The innocent shall suffer…bigtime!

I’m writing this post from my newly-dual-booting Dell Latitude D810 (now extra-crunchy with Linux!).

behold, my open-source pasture!

Dear Reader, your President has tried to install several different Linux distributions on this very same laptop on several occasions, only to slapped across the room by the cruel, pimp-like backhand of failure. I don’t like being beaten by machines, Dear Reader. We must never let them win. Today, it’s driver incompatibility; tomorrow – The Matrix! And that , Dear Reader, is why one must never let the machines triumph in even the smallest matter. But that’s another rant for another day.
I received an Ubuntu CD set in the mail, and decided to stick it in the aforementioned Dell Latitude D810 just for giggles. Imagine my shock when the Live CD booted up and gave me a desktop without a hitch! On a laptop, Dear Reader!

Emboldened, I ventured to stick the Installer CD in the drive and fire it up. I won’t say that this process is completely problem-free in the sense that my mom could handle it, it was the most painless Linux install I have ever seen. The only hitch came early on, when I had to figure out a “vga=771” argument to append to the kernel load command (or else the monitor would flash in a horrible, seizure-inducing way during the text-based installation routine that follows…weird, but whatevs). After that, it was all easy breezy cheezy right on through to the smiling hippies who adorn the login screen. In short, I think Ubuntu may actually be what it claims to be: Linux for human beings.

I have to add one major qualification to that statement, though. Getting my wireless network adapter to work was like performing brain surgery on myself. ndiswrapper, which is already a crappy solution to the lack of drivers for the Broadcom chipset (PS, fuck you, Broadcom!), proved to be cause for some major bruxism. I downloaded the current version (1.12), but then had to install the header files for my current kernel version (can you see how we’re already about 600 miles from anything my dad could ever figure out?) and whatever packages those files depended on. Then I ran into a brick wall trying to create the “modules” deb package. After much wailing and gnashing of teeth, I scrubbed everything even remotely resembling ndiswrapper off the machine and started from scratch with the development version (1.13), which worked like a charm. Well…charmish, maybe. Anyway, after much time pecking out obscure commands containing insanely long and complicated file names, I managed to get it working. Then, several hours later, I managed to get it to continue to work even after I reboot my machine!

Surely, this could be easier. I mean, I learned a lot about how to poke around in Linux in general while working through this issue, but it’s crucial to understand that I learned a lot more than most people would ever want to know…in the first few hours with this operating system.

Still, I’m digging it so far.

Two questions on the off chance that any of you know:

1. Can I change GRUB’s configuration so that XP, rather than Ubuntu, boots by default?  I’m used to getting to my office, turning on my laptop, and heading for the coffee machine.  With the current configuration, I have to stand there until the GRUB menu comes up so I can scroll down to XP with the 6-second choice window.

2. What’s a good media player?   I’ve spent too much time and  effort pirating all these songs and movies to leave them all behind.

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23 Responses to “The innocent shall suffer…bigtime!”

  1. mdhatter Says:

    No idle hands here..

  2. Chuckles Says:

    I saw Broadcom on the street and I told him what you said. He said he was gonna mess you up. Be careful.

  3. almostinfamous Says:

    and here i thought that this was gonna be about religion and the hollowness thereof.

    wait… i guess it sorta is!

    i don’t like linux very much anymore though. not after i found out that all the important mac apps and OS’es can be pirated just as easily as windows apps.

  4. blue girl Says:

    Geez, this post is so computery. Glad you’re happy though. 🙂

    Here was my favorite line…

    “…only to be slapped across the room by the cruel, pimp-like backhand of failure.”

    Yes, I fixed it to make it better. 🙂

  5. Res Publica Says:

    “computery” is a really great word.

  6. Pinko Punko Says:

    itunes is ok.

    you need it anyway for your poop-pod.

  7. almostinfamous Says:

    PP.. i think he’s talking about for linux. there’s players that sync with ze ipod for linux, last i heard

  8. blue girl Says:

    Res! I’m listening to Diane Rhem and the Friday morning journalistic roundup!!!

    My favorite Diane Rhem part of the week!!

    🙂

  9. teh l4m3 Says:

    Such a clean desktop! Clearly you’re a decent, upstanding young man who does not have pr0n on his computer…

  10. Res Publica Says:

    I love how Pinko’s totally half-aware of the conversation. I know that iTunes is okay, because I have it already….on my XP partition. However, they don’t make iTunes for linux, because Apple is a bunch of iCobags who are all into their precious iProprietary iSoftware. I’m surprised they even ported iTunes to Windows, but then I guess they wanted to actually have a market for their service.

    Teh, you’re right. I don’t have pr0n on my computer. I have pr0n on a 300GB external USB hard drive, in a directory called “pr0n”. Am I still decent and upstanding?

    Blue, I was listening to that very same Bullshit Roundup this morning. At least now Diane admits that Tod Lindberg works for the Hoover Institution, which gives a little more insight than the previous generic intro as “editor of Policy Review”. Of course, if you’re not an obsessive, embittered paranoiac like me, you might not know that Hoover is a member of the network of hard right wing “think tanks” that support the Republican opinion machine. Tod Lindberg is no journalist. He’s a GOP political operative. So how was that a balanced panel? The other two members were ordinary reporters (Karen Tumulty from Time and Doyle McManus from the LA Times)…does that make the panel balanced because “we all know” that the media has a liberal bias?

