I spent my free time this weekend converting fully adopting Fedora Core 1 as my laptop's operating system. I did this for a number of reasons:
- I had to rebuild my laptop last week because my hard disk was dying,
- I'd rather run a modern, up-to-date Linux distribution than Windows XP,
- I can't afford the PowerBook G4 that I want at the moment, and
- I find it easier to familiarize myself with new Linux distributions that I intend to run on my company's servers if I force myself to sit in front of them all day.
My last laptop operating system was Red Hat Linux 7.2: rock solid, fully updated (until recently), but ancient. It barely supported USB when I installed it, and it barely supported WiFi when I walked away from it. It ran Gnome 1.4 with the old Nautilus file manager. Fedora is a big improvement.
Dan Gillmor of the San Jose Mercury News is also kicking around Linux on the desktop at the moment. In his Sunday column, he says he is impressed with Linux as a desktop OS. He's using Xandros Desktop OS 2.0, which costs $80, while Fedora is free. From what I can tell, they are feature compatible in many ways.
This is the first time that I've downloaded and installed a Linux distribution without first going out and buying the shrink-wrapped package. It took overnight to download Fedora, and finally getting it installed was a bit of a head-scratcher. But, I am pleased with the results so far.
There's more information on mainstream use of Linux in the article Doc Searls on Laptops and the Possibility of Mainstream Use of Linux. If the process I've touched on in this article intrigues you, you'll find another experienced user's perspective there.