I got myself a new computer, replacing my trusty, 5 year old Thinkpad R61. It is still perfectly fine, after I got a new battery a year ago, it is only a bit slow, and it is running out of memory or disk space with increasing frequency. So when I saw the deal for my new machine, I couldn't resist.
The old thinkpad is a 14.4 inch machine, that was siting in a docking station with a 21.5 inch screen on my desk. Fourteen inch really is a great size when you are using traveling a lot, which I am, and with the docking station this is not a disadvantage at home.
However, I wanted a powerful machine, and in particular I wanted one that allows me to program the GPU. This is something, that I wanted to learn for a while, but the slow integrated graphics chip of my old notebook did not allow that. Plus, I don't mind being able to play games again, and it is also handy when doing CAD.
My new machine sports a quadcore CPU, 16GB of RAM and a beefy graphics card. On the downside, this resulted in a 15.6 inch screen and a considerably larger weight. Especially the 170W power supply is really a power brick.
So I spent the weekend setting it up. On my old machine I had started with Xubuntu, then changed at some point to Ubuntu. I actually quite like Unity, it works quite well in practice, but I have the impression, that the technically competent community has left Ubuntu, and things are getting pushed into the mainstream market very much. So I decided to give Debian a try, and installed Squeeze, just to notice that many packages are quite old and cause some work with my brand new hardware (especially the NVidia Optimus graphics). Switching to Wheezy (which is not yet, but almost released and proved to be very stable) improved things, but nevertheless some packages I want to use were not easily available.
So I went back to Xubuntu, and I am very pleased with it. Xubuntu much more feels like a community Linux, but still it profits from the large selection of packages. Many things work the way I expect and the the aesthetics and the general handling of the OS are the way I like it.
I went over my selection of standard tools, and dumped chromium in favor of Firefox, Claws Mail in favor of sylpheed, sticked to Liferea and discovered Kupfer as a very nice replacement for the Unity Dash. I am still using zim, like the default music player of Xubuntu gmusicbrowser a lot (had no strong preference before, but was annoyed by Exaile) and Steam is actually quite nice for everything gaming related. This blog now runs now on a git snapshot of pelican, but you should not notice anything. Migration of everything went relatively well, at the moment I am still setting everything up and reorganize my stuff, this will probably take me a while. But I already discovered some things that I might blog about, so stay tuned.