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The Clueless Newbie's Linux Odyssey 998

Posted by michael
from the men-turned-into-pigs dept.
overshoot writes "Just what we've always (said we) wanted: people who are fed up with Microsoft and are willing, even eager, to give Linux a real try. Well, she did. And did. And did some more. Not only that, she's a technical writer and she took notes. Not fun reading, but worth reading anyway."
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The Clueless Newbie's Linux Odyssey

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  • Article Summary (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Drunken Coward (574991) on Saturday April 05, 2003 @09:38PM (#5670996)
    After finding herself stuck behind the times using Windows 95 in 2002, the author took it upon herself to convert to Linux. After trying Mandrake, Lycoris, SuSE, RedHat, and Knoppix, she found them all seriously lacking and has since switched back to using Windows 95,

    If a computer literate technical writer can't even get Linux working properly, how can we expect it to be widely adopted by the masses? Linux is not ready for the desktop.
  • by Blaine Hilton (626259) on Saturday April 05, 2003 @09:42PM (#5671014) Homepage
    It is hard, but it is very possible now. If people would realize that they need to do a little study, a little tweaking and a lot of "playing" around learning. I use Windows, but have now turned my old computer over to Red Hat Linux and I am trying to slowly use that one more and more. Espcially now with OOo relasing an API I think its just going to get better and better.
  • Re:Article Summary (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 05, 2003 @09:45PM (#5671027)
    "If a computer literate technical writer can't even get Linux working properly, how can we expect it to be widely adopted by the masses? Linux is not ready for the desktop."

    If a computer literate techical writer is still using Windows95 after eight years and does not understand the concept of "upgrading", we have bigger problems. This is like a race car driver bitching because he can not figure out fuel injection and he keeps getting smoked with a carbed engine.
  • by JJahn (657100) on Saturday April 05, 2003 @09:46PM (#5671029)
    is that most people don't understand that Windows is not the universal basis of good operating systems. People expect everything to work the same as it did on Windows. Of course that has to be the case for wide-spread desktop acceptance, but IMO that is not the way it should be.

    At least Linux is reliable and after you get used to working with it, is powerful and useful. And also I don't seem to have so many damn device driver problems as in Windows...with those clueless vendors writing garbage drivers (I'm thinking Creative and ATI at the moment, grumble)

  • by v_1_r_u_5 (462399) on Saturday April 05, 2003 @09:47PM (#5671036)
    Tweaking and "playing around" is *not* what the typical desktop user wants to do. (No, the typical desktop user is not the average slashdot reader.) They simply want their computer to work. They want to do typical desktop things like word processing, not searching on google for some obscure error message and hacking their way to fix it.
  • plain old troll (Score:5, Insightful)

    by blastedtokyo (540215) on Saturday April 05, 2003 @09:48PM (#5671043)
    It's funny how the author posts misconceptions about WindowsXP in the first page to say why they'll never try it. Then they go on to bash everything else in sight.

    Sounds like one of those people who love to complain and are just looking for an audience.

  • by 1nsane0ne (607735) on Saturday April 05, 2003 @09:49PM (#5671046) Journal
    Let's see 12 distro's tested. Of those 8 are red hat / mandrake and 2 were suse. To give linux / alternative operating systems a try there should be more choices. She never said that linux was her only choice she just thought it best met her requirements. Seems to be that FreeBSD or any other BSD would be a good choice to try at as they meet all the requirements. Or if your hell bent on linux at least use a bunch of different distros just not red hat and mandrake. Doesn't seem like she gave enough alternitaves a try. I'm personally a fan of using what works best, be it windows, unix, linux, bsd, mac, beos, or whatever. It varies from person to person and from situation to situation and from computer to computer. There is no end all perfect for all, hardware, situations, and uses operating system and until there is one, we'll be stuck dual booting or using windows in some situations or whatever. Anyways thats just my two pennies.
  • by argoff (142580) on Saturday April 05, 2003 @09:52PM (#5671055)

    During WWII, Charles Lindburg went over to germany, looked at their massive numbers of factories and aircraft, and concluded that the USA could never win the war. I suppose also, that in 1950's USSR, many people saw their huge building projects, factories, and the space program and concluded that the USA would never beat out the Soviets which at the time seemed more elloquent and "sophisticated" in their approach. But if you believed that people had inaliable rights as dignified human biengs, and believed that freedom was an end in itself - then there was only one way to go.

