Back on the air
I'm sorry. This blog and all my web sites have been off the air for about a week. I got overconfident and decided that recompiling my linux kernel would be safe enough to risk. After all - I wanted to enable some features that need to be baked in to the kernel; specifically, support for some virtualisation that would get me out of the open source equivalent of dll hell. In theory, I should have been able to build the new kernel, add it to my boot loader configuration, and reboot the machine. If anything went wrong, well I still had the old kernel, and I could reboot using that in another few minutes.
That's the theory. In practice, I ended up spending whatever-spare-time-a-father-of-three-has for the last week relearning half of what I knew about the gentoo boot process, and then learning some more, and then eventually solving it all by just blindly updating everything and hoping.
I got quite some help from people on the relevant IRC channels (#gentoo and #gentoo-chat on freenode) and in the process ended up explaining to them that I don't believe Windows, Linux, MacOs or any such thing to be superior to the others. It's mostly about what you are familiar with, and I have maybe five years on linux, compared to three or four times that on Windows as a professional. To be fair, such places aren't the sweaty hotbeds of rabid linux-advocacy that you might imagine. Most people have solid time on Windows too, but it's a really hard sell to suggest that usability is even vaguely important. If you can't take the heat, stay out of the kitchen, I suppose....