January 16, 2004

Almost by stealth, the Linux desktop is here

One of my dirty little secrets is that I have never successfully installed Linux on anything. I've tried many
times over the years, because I bought into the idea that it could revitalize old computers. I'd cobble together a 486 processor, some no-name disk
controller, a clonky old hard disk, a VGA card from the Boer War, and off we'd go. My Linux experience terminated shortly thereafter with an
incomprehensible error message concerning IRQ 9, lost interrupts or goblins in the bidirectional bus buffers.

Fair enough. I didn't get where I am today by not courting gratuitous hardware problems through trying to do things on the cheap.

What put me off, though, was my inability to fix them. I normally laugh at IRQ conflicts, and giggle like a girl in the face of IO address clashes. In
these cases, I was stumped. The errors had few clues for their rectification, and browsing online forums only revealed other people piteously
reporting the same. Each time I tried to get Linux running, I seemed to end up at the point of going through the source code before remembering that I
gave up writing operating systems some years ago. It didn't help that the friendly Linux experts I drafted in to help also ended up stumped: "It does
that with that chipset sometimes" is not a song to lift the spirits.

Link: zdnet.com.com


  • Linux
Click Here!