How To Choose A UNIX

I wrote this years ago and have only just stumbled over it. I thought I’d share.
Firstly, weigh up all the points in this post to influence your choice, then finally go back to point one. This is the most important point.

  1. Use a friend’s recommendation – not because they will make a better choice, but because you need someone to blame when it all goes spectacularly wrong. not as wrong as a Vista installation mind, so cling to that when all seems dark, lonely and cold.
  2. If you are of a cautious persuasion, install vmware to run your linux inside your other PC. The principle thing this offers is to make your hands warm as your laptop runs hot – it can be a chilly and isolating process as the night draws on, the dawn rises and your eyes are pickled.
  3. You need the right distribution – there are lots out there and some forethought and research now into choosing the right one is crucial.  Before you choose a linux, you should do a lot of research. Lots of research will improve your confidence in your choices. Not that your choice will make a difference, but at least you will feel good before you start.
  4. The most important thing in your choice is the name, not because all linux all have subtle differences and one will be more suited to your needs than another, but because they all have funny names. You will inevitably be involved in a religious war with someone who’s made a different choice to you, so you may as well be armed with an infuriating choice. for me, all the distributions have funny names and i have highlighted some of their relative strengths for you:
    1. centos implying half man half horse who stole his big hairy bollocks off a shady bloke with a red hat,
    2. ubuntu who’s so limp they have an unhealthily large vowel to consanant ratio in their name, and they call their distributions things like “fiesty fawn”.
    3. goblinX which if you ask me was deliberately designed to serve porn, especially considering it was based on slackware. as such i think they should follow the ubuntu idea, and call their distributions things like “cock socket” or “a2m”.
  5. Do not take conventional backups before you start, but make a memory box. In this box you should include in a notarised photo of yourself so your kids and loved ones can be reassured it’s still you when you emerge haggard and blinking into the light when you’re finished. Be sure to take a non-bootable backup so the recovery from your journey should be as exciting as the journey itself. this should be a life affirming experience, don’t forget. think fear and loathing in las vegas.
  6. Have a separate computer or laptop stood next to the one you are installing on. You will inevitably need to scour the internet for support to iron out the subtle wrinkles in your installation. subtle wrinkles like not understanding disk partitioning. When all else fails, your secondary machine will at least be able to take you to for support.
  7. Assume the right attitude. linux (unix, whatever) assumes everyone is an expert from the beginning and makes little concession for those that aren’t. You must approach it with the right attitude to show it who’s boss. If you don’t understand any options you’re being asked about during the install, don’t worry – select any old thing, but do so with a confident flourish. Remember, because it assumes  you’re an expert it doesn’t give out much in the line of threatening warnings, so everything will be OK. You don’t even need to feel as reckless as Ford Prefect when you install, just look confident and all will be OK.
  8. The GUI environment means everything is easier to do. If you found it easy to think of, odds are high it will be easy to do. Just keep clicking. After all, your DVD recorder runs linux, and that’s easy to setup and operate, right?
  9. By now, all should be running fine and you can marvel at the speed, power, flexibility and reliability of what you’ve managed to install, the experience you’ve managed to gain and the new friends you’ve made on line.
  10. Refer to rule 1.
  11. Buy a mac.

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