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June 6, 2006

Idahoans will love SUSE Linux

by @ 6:26 am. Filed under General Linux, General SUSE, My Opinion, SUSE Blog News

How in the bloody hell am I supposed to get everything done?

I drove to Logan, UT, to unpack yet ANOTHER moving truck full of my parents’ heavy furniture. By heavy I mean “baby grand piano” and other assorted furniture weighing over 350 pounds each. And there was a lot of it. Neighbors on either side came over to help, so I didn’t do everything myself. The one guy on the east side was digging raingutter drainage trenches in his front yard. When we were all done moving 63 pianos, 43 beds, 21 dressers, and 383 rusting lawnchairs, I helped the one guy on the eastern side of their house dig his trench with a pickaxe. About 2 1/2 swings and my arms were throbbing. After about 45 minutes of that, I faked a hayfever attack so I could go back inside and have some cool water to ease the heatstroke I felt coming on. For the next two days, my hands were swollen and I couldn’t grip anything very well. Good thing I’m such a self-sacrificing servant of my fellow man.

The next day, we drove 3 hours up to Rexburg, except that I had to get there in 2 1/2 hours. We had women in our party. You take the number of women and multiply by 15 and that’s how many minutes late you will leave to any given event. As there were two, we left a half hour late. Thus, I had to bust out my stealth F-16 l33t driving skills. We left at 6:00 am and got there at 8:28 am for the event that I was to participate in at 8:30. For anyone wondering, I had to engage the cruise control at 93 miles per hour for about 2 hours. Don’t tell any cops, though.

Then, yesterday, we had to drive back to Logan and drop off my parents. Except that I was too blasted to keep driving, so I had to crash for an hour. When I was conscious again, I stuck toothpicks in my eyes to keep them open and taped my eyelids with some duct tape for good measure. With that, I drove the 2 hours back home. I fell into a coma ere I hit my bed. Good thing I aimed before I started falling.

And that is to say nothing about the 956.3 things that I’ve done today, already.

What does that have to do with SUSE Linux? Stare at a blank wall for about 8 seconds, and you will see the answer.

That all said, I DID have a chance to spread the word about Linux and open source while in Rexburg.

My mother’s first husband’s second wife was there (who happens to be my mother’s first daughter’s step-mother), with whom I have no relation. She is an educator, teaching art in high school. She was talking with my mother about digital photography and art via Photoshop and Illustrator. She was careful to clarify that they were Adobe products.

At that point, I butted in, interrupting the conversation to make my introductory arguments about how Gimp runs on Windows and Linux, and is free, and opens Photoshop files. This, of course, would mean that her students would be able to work on their projects at home, without having to own Photoshop, and get the software for free, even if they are using that one sludge operating system dredged from the sewer of a nuclear treatment plant.

After about 25 minutes of discussing red, green, and blue channels, paths, selection tools, RGB, CMYK, resolution, brightness, contrast, and floating layers, she decided that I may have some clue as to what I was talking about. I went further and invited her to a demonstration of the software, as we were at my nephew’s house, who is an Ubuntu fan. I had him fire up his system and pull open the GIMP.

My next question to her was, “So, what is the first assignment that you have your students do on their first day with Photoshop?” She said that she has them find a picture on the Internet, pull it into Photoshop, and just type their name in a layer over the top of the picture. Simple in the GIMP… I did it as she was explaining the assignment to me. As she was finishing her explanation, I was finishing my implementation of her explanation. I said, “Something like this?”, pointing to the screen. She was visibly impressed.

I think she was converted and open at least to the idea of open source software. I sent a link to her email address of where she could download the GIMP and read more about it.

Then, we moved to the OpenOffice.org discussion. I was careful to explain to her that OpenOffice does, in fact, open Microsoft Office documents, and that it could also save the files in those formats. My nephew showed her and her husband (my mother’s first husband, but not my father) how to do the header styles, and formatting and all that. I forgot to show her how to do the darn table of contents. Oh well, gotta have some tricks for next time, I guess. During that conversation, I did spend a considerable time breaking in the idea of what Linux is.

The effort in doing all of this is that, as an educator, she will be teaching many people who have never heard of open source. Many, many more than I could possibly reach. If we, as Linux users, would start working with the educational systems around us, open source would be adopted at a much faster rate, I’m quite sure.

I’m also writing a couple of articles about the GIMP, as my conversation had reminded me that I had some cool tricks in the GIMP that I hadn’t yet written about. Stay tuned for a URL to the published article.

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