    Well the same is true with Linux. Some Microsoft features may seem more "sophisticated", others may see Microsoft's huge amount of cash and never believe that they could loose to Linux. But if you believe that copying things is not a sin, but a human nature; and you believe that property rights derive from physical truths and not from artifical monopolies imposed by the government - like copyrights. Then there is only one way to go, and that way will free and benefit the people who believe in it over the long run, and destroy the people who don't.

  • by thadeusPawlickiROX (656505) on Saturday April 05, 2003 @09:56PM (#5671072)
    I can understand the points the writer brings up: Linux can be tough to use and install at first. However, there are several faults in the logic in the article. For example,

    Before you say RTFM, make sure there is AFM to R: ...and make sure that the table of contents of a specific software's help file opens when I click the corresponding help button. Context-sensitive help is over a decade old -- I have written a lot of it for Windows -- but doesn't appear to have taken hold in Linux.

    I see some problems with this. Last I checked, Windows did not have very good tech support, online or offline. The "help button" in most Windows apps is usually pretty useless. And, the author needs to RTFM.... there are plenty of good resources to use for Linux help, www.justlinux.com being one I frequently used when I needed help. The writer falls into the trap that most do, assuming Windows is THE perfect operating system. And, it's not, there are just as many faults in installation as there are in Linux. I've seen many failed driver installs, no/bad video, etc. I think linux support is better in some aspects, actually. And the use of non-standard parts for the writer's test PC's (video card in first computer, SCSI card??) would not be 100% in Win95 to begin with. I just wish writers would view things a bit better before going off complaining about how tough Linux is. If Windows was held to the same standard, the same complaints could be made as well.

  • by bstadil (7110) on Saturday April 05, 2003 @09:56PM (#5671075) Homepage
    I don't know about you all but I have had it with "reviews" that spends two third of the space with the installation issue.

    If the installation prevents Linux from world domination in someones eyes, so be it. There will always be issues with some hardware or unique configuration, but that is the case with Windows as well.

    If installation is a major issue for anyone get someone that knows to do it.

    Tempt them with Free as in Beer and stop yammering about something that is not so important compared with how does this work once installed.

  • by Fritz Benwalla (539483) <[randomregs] [at] [gmail.com]> on Saturday April 05, 2003 @09:57PM (#5671083)

    I have to add that this was my experience too.

    Let me preface this by saying that I run a web design company, I maintained our servers for the first few years, I put in my time on PETs and TRS-80s, and APPLE IIs and Windows 3.0 and 95 and NT and 2000 and Linux. Take my word for it, I'm a seriously fucking technical guy. I offer as further evidence the fact that I'm posting to Slashdot on the Linux holy war at 9pm on a Saturday night.

    I made an honest go of making my home main OS Linux, but I quit in frustration. The main problem is that it's not that Linux isn't *capable* of doing everything I need, but the tiny things that are slightly greater hassles in Linux end up being a death by a thousand cuts.

    If there's one main way I can think of to characterize my regular use of my main OS, it's "freewheeling." I need it to be a transparent conduit in my productivity, whether it be hitting the Net, writing documents, personal finance, etc. Linux was *always* functional, but *never* transparent. I constantly had to tweak little things to make it work, find new libraries, etc. That's fun when I'm using hobby time, but not fun at all when I have shit to do on a deadline.

    Honestly, I don't know how you're going to fix this aspect of the OS without doing what Microsoft has done - compromise fundamental stability and security in favor of useability. Personally I hope the debate stops, and we stop trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. Let MS spend their money catering to the masses, let's keep Linux stable and robust for hard core needs.

    I think we'd be doing the world a lot more good putting Microsoft's server products out of business than their desktop products. I'd feel a much greater sense of accomplishment knowing that I helped get the world's credit cards onto a Linux server than the world's Mom's on a Linux desktop.

    -----

  • by BadElf (448282) on Saturday April 05, 2003 @10:00PM (#5671097)

    #2 Existing hardware must remain usable. At a minimum, the printer, modem, and CD player/writer must work, and the new operating system must make them work without my having to tweak configuration files. If it can't get that far, it's not ready to inflict on the general public as a migration route, and I certainly will not recommend it to my friends.

    #3 Existing software must remain usable unless the new operating system has equivalent features to the ones I use, there is no loss of data and data-transfer is easy.

    Note: Requirements 2 and 3 eliminate WindowsXP as an upgrade route. I would need to buy a new computer, probably new peripherals, and replace some eXPensive software to get the dubious benefits of product-activation codes and embedded functions I don't want and can't delete.


