In my last entry I described my nocturnal attempts at installing an OS. After a little closer reflection, I shouldn’t have been so quick to blame the distros for dodgy discs and weird installs, sleep depravity and lack of will to fix issues (which were bound to arise) don’t give you privileges to fling poo at good OSs.
Now, I’ve grown used to certain things when it comes to GNU/Linux, one of the
most prominent being that certain hardware takes some work to get working. I’ve
got a rather new sound card, that causes problems. My wireless card was also
quite problematic (as in wasn’t compatible) until the 2.6.28 kernel.
This is quite explainable, there’s rarely official support so the more ambitious geeks around the world hero-code, so that we have anything at all. A remarkable job is done in this respect.
This leads me to be thoroughly pissed when a certain OS gets treated with official drivers to every damn component in a computer and still doesn’t work as intended.
After the events described in the last entry, with some magic tools I recovered the most necessary files out of the Windows partition, and decided to reinstall the system. Not the most thrilling task I could have imagined but what’s a gamer got to do?
The install, and some love for Vista
Before I go into the details of my setting up my game station, I’d like to point out that Acer made me a real favour when I bought the laptop:
The only Windows version that has full driver support for this computer turns out to be Vista.
Truly, I couldn’t be more thankful, because what the hell else would manage to force me into the “next generation” of Microsoft’s flagship products? I’m quite sure I wouldn’t have done it voluntarily. So in my case, I was installing Vista Business 64.
I could elaborate on my issues with Vista, but would I have done so the site would most likely close after one or two visitors; I have monthly bandwidth cap at 125 GB. I’ll write a summary at some point however.
The installation of the system itself was thankfully straightforward, but that’s where the fun stopped. Ubuntu is in a way forced to have an absolutely stellar auto detection of hardware, to avoid having Windows converts shit their breeches at the prospect of actually doing anything with their new system.
Microsoft on the other hand is in no way forced to do any drivers whatsoever,
that is left to the hardware vendors. This is not something one can hold
against them, with drivers for Windows having preposterous sizes these days,
you wouldn’t have space for anything else on a DVD, especially an OS as space
“efficient” as Windows.
Some might now argue they should at least be treated with proper default drivers with all the space the OS takes…
“At the expense of what?” says linduxed in a sarcastic voice.
“A fresh install of Vista takes roughly 16 GB of disk space, at such a miniscule size it has to be chock-full of crucial code! How would you fit said drivers? You know that you only have the space of a DVD to install from, right?
What would you cut?
With such a delicate and cutting edge system you’d have to make some big decisions! What would Vista be without the
do_nothing_loop() methods? Or the
hang_system() calls? Would you seriously dare to boot up your computer if you
knew that Microsoft decided to cut the
Proper default drivers are simply not feasible, and hearing some people suggesting that an OS should have applications included to actually be able to do something with the god damn thing is preposterous.”
Returning to the installation…
So as soon as the system was installed I was greeted with a slow and stone age-resolution touting desktop. I came prepared however, and plugged in my USB-drive, which I had previously filled with drivers. It is worth to mention that these were the official drivers, downloaded from the Acer website.
Having installed some Windows systems by now, I knew that some drivers are
arrogant pricks, which absolutely demand that no other drivers are installed
before reboot. If I don’t listen to them, I’ll end up with anything between the
driver not installing at all, and not being able to shutdown properly.
I counted four pricks, three annoying bastards, and the rest (close to ten) were of the nicer kind. This led to about five or six guaranteed reboots, and then came the unforeseen ones on top of that.
The ones which were in a particularly fickle mood were the sound and graphics drivers. Both thought getting installed was such a thrill they demanded to go through the ride three times each, every time craving a reboot. I wasn’t in the mood for more, and apparently the web cam interpreted the grinding of teeth as a sign to have mr. Sound and mr. Graphics to stop dicking around.
I lost count of all the reboots, but in the end that doesn’t matter, because after the installation of drivers I still had “features” to turn off (UAC, anyone?), applications to install and settings to set up. That is however not really a part of the installation itself in my opinion.
I’m past it now and have gotten my games to work, but I know that it’s just a matter of time before I’ll bump into this process again. When I move to Windows 7 (and I will, I doubt it can get worse than Vista), I suspect I’ll have the same issues.
I guess another rant will be needed at that time then.