Proving once again that writers are never above peeking into the next stall, Writer/BoingBoing co-editor Cory Doctorow recently published a geeky introspective about the software/hardware tools he uses, and I hope his sizable audience takes note.

Doctorow showers Ubuntu Linux with abject fanboy love, and frankly, I had to agree.

Ubuntu Just Works. I recently had cause to install Windows XP on an old ThinkPad and found that it was about a hundred times more complicated than getting Ubuntu running. When I transitioned to Ubuntu from the MacOS, I had a week or two’s worth of disorientation, similar to what happened after we renovated the kitchen and changed where we kept everything. Then the OS just disappeared, and it has stayed disappeared, breaking in ways that are neither more severe nor more frequent than any other OS I’ve ever used.

Two years ago I ran an Ubuntu Linux “trial” installation on an ailing PC notebook. I’ve never looked back.

All three of my machines run Ubuntu, and my business is now entirely Linux powered.

And doing just fine.

Doctorow neatly parrots what I tell those willing to listen: The operating system just disappears.

Work happens. And then disappears down the pipe with a minimum of wasted (and irritating) clicks.

That wasn’t the case with Windows Vista – the operating system that was so burdened by fluff, maddening dialog boxes and a mother-in-law interface it essentially drove me from the platform after years of… well… tolerating it.

Productivity Really Is The New Black

Remodeling my career – from a writer of mostly print projects to an online copywriter (and now online marketing consultant) – has pushed me into tools which do their job, but otherwise stay the hell out of the way.

It’s a recurring theme among my little pack of writer friends; simpler (and faster and easier and directer) is fast becoming the new black.

That’s why this is being written in a programmer’s editor (a tarted-up version of the very simple Gedit), stored in a text file (where any other editor can reach it), and why I rarely touch a “real” word processor any more.

I could rave on about Ubuntu and its collection of open source applications which have streamlined my workflow (actually improving my productivity in the process), but the larger picture intrudes.

As the cloud grows, its apps become increasingly powerful at aggregating content – especially disparate kinds of content.

What’s left is the relatively simple job of creating that content, which may happen faster on Linux than on a smothering Windows platform (the Mac seems to have an edge in video creation).

Keep writing (and paring away the useless bits), Tom Chandler