Tuesday, April 7, 2015

College and Linux

I have been taking online classes at a popular University.  One of the requirements is to have access to Microsoft Windows and Office.  I am in compliance 100% because my end game there is to get me degree.  It is interesting to note what it is like setting up a computer with W7.

I had the opportunity to purchase a refurbished Lenovo T410 laptop with a 320g HD.  This had W7-Ultimate on it with no office.  I played with it for a short time and then installed a new 250 g SSD and then installed Fedora 21.  The W7 drive I stuck on an adapter and installed it into the disc drive slot.  Now I dual boot Fedora and Windows.

I can usually install and set up Fedora in under 4 hours.  The W7 drive took several hours over a period of several days to set up.  One of the issues was security updates.  W7 has to be primary in the boot sequence.  Further more, to get the security updates, Windows Boot Manager must be used instead of Grub.  That was easy, I just set the Bios to boot to the W7 drive where the WBM handles the rest.

Not done yet.  In order to use anything on the W7 side, I need drivers.  And these drivers need to update regularly.  And with the updates come reboots.  And I can't just shut the system down, I have to shut the system down and wait for the updates before the thing powers off 100%.

An example is my wireless keyboard.  In W7 I can't just plug it in.  Instead I have to first install the cool keyboard software and then plug it in.  And it is cool software.  Other cool software that I need is usually 30 day trials and then proprietary which means I have it for 30 days and then have to make the purchase.

And, with the slow-mo HD, W7 boots slow because, the HD is slow, and there are a lot of start-up programs that have to get up and running in sequence before I can get to my productive day.

On days when I just want to run Fedora, I boot into the Fedora side (SSD) and it is up very fast.  Wireless kicks on and the day is golden.  A week ago, I was working on the car and needed to plug in a special camera called a bore-scope.  I had the choice of installing the software on the W7 side or simply plugging it into Fedora.  I chose Fedora, used Cheese, and recorded the video for my bore-scope project.

I have seen this with other things as well.  I just received a Logitech USB DVD drive.  With W7, I will have to install the driver, most likely.  With Fedora, I will just plug it in and use it.

This has been a long-winded way of saying, I wish colleges would embrace FOSS instead of pushing expensive stuff on poor college students.