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send in the clones

(Just the other day I'd been saying to a friend about how I don't post geek stuff because I don't feel like it's the kind of thing I'd be able to pull off. I don't yet know if I want to, either, but maybe if I can get some of the random stories out of my head, it'll help somehow. Apologies.)

I found myself at home on Thursday night with not much to do, and no particular inspiration to try and write about anything, so I settled for some package wrestling with one of my PC's and tried the pre-release Debian packages for KDE 3.0. Over the years, I've been giving up little bits of control over my Desktop Environment. It all used to matter, somehow. I remember when FVWM was the new kid on the block, and being the kind of guy who spent far too much time playing with new software, pestering the sysadmins to install it for everybody to use, and then evangelizing to my friends about how wonderful this new bit of software was, my config file (purple borders and Avant Garde for the window titles ? Something like that. It's all a bit fuzzy now) made its way across the university (or at least, around the DECstation labs). I toyed with every window manager I could get my hands on (and get to compile - these weren't yet the heady days of ./configure && make, remember), hoping that one of them might be different enough to really make some kind of difference to my working environment. I wanted a reasonable look, but interesting functionality, too. Much of the time, they didn't get past the "let's make it look like something I remember seeing on another computer" stage. Imitation, flattery, I know, but I guess I was hoping for something more interesting. Most recently I'd been using Sawfish - I liked the idea of having a lisp interpreter handy, in case I ever actually had any inspiration to make it do something useful - but somewhere last year I figured I'd had enough of Gnome (as opposed to Sawfish itself), and that I'd try running KDE full-time (as opposed to the occasional foray when I was feeling adventurous but not too adventurous). So I've been happily motoring along with KDE 2 since then (which wins no prizes for looking different either, but I'm resigned to this. If it really mattered, I'd DIY something).

I don't actually run many majorish KDE apps apart from KOrganizer, I suppose. Even then, it usually sits buried under my terminal windows, but I use the reminders all the time... Just last week (pre-upgrade) I'd tried to sync my Palm's calendar with KPilot for the first time in...ooh...months, and KOrganizer choked on the resulting (twice as large) calendar file. Post-upgrade, though, it's fine. I might even remember to sync more often.

I still use Galeon for browsing, though. I'm totally sold on tabbed browsing (and unlike other tabbed browsers - Opera, recent Mozilla - Galeon lets you rearrange tabs, or chuck them off into a different window frame, etc), which I hear is in Konqueror for KDE 3.1. And I still use Eterm, although Konsole's almost there. I still use Gaim, although I did try out a similar-sounding thing (ie. a multiprotocol IM client, for ICQ, MSN, Yahoo, etc.) based on KDE called Kopete tonight, until I discovered it wouldn't let me enter my various passwords at connect-time (I'll try again in a month or two, I guess).

Also, I still use Gnus. I did spend some time playing around with the new version of KMail, which seems nice enough (I kinda like the comforting green vibe of a verified PGP-signed e-mail, for instance), but every GUI mail client I've ever tried to use has seemed like a compromise. You'll have to pry Gnus from my dead, cold fingers. Somewhere a little later on in the year I'll have been using it for 7 years. Even I can't quite fathom that. I can cope with the fact that August 2002 marks my 10 year "anniversary" (such as it is) of using Linux, but 7 years of Gnus...it just kinda crept up on me without me noticing.

* 00:45 * geek