I google up the Kernel version. I got the answer that it’s an older version of Ubuntu version 10.04. I reposted my question to the Chinese fellow and he told me that it’s the only way to get my laptop running and speaking to me. Well, if that’s the solution to end my sleepless nights and nightmare, let it be. I got Ubuntu 10.04 LTS and ready for a final showdown! It has to work this time or I might go MIA again! After the installation ended, I rebooted my laptop and waited a while as I search for more possible answers online with my old laptop. Its boots straight into GUI with beautiful colors but no sound coming from my Altec Lansing? Tried plugging in the sound port, I can hear tiny music. As I knew my laptop is trying to speak to me. Back combing thru Ubuntu Support forum again. Got some suggestion to upgrade the ALSA and Realtek driver to latest version. Rebooted and then a sound came from my new laptop! It was calling, talking to me! I was like OMG! It was the first most beautiful sound coming from my new laptop Altec Lansing since a week ago when I first bought it. As it boot up, it continue to go straight into the GUI. Then I double check the display resolution, webcam, USB connection, WIFI and it was ALL PERFECT! As I started to venture around the Ubuntu system I felt finally at peace! It was already the 7th day that I am able to sleep a silent night. Felt happy and joy finally that my journey of the re-enter has been complete.

After a few more days of toying and playing with the system, I got my Ubuntu to look like a Mac OSX! How cool is that? WAY COOL I say! XD As of today, I manage to post on Twitter, FB, chats, emails, played a few simple small games and it all work out just fine. All the while, the system never hangs or freeze like my old Windows XP does sometimes which was pretty annoying. Surely, Linux it’s so good to see you again my old friend ^_^ There you are and I am glad that I haven’t lost all of my Linux touch yet!


It has been quite a RIDE! Cheers! ^_^

  Linux, You Rocks!

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