    At least we know she hasn't bought into Redmond's bullshit about XP's features.

  • by Teancom (13486) <david.gnuconsulting@com> on Saturday April 05, 2003 @10:02PM (#5671107) Homepage
    Did you read the article? Or even skim it? One of her main problems was not that it doesn't work like Windows, but that the various installation routines and setup programs would either not work the way they were supposed to at all, or work sometimes and not others. I'm thinking specifically of her redhat 8.0 problems, where didn't see her soundcard at boot until she ran snconfig, then it saw it the next time, and offered to configure it for her (too late!); and the knopix random segfaulting and mouse cursor disappearing; and mandrake not seeing that it was connected to the 'net even when it was; and various cd burned programs not seeing her drives, or burning coasters; etc, etc, etc. You can't claim reliability as a plus to linux, unless it is actually stable and reliable!

    Now, before you get your panties in a twist, I think you have to differentiate between the kernel and the gui. I will agree that on average, the Linux kernel is more stable than windows 9x, me, and 2k (I've never used XP, couldn't tell you). *However*, the Linux GUI is just as unstable and crappy as those listed. Now I personally take that as a challenge, and help out with various KDE projects, with bug reporting/fixing, and the like. But pretending that the general state of the GUI in linux is that of stable, reliable, user-friendly, and intuitive programs would be self-deluding.-
  • by mekkab (133181) on Saturday April 05, 2003 @10:04PM (#5671115) Homepage Journal
    If version X of a release is difficult to use, why try Version Y? And if Version Y is also not working for you, what kind of a moron do you have to be to say "Hmmmm, Version Z, that's gonna be the one to solve MY hyper-specific and unique problems!"

    I was told the definition of insanity was doing the same thing and expecting a different result. Now I've had some bad linux installs (*Cough* linuxppc *cough*) but I take that as an indicator that I have to move on. This woman is crazy!

    And do you think it would be so hard to bribe that geek to install it for her?! Just show him a little ankle flesh and I'm SURE he'd do whatever you wanted!
  • by IIRCAFAIKIANAL (572786) on Saturday April 05, 2003 @10:05PM (#5671117) Journal
    Actually, technical writer != writer of things technical. Although the focus of a technical writer often is producing materials associated with engineering, a good technical writer is a generalist and good at making things understandable and "user friendly."

    Technical writers don't just write about things technical though. They write business process manuals, assembly instructions (ala IKEA), and so on. It's a wide field.

    Also, saying a technical writer lacks creativity is like saying a programmer lacks creativity. They both deal with important rules and standards and may seem "rigid" to a layperson, but it still takes creativity and talent to do it well.

    (My fiance has taken technical writing courses, though she's switched to doing research as a career goal. Anyone in the field, feel free to add your two cents.)
  • by NZheretic (23872) on Saturday April 05, 2003 @10:07PM (#5671121) Homepage Journal
    "Migrating to Linux not easy for Windows users" article in Linuxworld, while somewhat informative, is unfair and one sided, because it is based upon expectations that not even Microsoft's Win2k and XP can live up to. Tsu admits as much

    Note: Requirements 2 and 3 eliminate WindowsXP as an upgrade route I would need to buy a new computer, probably new peripherals, and replace some eXPensive software to get the dubious benefits of product-activation codes and embedded functions I don't want and can't delete.

    The expectation that Linux will fulfill the hardware driver installation off the distribution CD, when you admit that you may have to replace the entire hardware for XP, is inherently unfair and beyond what can be reasonably expected in any operating system. XP is not without it's major problems when it comes to older hardware ( especially scanners ) support and driver conflict problems.

    The lack of any relative comparison in your article to the Microsoft alternative, paints Linux in a far worse light than is the reality. Compare your article to the recent articles by Joe Barr, comparing Linux installation with XP [linuxworld.com] and Windows 2000 [linuxworld.com].

    Also, given the rapid improvement of Linux distributions, 18 months is in my opinion, too long ago to represent the current state of Linux on the desktop. See Michael C. Barnes updates look at leading desktop operating system options [desktoplinux.com] on the market.As with Joe Barr's article, it benchmarks Linux against Microsoft's offerings.

    There is nothing inherently wrong with pointing out faults, in fact any *constructive* criticism over current releases of Linux is both welcome and necessary to the Kazan like rapid improvement of Linux. However, just repeating war-stories without acknowledging either that the issue has been fixed in the lastest release of that distribution, or similar problem also exists with Win2k and XP, does nothing but provide fodder for Microsoft's trolls. I am surprised that this article in it's current form, made it past the editors at Linuxworld.

