May 16, 2009

A Microsoft problem, or a "Me" problem

I'll be the first to admit that I probably should know Windows better (being in the IT field, after all) than I should, but sometimes I just have this feeling of "why should I when I know the linux way better?" Of course, not everything is that black and white, but perhaps an example is in order.

Today, I was at a friend's house, and they wanted help backing up a hard drive. Now, by some odd piece of work, it was a SATA drive in which the enclosure didn't work for some reason or another. Now, I do have an IDE/SATA to USB converter, so I offered to rip the drive to an ISO for them. They declined and just hooked the hard drive up to their computer. Alas, the drive spun up but was not detected by windows, and their tools apparently won't rip ISOs if it can't detect the drive. So, I offer again to try and manage to detect the drive through "dmesg | tail", but cannot mount it. Either way, that didn't stop me from dd-ing the drive, but the hard drive space of my netbook was definitely a limiting factor.

Since I was going to be there for a while, I plugged in the netbook and had them share a folder on their computer and had it mounted a second later (after apt-getting smbfs from the ubuntu repositories) across the network. After that, it was relatively smooth sailing until it finished (though, I did run ` watch -n 1 -d "ls -alh backup.iso | cut -d ' ' -f5" ' in another window to keep track of the general progress of the process).

Of course, at this point I am stuck with the thought of "most of these tools are common tools on linux", and immediatly follow it up with the thought "why can't windows have such tools on hand?". Now, I grant that similar tools probably exist on Windows, but why would I want to have them when I know that they are built-in on linux?

To me, linux just isn't about being pretty; it's also about having funtion, and I really appreciate the days when a tiny laptop that I just use for surfing the web and chatting with friends comes in and helps solve a big issue, while the "big windows computers" are forced on the sidelines, due to lack of functionality. Why do I derive such enjoyment from such a thought? Perhaps it's because I always hear "oh, but linux isn't compatible" and "but linux can't do that" all the time, and it's nice to actually have the power to show them that linux isn't just for big servers locked up in a room somewhere.

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