31 Jul 06CARS Editor Switches to Linux.

Joining the increasing throngs of uber-geeks who have switched from the Mac OS to Linux, I regret to announce that I have come to the conclusion that I can no longer justify my use of Apple’s proprietary data formats.

For too long Apple has attempted to lock its users in to its closed platform and closed applications.

For this reason, I have reformatted my Performa 6400 and installed Yellow Dog Linux.

Yes, I know this will come as a shock to many of you, but I am eschewing Mac OS 9.2 for a more modern, stable operating system.

And, I must say, it’s going swimmingly so far. Installation was a breeze and I’m now enjoying the benefits of a fully cooperative operating system with protected memory and a host of robust applications with open data formats.

All…

Um…

All at a 640 X 480 resolution.

You know, I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to use an operating system release that’s come out since 1999 at 640 X 480 but it’s practically impossible. Modal windows don’t have scroll bars and when you can’t see the buttons because they’re off the screen, it makes computing kind of a crap shoot.

I tried picking my particular monitor – an Apple Multiscan 15-inch – in the display configuration and, well, things pretty much just went to shit. The colors all went to five different shades of orange and the display space was just half the vertical area of the screen.

Not easily dissuaded from my goal to ditch OS 9.2 and enjoy the wondrous, magical fairyland of openness that is Linux, I sought the professional help of a Linux geek in an online forum.

Here’s how the conversation went:

ME: I can’t seem to get the screen resolution right. I’m picking the exact monitor and video card I have from the list, but it gets all goofed up.

LINUX GEEK: You need to add a video argument to BootX, such as “video=atyfb:vmode:17,cmode:24”. Boot into Linux and run Xconfigurator and setup your video as desired. Then exit and run startx. It’s easy!

ME: Uhhh… OK. Gosh, there are a lot of parameters in your argument there. Not to mention all the colons. Maybe you can walk me through that a bit. Mine’s a 15-inch monitor. Should I change the 17 to a 15? What does the rest of it mean?

LINUX GEEK: Open your display.temp.config.pants file, set line 974 to “stun” and then reboot in gigantic robot mode.

ME: “Gigantic robot mode”?

LINUX GEEK: Just before the donkey appears, press command-option-shift-umlaut-fire and bark like a crazed hyena. Now dump your trash on your head and wave your genitals in the air in a circular motion with arms akimbo.

ME: OK, now you’re just talking gibberish.

LINUX GEEK: Aboogee agga! Muwasi matoombo! AI-AI-AI-AI-AI-AI-AI!

Well.

At least I’m still running OS X on all my other hardware.

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