Sunday, October 03, 2004

Perennial questions: volume 1

I've been using Linux since around 1993 or so, when I spent days downloading a stack of Slackware floppies and installed it on an old 386. I don't even think Linux was at 1.0 yet, I think it was 0.93.

I've never been religious about operating systems and just like to play with a variety. I like most of them (and I've tried dozens as a member of PC Week Labs in the 1990s), for one reason or another. I've always particularly enjoyed playing with Linux and have usually kept one running at home on whatever cast-off PC we happen to have.

I've just installed Fedora Core 3 Test 2 on a new PC I built and I'm impressed. This is really getting near the point where I'm seriously considering getting my wife and kids to use this instead of the headache-inducing copy of Windows XP we have. Let's face it, no matter what the zealots say, Windows XP *is* ahead in a lot of areas. But the bleeding edge of Linux (what Fedora is) is looking pretty good. With a real hardware abstraction layer, very good USB support and a nice *simple* GUI. (I'm on the gnome side of the fence, preferring "just works" to KDE's infinite customization.) My daughter plugged in her digital camera and it just worked -- the software imported the photos.

Sure, you've been able to do that before, but this was the simplest I've seen it.

So, dare I ask: Is it ready? Well, maybe in a couple more years. It's always next year, isn't it?