The continuing adventures of a new open source tinkerer this week takes him to that part of the Linux Zone known as “oh-yeah-I-shoulda-checked-that-first.” We’ll resist the urge to poke fun and give him an A for effort.
The Linux Gadabout
As I write this, my Welcome screen tells me Ubuntu MATE turns two years old this week. Happy birthday, MATE! I’ve been enjoying your company for about 1.92 percent of your lifespan, and I think we’re getting along pretty well. Here’s to another many percentages!
But on the hardware side of things, let’s imagine I’m standing in an American junkyard, circa 1974. I’m surrounded by the detritus of the Nixon era, and proprietor Fred Sanford is loudly berating my intelligence by calling me a big dummy. Why am I here? How did I get here? That’s not quite as important as the fact that I probably am a big dummy. Why? Because I made the rookie mistake of not checking the RAM that was already in my ancient Sony Vaio before following the wise suggestion of reader Jeff and ordering a 512 MB upgrade. When the eagerly awaited package arrived and I went to install it, giddy with anticipation to see how much of a performance improvement could be coaxed out of this old laptop, I found both slots already occupied by two 256 MB chips.
Rats. Well, that wasn’t going to work, was it? For the sake of fun I tried to mix the new with half of the old just to see what would happen, but it wasn’t a strategy destined to win the day. In my defense, what fun is science without a little madness, eh?
Of course I should have expected it, and this is why Fred Sanford is not wrong in his assertions. Since I’m still awaiting the arrival of my second 512 MB chip to balance out the first one and restore order to my Sony Vaio’s tiny universe, I didn’t get the chance to delve too deeply into much FOSS fun this week. Plus I had a friend visiting from out of town and I had to show him around, so I’ll let him share at least some of the blame.
I’ll confess there was a little whisky involved, but it was all proprietary; I try to steer clear of the open source stuff thanks to wise advice from my great grandfather — it’s how he survived Prohibition. “No matter how thirsty you get, bathtub hooch ain’t no way to live a long life, Bobby,” he was fond of saying. I think in this particular instance I can be forgiven for straying into proprietary territory, no? Maybe some home distiller out there can prove (or perhaps proof?) me wrong.
Right now, I was planning on grabbing zRAM from the MATE Software Boutique as wisely suggested by Don Nadie to see what a little software magic might be able to do for me until I can maximize my hardware. Alas, it doesn’t seem to be available by that avenue, so I’ll have to find an alternative route. Adventure, ho! If all goes as disastrously as hoped, I should have much more to report next time around. Additionally to this purpose, I plan to avoid any and all friends who might try to intrude on my experiments between today and then. Ubuntu MATE’s my new girlfriend, now!
Please don’t tell my wife.
“Ha. Nice article, Bob. For what it’s worth, most of my experience was late ’90s through 2005. What’s funny is that after my rant, I ended up installing Kali Linux on my MacBook via VMWare Fusion for a special project. Yeah. Things are a lot easier now. Cheers.”
See? Things are getting better. Always.
“Bob” Fogarty was the editor-in-chief at Chris Pirillo’s LockerGnome.com for nearly 12 years, and has written for ReadWrite.com and TheArtofCharm.com. He lives in San Diego with his wife and a medium-sized menagerie of beasties great and small. Follow him on Twitter: @Fogarty