punkwalrus (punkwalrus) wrote,

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Linux - Weaning off of Windows

Earlier this year, I built my first superbox in almost 3 years. My previous "main sever" Linux box, an AMD Athlon 800, was dying. I got a P4 3.0ghz with Hyperthreading, 1GB of DDR400 RAM, and a nice NVidia GForce5200 Card. It was the first box I had ever built with the plan in mind to never put Windows on it. My plan was to wean myself off of Windows, an OS I have used since Win95 came out, and I upgraded from an 8088XT (8 hz, 640k RAM) to a P100 with 16MB RAM. That was back in 1995 or so.

The plan didn't go as fast as I would have hoped. The Linux box still has some "user-friendly issues," and I still use my WinXP box about half the time. Mainly for games, some web browsing, and some programs I had gotten used to.

But the XP box is not doing so well. The hardware is okay, it's just that Windows XP is having some severe network issues, and I think the Winsock is broken. The major symptom is that network connectivity has stopped for a lot of things. For instance, I cannot use IE Explorer (no pages will load, they all claim the server is down), no IRC chat program will work at all (all connections time out), my Neotrace program can't trace anything (it claims everything is one hop away), Excel can't connect to the stock report database, Bittorrent always times out with no connection, no VPN program can reach their servers, and none of my multiplayer games can reach the Internet. Mozilla, WinSCP, puTTY, VNC, AOL, NetVampire, and a host of other non-Microsoft products, however, have NO problem. Neither does a raw ping or tracert command. I have tried a lot of things to fix it, including netsh int ip reset c:\log.txt, reinstalling TCP/IP (both manually and this way), flushing the arp cache, checking route tables, and almost everything else listed here. I have used WinsockXPFix.exe, scanned for viruses, and scanned for Spyware. I even checked my task list for every program to make sure it was something I wanted run. Nothing odd showed up. It's just that the Windows network connection is partially hosed in some state, and since it's all proprietary and stuff, there are no config files I can understand in plain text. A lot of MS Tech people have told me "it must be some Spyware or Trojan," but their suggestions have been the same as what I have already done, and nothing turns up. A few have said, "Sometimes, the registry just gets too corrupt to fix. DNR, my friend." (Delete-N-Reinstall). But I am too lazy to do a full DNR. I had to do those every 6-9 months back with Windows 95/98, I don't want to do them again! Ugh.

So, on the Linux box, all that stuff works. IRC, Bittorrent, and download managers via text files and wget. So more and more, I go to the Linux box. Windows, by its very nature, is driving me away from it. It's not just a "I hate Microsoft" thing as much anymore, but a "I have gotten addicted to things working." I have only had KDE crash on me once. Once. The only times I have ever had to reboot my box are to move it, I went away on vacation, installed a new Kernel, or that a huge thunderstorm was going through and I didn't trust my surge protectors or UPS (hey, better safe than sorry). I have never had to reboot Linux because it was "going funny." In WindowsXP, I do that several times a week.

But my Linux box has its own problems. KDE 3.2, for instance, randomly slows down, and then speeds up again. Sometimes the taskbar stops working, but the fix seems to just hit the "alt" key a number of times. Sometimes, windows randomly change focus, and sometimes Mozilla won't launch until I log out of X and log in again. My screen seems a bit to wide, like I have a bad resizing of a cinemascope movie, but that's probably due to the resolution I chose (I like them high). But compared to Microsoft, it's a lot better in most cases, just slightly annoying.

I am thinking it might be Fedora Core 1, and I have been debating changing over to Slackware or even Gentoo, but I am kind of addicted to Red Hat helper scripts and tools (thanks in part to RHCE training). I hae also been thinking of upgrading to Core 2, but I haven't gotten around to it.
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