Wait, what? Microsoft?

December 7, 2018

Form 2003 to 2015 I only used Linux, starting with Gentoo, then Arch, then finally Ubuntu. Towards the end I decided the best way to work was to have a stable host distro and then do any work and anything weird inside of a virtual machine. Then I switched to a MacBook, doing all of my actual work inside of VirtualBox. I had to sort out what terminal emulator to use so that Emacs keybinding would work and Emacs in an SSH session would look good. The thing I like most about Macs is that the “Command” key is in the correct place for the “Control” key, so I can just tell OSX to swap cmd and ctrl, and I’m good to use Emacs without freaking out. Control should be next to the spacebar, easily pressed by the thumb of one hand, while the opposite hand is typing the characters to be modified. The Space-cadet keyboard makes it all clear.

Today I’m getting a Windows machine. It will be the first time I run a Windows desktop since 2003. I’m optimistic that the Windows Subsystem for Linux is going to make all of my wildest dreams come true. When I was a diehard Linux user, I felt like my way was better because my computer was mine, my computing life wasn’t held back by Microsoft or Apple. But it’s not like I feel that way today using Ubuntu. Maybe if I ran LFS or Slackware, but there’s the part where I have a full-time job and a wife and a life outside of getting Linux to work. I do run Slackware at home on a laptop that serves media files to Kodi. It works awesome, it’s extremely stable, and I use it everyday, but it’s not a daily driver desktop machine, so there’s the difference.

I have enough experience now to realize that every computer sucks, every OS sucks, every web browser sucks, every phone sucks. The only hope I see is in home brew computers with 8-bit or 16-bit chips, or stuff like DawnOS or just shrinking the scope of my computing world, so that Emacs is my computing environment, not whatever OS I happen to be using, and if Emacs sucks, that’s fine, because I can write my own editor/environment and if that sucks then at least it’s my fault. So I’m keeping an open mind and staying optimistic that using Windows is going to be acceptable. At least Microsoft still cares about developers and people using computers as tools.

Space Cadet Keyboard

Tags: emacs linux computers suck