Saturday, 31 January 2009

Ubuntu may be a great operating system but hardware still matters

While he was away at the World Social Forum Dr B sent me some particularly cryptic emails - so cryptic that they looked encrypted. It reminded me of the days where I would sit for hours trying to decipher his handwritten letters to me from the other side of the iron curtain. Anyway now he's home I understand why his emails from Belem were in code.
Oxfam Belgium donated a large number of recycled computers installed with the Ubuntu Linux operating system to the Forum and for work in Brazil afterwards. Quite a number of them were in the press room at the WSF. It's a great idea. However there was one problem and it was Azerty not Ubuntu. Training your brain to make your fingers intuitively find their way around the French azerty keyboard has been something I haven' t managed in nearly 18 years of living in France - the numbers are all on shift for instance (and obviously Dr B has fared no better). Of course the recycled computers from Belgium came with azerty keyboards. It just proves that you can have the hippest operating system you want but you still need to think about the hardware issues.