One of my New Year’s Resolutions was to step away from the Facebook (games) and get back to doing more productive things with my computer. I succeeded in quitting everything except Farmville (which I play occasionally) and War Metal (which I am hopelessly addicted to).
Two days ago, greg-g in #ubuntu-us-mi posted a link to a blog post (Simplicity is hard. Let’s go shopping!) that I enjoyed, and yesterday my friend Stuckbit asked if I was a fan of this same guy (Mark Pilgrim), and sent me another link.
So I am now a fan of his, and this slightly older post, Tinkerer’s Sunset really struck a chord in me today. I was never quite the level of tinkerer that Mark was, but I do remember those days. For me, it was an Atari 400 in my 3rd grade math class, and a ZX81 that my Uncle bought, followed by a C-64 of my very own. When I first got into Linux, I allowed the stories people told of how complex it was to intimidate me, but after trying Mandrake out for a little while, I decided it wasn’t so terrifying after all, and I plunged head-first into Gentoo. I learned how to configure and compile my own kernel….
Then I got busy. I no longer wanted to spend my (and my CPU’s) time compiling programs from scratch, and I went in search of easier, less-tinkerish distros. I finally settled on Kubuntu. It’s very much like Windows (in the best sense), but better. Simple anybody-can-do-it installation, an even easier method of installing/upgrading software. I think Kubuntu really helped transform me from a tinkerer into an appliance user. Which is kind of nice on the one hand, but on the other hand, I’ve lost something. The world of Linux has evolved since my Gentoo days, and I haven’t kept up with it on a technical level, just as a user. I’m feeling the urge to tinker again.
I need to step away from the games and the constant social networking, and do some actual work. I want to build an optimized Gentoo install for my massively underpowered Eee900A. I want to get back into bug triage and (dare I say it?) maybe even bug fixing in Kubuntu. It’s time to stop being just a user, and regain some level of technical competence. Maybe I’ll even take Stuckbit’s unstated challenge, and figure a way to SSH to my box from work. (I think I can)