Temporary workstations and OS polygamy

I have become terminally nomadic of late. No, I have not become an incurable drifter (boom boom), but on a pretty much daily basis now, I swap between computer terminals.

Not only that! My promiscuity extends to operating systems too; until recently my eye wandered only occasionally to other blue gradiated desktops, but in the last few weeks I have skipped between Windows, OS X and Linux with abandon. A while back, I gave Microsoft the shove, who I had been seeing since the days of DOS (it’s been something of a shotgun marraige ever since, given that we had offspring to support) and started an enjoyable liason with a very sexy new Macbook Pro.

I think it’s curious how not-jarring all this swapping back and forth is. I imagine if I had to drive a few different cars, or use a number of different phones every day I would be uncomfortable. And I use my computer much more than I use either of those.

Then again, I’m always reading a couple of books at any given time, usually a cross-section of genres to appeal to different moods, so perhaps OSes work the same way. OS X is Douglas Coupland or Stewart Brand, Linux is Michel Foucault or maybe Dave Eggers, and Windows is Christopher Marlowe or Dan Brown; what am I in the mood for?

Also, driving or phoning are boring activities, whereas I enjoy tinkering with computers and find interface design interesting.

In a somewhat circular move, I’ve been delving into the UNIX command line also. It’s odd; here I am 15 years later, learning the command line all over again. ls -l is the new dir /p.

— 17 Apr 2006