Careful, it stings when you don’t do it right.

Posted by mkeadle

For the first time in something like 10 years, I’m actually running Windows on a machine in my possession. Not that I don’t have to support 400-500 Windows machines at work every day, it just hasn’t been something I’ve run at home in a long time. For a time it was Red Hat and then a little Debian. Then a fistfull of years ago I tried Gentoo (even did some dev work for them managing Blackbox, Fluxbox, Openbox, and a few other packages) and stuck with it.

XP Desktop

While I’m at it, there’s a point to mention here: Windows vs. Gentoo installation time.

Gentoo has long received flames for it’s installation time and nature of being a from-source distro. It’s usually spewed from those who’ve never actually gone through the process, or never took the time to learn about the different options available to an installing or running system. But, compared to other distros, it could be correct to say that the “Gentoo process” can take a bit more time. Never mind that with a minimal level of skill and experience you can have a Gentoo box up and running in the same amount of time it takes to install just about any other distro. And never mind that, besides the larger package groups like KDE and GNOME, the compilation times really aren’t that painful at all. I’ve been running Gentoo boxes for about three years, and I don’t feel like I’ve missed anything because of the time taken to locally build all my software. What exactly did you gain by having The GIMP running an hour before me, anyway?

Having said that, here I am with a bare machine and a Windows XP CD. Installing Windows is as straightforward and easy as it’s always been. This is a P4 with 768MB on the board, so it goes along at a nicely acceptable pace, about 45 minutes to an up-and-running system accounting for me not answering every question when it immediately became available. The next stop in any new installation is Windows Update, so I head over and find something in the order of 42 (tip of the hat to D.A.) updates that need to be applied. There’s not realy much room to argue so I make it through that process. The funny thing about Windows Update is that you can’t just go there once. Some updates won’t show up until you’ve applied previous updates. You have to just keep going back there until it tells you there’s no more. Whew, that’s finally done. And even after all that I still only have a base operating system without any real apps to speak of. While I could slap Openoffice on there, I’ve decided to put Office 2003 on since it’s available to me. Not much time taken there, but now I’ve got to head over to Office Update to see how many other patches need applying. It’s not quite as long as the Windows list, but it’s still pretty respectable. Now this process continues as I install all the apps I need to make this box functional.

In the end the realization is this: The amount of it took me to create a Windows box with all the applications I want to use was not notably less then the time it takes me to create a Gentoo box with the same amount of apps. Linux users have become a tricky bunch in the past couple years. Even though our favorite OS is comparitively lacking in commercial grade applications, many have still found the time to develop a short attention span and sense of urgency when they want the ones that are available. Also, how often are people installing or reinstalling their systems? Even if it is a little drawn out, it’s not like you have to go through it every month. There’s no greater point, just that…

…it took me an interestingly, freaking long time to install Windows!

One Response to “Careful, it stings when you don’t do it right.”

  1. Dad says:

    But I’m sure glad my local IT guy got my machine set up and running – woulda taken me a month of Sundays………..Thanx

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