DIY & Linux

Painting my hallway – to match the rest of the EC gift house upgrade – I was thinking about a comment, by someone called Tel, on a post here. He basically said, in response to a plaintive whine that Linux should have simpler forms if it is ever to become really popular with non-techies “Hint. Pay someone to do it.”

I would rather mess about with Linux for weeks than paint my house. All the same, the cursory paintjob took a couple of hours at a total cost of £18.99 for a huge bucket of uninterestingly coloured paint and a set of rollers.

There are so many calluses on my hands, it would probably justify more spending on some sort of medicinal cream. I suppose the cost of hot water and soap to turn me back into a human being rather than a mobile device for carrying paint round should also be factored in. I refuse to cost in the old brush pole or the rags I was wearing, as these were already landfill waiting to happen. All the same, this barely adds up to much over £20.

How much would it have cost to get someone to paint my hall and stairs and landing? A good few hundred GBP more. It would certainly be a better job. Would I care? Clearly not or it would have been decorated before. It’s not as if I lounge around on the landing admiring the finish of the walls.

To spell it out, if I couldn’t do it myself for very little cash, it wouldn’t have been done.

I’m going to turn this into a parable, in a truly Christ-like fashion. (The more devout among you may already know the Parable of the Linux Installation,as a part of the Apocrypha.)

When the place where I work gets painted, they hire professionals. When they want networked IT systems or new software, they pay (comically) large sums of money – for things which even their best friends could hardly call “fit for purpose” – i.e they pay professionals.

When I want something to eat, I cook my own food. I know that I’d get a better meal if I hired a gourmet chef, but, yet again, I’m going with the DIY ethos…

LInux is more or less free. That is, it’s even LEGITIMATELY free – unlike so much else in the PC. geek’s world …. If you try to use it, you know you have to put some effort in in exchange for spending money. I’d be prepared to do this – in the event I ever get off my butt and re-install a Linux distro on one of the half -disassembled PCs which usually surround me.

I can’t see this is doing a techy out of a job. If I have to pay someone to install *nix – instead of relying on my well nigh 15 years’ experience of building and messing about with PCs, plus help and advice from friends, family and forum users – then what hope is there for someone who’s just bought their first PC?

It’s as if I couldn’t paint the hall without first learning how to make emulsion paint through attentive googling. Plus knitting my own paint roller, devising a mechanism for spinning it and whittling my own brush pole. Too much of a challenge? “Pay a decorator, you tight git.”

(Nice one TW in getting a PCLinuxOS distro working. It sounds ideal for you. Not having a wireless network, I’d not have the same problems – I hope – but I still think it might be worth me giving it a try. Soon. Really.

Pity it shows the new layout doesn’t work in *nix but, I suppose you can only solve one torturous IT problem at a time. It looks pretty good in my antique IE6.)