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Picking a Penguin

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For no good reason other than curiosity (and a bloated XP install that gets slower by the hour) the inner geek in me has been looking for a competent Linux distribution to try. I’ve experimented with a few in the past but none have ever gotten me to stick with it for even 10% of my daily computing time. Either the distro was difficult to install, had a non-intuitive GUI, didn’t have applications that support most of my regular tasks (’net, office tasks, photos to name a few), or just plain sucked. Since I first started experimenting most of the distros have improved greatly, and in the last month or so I’ve gotten several different varieties to keep my interest.

First was Freespire, a community version of the pay product Linspire. The claim to fame on this version is an unabashed love-affair with proprietary products (closed source code like Adobe Flash, Windows Media, etc.) tied directly into the OS, which allows for a more Windows-like experience from the get go and reduces the need to configure every little piece of hardware. This embrace of non OSS applications & drivers is generally frowned upon by the dedicated Linux community, who insist that true GNU Linux products should be open source and should never contain locked away code. I could go on an editorial rant here and point out that the ease of use for Linux noobs is directly proportional to the adoption rate of their beloved product, but that point usually flies over many a head. Anyway, the Freespire install was as painless as advertised. Less than ten minutes after starting the install I had a clean desktop staring at me.

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