Sunday, February 10, 2008

Back to text mode

Over the past couple of weeks my machine repeatedly just froze - mouse not moving, keyboard dead. I do not know if it was just X11 crashing, because I do not have any remote services active on the machine, so I could not log in remotely. Just as a precaution I did not boot into X11, but now I am in text mode (80x25), backing up my home folder to an external hard disk. After that I will go for a fresh install of Ubuntu 7.10. The current install has seen upgrades from 6.06 to 6.10 to 7.04 to 7.10, spiced and seasoned with some manual tweaks, especially when something did not work in one of the previous Ubuntu versions. So I cannot really tell if something that was need back then now tends to destabilize my machine. It almost feels a little like this "again Windows syndrome" - where people claim that Windows just "needs a reinstall once a year" to remain fast and stable. I am a little reluctant to admit this, so a part of me hopes this is really a hardware problem; that would mean of course I would have to make a decision on staying with the PC and Linux or buy a Mac for the first time in my life... As the backup takes some time, I thought I might just post this here. I am writing with the elinks browser in plain VGA text mode. I did not really remember what a PITA this extremely limited amount of screen real estate is. Usually I would have put in links to my earlier posts about the Toshiba external hard drive (which I finally switched to HDD only mode, hence the new full backup) and the Ubuntu upgrade articles. However I do not even have mouse support here, and copying over the post URLs by hand from another console is a little too tedious. Right now I feel like I am back to DOS - only back then the monitor was a little smaller. I can definitely tell I have no desire to go back to a real text mode interface ever again. Don't get me wrong - I really love command line interfaces. But as one of my professors once said: "Graphical user environments' sole purpose is to provide multiple terminal windows with good fonts and a nice background image.". While I would not go that far, right now I would really like to have just that :)

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