Wherein I Say “Goodbye” to Linux

Last weekend, I officially bid Linux “adieu,” and installed Windows 10 on my laptop. And while this may not seem like a big deal to you, it’s a fairly significant milestone in my life.

Since ’96 or ’97, I have always had at least one computer running some derivative of UNIX. And since about 2002, that’s meant a GNU/Linux distribution. Well, there was that year I owned a Mac Mini, but the less said about that the better.

Twenty years of Emacs, binutils, and a shell that made sense. But also twenty years of hardware woes, incompatible file formats, and moving-target user interfaces.

Well, things change.

My level of patience, for one.

I have a six-month-old Canon printer in the other room which only barely works under Linux.

Half the time, I have to power cycle both the printer and my laptop to get it to work, and Linux has not once condescended to allow any other computer in the house to even see it.

My printer is also rumored to be a scanner, but anyone who has ever gotten a scanner working under Linux should probably be burned as a witch.

And yes, I’m sure there are solutions to these printer/scanner issues, just as I’m sure there are solutions to all of the dozens of problems—both big and small—which have plagued me for years.

But that’s just it: we’re talking years. Twenty of them.

And after twenty years of reading HOW-TOs, digging through mailing list archives, and suffering through “helpful” advice like “switch distros” whenever something’s broken, I just want to plug a printer into my computer and have it work right the first time.

So, over the last few months, I weened myself off of all those things I’ve used Linux for, and last weekend I pulled the trigger.

I’ll miss the good things a nerd-friendly OS gives you. The lack of Emacs alone is something my therapist and I will probably be talking about for some time. I’ll cope, though.

And my printer will work.

The Dark Misery of Tech

Everything sucks, it’s a miracle anything works, and I think we should all take a moment to seriously consider setting our every scrap of technology on fire and heading back up into the trees.

I got up this morning with the best of intentions—get an hour of writing done, maybe spend an hour organizing my growing collection of photos in Lightroom, then get outside to enjoy the weather. I really, really, really just wanted to do the bare minimum amount of work to assuage my guilt, then blow off the rest of the day with my daughter.

But no.

No.

Instead, I had to spend that hour or two dealing with a bunch of computer bullshit, and a tech support person I could barely hear over the phone.

What the hell were we thinking, turning our lives and livelihoods over to these poorly-understood, frequently-dysfunctional, little black boxes?

What was I thinking?