The Karmic Koala: (Barely) a Study

First things first. I am not a tech-blogger. I may be above the average in technical prowess, but that is just a testimony to how abysmally low our nation’s average is. I am only writing this blog because I was bribed by Prasad’s promise of some extra brownie readership points if I blogged on his favorite subject – you guessed it – technology.

So here is a semi-tech-literate person’s account on Ubuntu. For those who contribute to my high tech-prowess percentile, Ubuntu is, as far as I understand, a ‘manifestation’ of Linux. For those who do not know what Linux is, it is an operating system and I suggest you stop reading this right here.

We are a growing startup. And like all badte bacche, we face teething troubles. Recently, they reared their ugly head in the form of a company-wide virus attack. Which was not surprising, given our security levels were not much higher than most home PC’s. Even I understood that much. People who had little respect for anti-virus software plugged in virus-infested client pen drives left, right and center. The occasional virus scan typically led to 84,467 infected files on the average company laptop. We were welcoming viruses (virii?) with open arms. And then serving them paneer tikkas.

Small wonder then, that one fine day, our server crashed. Most of us, who were semi-tech-literate, had already recognized our server as a disaster waiting to happen. So we kept local copies of all important data. But there were many others innocent enough to trust it with all their work. And I mean all their work. Not a spell check was run on a word doc using a local copy. Needless to say, when the server did finally crash, much brouhaha ensued.

In line with IP-inspired apprehensions about security and safety, an IT-revamp followed. All data was to be backed up. Then all computers formatted. The scanned and OKed part of the data was finally to be replaced on it. It was in this setting that an opportunity presented itself. Our IT team (comprising anyone and everyone who fell in the certified tech-literate part of our population) encouraged us to be brave enough and, in the post-formatting universe, bid Windows adieu.

My friend Rucha and I, in a fit of adventure, decided to dive in. We’d heard that anti-virus scans are not required on Linux as there is no virus invented for Linux OS so far(!).Some genius had even figured out a way to overcome the hitherto biggest shortcoming of Linux from an office use point of view – running Microsoft Office on it. Plus, it was, most intriguingly, named ‘Ubuntu’. The ‘Karmic Koala’ version, at that. Most importantly, however, it is cute! (What do you expect? We are both girls.)

It’s been a month since I first grappled with the overly sensitive mouse pointer on my brand new OS. Having solved that and many other problems (whether by exploring the functionalities, or plain screaming murder at Prasad and Ankit – our IT-literate friends), I seem to have adjusted surprisingly well to it. Phantoms of Linux have turned out to be bigger than Linux itself. Its fast. Its intelligent (use it and you’ll see what I mean by that). It has multiple workspaces. Which means you can chat and browse on another workspace without those irritating colleagues, who have the habit of peering into your screen and shaking their judgmental heads, ever finding out! So far, so good!

The games are also great, and I am still in the process of discovering them. The chat messenger ‘Empathy’ is a reminder of the good old Yahoo messenger days. (Gtalk has become way too familiar looking – irritating-colleague-who-is-dangerously-friendly-with-the-boss alert!)

On the flip side, I had heard, among other sky high praises of Linux, the fact that it never hangs. It does. The only saving grace is that that happens only when you use Office on it. But then again, muttering swear words under your breath darkly does not bring that lost 23-page report back. Nor does downright bawling. Trust me.

There are also some other problems with using Powerpoint, especially when you try to insert images or shapes or (God forbid) graph charts on your slide. Above all flip sides, the day I volunteered to work on Ubuntu, Prasad suddenly shifted camps and became a worshipper of Windows 7. Damn you, geeks.

And yet, last night, I installed Ubuntu on my laptop back home. Why, you ask? Its the ‘cutest’ thing I have ever seen. And that pretty much clinches the deal, as far as I am concerned. As I said, I am definitely not a tech-blogger.


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