[personal profile] mulhern_at_yocto
Last night I was at a dinner with some other Boston open source people and I learned something from another OPW intern.

Now for some history. The process of installing Ubuntu on my Mac was surprisingly painful. The initial bit wasn't so bad but after I had completed the install I realized I had a chicken and an egg problem. I needed to be online to download an appropriate device driver for my wireless interface but I could not get online because my ISP (Comcast) restricts you to just one IP address and I didn't want to risk disconnecting my router from my modem in order to get a wired connection for the machine on which I was installing. I might not have succeeded in reconnecting my modem afterward (because Comcast makes this kind of hard) and my other machine, which I was using to read instructions and useful hints about the process, would not have been online during the crucial operation. So I had to schlep both my laptops to my office where I could get a wired and a wireless connection simultaneously. I thought that kind of snag must happen to more or less everyone, but it turns out I was paying the price that one must pay sometimes for owning a Mac.

Because of open-source licensing the Ubuntu install disk can not include proprietary software and the available device drivers are proprietary. This would not necessarily have been true if I'd been installing Ubuntu on some other kind of computer. Because Apple is a closed (and very closely integrated business) the details of their devices are kept unusually private. If I'd been installing on a Dell I might have gotten the appropriate device drivers without all the hassle.

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mulhern_at_yocto

September 2013

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