Tuesday, May 15, 2007

I Made The Switch

Inspired by this series of posts, I finally decided to do it. I even did it with my husband last night, for hours and hours! We did it from about 8:30 pm until after midnight. Yes, I've made the switch to Ubuntu on my business laptop.

I've spent a not inconsiderable amount of my business money on maintaining my laptop lately, and one of the things I bought was a new hard drive, because the old one was about to die. (One of the other things I bought was the hundred-dollar soldering iron my husband has been drooling over for years, but that's a long story.) I'd been reading those posts, and about the time the third one came out, I had ordered the hard drive, and it just clicked.

One of the things I've hated about Windows is its smug attitude, like "We're the only game in town and you know it, so if you know what's good for you, you'll grab your ankles and do whatever we ask of you." That's one kind of attitude I simply can't stand. It pisses me off to no end. Every day my Windows would remind me that it had "updates" (yes, I know you can turn off those reminders) and the "update" it wanted to install was some sort of check to see if you have a legitimate version of Windows-- "for your convenience" of course. I couldn't imagine what good that would possibly do me. If I don't have a legit version of Windows, then of course I wouldn't want to have Microsoft shutting down my computer; and if I do have a legit version of Windows, explain to me how checking it constantly to see if it's legit makes my computer go faster instead of just adding to the already considerable load Windows puts on my system. It just makes more sense to me to have an OS that's in keeping with the KISS principle.

Also, Quickbooks has been annoying me lately. I have Quickbooks 2004 and it's about to be unsupported, as all outdated products are. This wouldn't bother me, except that it's threatening to lose the ability to download bank statements at the end of this month unless I pay some hundreds of dollars to upgrade to the latest version of Quickbooks. Not that downloading bank statements is a big problem for me; I've never been able to get it to download PayPal transactions, which is the bulk of my business, so I'm already hand-entering all of those. But not only do I not have the money, I just don't like its attitude. Most businesses my size don't use accounting software with the power of Quickbooks, but I really need to be able to use a computer to keep track of all these details, since ordinarily (i.e. if I were getting any sleep at night and weren't trying to run a business with a kid hanging on each arm) I could keep track of them in my head. Someone will ask "Do you have a skillet handle cover in these colors?" and I want to be able to fire up the computer and say "I have 5 of them; how many do you need?" instead of wandering downstairs, pulling them out, sorting them out, and counting them, all the while hoping that the kids don't see where I've hidden them. I found an accounting program for Linux that does everything I've dreamed of, including having better pricing tools than Quickbooks and printing its own barcodes.

If Ubuntu and the Linux apps are a bit kludgy, so be it. It's not like Windows functions seamlessly, after all.

So it's official now: I'm an open source kind of gal. I have jumped off the S.S. Gates and am paddling frantically for the Island of the Penguins.