Over the years I’ve been a gamer. In fact, JoAnne and I both enjoyed games like “Dark Ages of Camelot”, “World of Warcraft” and “Star Wars: The Old Republic”. As such we used a LOT of Windows based computers.
But, as a computer IT geek, systems engineer and electronics guru, I’ve always been more drawn to Linux operating systems. Started with Slackware and messed with several different distros of Linux. I’ve brought a bunch of computers back to life using various levels of Linux, whether from a live CD or a thumbdrive.
At present we’re using two laptops on the boat. One is a windows based Dell machine which has quite a fast processor and runs like crap. The other is my little HP cheap (but newer) laptop running Lubuntu 15.04, with a Cinnamon Desktop.
Anyway, the idea is to fully replace Windows with Linux at some point, though I have been trying for many years to do so, I tend to go back to Windows when I want a piece of software to run without problems or all the hacking that I have to do at times to get it to run.
Since we’re at home in Colorado temporarily (January 2016) I decided to test a few things. This particular distribution of Linux, Lubuntu runs very well on the laptop and now I’ve loaded OpenCPN (http://opencpn.org/ocpn/) and located a copy of some charts (http://www.nauticalcharts.noaa.gov/mcd/Raster/download_agreement.htm)
Next I collected my old “Microsoft” hockey puck GPS device (GPS-360, P/N 360-1000-02) made by Pharos.
Above is a photo of the GPS device. When plugged in and set up with OpenCPN it works great.
Running OpenCPN with Windows has not been easy. It crashes or stops talking to the GPS (thus, it stops tracking our path).
Of course, we also have a chart plotter, very old and the charts are outdated, so I’m using OpenCPN and paper charts for planning purposes when picking a place to go, anchor or examine the channels through which we will pass.
Mostly I use this laptop with Lubuntu Linux running for writing, Facebook, blogging and internet look ups. Thus far, it has served me well. Eventually, one day we may finally make the final jump to Linux away from Windows.