No one can say I’m not productive…

I converted a WinXP computer into a mostly-Linux box today. And I baked two cakes!

The cakes are chocolate, by this recipe I’ve made plenty of times: It makes a rather soupy batter that nevertheless bakes up well into a cake with a wonderful texture. One of the two single-layer cakes I made is for a favorite teacher of mine, who has a birthday next month.

The XP computer has been kind of a crawling horror for a while. It’s my dad’s. He just used some really basic stuff on it anyway, apart from a program or two. Mostly, he needed the browser, Word, and Excel. The other program is a piece of tax software; I haven’t been able to find a Linux equivalent, so a smaller Windows partition has to stay on the computer.

Nevertheless, the lion’s share of the disk has been given over to Xubuntu. I chose Xubuntu because a) the computer’s hardware is about ten years old and only has like half a gig of RAM; b) it looks reasonably close to Windows; and c) I think it looks more polished than Lubuntu, while still not needing too much in the way of resources.

I used gparted to shrink the Windows partition. It’s a really nice piece of software. I recommend it.

Of course, shrinking the partition and installing Xubuntu was only half the battle. I spent a while longer on tweaking the system: updating and upgrading, making little changes to help out the hardware like decreasing swappiness, solving an issue I think was caused by the old video card which caused the browser’s navbar to black out after about 50 characters (for some reason, installing the FXChrome theme fixed the problem–it was suggested in a forum somewhere).

I wonder how much I’ll be explaining. Dad’s an engineer, but when I mentioned the terminal, he didn’t even know what it was. He got a quick lesson in “the Linux Start button” and the software center. I don’t know how far in-depth he even wants to go; mostly, it was the fact that Xubuntu doesn’t take >30 minutes just to start up, and the browser’s speed is close to what you’d expect from a modern computer. That’s what happens when you switch to an OS made this decade. *facepalm* If Xubuntu makes this cranking piece of ancient technology last another semi-functional 5 years or so, Dad will be happy with it.

I don’t know. I don’t want to make Linux out to be some inaccessible, arcane piece of software; it isn’t, really. But I’d still like Dad to know how his system works, so he can fix minor problems without my help. Maybe I should draft up a Linux help list and hang it on the wall or something.


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