sábado, 21 de febrero de 2015

My Four-Year-Old Daughter Rejected Windows 10

Eimi, my four year old daughter, has interacted with Linux-powered computers since she was born.  I still remember those nights in which I would pace up and down in my office, holding her and rocking her on my arms while the Linux desktop played music.

Then, Eimi grew and started enjoying her own room and, rather precociously, discovered how to use desktops and laptops. I will never forget her first encounter with PicarOS, the Linux distro for children!

Well, it turns out that the failing HD on her desktop finally went dead.  I took the machine to my favorite repair center to have the drive replaced.  In the meantime, I let Eimi use my desktop with OpenMandriva.

The technician called some days later, so I went to pick the machine up.


He had installed Windows to it.  And, to make matters worse, Windows 8.1, I thought.

I did not protest because they did not charge me for the favor (very weird), so I took the computer home.  On the way, I was trying to decide if I should keep Windows 8.1 or not.  It turned out it was Windows 10 TP.

I went democratic about the issue of keeping this OS.  So I asked my wife and she said NO.  She gave up on Windows when she bought her first laptop, a Toshiba satellite pre-installed with Vista.  Now she owns a Dell that came pre-installed with Ubuntu and became a Mageia dual boot.

Then I asked Eimi if she wanted to use her computer with Windows.  Her answer was memorable and I have it recorded on video:  "Gross.  I don't want a computer with Windows Yuck.  Gross!"

That settled the fate of the Redmond OS, which was wiped out and replaced by PicarOS Diego 2014 to the delight of my daughter.  That Linux distro for children simply keeps getting better and better.

After that, I installed Mageia 4 to dual-boot.  Yes, she regularly uses those two distros despite some people still claim that Linux is too difficult for adult users.  Go figure!

One thing is sure: I will never forget Eimi's happily yelling "My computer is back!" when she saw she could dual boot PicarOS and Mageia.

domingo, 1 de febrero de 2015

I Messed Up GRUB2... What a Happy Mistake!

Yesterday, I was using my daughter's desktop computer, which is a Mageia 4/PicarOS dual-boot, when I noticed something that has happended before: after running an update of packages, Mageia changes GRUB2 and erases the entry to boot PicarOS.

I am not very GRUB2 literate.  Last time that it happened, I solved the problem with GRUB Customizer, but it wouldn't help this time.

I tried the Mageia GRUB tool in the Control Center to no avail.

Then I installed the KDE package that lets one configure GRUB2... and that's when I messed up: trying to recover the PicarOS boot entry, I seemed to have installed a useless boot entry on the MBR and the computer, logically, could neither boot PicarOS nor Mageia.

I looked for the Mageia 4 install DVD to run the rescue tool but, since I could not find it, I ran the rescue tools from the Mageia 3 install DVD instead.  It did not work; GRUB2 could not be rescued.

Then I ran a Mageia 3 Live DVD and booted the machine to re-install GRUB2 with Mageia Control Center.  No luck, either, but I found the Mageia 4 install DVD.

Given my little knowledge of GRUB2, my only option at that point was to reinstall the system.  The thing was that I did not want to spend a couple of hours re-configuring the computer.

I ran the installation wizard and it asked me if I wanted a clean install or an upgrade.  I suddenly felt inspired and decided to take a risk.  Normally, I go for a clean install, but I selected UPGRADE instead.

The process lasted less than 5 minutes and Mageia came back to life with a resurrected GRUB2 entry for PicarOS.

But here's the best part. Prior to all this, the computer's Mageia OS had a problem that I had not been able to solve: as ffmpeg could not be updated with the tainted packages, it could not play certain videos for my daughter.

After coming back to life, Mageia told me that no repos were configured. I checked and, sure enough, the install wizard had erased all the repos.  I added them and BINGO!  the missing ffmpeg tainted package was found.

Now my daughter can see her videos again.

Some mistakes bring about happy results after all.


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