    Not all linux distributions are targeted for the non-technical deployer. For example: Lycoris, Xandros and ELX are more likely to have SMB functionality preconfigured on install.

    However, does not someone also re-configure windows for your colleagues? When they log in, is the SMB shares,printers and defaults always pre-installed for them? If not, who ever provides techsuppport for you is not doing their job properly.

    Deployment, day to day management and just using a computer, require a different level of technical knowledge, no matter what operating system you are using.

    Although many non-technical people to install and with windows often reinstall the operating system, that does not mean that they do a good job of it. I have been too often called in to repair a screwed up home based 98 to XP systems to personally attest to that.

    That some Linux distributions, for example RedHat 8, do require a lot more knowleadge to deploy, once properly deployed and configured, they are a hell of a lot easier to remotely manage on a day to day basis, even using GUIs. ( hint - ssh -X root@TARGET-IP ). The quality of the technical knowledge from Linux user groups and distributions forums, especially in comparison to phone support from Microsoft, can more than make up for the difference in relative difficulty. That Tsu Dho Nimh set up a a pre-requisite that no external support was aceptable, is unrealistic even for windows XP.

    Dispite the absolute terror of the Microsoft advocates, Linux is NOW a more than adequate as a desktop for the enterprise, a replacement for XP and an upgrade from window98 and NT4.

    At work , we have upgraded 80% of our ghosted win98se desktop from Microsoft Office 98 to StarOffice6 and Mozilla

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 05, 2003 @10:07PM (#5671124)
    well if you want a computer that just work and dont want tho fiddel with it . you have no businies instaling an operating system of any kind. i work at a computer shop ind the horrors never ned with customers complainig that there new computer dosent work and 99.9 % its a busted windows installation. the worst thing is that we offer to install the os fore free but no they want to do it themeself and they fuck it up and think the computer is busted.
    so if they only want hte computer as a toll and they dont want to learn and they dont want to fidel. leav that to the techs end of story and that applays fore all operating systems
  • by Tuxinatorium (463682) on Saturday April 05, 2003 @10:12PM (#5671148) Homepage
    Well, I tried Mandrake, and it honestly didn't seem to have any real benefit over WindowsXP other than the dozens of cool freeware games that came with it. For normal work, WindowsXP gets the job done fast enough and is perfectly stable. Plus, even though it's "bloatware" it's a lot faster than emulating windows apps from Linux. When both OSes are free (heh heh heh) I don't see any compelling reasons to use Linux instead of WindowsXP.
  • by lkaos (187507) <anthony.codemonkey@ws> on Saturday April 05, 2003 @10:16PM (#5671161) Homepage Journal
    Being one of the lucky open source developers who gets paid to work on Linux for a living, I love reading constructive feedback about how to improve Linux. I did not like this article because:

    1) It was degrading. I'd rather not be condescendingly referred to as a "shreiking geek".

    2) She says she has problems that are absolutely absurd. For instance, "Root gets locked out of files". If this is occuring, then Linux has some serious security problems...

    I hear so much complaining about how Linux developers aren't helpful to new users and such. Well, I'm sick of new users who aren't helpful to Linux developers and just sit around complaining about how things don't work like they should and then fail to explain how they should work or make general statements like "all my old legacy applications should just work".

    End-users of Open Source software have as much, if not more, of an obligation to be helpful to developers as developers have to be helpful to end-users.
  • Re:Article Summary (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Eight 01 (614650) on Saturday April 05, 2003 @10:17PM (#5671168)
    This is like a race car driver bitching because he can not figure out fuel injection and he keeps getting smoked with a carbed engine.

    Not really. It's more like a writer for a car-racing magazine not being able to figure out their fuel injection. She is a writer who is technically-able. She needs a computer to get her job done. Linux didn't work out for her. Windows 95 does.

  • by freeweed (309734) on Saturday April 05, 2003 @10:20PM (#5671178)
    I've been a faithful Windows user for almost a decade now. Mostly because it's getting expensive to buy software every time I want to do something new, and mass piracy is turning my stomach, I've been looking into this whole 'free software' thing. Also, my current co-op work term required me to learn Linux and Solaris.

    Ok, so at work we have about a dozen test machines. At home, I have a couple of spare machines. Broad range of hardware, from cutting edge XP1800's and 128mb video cards, to barely usable p100's with 64mb ram and 1mb video. ISA, PCI, AGP, sound, network, scsi you name it, it's here.

