But a few weeks ago, I ordered myself some parts for a new build. My intention was to similarly install Ubuntu, get the right drivers set up, and off we go. Unfortunately, it didn't work. Here is what I ordered:
- Athlon 64 X2 3600 (yes, it's already overclocked)
- Biostar TForce 7025 uATX mobo
- 2GB some generic PC2-6400 RAM
- Radeon HD3850
- 300GB SATA (either WD or Maxtor, don't remember
So nothing unusual. Since I had heard that the new Catalyst 7.12 drivers supported the Radeon 3xxx series under Linux, I thought I was set. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get the drivers to work. Trust me, I tried a lot of things. And I know that plenty of other people have had success doing it. Just not me.
So I bought a copy of XP Home Upgrade from someone who had a Win2k installation and realized only too late that you need either an installation of Win98 or Win98se or Win95 or WinME OR an official CD for one of the above or Win2k. They fell into a corner case--Win2k was installed, but they didn't have the CD. They couldn't install it because of an arbitrary restriction, and they couldn't return the (now-open) box. Even before I started installing XP, I started understanding a bit better the aversion some have for commercial software.
That feeling continued through the next while of setting up and installing things. True, all the drivers and utilities for my hardware were relatively up-to-date and polished. But it seemed to me like many of the things Windows does or wants to do are not for my benefit. Activation, for example. And setting up Windows Media Player and telling it NOT to send any information. And Windows Genuine Advantage, for the naming of which all of MS management ought to be drawn and quartered.
Granted, for the normal user, these things aren't any sort of big deal. I understand that Microsoft want to reduce piracy, and I have no issue with that. Even setting aside the "punish the customers, let the pirates go free" situation that results from WGA, DRM, and similar efforts, I still have issues with Microsoft poking around my hard drive. The necessity of installing anti-virus software is also annoying. Normally, I'd create a limited user account and use that, but so many applications require an administrator account that it's impractical. I miss sudo. I miss being able to update everything on my system at once, without having to download executables and run them individually. I miss compiz (I had problems paying half price for XP--you think I'm gonna spend money for Vista's eye candy?!). I don't have any alternative at the moment, though, so until there is a reliable and easy way to get my video card working under Linux, I'll be using XP. I don't hate it. In fact, I know how to work with XP better than I do with Ubuntu. It's just....less comfortable.
Here's hoping Hardy Heron brings me luck. Three months to go...