In September I didn’t do a 30 day challenge because, frankly, I had a lot of work that I really needed to crunch through at the Googleplex and I didn’t have much spare time. But October is a new month, and so it’s time for a new 30 day challenge.
For October, I’m not going to use any Microsoft software. No Microsoft operating systems (WinXP, Vista, or Windows 7) and no Microsoft Office allowed. I will continue to use their keyboards, because they make very nice keyboards, and I will allow myself to use their websites–sometimes I need to do a query on Bing to test how well they do, for example.
I don’t plan to switch to Apple, although I might try a Mac for a week. Apple products are polished and usable, so why not switch to Apple? That would be a much longer blog post. Apple makes great design decisions for the majority of people, but if you don’t like a particular decision, it can be very difficult to change it. Have you ever wanted to see the exact time (including seconds) on an iPhone? It’s hard to do, and I’m that kind of guy. Another big reason is just that I’m huge believe in free and open-source software, and I want to support that sort of software.
So on Friday I installed Ubuntu on my Windows XP laptop. On Saturday, I downloaded all the data from my pedometer (the software only runs in Windows) and shut down my home Windows XP machine. I already had a machine running Ubuntu at home, but I managed to get it driving two out of my three monitors:
What have I learned so far? The current version of Ubuntu (called “Jaunty Jackalope”) is really quite nice. There’s a lot of polish to the UI and the day-to-day tasks work very smoothly. At the same time, it’s possible to tinker around with something so much (I’m thinking about fonts right now) that you mess things up. But the dev version of Chrome for Linux has been really fast and stable, even though Chrome for Linux isn’t officially supported yet. I spend a large chunk of each day in a web browser, so having Chrome as an option was critical.
I’ll let you know how the 30 days turns out, but right now I’m optimistic.