Friday, November 26, 2004

Upgrade Gripes

Well, I've now got RedHat Linux 9 installed on my system. It was just supposed to be an upgrade of my previous, 7.2 installation, but a full installation turned out to be easier. I kept my existing /home filesystem, though, and made two, complete backups of it (I only meant to make one, but it seemed like four more coasters, until exactly the same 'error' occurred with the second (so now I've got two backups - extra safe!)).

It's not the most recent Linux distribution, but it's really just a temporary upgrade until I'm familiar enough with FreeBSD to actually move over to it. It's just for my new printer.

Alas, it's not working with my printer (yet). And the desktop environment seems to have been dumbed down.

One of the things that really annoys me with computers is how we get faster and faster machines, but then that extra power gets wasted on useless flashiness. Do we buy faster, better machines just so that our desktop throbbers can throb more smoothly? Do we invest in the latest processors just so that we can maximize and minimize our windows with swish special effects? Do I want a 'simpler, easier' window manager when it means I can't quickly and easily drop windows behind other windows?

When I minimize a window, I want it to get out of the way - quick!. When I upgrade software, I still expect to be able to do everything I could do before, not find that things have disappeared in the interests of 'increased usability'. Sure, simple, user-friendly interfaces are vital, but that doesn't mean that the more advanced features have to be dumped completely, or hidden away where they can't easily be found.

RedHat Linux 9 came on three CDs (not including the documentation CD, source CDs (which I didn't download), etc), while 7.2 came on just two. 'More,' you would think. 'More, and better.' But, instead, it feels like less. My system feels smaller than it did before.

Perhaps this is all to do with RedHat's leanings towards the corporate world. It's all those pointy-haired bosses they've got to appeal to.


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