April 12th, 2014

small shadowed

It's time to bin XP, stop whinging and learn Linux. This is why.

I am already sick and tired of listening to clueless noobs who think they're techies saying "XP is fine, stop worrying" or "I don't do Linux, it's too different" or "I tried it in 2002 and it was rubbish".

Well it's longer since Ubuntu came out (2004) than the gap from Windows for Workgroups 3.11 to Windows XP. Remember the extent of those changes? Well Linux changes a lot faster.

And so what if it's not the same? It's not like changing from a car to a motorbike. It's not that different any more.

To a techie who looks under the hood, who does their own maintenance, sure, it's going from petrol car to electric bike or something. Very little in common.

To someone who uses a desktop, browses the web, plays some simple Flash games or Solitaire etc., occasionally opens a PDF and prints it, or opens an MS Office doc, completes a form and sends it back, stuff like that, then an appropriately-chosen Linux is more like WinXP than Win8 is by far.

But there is galloping fear of the alien in IT. Probably, I suspect, because there are millions of people working in IT who know nothing at all except MS Windows. Everything else is foreign to them, alien and terrifying, and they instantly react like a pod-person in the 1970s Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

And you know what? It's appropriate, because you're all fucking pod people. Stamped out, copies, clones, with no originality and no imagination. You're neophobic.

Anyone who actually knows about computers - real tech people - can handle any OS, any machine. I've troubleshot and fixed problems with machines I have never seen or heard of before; I've sorted out stuff on AS/400 and IBM System/360 mainframes, I've got a DEC PDP-11 talking and doing file exchange with a classic Mac running System 7, and before I walked in, I had never even seen a PDP-11 in my life before.

Software is an office supply, like paperclips. Today it all does much the same, in much the same way.

Imagine the contempt you'd feel for someone who bleated and whinged and complained that they were given a different brand of stapler, or they had to change filing cabinets to one where the keyhole's on the other side. You'd sneer at someone who demanded a training course to help them adjust.

Anyone who only knows one platform, one OS, is not a techie at all, not of any type. If you can't drive half a dozen kinds of computers then you can't drive.

Any competent biker could switch from a 125 trailie to a Gold Wing to a superbike and not kill themselves when they twisted the throttle. They'd go with respect and care and caution, not bleat like an infant because one of the buttons on the handlebars had moved and was a different colour.

So bloody well grow up.

Linux is an answer to a problem. If you have an old XP computer, no it is not safe to use it any more, and yes, you should replace it. But if you get a new one with Win8, it will be very very different indeed. They don't even have a BIOS any more, let alone a bloody Start menu.

And if you don't have the money for a new one, well, an old XP computer won't run Windows 7 properly, no.

But there's a perfectly good alternative that is faster, simpler, safer, more secure, more reliable and it doesn't even cost anything. It'll run on anything XP runs on, works great and all you have to do is get your hands oily. Use Google. Don't think "I know this." You don't. No, not all computers install software by downloading a binary and running it - in fact, that's a fucking stupid design, which spreads malware. Not all computers use a website for updates - that's a fucking stupid design, too.

So grow a pair. Stop whinging. Google "how to install skype ubuntu" rather than downloading and fucking about and breaking it. Download "how to enable GeForce 240 ubuntu 12.04" before you go wasting time. Google "transfer IE bookmarks Firefox" or "libreoffice excel compatibility" or whatever.

Don't assume you know. Assume you don't. You have the entire world's information resource at your fingertips. Use it. Ask the Internet. Ask bloody Ixion.

But stop fucking whinging that "it doesn't run my copy of Anus Invaders 6" or "my crappy plastic £30 printer from PC World doesn't work" and buy a better one. It's cheaper than a new ink cartridge anyway.

Learn. Life is learning. Life is growth. Stop acting like a corpse and live.