Sunday, October 21, 2007

Going Geeky

With a bit of effort, there is no screwup that cannot be viewed as serendipity. Only earlier this week I completed my exam for the Open University course in Management, and was looking forward to the chance to "geek out" in my newfound free time.
I now have that chance in spades...
I may have previously mentioned that one of Linux's only real issues is driver support. In particular, because I use a fairly hardcore distro (e.g. it doesn't go out of its way to make life easy for you), I regularly have to deal with the idiocy that is NVIDIA's driver policy.
See, my graphics card is an NVIDIA. And NVIDIA only kinda supports Linux. It refuses to reveal the specifications for its cards, and instead forces us to rely on a rather kludgy system involving a "binary blob" - a great big black box in the middle of the card's software support.
This is a problem because it makes life horrendous for the folks trying to maintain my distro. Every version of the Linux kernel (which is developed with breathtaking speed) requires the NVIDIA code to be recompiled in a rather obscure fashion. A consequence is that there are often screwups. One of those has just happened, and as a result I have no GUI. I only have a command line.
It took me a while to see this as the answer to my prayers. But in a day I've relearned how to do most normal tasks - edit files, play music, browse the internet - via the command line. And damn it feels good.
Next step: rediscover batch scripts.

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