Saturday, April 25, 2009

My Open Source Nightmare

A couple of months back, I started gravitating towards free and open source software. I started using free anti-virus like AVG & Avira instead of Kaspersky & Norton; I downloaded 7Zip instead of WinRAR & WinZip; I even tried Gimp instead of Photoshop & OpenOffice instead of MS Office. It is not valid anymore to mention Firefox here since IE is now free, since version 8, but still I’ll mention it for obvious reasons. Most of them were good & I loved the idea of replacing most if not all of the software in my computer with freeware. That is how I decided to try Linux.

You know very well what Linux is all about unless of course you were living under a rock for a decade. So, sparing the usual introduction, I’ll get straight into it. Linux is not exactly a single Operating System, it is instead a name used to refer to Operating Systems that are based on the Linux kernel, whatever that means. So, there are many distributions tailored for specific purposes. Ubuntu is currently the most popular desktop Linux distribution and it has an interface very similar to Windows. So, I thought I should give it a whirl and in the process learn about this impressive initiative in open source collaboration.

At this point, I would like to mention that I didn’t try Ubuntu in my main computer since I simply didn’t have the courage to experiment with my main system and risk having to manage without my computer for a couple of days. So, my plan was to use the second computer (which I’ve grown to hate) as the scapegoat. Besides, the idea behind Linux was that it doesn’t need a high configuration and I also thought that it would be easier to maintain with less errors & problems.

With this pretty picture drawn in my head, I started downloading the software. I immediately ran into a problem as the download somehow discontinued before it was over. Then, I turned to my trusty torrents to complete the rest of the download. I burned the image on a CD, called up my classmate (a devoted Linux user) to get some tips/advice and then started installing it. I ran into problems straight away as the installation simply got stuck mid-way, a couple of times. But I eventually managed to get it installed.

The interface looked pretty good and the system on the whole was lightning fast. All the basic software, most of which I use like Pidgin, Firefox etc. along with OpenOffice, Gimp etc. were installed by default. I didn’t even raise a finger to install the network, but the computer was not only connected to the internet but also able to access the files in my main Windows system. At this point I was hugely impressed & I wondered why I hadn’t tried this sooner. Then, I checked for updates & there was a 2 hour worth update. So, I turned on the update & left to the cafĂ© to brag to my friends about how cool Ubuntu is.

When I returned home (after a couple of hours), the system was stuck & I couldn’t even move the cursor. I restarted the computer & fiddled around a little. The next day, it continued to get stuck a lot. So, I came to the conclusion that the problem was with the graphic card drivers & so, I removed the graphic card & installed the whole Operating System again. This time, I managed to finish the update, but the computer still got stuck for no reason.

After a couple of days, I plugged in my old printer & turned on the computer. It didn’t boot. After several attempts, I unplugged the printer & tried to boot the system. After a couple of tries, it reached the login screen, but instead of a GUI, the screen was in command prompt. I tried entering my ID & password, but it wouldn’t work. I tried recovery but that too gave some error. I reported the error to my friend & he said its gone, you’ve to re-install. I tried to re-install & it still gave some error. Even a pirated copy of Windows with a bunch of Trojans pre-installed into it wouldn’t give me so much trouble. I mean, come on, I know that Linux ain’t exactly user friendly, but this is ridiculous. All I wanted was a trouble free operating system that was open source, but I guess I’ll have to wait for a few more years. For now though, I’ll stick with my Windows..

Update: Just tried to install Windows & it still got stuck half-way through. I guess it is some hardware problem. None-the-less, Ubuntu totally crashed in a week, so, I guess I'll still stick with my decision.


  1. kewl description..!!

    give a try with DEBIAN :-) (pls. check the one which u download is a stable edition in

  2. That comp is used by my parents & I'm not sure whether they will be comfortable with debian. Once the hardware is back in shape, I'll think about it..

  3. lol/ i have not tried it yet, guess i will do it and post the xperience if possible :p


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