For the nth time I am trying Linux again. This time it’s Fedora Core 4. Yesterday, I downloaded a 2.5GB DVD image and burned a copy. Since my 1st computer, I always have a linux partition available. Sometimes it has a distro installed, other times I clean it up in frustration and use it for a windows backup disk. I backed up the data, cleaned the 12GB partition on my laptop and started the install. As usual, the initial install was smooth and I was up and running in 40 min.

I use my home computer primarily for image editing (Photoshop), web & mail (firefox, thunderbird), personal finance (Microsoft money & Scottrade stock application) and some java programming. So if I can find reasonable substitute for these, I’d stick to Linux.

Now the troubles which always drive me back to Windows. Almost every previous install, I never get past the fonts problems. The default fonts installed in a number of distros suck. And I have no reason to believe the other distros I haven’t tried are any better. Now there are a number of tutorials, guides and helpful forum posting on the web on this issue, but none of them ever seem to work. However, this time I managed to get the fonts sufficiently good looking and most web sites readable to continue onwards. I don’t know what I did different from the past, but installing windows TT fonts and some random tweaks here and there worked.

Next the external monitor. Currently I have my laptop hooked to an external monitor and I would like to use only the external monitor. For now I have the same desktop on the laptop screen and external screen. Searching around, all I find is numerous Linux enthusiasts and some experts having trouble getting an external monitor to work. I couldn’t find anything related to switching the display from internal to external monitor. I would like to have a setup similar to windows, where a combination of keys (Fn-F8). switch between, internal, external and both monitors. I know I have to make some changes in the xorg.conf. Something like adding a section for new monitor and one for new screen and then some way to switch. I don’t know whether its possible, and certainly don’t know how to do it.

Next I started looking for a stock tracking application. Initial searches on google haven’t come up with anything interesting. I have tried GNUCash in the past and personally I don’t like it. Scottrade has a java applet, but last time I tried the applet, it was a memory hog and also leaked memory. I would like something on the lines of MS Money or Quicken.

Then I tried eclipse. Installing JDK was a breeze and so was eclipse. However, inside eclipse, creating a java class resulted in exceptions and core dumps. I had to replace the java included with FC4 with Sun’s JDK 1.5 as default java and set JAVA_HOME properly to make eclipse work. Still I believe eclipse development is more geared towards windows than linux. It just looks so much better in Win. Well if they had used Swing… but that’s for another time.

I still need to try Gimp for my image processing needs. I have used gimp a lot in the past, so I believe that won’t be a problem. I hope they have introduced color management and better RAW processing.

While I was contemplating writing this blog, I realized I need a blogging client too. On windows, I use w.bloggar. Is there a good linux alternative?