Infinite Loop: Toasted by a DVD writer

By   |  September 27, 2005

Somewhere out there, is a copy of a Project Gutenberg DVD — filled with literary delights such as Best Russian Short Stories, the Illustrated History of Furniture and, my favourite, the 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue.

The DVD is out there, in Johannesburg, because I got impatient with a Freedom Toaster on a go-slow.

And while my penchant for great literary classics, not to mention freebies, kept me hanging around YFM in Rosebank for a bit longer than your average Joburger, the poor eager beaver behind me clutching his blank CD didn\’t even last 10 minutes.

There are other things to do at The Zone while your DVD slow-roasts. You can look at hideously over-priced clothes, and the hideous people wearing them, for instance. But after engaging in every consumer delight, without actually spending any money, I returned to the toaster, still whirring away at a top speed of 0.91X, just 71% complete.

So I left it and went home.

To be honest, I didn\’t brave Rosebank Zone for Project Gutenberg. I braved it for a Linux distribution.

But the \”DVD-enabled\” toaster, in fact, does not burn Linux DVDs. The only DVD option I could find was for Gutenberg. Apparently the option is on the way, which is good news for those 14-CD Debian enthusiasts who have been spotted carrying sleeping bags with them on trips to the Freedom fire.

But the Freedom Toaster route is still quicker than the other option. To borrow a euphemism, South Africa’s \”restrictive telecommunications policy\” (read: rubbish monopolised bandwidth) means that a 2.4GB download off the Internet is a challenging proposition at the best of times.

If you\’re catching the Ubuntu tidal-wave, you can get the distro shopped to you for free from the Netherlands. Expect a bit of a wait, but it does arrive. Thanks Mark.

So this is the deal. My name is Richard Frank and I am a Windows user. I write for an open source website. Lately I\’ve been experiencing this strange sense of, well, guilt.

So I think it\’s time to make the big leap, although I\’m going to do it in small steps. Over the next few months, I\’m going to install and start using Linux and migrate as much of my life as possible into open source. And I hope to record the triumphs and failures in this column.

I suspect it\’s not going to be pretty, but then again, neither is being locked into proprietary systems.

P.S. If anybody out there has my Gutenberg DVD, please contact me. I\’d like to know it has a good home.

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