Haven’t posted a great deal recently, because there’s been quite a lot on in the Real World ™, including the start of term, my birthday and me setting up our new home network.

This last was both the most time-consuming and most interesting. I ended up going with a Debian Sarge installation (since it had more useful drivers for our modem) to run the router/firewall box and after much intrigue managed to get it all working, even with the Windows machines. I’m sure that more frustration will ensue when I try to get the printers shared and so on, but for now I’m just happy that everyone has net and we can get on with our various piles of work.

I have some thoughts on installing Linux for the first time though:

  1. Don’t “just try it out”. Decide that something really needs to be done using Linux (in my case the network) and then go through with installing it. This will help you persevere in the face of adversity (see pts 2 & 3)
  2. Accept that it will be difficult and frustrating and may make you want to tear your hair out. Very little “just works”
  3. Identify why it is worth doing and leave loads of time for things to get detoured to sort out side-problems. Approach it like a role-playing game — but the side-quests aren’t optional
  4. Play nicely when asking for help — the people on the Linux Questions Forums are lovely, but not to the twats who come in demanding help as if they were paying for it and expect telepathy

Having said that though, despite the recent frustrations, I have enjoyed the last 10 days or so. The learning curve was vertical, but I now feel much happier in the new environment and a lot more competent than if I’d just dabbled and given up again. I’d definitely advise getting into something like Linux when you can either remove all other options or force yourself to use it for a specific task