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I have a problem.

I know that’s the first step to fixing it. In fact I was going to write this post paralelling AA’s Twelve Steps, but then I went and read what the twelve steps actually said and decided against it. I definitely have to agree with James Frey on that one. But I digress.

My problem is much less serious, anyway. It’s a two parter.

I am a Linux snob. It’s hard to really articulate why but there are plenty of websites out there to tell you why it’s better than Windows. It might have a comparatively steep learning curve, but there are fancy graphical versions that look like Windows (KDE) or Mac OS (Gnome). One thing I have noticed is that everything is free. If you want to do some arbitrary thing on Windows, from word processing to manipulating audio files, you almost always have to pay for a program to do it. On Linux, if you have a job to do, chances are somebody has written a program to do it for free. (Example: OpenOffice.org can do everything Microsoft Office can do, and some things it can’t, like making PDF files.)

But compounding my general linux snobbery (and this is the second part of my problem) is the fact that I don’t use those fancy versions that look like Windows or a Mac. I use a little windows manager called dwm, from the aptly named suckless.org project. I suspect anybody who hasn’t used it, or at least seen it, understands it.

Oh crap, I’m being ellitist again. This is the problem! They even warned me on the dwm website that this would happen.

I think I’m just in a bragging kind of mood since I lately discovered how to display my computer’s battery life in the status bar (it turns out everything you need to know is in /proc/acpi/battery/). Yes, Windows will automatically put a little battery thing in the taskbar. The point is that I programmed it myself, and I can tweak it to display however I want. (As a sidenote, I discovered that when not doing anything, my computer uses about 800 mA. If I put my monitor brightness up all the way, it consumes an additional 300mA, dropping my battery life by about an hour.)

I guess this is a major part of the appeal of dwm—you can tweak it in lots of ways, so everytime you compile it it or even just pipe something new into the status bar, it feels like a program you’ve written yourself. Anybody who’s ever written a computer program or script to do something knows what I’m talking about. You get a much greater sense of accomplishment from spending three hours debugging a shell script that does a job in three seconds than if you just took five minutes to do the same job by hand. It’s like hunting a deer for supper with your bare hands when you could have just bought a steak at the grocery store.

Oh, and I also hate using a mouse. Mice are for suckers.

Now I’ve not only admitted my problem but gone on a nice diatribe proving it was true. Damn. Well, my battery is only at 15% (according to the little script I wrote!) so I might as well go find something else to do.

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