Even though I did go

Even though I did go through the steps to get the latest Windows Update stuff (SP3 and IE6) I’m actually using this as an opportunity to wean myself off of Microsoft entirely. I’m keeping strict track of the apps I’m installing and only using the apps that I really, really need. OpenOffice is now the only version of Office on my computer. It’s been there, but I’ve always gone back to the old one. By keeping track of which apps I really need and use that are Windows specific, I’ll be able to eventually move to Linux as my main OS and use a bare-bones Win2k install using VMware for those other apps. Now that I’ve got all the cruft off my system, it’s nice to see clearly what I need and what I don’t (Macromedia stuff mostly).

Man, I’m almost Microsoft free… I actually don’t mind Win2k all that much. It’s not horrible. But this is not my OS of the future – I’ll never upgrade to XP or beyond because of Microsoft’s ever-wackier licenses. A Unix variant will be my future, whether it’s OSX or Linux (the later being because I can’t afford the former). So I’m doing what I need to now to be able to interopt with the world. I really can’t wait for RedHat 8… I think that may be the OS I finally switch to on this machine.

-Russ [Russell Beattie Notebook]

I hope you succeed. I went dual-boot FreeBSD/Win98 on my old pc in an attempt to accomplish the same thing. Not the most pragmatic move, as there has been something of a delay getting OpenOffice ported to FreeBSD, and the Java support is a way behind Linux. Sometimes my hacker-nature desire for the ‘best’ technical solution is at odds with my pragmatic ‘whatever I need to get stuff done’ side. Now I’m hooked on FreeBSD – for some reason I found it an easier learning experience than the two times I played with Linux. This makes me wish I had the time/knowledge/ability/influence to bring the Java support up to the levels of Linux. OpenOffice is just about there, which will be great, although I can’t fully ditch MS Office until clients stop requiring documents in Word format – OO’s conversion is good, but not perfect, and sometimes there’s no alternative than to tweak things in MS Word before sending them. There is definitely scope for a standard file format – OO’s one has to be a contender. Its files are essentially zipped directories containing XML documents. Plain text – it just makes so much more sense than proprietary (or even open) binary formats for document interchange, now that file size is much less of an issue than it used to be (says the man with a 120 gig hard disk). Zipped XML data sometimes even ends up smaller than the equivalent Word file.