Oh Windows 7, you tease

August 17, 2010

Anyone who has read this blog lately probably knows that I’m a bit dissatisfied with my Linux installs lately. Arch + GNOME boots much too slowly. Arch + XFCE ran fine until Banshee didn’t want to boot anymore. Arch + KDE…can’t remember at the moment. Some small niggling thing that bugged me disproportionally. In Ubuntu and Mint Banshee didn’t detect all of my music collection and Rhythmbox showed import errors. OpenSuse ran fine until I tried to upgrade it to KDE 4.5. After that it didn’t run at all.

There was always something. It irritated me so much I contemplated the impossible: switching back to Windows.

I have to use XP at work and I don’t like it at all, but it doesn’t bug me as much as it used to. I also follow a course in configuring Windows 7, and 7 is also installed on my girlfriend’s LT. I like it a lot. It’s beautiful, fast, and it works.
Then, I bought Starcraft 2, and instead of trying to play it in Wine I installed Windows 7 on a separate partition and used that. Needless to say, I absolutely love it, so another chance for Windows to shine.
Finally, my favourite Twitter client, Tweetdeck, refused to work in Arch, runs very slow in Ubuntu + derivates and runs just fine in Windows. Wasn’t it time for me to end this silly crusade and simply switch back to what’s easy?

Of course, then I noticed I couldn’t add the network printer, no matter what I tried. Not that I can try much, mind you. Endlessly clicking “Rescan” doesn’t need much intelligence, nor does it yield much results. The same problem was solved on my girlfriend’s LT. by installing the 130MB (!!) driver from HP, but it didn’t work on my PC.

And then my CD-DVD drive disappeared after a Windows Update, never to return. I Googled it, Troubleshooted it, Device Managered it, Registried it, and in the end, Shouted at it. Nothing works.

What was I thinking?



Howto: Use Windows 7 desktop themes in Linux

January 9, 2010

Okay, this one is actually incredibly easy, but still, it was fun when I found out.

Windows 7 is by no means my favourite OS, but in my opinion it has some very “desktop themes”, packs of wallpapers which after install will rotate on your desktop. In Windows, it’s as simple as clicking “Download”, after which the pack will unzip itzelf and show up somewhere in your Appearance settings.

When I downloaded one in Arch, Ark recognised it as a zipfile, but didn’t recognise the .themepack extension. After some googling, I found out that the zip format is actually 7-zip, so simply renaming the extension to 7z does the trick (if you have p7zip installed, of course). KDE and GNOME can do rotating backgrounds too, so the rest should be easy.

Like I said, obvious really, but I liked it.

Latest KDE with a wallpaper from one of the Eastern desktop themes
Latest KDE with a wallpaper from one of the Eastern desktop themes


What’s in a name: Windows 7

October 15, 2008

I don’t like Vista, but I don’t like Windows in general, so that’s nothing new. What is new is that the general public seems to agree. If I browse the web and disregard the more extreme opinions (“Vista sucks!” “No, Vista rules!” “No, Vista made my PC explode!” “No, Vista hooked me up with a beautiful girl!”), the prevalent opinion of Vista seems to be that it’s a) pretty, b) slow on hardware where XP was blazing fast and c) not different enough from XP anyway to make the upgrade worth it.

Reputation counts for a lot, and I guess that’s why Microsoft seems to concentrate on Vista’s successor, which has been officially named Windows 7.

And of course, since this concerns Windows, and this is teh intarweb, people are up in arms about it. The reason? This isn’t the seventh release of Windows, no matter how you look at it. If you count each and every release, it’s the tenth. If you group some of them together logically, it’s the sixth. Of course, the fact that Microsoft decided to ship the Windows 7 code as version 6.1 doesn’t exactly help either. To clear things up, a post explaining why they named it Windows 7 has appeared on the Vista Blog. As far as I can see it boils down to “We named the code 6.1 for compability reasons, and the actual release Windows 7 for PR reasons”. Judging by the comments, it’s doesn’t actually clear things up much. It’s gobbledegook at best, and stupid at worst.

But that’s fine by me. The only reason why a name matters is precisely because of PR reasons, and PR is always gobbledegook. Why not call it Windows 7? It has a nice ring to it, 7 is a lucky number, and it’s about a million times better than “Vista” or “XP”, which are meaningless to me.
Of course, to me the name doesn’t matter. They could call it Windows Shizzle mah Nizzle as far as I’m concerned. I just hope it’s decent. I’m not a Linux zealot, I just think it’s the best OS today, at least for me. I like the cost, the speed, the security, the versatility, the open source philosophy, and the community. That doesn’t stop me from being curious about OS X or Vista. Or Windows 7.

I’m pretty sure the guys at Microsoft have what it take to make a good OS. As far as I’m concerned, they haven’t yet, but I remain hopeful.