    So freeweed decides to try installing linux. Ooo, I've heard good things about this Red Hat. Download the isos, burn, start the install. Wow, looks as good as, if not better than, the current batch of Windows installers. Very slick and intuitive (as long as you understand drive partitioning, something required even in the Microsoft world). A short while later and I'm in Gnome thinking "huh. except for a really odd filesystem, it's like Windows with nicer graphics". So, I carry on. Mandrake. Debian. Slackware (ok, that was a bit of a bitch and I needed to ask for help :). Once they're installed, I poke around a bit, look for the GUI configuration tools in the 'start' menu, and bang, I can change almost anything I want. Hmm. Just like Windows, where every new version means you have to hunt and peck (mouse wise) for where they've moved everything, and for all the new features you're unfamiliar with.

    So, I'm pretty used to installing linux at this point, and with all these different configurations, the worst I had to deal with was looking up how to get an old ISA network card to work. Huh. Just like Windows. Now, it's time to try using some of this software. Holy shit! There's an office suite installed, free! Mp3 player, ftp client, multiple browsers, packet sniffers, IRC clients, you name it. I have almost everything I need, without the 18 reboots and hunting down cd after cd after cd trying to install everything I use. Ok, let's see how hard it is to get something not on this system. Hmm.. download a package, double click it in nautilus, it's installed! No easy desktop shortcut or start menu entry, so let's try just typing its name on the command line (just as I've done for years in Windows). No pathing errors, this is pretty damn cool!

    Summary: I've been a Windows kid since the early 90s. Installing linux was at least as easy as Windows (it even told me that 'root' was the linux word for 'administrator'). I can do everything I want, for FREE. So far it's been pretty easy, and I'm hooked.

    This writer who's coming from Windows 95 obviously hasn't tried installing 2000 or XP, they're at least as involved as a Red Hat install. (Oh, and for the record, anyone with an older machine that finds Gnome/KDE a tad slow, try windowmaker. Nope, it doesn't look like Windows, but boy, is it fast!).
  • Re:Article Summary (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Pyromage (19360) on Saturday April 05, 2003 @10:21PM (#5671180) Homepage
    Your attitude is why Linux sucks so much.

    I use it every day. I don't have Windows installed on any of my systems. I *still* think it sucks.

    Why do so many people think that it's always the users problem? Bah, it's so stupid I won't even argue this one.

    The thing is, why hasn't anyone tried to make a *good* distribution yet? We have Debian "we have ten thousand pounds of shitty, buggy, out of date software, but hell, that's a lot, so its good". There's slackware (my favorite) which just has this "you had better know how to do everything because I aint helping you" attitude. Mandrake is as broken as the above. RH is as broken as the above.

    Most niches have decent software in them. There are some genuinely good word processors for Linux. Ditto for web browsers, email clients, etc. Why package 45 shitty ones in a distro?

    And on the topic of hardware support, I'll just paint an analogy: BeOS. BeOS supported almost no hardware. It has worse support than any other OS I've used, in terms of quantity. But what it *does* support, it supports perfectly. Swap video cards? You won't get any messages. The new one will just work, same resolution, same bit depth (assuming they both were supported, but that's not avoidable). THIS is what support should be: when it works, it should *work*.

    When I installed my HP722C a while back, I had to manually write a magicfilter print filter because no existing system supported it at the time. Unacceptable.

    And people like you come along and make jackass comments like "You're not l33t enough to move to Linux, because you're still running Windows 95! Only Win2Kers are cool enough to join my OS!". Asshole. Shut the fuck up.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 05, 2003 @10:22PM (#5671187)

    doing what Microsoft has done - compromise fundamental stability and security in favor of useability

    Ha ha I think you confuse "familiarity" with "useability". Windows still has a lot of problems and "annoyances" that come between me and my work. Sure, not as many as Linux, but usually I can just turn to the guy next to me for instant answers for Windows annoyances, while Linux I have to hit the newsgroups or the source code.

    Let's not even talk about Mac OS X, I've NEVER had any problems with OS X and have in fact often been pleasently surprised that I could do stuff that I didn't even THINK of.. wish that would happen with Linux or Windows once in a while.....

  • Re:Article Summary (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gilesjuk (604902) <.giles.jones. .at. .zen.co.uk.> on Saturday April 05, 2003 @10:23PM (#5671192)
    It won't be ready for the masses until you can insert the CD, click Install and leave the computer for 20-30 minutes. When you get back you should have a Linux system that has recognised all your hardware, still lets you run all your Windows tools and your background, sounds, themes and screensaver are all intact.

