It’s so hard to swim cross the mainstream

HOORAH!  Ubuntu is now a sure-nuff mainstream operating system!  Here’s a transcript of a conversation I had with it just the other day.  I couldn’t figure out why it felt so familiar, but then I realised that it’s the same conversation I’ve had with the more popular operating systems.

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Find one in every car

netdud: Hello Ubuntu computer I use for three things! I would like to do one of those things now.

Computer: This version of Ubuntu is no longer supported

netdud: Hey, good to know. Anyway, if we could just do the thing

You should totally upgrade.

Yeah. I don’t really use this machine for anything but those three things, and it doesn’t see the outside world, so it really doesn’t matter

We’ve got a whole bunch of stuff that’s new and doesn’t look anything like the version you’re using. You totally want that!

No. I don’t. Can I just do the thing…

Computer: We’ve cloud got cloud the cloud cloud services cloud TOTALLY cloud integrated cloud into cloud the operating system.

netdud: That sounds horrible.

Computer: We’ve got the awesome Unity interface, for people who can’t use computers, and don’t want to buy a tablet that does much.

netdud: Oh right! Took me a couple of hours to get that utter toss off this machine last time. No. Not interested

Computer: Your version isn’t safe.

netdud: What?

Computer: Yeah–the version you’re using right now, if you keep using it, uh, all kinds of bad things are going to go unpatched.

netdud: BS

Computer: I’m totally SRS! Also, cloud!

netdud: FINE. I just want to do my one thing!

Computer: OK! I’ll just sort out all the stuff you don’t need–

netdud: HEY! WHAT? No! Just leave stuff alone and change the OS crap you need

Computer: Uninstalling GNOME files, removing My SQL…

netdud: What the WHAT? GET OUTTA THERE!

Computer: Download complete. Installing the upgrades. About 6 hours remaining.

netdud: WHAAT?

Computer: About three hours remaining

netdud: OK. That’s better. I guess. For an OS I need to do THREE THINGS

Computer: About five hours remaining.

netdud: Oh. We’re doing that, are we?

Computer: About three hours remaining.

netdud: Whatever

Computer: Unable to delete the directory containing the thing that we are replacing with another thing that does the same thing but has a new name you won’t remember. So I’m just going to leave that directory full of old junk for you. I’m sure you’ll enjoy nothing more than reading all the log files for this six hour install, so of course you will find all the directories I left like this.

netdud: Yeah. I love doing stuff like that. You’ve got my number there.

Computer: Moving obsolete conf file [XXX] out of the way.

netdud: Did you REALLY just say that?

Computer: Moving obsolete conf file [XXy] out of the way.

netdud: What the hell does that even MEAN? Did you go to “Bad command or file name” University or something?

Computer: Moving obsolete conf file [XyX] out of the way.

netdud: Again?

Computer: I’m going to fill the screen with those. You can read all about it later in the log file I guess.

netdud: Sorry–missed that. Just decided it was a good time to get a drink

Computer: About 1 hour and 27 minutes remaining.

netdud: I just wanted to..

Computer: Now I’m replacing a whole shit-ton of packages like GREP and Chrome and fonts that you already had, but I just stopped updating them because you didn’t upgrade the entire OS.

netdud: Yeah. Woulda sucked to just get those a bit at a time, in the background. On a machine that runs 24/7.

Computer: About three hours remaining.

netdud: It’s like I don’t even know you any more, dude.

Computer: I’m installing the Wifis and Bluetooth support. Yes, I DO still have the list of hardware currently on the machine, but I didn’t look at it. Just installing stuff. That’s what I do.

netdud: This box doesn’t even have… Nevermind

Computer: Also replacing the eleventy-billion printer drivers we installed with the last upgrade with eleventy billion printer drivers which are not ALL the same as the last ones, just in case you suddenly want to use eleventy-billion printers right after this upgrade.

netdud: That’s awesome! Thanks! But the driver that worked perfectly with the one printer I actually use, that’ll still work fine, right? Because that’s one of the three things that I…

Computer: About one hour and twenty minutes remaining.

netdud: Why am I excited that this is suddenly going to take on a stupid amount of time, instead of a ridiculously stupid amount of time?

