January 11th, 2007: The birth of Ubuntu Gusty Gibbon on my laptop. Instead of dual booting, I gave a half-hearted wave to Windows XP and dedicated my whole hard disk to Ubuntu. And my god, am I happy. No more hangs, when one program stalls, the others still run at regular speed. MY COMPUTER IS MAKING HAPPY SOUNDS (which means that just the fan is audible; hence no more grunts and grinding all the time). Sure it doesn't have the same robust software, and all the games found on Windows, but I've no need for either of those.
I forgot the name of the system that ties all of Windows' processes together, but that is the main reason of why I'm happy about the switch. Due to Windows' process management system, CPU dedication is given to the most "important" processes, and if they hang, so does everything else since all the processes are linked together. This is the fundamental flaw with Windows and it renders it completely inferior to popular UNIX based OS's. On Ubuntu, I've already had hangs with Firefox and Rhythmbox, but ALL OTHER PROCESSES RAN AT THE SAME SPEED. And I can easily kill the stopped programs in the terminal. In Windows, on the other hand, if Firefox froze, I'd have to kill it several times (for baffling, unknown reasons) and it usually resulted in system restarts. Anyway, due to that reason, I can't go back to Windows. Not until they change their process management...
By the way, for those who think computer crashes are normal:
They aren't. Reformat (if you really really love Windows or something), or just switch teams. Um... operating system teams, I mean. EXPLORE YOUR OPTIONS. Plus, you can always dual boot (unless you hit unresolvable errors;) but reformatting would help that)
If Windows works for you, great; it's all about what works. But certainly for me, this is one decision I truly wish I made sooner.
In other news, I attended the last day CUSEC 2008 (Canadian Undergraduate Software Engineering ...Convention?), which was fun and I got some interesting looks into different programming usage, but one talk I did appreciate the talk by CodingHorror.com's Jeff Atwood. He talked about the importance of writing about code instead of just coding, and putting importance on communication for computer science/software engineering students. I really find that to be a key issue, and kind of reminded me to start writing this blog again.
His points also reminding me that isn't about whose code is better, but whose code is most useful. Being in CS, we're told that optimization is key, but is it really? I think I'm better suited for software engineering if that's the case. Optimization is surely important and needed, but as CS students, we absolutely need to see the greater architecture of the software as a whole, and not just the code.