Why you should be using Linux in Five Years.

So I needed to make a knocked-together sketch today.

Nothing high quality--just a couple of lines and boxes, plus some text, to portray the floor plan of my new house when people ask what the pictures depict.

So I went to pull up Paint.

For the reader that doesn't remember, I converted to Ubuntu last November.

When I need to do real Graphics work, I do it in gimp, but for something like the image that accompanies this post, Paint is a far superior program--faster, less complicated, easier UI for the much smaller number of tasks you'll need to perform.

So I went to open what I figured would be called Gpaint. Or Kaint. Or The Snarf, or whatever crazy name that the linux nerds decided during a 4am kernel rebuild sounded professional, and I didn't have it.

I mean, I didn't have a drawing program at all. I had gimp by default, and I had the office draw package. Both of these are a billion features and a ton of power and capability that are aimed at doing things I wasn't trying to do. It's like deciding to hop in your vehicle to run and get a half a gallon of milk and finding the only vehicles available to you are an M1 ABRAMS tank and an F22. Neither create an optimal milk-run vehicles. Ideally you'd have a Vespa.

And here I was, sans Vespa, and in need.

Now at this point you're probably thinking "waitaminute--didn't you say I should be using Linux? You're telling me it doesn't have simple, easy to use tools. Why would that appeal to me?"

The absence of paint isn't the selling point here.

Let me explain.

Here are the total number of steps I performed to acquire an alternative to Paint.

1) I clicked the Applications button at the top left of my screen.

2) I selected "add/remove. . ."

3) In the search field, I typed "paint"

4) I selected three applications, all with four star ratings, that had descriptions matching my needs, from a list of 13 responses. I had these programs automatically installed by the application manager (I did this by clicking the "apply changes" button).

5) I opened each of them and played around for about five seconds.

6) I closed and uninstalled the two I didn't want (by deselecting them and clicking "apply changes" again).

7) I opened the program I wanted.

Now let's talk about the three things that didn't, at any point, happen.

1) I didn't get up from my chair, interrupting the flow of my current task.
2) I didn't even have to search the internet, making me worry that the file I was downloading might be corrupt, or for an unsupported system, or made by a vendor that installed a 30 day time limit on the program.
3) I didn't pay a dime.

In five years, if you're not using Linux, I would go so far as to say this:

Computing: you're doing it wrong.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008