Computer: Moving on–remember that package you tried, and then found out that the project was discontinued, and that it didn’t work anyway? I just replaced it with the point release you didn’t bother upgrading to because it was discontinued.

netdud: Thank you for that. As I recall, that package wasn’t part of the distribution

Computer: Just one of the services we do on upgrade.

netdud: Oh, I can see your point–that’s just the sort of thing you SHOULD add to a 1.5 gig, four-hour automatic upgrade. I’d hate to go through all this and find out I’m a version behind on software you don’t support and doesn’t work. What would my friends say when I try to tell them how user-friendly Ubuntu is?

Computer: I’m replacing the LAME codec right now. The old one was working fine, but there’s a new one.

netdud: Why are you doing that?

Computer: Because I’m going alphabetically.

netdud: Good plan. And I mean, what are the chances that someone would have a problem with the awesome sound subsystem on Linux, and have to do some bodgy junk to get it running? You should TOTALLY screw around with the stuff and set it up in a nice generic way to use a sound card I don’t have installed, and move all my codecs somewhere exciting.

Computer: Updating your version of OpenOffice.

netdud: Really? Why? What does that have with the operating system?

Computer: We include it WITH the operating system!

netdud: Yeah, but that means I already HAVE it. Why are you including a new install of the fattest piece of bloatware on the entire system with an OS upgrade?

Computer: Same amount of time remaining as the last four times you looked, even though the list of things I am doing keeps changing.

netdud: I’m going to bed. Check on you in the morning.

Computer: I’m going to change some config files, and I need you to tell I can replace them. Or you can tell me to keep the old ones. I’m not going to tell you if the old ones might have a different effect after the upgrade.

netdud: Hang on–let me see the two files

Computer: I can let you compare the two by dropping them in a big long vertical window with codes in front to show what each file says.

netdud: Can I see them side-by-side?

Computer: Don’t be ridiculous! What good would that do?

netdud: Uh, let’s keep the old ones

Computer: I will accept that with an off-putting ease, making you wonder why I didn’t just keep the old one as a matter of course. But you will pay, stupid. You will pay.

netdud: I’m really sleepy. I’m going to bed

Computer: Hang on–I want to show you how I am testing for the right audio drivers by saying that things are failing, and then test a bunch of drivers that have brand names not even remotely related to this machine.

netdud: Wait–I’ve never even owned a Dell laptop!

Computer: I don’t blame you–that driver is teh fail!

netdud: Cool, thought you were losing your mind.

Computer: I’ve installed the HP Crudsucker 760 driver, it’s totes wikkid!

netdud: That’s a laptop! This machine is an old desktop!

Computer: So that should have the sound squared away. I’m just going to tell you there are 24 minutes remaining for the next 24 minutes.

netdud: All the hope in me has died. I feel strangely free.

Computer: I’m going to leave a sentence that ends with the word “completed” on the screen, and but the fans are all going to come on like mad and the drive light is going to stay lit for the next three minutes straight. Everything’s fine though.

netdud: So sleepy

Computer: Hey–you want this old config file? Looks like the only difference between it and the new one is that the old one is set up to run headless.

netdud: Yeah–this machine only runs headless.

Computer: Y’don’t say. Wow. If I knew that before I started, there’d be no need to keep stopping and waiting for you to compare conf files and click yes.

Gosh, that would really be something.

Computer:  Hey!  Why don’t you go to bed and I’ll just sit here with this dialogue box waiting for your input and the drive light and all the fans going full blast.

netdud:  No, I’ll sit up here with you. I’ve suddenly got a bunch of reading to do about unpopular Linux distros..

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