Smokin’ Hot

The company shipped my new computer to me yesterday, and for the first time in a while, I find myself the operator of a 64-bit machine.

Initially, I have to admit, I was trepidatious when I opened the box and saw the little green and orange AMD 64 Athelon sticker. The last time I tried running a 64-bit Linux box, things did not go well.

This was about three years ago, and I’d laid my hands on a older 64-bit PC that a friend was giving away. I updated the memory and the hard drive, and installed Fedora Core 3. The installation went well, actually, but I soon learned the limitations of browsing the Internet with 64-bit software. Plug-ins were a nightmare, and since 90% of my work is done out on the Internet, I decided that my experiment into high-end processors was to end–quickly.

Today, however, is a different story. I have to say that thus far I have been pretty impressed with my latest foray into the land o’ big processors. (For those of your who are curious, cat /proc/cpuinfo told me I had been bequeathed an Athelon 3000+.)

I think I have become conservative in my old age, at least as far as computers go. My last work machine, the one that went up in flames, was running openSUSE 10.2. My backup system, which I was using this past week, has Kubuntu (Feisty). Dull person that I am, I opted to install Kubuntu 64 on the new machine as well.

Mr. Party, that’s me.

But conservatism has its good points: it took very little time to configure my machine to my preferred specs, once I got over the big hurdle: Firefox plugins on a 64-bit machine. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the problem, Firefox is available in 64-bit form, but plug-ins, like Flash, are only available as 32-bit apps. The only way around this problem is to install firefox32 and install the plug-ins to it.

Even then, I read, it’s a bit of a pain in the butt. But if you are running Ubuntu/Kubuntu, there’s a great automated script out there from user Kilz on the Ubuntu Forums. After confirming connections to the universe and multiverse repositories, I downloaded and ran the script, which not only game me the options to install Flash, Java, and mplayer, but also let me choose between installing Firefox, Swiftweasel, Iceweasel, or Flock for my browser.


From there, it was the usual set of tools not included in Kubuntu: Thunderbird, Gaim, Gnumeric, and gedit. (I may like KDE, but I have very set work habits with these particular apps.)

And I am happy as a clam today. No application issues whatsoever, and no hardware problems, either. Video and sound are running fine, though I wish just once my company would spring for a decent video card so I can play with Compiz and/or Beryl. Oh well, guess that’s why they call it work.