    This is what the masses will expect, the average computer user doesn't upgrade their OS and they're likely to get a friend, relative or shop to do it. It is these people who will make the decision to deploy Linux.

    With Microsoft clamping down on piracy it is becoming more likely that these people will be deploying Linux at some stage in the future as some computer owners just don't want to pay anything for an OS upgrade.
  • by rot26 (240034) on Saturday April 05, 2003 @10:24PM (#5671197) Homepage Journal
    well if you want a computer that just work and dont want tho fiddel with it . you have no businies instaling an operating system of any kind.

    This may be the kernel of truth that the author should have deduced and commented on.
  • by g4dget (579145) on Saturday April 05, 2003 @10:34PM (#5671244)
    The right way for "normal" people to get a Linux system is the same way they get a Windows system: buy a system with Linux pre-installed. And the way to upgrade is to buy a new PC with a newer version of the OS.

    Regular users should be discouraged from doing anything else: PC hardware is just too complex and messy to allow installation on arbitrary configurations. And that's as true of Windows as it is of Linux.

  • Re:nice quote (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Pharmboy (216950) on Saturday April 05, 2003 @10:43PM (#5671273) Journal
    You think average is upgrading every new release?

    No. I think average is upgrading every 3 or 4 releases. Letsee, 95, 98,me,2k,xp (which has been out 2 years) and now she is average? No, the average person may be running 98 or me, but not 95.

    a file is set immutable, by something or other.

    I have installed more distributions of Linux and every other OS than you can imagine. Never have I ever had an installer do that. I have never had software set an immutable bit. I googled it and can't find much either. Nope. Not likely. Not impossible, but I am betting I have installed a couple hundred more boxes than you if you think this was the problem.

    And then you insult her: she wrote an honest critique of her experiances.

    I could write a critique or review of Italian suites over $1000, but you know what? I still wouldn't know shit about $1000 suits. I am not going to "be sweet to her" simply because she wrote an article. It wasn't a good article. The information is flawed, the premise is flawed, the execution was terrible. And I don't use Linux on the desktop, Im not advocating anything. I don't HAVE a favorite OS. I use them all. 95-XP, bsd, linux, and even OSX when I can. But I know a lame article when I see one.

    Whatever. I'm tired of reading posts by pricks that can't take one whiff of honest criticism. Go smoke another with Ellen.

    Thats the problem: you are the prick that can't take me criticising her article. If someone doesnt want to be criticized, then they shouldnt publish. She is touted as a technical writer, but I question her credentials as well.

    And Ellen is entirely too young for me to be smoking one with. Maybe in a few years.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 05, 2003 @10:45PM (#5671282)
    I've just installed a second Gentoo system. It took me awhile but I stopped being a wah-wah baby poking through Linux distros and complaining they weren't good enough and I just built what I wanted. It's like anything. Don't like the meals and service out? Go to a grocery store and pick the freshest and best ingredients.

    In a few days I had a complete system with Moz, OO.org, Ogle, Gaim, Xmms, Gnome 2.2.1 etc. Why days? It wasn't days of my effort. It was days of the system compiling while I was doing something else. And once I had Xfree and Gnome done, it compiled in the background while I used the system for other things.

    Is Linux bad because all these people try it then cry about how it's not working perfectly? No. Linux is actually GOOD because all these noobs are actually thinking of trying it! Would a few scripts and example tutorials help? Maybe. And by tutorials I don't mean howto's, I mean the openoffice document I created as I went through my Gentoo installs on two machines and recorded all the little things about fonts, mounting zip drives etc. that could easily be part of one document vs spread in a bunch of different docs.

    Hardware has a lot to do with problems. A lot of BSODs are caused by sucky drivers, overheating (crappy cases, bad heatsink fans) and cheap RAM. My mother started having a lot of BSODs on her windows box. Guess what happened? My father had seriously upgraded the insulation in the house and routed a new heat vent into her room. A few bencmarks of motherboard and ambient temps showed it was more than enough to push the system over the edge. Was it a windows problem? No. It was a cold Candian winter + old folks who like warm rooms + handyman upgrades his insulation problem.

    Linux can struggle with all those things, too. I discovered my RAM was overrated on speed (memtest86 failures in tests 5 and 8) and had to crank it down to get through long compiles without segfaults. I really should get some decent RAM.

