Daily Archives: February 9, 2008

Living With Linux, Day 2

Because I know you are all passionately interested.

First, what I like: It’s nice to look at a screen and see it completely uncluttered. I’m actually less tense looking at my computer now. This was the desired result, so well done, me. Also, I like the idea of the multiple workspaces.

Now, some of what I don’t like:

1. Had to reinstall the Linux after something went screwy with my first install and Firefox wouldn’t work anymore. Went with Xubuntu this time; it worked perfectly (In case you’re wondering, I’m using the Wubi installer, because it does all the heavy lifting on the installation — I didn’t even have to make a drive partition. It was dead simple to do and I recommend it for everyone isn’t so steeped in open source geekery that they could roll their own distro).

2. The word processing programs (AbiWord, KWord, OpenOffice) are dead ugly. Say what you will about Microsoft, Word 2007 is actually pretty. I wish open source had a better sense of aesthetics, basically.

3. Along the same line: Dude, Linux fonts suck. There are apparently ways to get TrueType fonts to work under Linux, but it also apparently involves opening up a terminal window and etc; sorry, it’s not going to happen.

4. My install can’t find my sound card. Actually, I don’t know if I should count this as a negative, since the whole point is to give me a distraction free environment, so this may actually be a feature rather than a bug. Still, a strike against a completely error-free install.

Fortunately most of these qualify as annoyances rather than real problems.

We’ll see what I think about all of this starting Monday, when I actually get back to work.

How to Get an eBook of Old Man’s War — Free!

Every stinkin’ day, I get e-mail: When is the eBook version of Old Man’s War coming about? Because, you know [enter 500-word justification of the existence of ebooks, which I find ironic because I've only had Agent to Stars available as an ebook for, oh, nine years], and that’s why there should be an ebook version.

Fine. There’s now a legal ebook version of Old Man’s War, actually produced by our good friends at Tor. And how much will you pay for this ebook? $10? $5? $24.95?

None of the above! You can have it absolutely completely and totally free (and that’s the “free as in free beer” free, not that annoying “free as in free speech” free). That’s right, we’re mortgaging my adorable daughter’s future college career to hand out free electronic copies of my most successful and critically acclaimed book! Because I love you guys just that much. No, no, you don’t have to hug me in gratitude. I don’t know where you’ve been, man. Just, you know, buy all the rest of my books. That’ll square us.

Not only that, but in addition to getting my book free as an authorized ebook, you can get other authorized, free ebooks as well — Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn is also on offer, and more very cool books will be announced soon. No more trawling Pirate Bay and reading copies OCR’d by monkeys! These are the real deal, and free.

(And for those of you who care about such things: My understanding is that they don’t have DRM on them. Or at least, mine isn’t supposed to have, and I don’t think they’re planning mine to be special in that regard.)

But — of course — there’s a catch. A really not-at-all-painful catch: If you want the legal, free, ebook version of Old Man’s War and other books, you need to go here, to Tor.com, and sign up for a newsletter from Tor. Sign up for the newsletter, get the free ebooks. Simple.

Why is there a sign up form there? Because Tor has something really cool planned there. How cool? So cool that I gave them permission to give away my book to promote it. I could tell you more, but the laser beams pointed at my head from Tor’s phalanx of orbiting satellites inclines me to keep my mouth shut about it for now. Suffice to say, I think you would want to know about it even without the free books.

So go and sign up. From there, as the site itself says:

Within a day or so of sending us your address, you should receive an email with a download link for this week’s free book. As different free books are swapped in, about once a week, you’ll get further emails with different download links. This program will end when the site launches, but you can keep the free books; we won’t be erasing them with our orbital attack electromagnets. (Yet.)

They have the orbital attack electromagnets, you see. They just won’t use them.

Mistborn is the first free ebook they have on offer; Old Man’s War comes in the next week. So it pays to sign up early so you can get the full course of ebooks. Which, to remind you, are free. And legal. And made of awesome.

Here’s that link again. Sign up and enjoy. And, yes, tell your friends.

(Hat tip to Irene Gallo, who all things considered should be considered a reliable source.)