Wednesday, August 24, 2005

A Change's Gonna Come

Moving from the known to the unknwon is not only uncomfortable, it also becomes progressively harder the longer one remains in their comfort zone. There is however, one this that is constant and that is change. The rate of change may change but like they say in the song: A change's gonna come.

In my case, the most pressing part of my journey, at this juncture of my life, has had to do with making the switch from MicroSOFT's Windows operating system to the Fedora GNU/Linux OS and a two day odyssey, which gives me both pleasure and contemplation that Open Source can and will be the ultimate wave of the future: in computing, that is.

My perils began when I decided to take better advantage of the video card in my computer. It is a nVidia FX5600 triple outlet video card and I wanted to add a second monitor to have, what is known in geek-speak as a Dual Monitor configuration.

After downloading the latest drivers from nVidia website and following their instructions to the letter, I came to the conclusion they wouldn't work on my computer. I checked a couple of Forums, including Fedora and finally posted an urgent cry for help after not finding a similar problem.

Help came forth but still I couldn't resolve the problem. So I did the next best thing and went back to an earlier version of the driver: Presto, problem sovled. Both monitors are working.

Icidentally, I would not have had this problem had I stuck with MS Windows OS. This card has performed flawlessly under both W2K and XP. It certainly took me less than a hour to set it up and the certified drivers from MS & nVidia were just that: certified to run!

In other words, I could have avoided two days of stress had I remained within the well defined Windows, where everything is readily done and easily packaged for the end user.

But what fun is that self imposed encampment?

Which brings me to the contemplation for the future. I was forced to do some work on my own to get my computer working the way how I wanted it to. The up-side of that deal is I can hopefully avoid the problem in the future.

MicroSOFT is about to debut a new OS, in which all the current hardware, including stuff like my nVidia triple output video card will be made obselete. Buying newer hardware will not be an option, if you want to keep up with Redmond.

Meanwhile: my video card will still be working just fine.

Cars used to tinkerable until their systems became closed. People bought them and kept them for a period of time before discarding them for another new one. The price of fuel is changing that attitude with a vengence. People will drive their cars longer and make more repairs to them.

There will come a time when the consumer will not be able to throw out perfectly good hardware because the software makers say so. Just like someday, hardware makers will wake up to the fact there are other OSes out there other than MS Windows.

Until then, I do plan on adding a third screen to my video card. They look nice on my desk...

3 Comments:

Blogger Jason said...

Freddie -
Thanks for your comments on my blog (blogs.msdn.com/jasonmatusow). I think it is great that you are trying something new and that it is working for you. Your willingness to spend a few hours on a video card issue is where the PC world was for everyone 5-7 years ago. The most common criticism I heard was why can't my PC be more like a MAC. The point of that was not to specifically have the PC and MAC be the same, it was more about the perceived usability of the MAC environment. Of course, that was a far more controlled environment than the PC. Apple had far greater control over the hardware, drivers, software etc. compared to the myriad of participants in producing a PC. One of the biggest challenges for us (Microsoft) is working with the thousands of hardware vendors to make sure that drivers are made to "just work." This means a huge amount of testing and quality control - never mind the headaches that come with upgrade cycles. I think you will find that as Linux becomes more broadly used, it will go through the same maturity cycle. Tinkerers today, base-level users in the future. That will place significant constraints on Linux - the very constraints you are expressing concern about today for Windows. You are right that the user is king - and that change comes from the producers of software listening to them. Just be sure you are understanding what they are asking for.

Jason Matusow
Director, Shared Source
Microsoft

1:17 PM  
Blogger Jason said...

Freddie -
Thanks for your comments on my blog (blogs.msdn.com/jasonmatusow). I think it is great that you are trying something new and that it is working for you. Your willingness to spend a few hours on a video card issue is where the PC world was for everyone 5-7 years ago. The most common criticism I heard was why can't my PC be more like a MAC. The point of that was not to specifically have the PC and MAC be the same, it was more about the perceived usability of the MAC environment. Of course, that was a far more controlled environment than the PC. Apple had far greater control over the hardware, drivers, software etc. compared to the myriad of participants in producing a PC. One of the biggest challenges for us (Microsoft) is working with the thousands of hardware vendors to make sure that drivers are made to "just work." This means a huge amount of testing and quality control - never mind the headaches that come with upgrade cycles. I think you will find that as Linux becomes more broadly used, it will go through the same maturity cycle. Tinkerers today, base-level users in the future. That will place significant constraints on Linux - the very constraints you are expressing concern about today for Windows. You are right that the user is king - and that change comes from the producers of software listening to them. Just be sure you are understanding what they are asking for.

Jason Matusow
Director, Shared Source
Microsoft

1:18 PM  
Blogger Jason said...

Freddie -
Thanks for your comments on my blog (blogs.msdn.com/jasonmatusow). I think it is great that you are trying something new and that it is working for you. Your willingness to spend a few hours on a video card issue is where the PC world was for everyone 5-7 years ago. The most common criticism I heard was why can't my PC be more like a MAC. The point of that was not to specifically have the PC and MAC be the same, it was more about the perceived usability of the MAC environment. Of course, that was a far more controlled environment than the PC. Apple had far greater control over the hardware, drivers, software etc. compared to the myriad of participants in producing a PC. One of the biggest challenges for us (Microsoft) is working with the thousands of hardware vendors to make sure that drivers are made to "just work." This means a huge amount of testing and quality control - never mind the headaches that come with upgrade cycles. I think you will find that as Linux becomes more broadly used, it will go through the same maturity cycle. Tinkerers today, base-level users in the future. That will place significant constraints on Linux - the very constraints you are expressing concern about today for Windows. You are right that the user is king - and that change comes from the producers of software listening to them. Just be sure you are understanding what they are asking for.

Jason Matusow
Director, Shared Source
Microsoft

1:20 PM  

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