    The other thing about Gentoo which is interesting (and has nothing to do with intrinsic value) is that as it forced me to assemble my system and pay attention to doing it, I was far more likely to poke around to resolve any issues that popped up and to stick with Gentoo in the long term.

    Maybe downloading all these iso's makes it too easy to try it, decide you don't like it, then bitch about it over the Internet like you're someone who matters.
  • by Theodore Logan (139352) on Saturday April 05, 2003 @10:46PM (#5671285)
    Various people have already replied to your post explaining that the normal end-user is not interested in "playing" with the system. He wants it to work. I would like to add a quote from the article to bring this point home:
    • I think a computer is a tool rather than a hobby. If software is distributed in mass-market retail outlets, I expect it to work straight out of the box.
    Could it possible get any clearer?

    However, she does have a three demands in particular that strike me as unreasonable. It's these
    • 1. [U]sing an old Microsoft Office file with Linux should be no more of a pain in the neck than using an old Office file with a new version of Office.


    • 2. I must have the ability to edit documents created by clients with Windows systems and return them to the client in their preferred format.

      3. Existing software must remain usable unless the new operating system has equivalent features to the ones I use, there is no loss of data and data-transfer is easy.
    Linux is a competitor to Microsoft, and it's largely up to MS whether demands of this kind can ever be met in full or not. I think that the public at large realizes and accepts this. The Linux community is struggling hard to make what she asks for a reality, and so far they're doing alright (or so I've heard - I've never tried any of this myself). But that's not the point. The point is that these demands are unreasonble.

    When you buy your first CD player you have to toss away your old record collection and go buy new CDs instead. Likewise with VCR and DVD. As with a lot of other things. Why is it a given that it should be different when you switch to a completely different computer enviroment?

    Most people want installation to be swift and simple. They want to be able to handle their system and to some degree understand how it works. If she has trouble with this, I agree that we have a long way to go. Full compatibility with MS products on the other hand, while nice, is an extra.
  • Re:Article Summary (Score:5, Insightful)

    by agentkhaki (92172) on Saturday April 05, 2003 @10:50PM (#5671303) Homepage
    [sarcasm]

    Why package 45 shitty [insert software type here] ones in a distro? Choice, my man, choice.

    [/sarcasm]

    Seriously, the parent is 100% on the money. Linux wasn't, isn't, and probably never will be ready for the masses, because the masses want things to just work. Now, before everyone jumps on their anti-microsoft steed screaming 'Microsoft's stuff never does what I want it to do,' remember the following:

    1) As crappy as it might be, Microsoft offers real, live human support for their products, assuming you purchase them and don't pirate.

    2) If something doesn't work, one doesn't have to play 'find the config file and learn how to use whatever sort of configuration options the author decided to implement.' One simply a) doesn't use the product and returns it or b) finds someone to get it to work for them, which is much more likely if they're running Windows or MacOS than if they're running linux.

    3) Why *are* there so many different ways of doing things in Linux? How about one or two *good* ways, instead of half a dozen not-so-good ones?

    Joe user wants things to work. He wants to go to Best Buy, grab the latest game, gadget, whatnot, and he wants to go home, plug it in, idely stand by while it installs God-knows-what spy-ware, and then he wants to use the product, even if he has to jump through a few hoops to do so.

    And probably the biggest reason why Linux will never make it to the main stream population: UI design. Sure, Apple's got a better one than Microsoft... Or is it the other way around? The truth is, it doesn't matter - they have the money and resources to hire someone who knows a thing or two about UI design, and they have the same money and resources to conduct focus groups and research and all those things that open source simply can't do, and they can figure out what works the best for the most number of people, and not just the geeks and their playmates who happen to have written the software.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 05, 2003 @10:59PM (#5671335)
    I'm feeling arrogant enough to want to expand on my metaphor.

    Linux is a supermarket, not Mcdonald's. Your pots and pans and oven and fridge matter; if they don't work properly, the ingredients won't keep or cook the way they should. Some people should stick with takeout, but others like the rich, fresh flavours of fresh ingredients. Some say that food is only calories to keep you going; others take pleasure in the tastes, textures and nutrition of fresh ingredients cooked well.

    -fusibou
  • I'd have to agree (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdot@@@hackish...org> on Saturday April 05, 2003 @11:07PM (#5671373)
    I use Linux (Debian) nearly exclusively, but I can definitely see where she's coming from. If I want to do pretty much anything I need to read a bunch of documentation and edit config files. Now this isn't too difficult if you know what you're doing and have spare time, but I can see how most people would find it unacceptable. In Windows and Mac OS, if you want to do something like, say, burn a CD, you just install the necessary software and it Just Works. In Linux you have to find a cd burning HOWTO and figure out how to change permissions so the cd drive is writable by your user (or set the suid bit on your cdwriting software).

