Anybody not interested in reading a highly technical rant about operating systems can stop reading this post right now.
Ok....so this week on one of the tech podcasts I listen to every week, one of the people on the show said that his prediction for 2007 was that we'd see an actual OS war between OS X, Vista and Ubuntu. I installed a Linux distro a few years ago (Mandrake, I think) and found it to be nothing more than a Windoze wannabe that had an even less friendly UI. I gave up after about a day, when it took me more than 10 minutes to figure out how to unstuff a file. Anyway, hoping that perhaps Linux had made some progress over the years, I downloaded the latest Ubuntu distro and burned the ISO for OS X PPC.
My plan was to create a partition for it on my Packet-issue PowerBook, and give it a shot. I booted from the CD and everything seemed to be going well....my first indication that something was wrong was when the tracking on the cursor was going very slowly...as in, I had to completely move my finger across the trackpad about 10 times to move the cursor across the screen. I found the mouse system preference, but was unable to change this behavior. When I finally was able to click on the install icon, things started to go downhill. Firstly when it asked me to fill out the name for my user account and password, it automatically filled in my username as the "hostname" - but for some reason it added a "-laptop" to it. Fine - so I click ok to continue, and a box pops up telling me my hostname has too many characters. I take off the "-laptop" and then it's fine. SO WHY DID YOU ADD THE -LAPTOP IN THE FIRST PLACE? Now comes the fun part - partitioning the drive. It gives you three options - erase the drive, use the free space on the drive, or set up the partition manually. So I happily try to set up the partition myself, only to be met with the most confusing partition map I've ever seen. I've been doing this whole "computer" thing for quite a while now, and I couldn't make heads-or-tails of it. And considering I didn't really feeling like wiping out my OS X install tonight, I didn't want to chance it. So I went back to the partition options, and selected the "use free space on the drive" option. Everything looked ok, but after I clicked install I got an error message that read "Unable to complete install - root file system has not been defined". So why even give me the option if you won't install that way it you big jerk?
After that I just got fed up, said "this sucks" and booted back into my beloved OS X. If that's the best the Linux world has to offer then they need look no further than their own installers to realize why only 23 people on the planet use Linux. I have recently been giving serious thought to buying a copy of Vista when it comes out, since I'm completely useless at work when it comes to fixing a Windoze problem - from everything I read about it, it sounds like it's a complete rip-off of OS 10.3, but at least that's still 100 times better than XP. Until something changes, it's a two-horse race - Linux seems incapable of making itself user-friendly in the slightest degree. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go put in my pre-order for Leopard.