As I write this, the vote for whether I should reinstall Windows XP or switch to Ubuntu is locked in a tie. As such, and for other reasons, I have chosen to do neither – at least for now.
Yeah, it’s a cop out. But a number of factors conspired against taking action. For one, there is the situation with my laptop, an old G3 iBook. Ever since it was upgraded to the latest Apple OS (10.4) it’s been almost unusable. Then there was Martine’s recent experience with her much newer G5 iMac; over the past week it had gotten really bogged down and was significantly slower than even this four year old Dell. So by comparison, my machine didn’t seem so bad.
Although I remain curious about Ubuntu, I had been leaning towards the Windows XP reinstall. So I looked at my “All Programs” list to see what I would have to deal with.
It’s true that I don’t use a lot of that stuff, but what I do use – even if only rarely – constitutes a huge amount of work to reinstall and reconfigure. To wit:
Keep in mind that some of the items in that list contain multiple programs, such as the Adobe one, which expands to show Acrobat, FrameMaker, Photoshop, and Adobe Type Manager. A lot of this software requires one to jump through a number of hoops in order to install them (ahem, Adobe) including multiple updates, bug fixes, patches, and other configuration tricks.
Even the basics, like Web browsing and email, would take more than a few minutes to reinstall. Heck, I’ve got 18 extensions in my Firefox for Pete’s sake, plus a handful of “about:config” tweaks. I’ve also got a non-standard theme and some GUI tweaks for Windows XP, a tricky plug-in that lets my Palm Desktop talk to my iPod, secret handshakes in my email, weird third-party products bolted to the side of my Paint Shop Pro, and a number of other oddities that I probably wouldn’t even remember until I’d lost them.
Forget it. At least for now. It was enough just to watch Martine recover her iMac on Sunday. That involved a lot of wizardry and voodoo via user forums, iChat sessions, downloads of dubious legality from friends, a complete network shutdown and reboot, IP address renewal, a DNS lockdown, and a bit of luck. Fortunately, something in all that worked, because she’s back up to speed, and I think my system is a bit faster too.
So that’s that. Mind you, I’ve already downloaded Ubuntu and burned it to a CD (although I don’t seem to be able to boot from it), so one of these weekends I might just install it in parallel to XP. You know, just for fun.
Thanks for voting, and for leaving helpful and encouraging comments. But for now, status quo is the way I go.