Wednesday, May 21, 2003

I saw X2 this evening, at the Loews 34th Street. Tuesday night is a great time to go to the movies. You miss the weekend crowd, nothing ever opens or premieres on a Tuesday, so you get the theater to yourself. The movie was immensely entertaining, and I'm a little bothered by the fact that I liked it more than The Matrix Reloaded. It had a good story, some interesting character development, and the death of a major character by the Spock treatment (sacrifice to save others, possible hints at resurrection in future sequels). The effects were superb, but not as gratuitous as Reloaded. The action in X2 exists because of the story, as opposed to Reloaded, where sometimes the action is the only point. They're both good movies, but I have to give the edge to X2.

In my continuing quest to try every Linux distribution ever, yesterday I installed Slackware 9.0 on my test PC at work. Slackware has been around for a long time; my brother ran it for a few years in the mid-1990s when he was in college. It doesn't have a pretty GUI-based, auto-detecting installer, so I had to know my PC's hardware and settings to make everything run. It doesn't partition your disks for you, either, so it took me five tries before I figured out just how I had to set up the disks to get the system to boot. Once I had the system booting into X/KDE, I configured X for the proper monitor and resolution on the first try (and a good thing, too, since I could have fried my expensive LCD panel if I made the wrong choices). The end result of six hours of work was a system that is about as plain vanilla Linux as you can get. Red Hat and Mandrake, both excellent distros, come with all sorts of custom utilities to make things easier for the user. That's great, but sometimes you want to see how things were before developers tried to make Linux more user-friendly. I wouldn't recommend Slackware to anyone who wanted to try Linux for kicks, or as a substitute for Windows, or on a server (not much in the way of professional support for Slackware). But it's a great desktop OS for the experienced Linux user who wants something other than the Red Hat, Mandrake, or SuSE designer interface. (I had planned to try SuSE, but since it's a FTP download install only [no CDs unless you pay for it], I gave up and went with Slackware and its one-CD install. Also, I had trouble getting my PC to boot from the SuSE floppies, and who wants to muck around with floppies when you can just use a CD instead?)

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