Today I received a disappointing surprise when I turned on my desktop computer, which is a triple boot (Mandriva 2010.2 PwP, Pardus 2011, Windows XP SP3). It came as a cold shower after a day that started with gratifying experiences that skyrocketed...until I got home and tried to use the PC. But bear with me and let me describe how the day went, so that you grasp my tragedy in full form.
My day started with a class discussion on malware, lies, and false pretenses thanks to two texts that we read. It's a reading comprehension class and my students reacted with an awakened interest that you normally do not expect for a class that begins at 7 AM. After reading a poorly supported piece spreading misconceptions, we read Carla Schroder's post on FUD, which cracked a paradigm that many of us once failed to see. The session went great and was followed by a challenging task. Yes, two colleagues asked me to install Mandriva to their netbooks, a Toshiba and an Acer powered by that little gem of an OS that has prompted many to give Linux a try: Windows 7 Starter. I could have failed there had not been for the timely help I received from Megatotoro, who saved the day with his tactics to make Starter share the HDD.
The rest of the day was pretty normal until I went back home and turned my computer on with a fervent wish to post a festive entry. As usual, Mandriva started the computer, but there was something unexpected: the network applet, instead of showing a green check mark, displayed a red "X". Without caring too much, I clicked on the applet to launch Netdrake and fire off the connection manually. However, the X stood there, defying my clicks and laughing sardonically before my baffled eyes. "Mandriva is not working," I thought, after having checked the wires and realizing that everything was properly attached. "Well, there's always Pardus," I consoled myself, and rebooted the PC using the Turkish distro. But Pardus also told me that the connection was unavailable and a spiral of uneasiness ascended through my stomach. My two Linux distros had deserted me: only Windows was left, that long-forgotten OS that had rested unused for more than four months already. Windows was my last hope to connect to the Internet. I could not prevent it; I was shivering as I clicked the red button in Pardus and selected "Boot Windows".
Last time I tried to use Windows, there was a blackout, so I, logically, got a black screen asking me if I wanted to boot Windows normally, or with the last configuration that had worked, etc. I selected "normal" and saw with hope the XP logo...but the computer rebooted unexpectedly and threw me again to the same black screen. "OK, let's go 'last good config' this time," I mumbled and chose. And XP, for its part, chose to do something wonderful: it got me into a cute loop and refused to start. Isn't that wonderful? I have been using my PC all this time without even knowing that Windows XP had fried! Thus, my return to Windows was colored by the inevitable reminder of its many weaknesses.
Five years ago, this loop would have thrown me into a state of anxiety that easily justified my spending the whole night up reinstalling the darn OS. Right now, I just don't care. No anxiety build-up. The plain truth is that my computer works; Windows doesn't.
By the way, I realized that the problem with the net was because the hardware is malfunctioning. See, I'm posting this entry from the wireless connection. Tomorrow, I will get the hardware piece replaced :-)