Now that I had a machine that was usable, I started poking around the latest version of the openSUSE operating system (11.4) and familiarizing myself with KDE 4.6. I’d used Linux before, including openSUSE, back when I was first experimenting with different operating systems. I’d downloaded various distros and live CDs off and on for years, and even set up a few dual-boot machines along the way. The backup machine I’d been using since the death of epsilon3 was running Ubuntu 10.10, and while it ran well on the older, less powerful hardware, it just didn’t seem like a good fit for me.
I decided that this install would be a practice run and that once all the new hardware was in place, I would perform a fresh install on the new hard drive. I started off by christening this temporary install “epsilon3.5” as this was the half-way point between the old machine and the new. I tinkered with the desktop settings, I installed new software using the openSUSE software manager, and I even managed to compile a few programs from scratch.
All in all, these sessions were all about getting comfortable working with my new everyday operating system. One of the things that was very helpful is that many of the programs included with the openSUSE installation are programs that I’d been using in Windows for a long time. Firefox, Open Office (and Libre Office), the GIMP, Audacity, VLC, and Filezilla, to name just a few, are all programs that have both Windows and Linux versions, and are programs that I was very comfortable using.
While I was busy updating my Linux skills on epsilon3.5, I ordered the next two pieces of its successor, a new DVD burner and a case. Since I intended epsilon4 to eventually sport two optical drives, I went with the cheaper non Blu-ray burner for now. It’s a LiteOn 24x iHAS424 model, and should be able to handle all the basic disc burning chores without any problems.
The new case is the Antec Three Hundred. While it’s marketed as a gamer’s case, there are no lights or windows for show. It comes with a 140mm exhaust fan on top, a 120mm exhaust fan on the back and room for three more 120mm fans (one on the side and two on the front). There’s room for six hard drives in the internal 3.5″ bays and three 5.25″ devices in the external bays. All the expansion room plus the understated design, reasonable cost and Antec name made this a no-brainer for me.
Of course, as soon as the new case was delivered, I dove right in and performed the transplant! All the components made the move over to the new case without so much as a burp and everything is humming along nicely. There’s only one critical piece left to put into place before epsilon 3.5 makes way for epsilon4, and that’s a new hard drive. It shouldn’t be long now…