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To whom it may concern,

I am writing this missive while booted into Linux Mint from an ancient USB stick. How I came to this sad, low, lonely state is a tale of hubris and pride. You see, I am a habitual dismisser of Windows system restore disk nag screens. "System restore?" I cry. "Pah! I don't have time for that right now. Begone, thou pesky fiend! Begone!" Pride knotted my heart and furrowed my brow, each time that I swept the nag screen from my cluttered desktop with a snarl. What use have I for system restores? Nothing bad shall happen. Not anytime soon, anyway.

Ah, hubris.

And so, I have a USB stick jutting like a swollen tongue from the front of my ancient HP desktop machine. I peer at a screen that looks as if it came to my desk straight from the darkened hollows of 1998. Once upon a time, I was a fervent user of Linux. Once, I crowed from the rooftops about the virtues of Gentoo and Slack and Debian. Once, I believed it the height of computational prowess to compile my kernel from source, custom configured to my machine through the fervent work of Cheetos-stained fingers dancing madly across the pleasing feel and click of a mechanical keyboard. Once, I thought nothing of peering at a desktop filled with flat grays, bleak and morose, adorned with a deep black terminal window astrewn with command-line spew. But those days are behind me. Far behind.

To a spoiled Windows user, it feels like a strange hell. I have a soft spot in my heart yet for this beast Linux, though. Like that friend, whom I've known for years. The one who ate many dried acrylic paint chips in art class, and who had a penchant for dosing himself with voltage straight from the terminals of the ignition coil in a '79 Chevy. Sometimes, that friend was a pretty cool guy, good for some solid laughs. But other times, no matter what I did, he was determined to wear a pancake like a hat upon his head, and all I could do was ignore him and hope that the febrile gleam in his eye would soon fade. I look upon this bleak, smoke-colored interface through the mist of years, much as I look through the boxes of ancient photographs in the closet to refresh those memories of laughter and howls of pain filling the grease-smeared walls of the auto-mech shop. I look back, peering through the years, and think, "sweet mother of pete, that dude was crazier than a shit-house rat. And what the hell is up with this desktop screen that looks like a pre-release version of Windows 95?"

No sound comes from my speakers. They should work, I think. My machine is old and mainstream, no funky hardware to be found. Alas, David Draiman silently mouths the words of an ancient Simon and Garfunkel tune upon my second browser tab with impassioned, yet forever silent, emotion. Sing loudly, David. I have ears, but I can't hear a friggin thing.

Weep for me, my friends. I have accidentally erased the Firefox shortcut from the bottom taskbar, and I lack the technical knowledge to restore it to its rightful place, just to the right of the tiny little white smudge and the word 'Menu'. Weep for me, for I fear that should this browser window of mine, with it's pale gray panes and panels--should it close, I shall never discover how to open it once more. I click, I drag, I munge and fudge and muck-about, to no avail. That taskbar, that hateful and dreary thing with its completely bullshit right-click context menu, glares back at me stubbornly, starkly absent the comforting orange and blue swoosh of the Firefox logo.

I must close this letter now. My second screen is flickering to black. I fear something has gone amiss. No doubt, the kernel is on the verge of a panic. I know the feeling well. I feel the bleakness closing in, and should the kernel panic, I fear that I shall not be far behind.

Farewell for now.

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To be honest, I'm considering sticking with Linux again for awhile, even after the new box comes. Just can't get on-board with the Windows 10 bullshit.

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I can't help the feeling that Windows 10 is less bullshit than any previous Windows version. Then again, I'm an Apple man, through and through.

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I'm a current debian user. Been for 4 years. If you go that way I can recommend a couple of things:


- Debian "stable" distro has old software, too old. Debian "testing" is what you should use.

- With Debian "testing" you basically get a rolling release if you upgrade packages often enough.

- Don't get caught in versions and Toy Story names, its "stable", "testing", "unstable", "experimental". In that order from tested to not so tested.

- Always let debian download latest packages during install.

- wifi not recognised during install? You can download proprietary firmware .deb and copy it into an usb drive, debian will pick it up during installation. Still not working? LAN cable.

- netinst iso has failed me a couple of times, CD sized iso worked fine for me.

- Really easy to make a bootable drive. From console: cat mydebian.iso > /dev/sdX, wait a bit, throw in a 'sync'. Done.

- Xfce master race, fuck everything else.

- For nvidia, always use their installers downloaded from their site. First time install is a bit of a pain, but upgrading drivers is as easy as "lightdm stop; sh nvidiainstaller.sh; start lightdm;". No reboot.

- Always make a separate /home partition. It will save you time and pain someday.

- On that note, main / partition can be quite tiny, 20Gb to 40Gb. For example mine has 10Gb used.

- Use a GPT partition table. "4 primary partitions ought to be enough for anybody" but GPT will save you time and pain someday.

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Totally thought this was going to be about Mint from Dewprism. Thanks for getting my hopes up and then dashing them on the cold hard rocks, JT.

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