Rather than start a page where I can whine about the limits of what you can do in the way of astronomy using Linux, I thought I would place a link to a Wiki I started primarily to do with what I have tried and achieved so far using Linux,
It started to deviate into other areas, such as getting a workable bibiography & citation manager working under linux. This soon became more important, because Windows 7 crashed on my notebook while we were living in a caravan, and the recovery disks failed to help me restore it. So, I bit the bullet and switched to Linux Ubuntu as my primary OS, which meant working on documents etc. using LibreOffice (the fork of OpenOffice which had become Oraclised).
I gave up on trying to run Windows astronomical packages under Wine, which led me into a very helpful diversion: OpenBox. Even though this is another piece of OpenSource software that has been Oraclise, it is terrific. Having installed it under Linux, I am now able to run Windows 7 (with a bit of fiddling using a 3-license Vista -> W7 upgrade disk & the original OEM W7 serial number for the notebook), as well as Windows XP (which I have a license for too), and was able to install test-VM’s for Debian, Mint, SUSE, Fedora, MeeGo and OpenSolaris/OpenIndiana.
This helped me appreciate that once Sun’s Solaris was also Oraclised, it was downhill all the way. I don’t understand Oracle, having worked with the RDBMS many years ago, they produced some great things – but when it comes to OpenSource stuff, their interest seems to be primarily about killing stuff off. I liked Solaris when I worked on it a decade back, and much as I like Gnome, sticking Gnome on top of OpenSolaris seems downright perverse to me. It was good to see that not only does MeeGo fail on most hardware you throw at it, it fails on a virtual machine as well (which is about as ideal a platform as you could ask for). I guess this might have something to do with why Nokia quit to get into bed with Microsoft – and why Intel just quit.
It also meant I could have a look at Unity and Gnome 3 without screwing up my primary OS – and get to see how much I didn’t like them, much preferring Gnome 2 “a non-intuitive and unattractive desktop for users, using traditional computing desktop metaphor” (LOL!). See my recent thread on this for more detail. I could test Gnome on Fedora and SUSE, and Unity on Ubuntu & Mint.
In nearly a year of using Ubuntu/Gnome as my primary OS, it has become an integral part of how I use the notebook. And being able to run both XP and Windows 7 I can still make use of legacy software if I need to – MS.Office, EndNote, Dreamweaver, SQLserver. Plus, I have access to all the astronomical software that still seems to run on XP. But, I can also play all sorts of stuff in the VLC movie player, once I grab the necessary CODECs, that you just never seem to be able to play on Windows without downloading something off some dodgy website that you just know is going to end up getting you infected with some dodgy malware from some former Communist state.
Having rediscovered this Blog-thing, I think I will shift my ramblings about my explorations into “actually getting linux to do something” land over here in the future – and leave the Wiki as an Aide-memoir so that when I want to figure out how the hell I got some damn thing working, I know where to look for the answer…
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