O.S.I.R. - Operateing System Induced Rage #1

Here is a toolchain.

MS-DOS 4.01 with DOSSHELL -> MS-DOS 5.0 with DOSSHELL -> with Norton Change Directory (NCD) ->Windows 3.11 ->

Do I go with Windows 95 or with Slackware Linux? I am holding both, I am looking at a secondhand beige Pentium.
Win95 is supposed to be an improvement over the clunkiness of Win3.1, but Linux is the coolest and niftiest thing in the world.
I try both.  Neither work well out of the box, but Starcraft runs on Win95. Not to mention I am just in a sophisticated shell: I can always drop down to the command line to manually weed out problems. 
When bugs rear their ugly heads, quite often the many years of DOS experience comes to my aid.
I have fun. I tinker a lot. I run GUI-less versions, I run tiny versions, and I play a lot of Starcraft.
The cruel hand of Fate plucks me away from this, and I am back in win3 hell for a couple of years.

So win3.11 -> Win95 -> DOS 7.0/ win3.x -> DR-DOS -> Win98se ->Win98Monstrous

I don't upgrade to 2000 or ME, but I do the transplant hacks that can graft a lot of  functionality (Like Spider Solitaire) into Win98.
At this point,I try Linux again. Not the multi-floppy Slackware archive, but a CD-ROM 'Storm' Linux.
Now if I'd had that CD when I was trying win95, I wouldn't have touched the Microsoft product. It was relatively smooth to install, and worked well. I crashed it a lot, but hey I crashed win products a lot too.
Long and short was that it served me better than win95, but not better than win98. And there was this little thing called USB that was getting more and more important...
Outrage one afternoon involving the XWindows server and my favorite monitor drove me into the arms of winXP.

And there I've stayed, occasionally flirting with FreeDOS or Ubuntu long enough to repair a disk or get a limping machine going. After a exhausting round of spyware in 2007, I took Ubuntu out on a couple of dates, fooled around a little...we had a love of the commandline in common, but we quarreled on one 'dark sad night' over user permissions.

This is a sore spot of mine: its my damned computer, it should obey. I understand that Linux is a clone of UNIX , the best thing to come out of Berkeley since LSD*, but I'm not into fantasizing about running a mainframe.

But here I am in 2014, with the horrible prospect of migration to Vista, Windows 7, 8 or 9, or buying a dozen red roses and re-installing Linux.

My testbed for this is a HP Pavilion Laptop, which had been percussively modified by its previous user.
I've got an installation of Puppy Linux,and right out of the box, I can surf the net with Firefox via ethernet.

Okay, that is the first and second milestone passed. Now to start finding problems.

Screen is too dark: the laptop's hardware keys apparently map to software and won't brighten.
Puppy Package Manager does not seem to have any sort of screen brightener software. 'Start' Menu doesn't have one either, but it does list four different audio players and a Personal Banking application.
Ah, the familiar and strangely schizophrenic feel of Linux's 'More-is-better' philosophy.
I checked google, and found a forum of complaints on the topic of dim screens, and was pointed at a nice program. The integration between the package installer and Firefox was very smooth.

The screen looks a lot nicer bright.

Next up -> a shared files connection with my winXP system to suck all my useful files across the network.
Something tells me that this is not going to be as easy.

*paraphrase of a much better apothegm

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