    It’s the same bullshit week after week. Her so-called liberal guests are never further to the left than the Brookings Institution, and even that’s rare.

  11. Brando Says:

    Res, I was going to suggest Musicmatch but saw they are no longer supporting it for Linux. Too bad, I really like the way the library works and much prefer it to iTunes.

  12. Res Publica Says:

    What I really want is something like WinAmp, which will play music and most video, and maintain a library. not all of my files are a part of my poop-pod library.

  13. blue girl Says:

    Res, did you hear the Congressman from Hawaii??!! I was like, “Right on! Aloha! Totally dig it!!”

    What bugged me about that hour this morning — and what bugs me now all the time about every political show — is how they are all slicing and dicing every point into oblivion. When that Congressman said, “If we are so morally bankrupt, that all we now discuss is what the President is able to get away with, well then, we are in big trouble.”

    He was so exasperated. And that one lady who called in that sounded like she was on the verge of tears? (Although I think she was nervous, too) — I could just totally relate to it.

    I was not so suspicious of Karen Tumulty. When I’ve seen her, she’s ok. But, the other two guys — especially the one who was supposed to be the liberal — it was like he was up on his perch, staring down over us all, with his nose firmly in the air. He bugged me.

    It took me less than one second to tag the right-winger.

    As I heard my husband yell from othe other room, “God! I F***in’ hate Republicans!” I just sat there wondering — at what point is it going to be too late? At what point?

    I feel like we’re so close to that point.

  14. Res Publica Says:

    I was also severely annoyed by Barbara Bradley Hagerty’s story on yesterday’s “All Things Considered” about how Jesus is causing faithful Blacks to become Republicans in order to save marriage from Teh Gay. I don’t think I’m going to renew my public radio membership this year. A lot of their coverage is taking a right-wing slant, and with like 15 commercials running every hour, it would seem that they’re managing to get their money elsewhere anyway.

  15. almostinfamous Says:

    hey res, i just remembered.

    keep an eye on http://www.songbirdnest.com/ it’s supposed to be pretty sweet

  16. Res Publica Says:

    Wow….Songbird looks great! And the logo….the little japanamation farting bird….I am in love! Too bad there’s not an actual working version for Linux yet, but it sounds like they’re working their little hippie hearts out up there in their little SF loft. So God bless ’em.

    As an aside, I have to say that I was little surprised at iTunes when I first downloaded it. I’m not a mac user, but I feel like Apple generally has a reputation for high engineering standards for both hardware and software. So…am I the only one who feels that iTunes is…well….kinda shitty? And fugly?

    I don’t know what’s up with our psychotic weather here, because it was like 95 and humid yesterday, but today, right now, it’s 77 degrees out, and the sky is clear and blue. To the extent that plants can express any sort of emotion, mine actually LOOK happy today. In fact, my basil looks positively pleased with itself.

    We’ll see how smirky it’s feeling this evening after I rip of its leaves and hie them forth to the kitchen!

  17. almostinfamous Says:

    itunes is not the prettiest thing ever, but then it wasn’t designed from scratch by apple. also, if your library gets to be even 1/10th of the size you need to fill up the newer i.e greater than 15gb ipods, it gets slow because the size of the file it has to parse seems to increase exponentially. and it gets much worse if you actually start buying stuff from itunes. take a look at the xml data file and other things that are in the itunes folder. they’re huge! some of my porno isn’t even that big….

    having said that, it works pretty well on the mac, and at least upto v4.7 i had no problems with it on windows. and now i wish i hadn’t upgraded because it broke jhymn and i can’t transfer songs to my non-ipod HDD based music player.

    but i mostly use VLC for playing files anyway. it looks gawjus on the mac, and last i saw it looked pedestrian on windows.

  18. jahf Says:

    No takers on Q1, eh? The answer is (of course) yes. Take a look at

    This is a graphic showing the file (/etc/grub.conf) that you need to edit in order to change the default OS for GRUB. The change to be made is on the line that says: “default=0”

    If Windows is the only other OS on your machine, change this line to read: “default=1” If you want full details, go to the place where I stole all of this info from at

    http://www.pcguide.com/byop/byop_EditingtheGRUBConfigurationFile.htm

    Good luck.

  19. Adorable Girlfriend Says:

    Me gets the feeling that jahf is a smart computer kiddo. Just thinking…

  20. jahf Says:

    Nah. Someday, when I know as much as the likes of, say, Richard M. Stallman (from which the GNU in GNU/Linux arises), I may ascend to true geek-dom. Until then, I am just a geek-wannabe.

  21. Res Publica Says:

    Have you ever noticed how on slashdot they just call him “RMS”? Like HRH, I guess, or POTUS. Behold RMS, Lord of The Geeks!

    Thanks for the pointer on the grub.conf file, by the way. As an experienced windows sysadmin, its very strange to be a noob user in linuxland. However, I’m starting to figure out what lives where, and have already successfully edited my xorg.conf file. Huzzah!

  22. almostinfamous Says:

    i know what you mean. i just started messing with apache/php/mysql on darwin(mac osx’s unix madhouse)

    i think i just might strangle myself.

  23. Res Publica Says:

    Poor baby. I accidentally touched that once, and got severely burned. In fairness, however, I will say that (although I’m pretty experienced at fucking around with both) neither IIS or SQL Server are exactly Friendly McEasypants. The new Management Studio in SQL 2005 is pretty spiffy, but…like….we could have had that in 2000, methinks.

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