OK, I give up.
This morning I figured I’d take another shot at setting up a VPN client, this time using SSH like a guy at my company uses. I got started, got about an hour into it, and it doesn’t work on Xandros because the kernel doesn’t have the PPP module built in. Sure, I can recompile the kernel, but there are dire warnings on the Xandros forums about how you lose support when you do that. Grrrreat.
Disappointed, I decided to read back through my blog to see how the experience of moving to Linux has gone over the last month and a half. I sat here staring at the original blog entry and thought to myself, “Man, has it really been that long? Have I really spent a month and a half just trying to get a desktop configured?”
Take a basic desktop application: instant messaging. There are two main clients, Kopete and Gaim. Gaim crashes like a drunken Exxon ship captain, and I can’t even get it to reliably log in. Kopete works great, never crashes, but whenever someone sends me a web link over Yahoo, it gives me an error saying the XML document could not be parsed. I’ve gone through forums trying to find out what’s going on, and the solution is to tell your friends, “Please turn off your extended text stuff like colors when you’re chatting with me.” That’s the SOLUTION? Please.
I still haven’t gotten many of my peripherals working – like my scanner, my fax modem with caller ID, my USB FM radio, and my webcam. My DVD burner will burn CD’s, but not DVD’s.
After a month and a half, I feel like I’ve given it a real shot. I feel like I’ve put as much time and effort in as I can possibly put in. I’m not ashamed to say that I couldn’t figure out a lot of the basics, like VPN connectivity, and despite what people are going to say, it’s not because I’m dumb or inexperienced. The stuff’s just not ready for mass desktop use yet.
That’s not to say I haven’t learned anything useful. I think Linux is the right way to go on the server side, and I’m still switching my sites over. EvilBunny and I went in on a dedicated Linux server from EV1servers here in Houston, so over the course of the next week or so, I won’t even need a static IP address here at the house.
Believe it or not, I think the decision was affected by the fact that I own a house now. Everything really does change when you buy a house: your priorities just shift. On the weekends, I don’t want to sit in front of this box and play network admin: I want to build deck furniture for the backyard, grill out, hang out with the neighbors, and relax. Two years ago, I might have embraced the work involved with running Linux on the desktop. Now, though, I just don’t feel motivated enough to bother. I want something that just works on the desktop, and in 2004, that’s Windows XP.
The latest releases of Gaim (.75-.78) work OK, some of the Debian based distro’s are using an older version like 0.72 and it has some problems. I switched my 12 year old daughter, who is running Lindows, over to Yahoo’s Linux version of Yahoo Messenger which works. BTW, I was able to download both Lindows (Desktop and Laptop versions) for free and now Xandros has a free community version available.