Not too long ago, tinkering was reserved for those geeks and nerds that spent hours and hours just typing away at their keyboards trying to change this and that because of this and that only to change that once again (two days later)because of this.
Let me first point out that, I am not ‘that guy’. In fact, ‘that guy’ would probably sneer at the mere utterance of our so-called resemblance. What I am, however, is a liker-of-things. Cool things, things that are different and have a revolutionary quality to them- things that actually matter.
With that being said, a year or so ago I purchased a refurbished netbook that came with no operating system- I then installed Ubuntu Linux onto it. And thus spawned the beginning of a lengthy love/hate relationship between myself and the OS. The great thing about Linux is the fact that it is open-source meaning that there are now millions (perhaps hundreds of thousands) of nerds that are working towards making this OS better and better. They create tools regularly in order to make their lives simpler, better and perhaps easier. As a result of the wonderful community of Linux users that already exists, these iterations can also be used to make every other user’s experience of Linux THAT much more pleasant. This is the intrinsic beauty of the Linux operating system.
With this beauty, however, comes a bit of dedication that is required from the user.
Linux systems vary from Windows and Mac systems in that the software that Linux uses is not coming from a handful of companies but from a myriad of avid hackers and engineers. This openness, does bring with it the infinite potential for errors, bugs and calibration/compatibility issues. At this point the user could either turn to the Linux community for advice or choose to fix the issue himself through a series of tinkering sessions aimed at eventually discovering the solution for himself. In my experience, I’ve realised that both options go hand-in-hand. When I first started using the OS, I was always trying to find solace and support through seeking for help in the various forums available to a Linux user (all of which are great). As time went by, I had probably visited the Ubuntu forum about 10 000 times and each time I’d come out with a solution. All of this was essentially educational as my skills were continuously enhanced with every problem I faced. Now I find myself trying out a bunch of solutions from my bag of acquired tricks when faced with an issue. And more often then not, I will have solved it myself.
Looking forward about a year later and I now find myself tinkering endlessly at my machine. Not because solutions are needed but because with Linux, change is imminent. There is always some new alternative version of a particular type of software being released to the community. And that entices a user to want to use it. And most of the time, the modifications are not particularly essential. They could range from simply installing a new conky to your desktop to trying to run 3-different OSs on one machine. Why do these things?
Because they’re cool and most importantly, because we Can.
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