    My biggest pet peeve though? There don't appear to be any good GUI ftp clients for Linux. There's gftp, which is lacking lots of features and is crashy, and there's something-or-other from the KDE people that's not so good either. Nothing approaching Windows' BulletProof FTP or SmartFTP. So I use ncftp, which is a CLI interface. Works for me, but I doubt it would for most casual computer users.
  • Re:Article Summary (Score:5, Insightful)

    by neuroticia (557805) <neuroticia@@@yahoo...com> on Saturday April 05, 2003 @11:10PM (#5671390) Journal
    Linux doesn't suck any more than any other OS that's out there. They all have problems--name it, and it has a problem. People tend to choose their OS based on which set of problems interferes the least with the work they are hoping to accomplish on their computer. (Or they choose it based on what the shiny-piece of plastic they bought at the local CompUSA has installed... But we're not talking about them now, are we?)

    Win2k->Linux *IS* a much easier migration than Win95->Linux, because Win2k has more tools available, has a user paradigm closer to that of Linux (ie: actual security, user profiles that are not just "profiles", etc.) We're not saying that only Win2kers are "cool enough"--hell, I've seen a few WinME'ers migrate over to Linux more easily than Win2k'ers, we're just saying it's an *easier migration* because there's less to learn. (Assuming the migrating party bothered to learn Win2k in the first place)

    There are REASONS why Linux advocates say what they say--often reasons that extend past the snottiness you sweepingly accuse them of.

    As for your complaints about the distros--it's all a matter of personal preference. If you don't like it, you're not required to use it, you know? You do sound like you'd be far more happy on Windows, OS X, or even BeOS. Or are they more sucky, resulting in you staying on the Linux-side?

    Yeah, the Linux community does tend to be a bit short tempered. They're more than happy to help you work out issues, but if you keep complaining about the OS they're also more than happy to tell you to go back to whatever OS you feel most comfortable with. There's plenty of newbies that aren't whining, are more likely to listen, and less likely to waste our time by complaining about how Linux can't do X, Y, and Z--completely forgetting that their "favored" operating system can't do X, Y, or Z reliably, either.

    Anyone who's a negative little fucker is going to have a very negative experience with ANY community they venture into, and ANY OS they attempt to use.

    -Sara
  • by David Jao (2759) <djao@dominia.org> on Saturday April 05, 2003 @11:11PM (#5671395) Homepage
    If Linux "sucks so much" then why do you still "use it every day"?

    This question is rhetorical. You probably use it every day for the same reason I use it every day--that being, although it sucks, everything else sucks more.

    But different people have different needs. I'm one of the biggest Linux fans in the world. However, I happen to think after reading the article that the writer would be better off using Windows.

    This is not because of l33tness, or because I want to be an asshole. The simple fact is that Linux is not yet ready right now for what our writer needs. The most distressing part of the article to me is that it took the writer 18 months to figure this out.

    The reason why no one has tried to make a *good* distribution is that the set of people capable of making distributions (call this set A) is not a representative sample of the population of people who need a *good* distribution. Members of set A tend to be just fine with using command lines and writing printer magicfilters.

    People often lose track of the following two points:

    1. This problem is *hard* to solve. It is a classic chicken and egg. You can't create a distribution until you enter set A, but by the time you've entered set A what's good for you is no longer what's good for average joe.
    2. There's no rush to solve this problem. People often fall into the trap of thinking that Linux has to grow in order to survive. But Linux is not like other commerical platforms. Linux is the most successful user-developed platform in history. Because Linux development is so open and accessible, Linux does not need popular success in order to thrive.
    While I certainly agree that Linux should suck less, I also don't think that Linux can be all things to all people. Some users really are better off not using Linux. In time this problem may be solved, but that hasn't happened yet.
  • by gad_zuki! (70830) on Saturday April 05, 2003 @11:19PM (#5671424)
    >Only Win2Kers are cool enough to join my OS!". Asshole. Shut the fuck up.

    Why isn't this guy modded down as a troll?

    Anyway, these people complaining about her Win95 machine have a point regardless. She's (or whoever, the name is an obviously a pseudonym, say it out loud, and probably a clever troll) has an old machine and most of her problems are driver/hardware problems.

    Linux for the masses means the same thing Windows for the maasses means: preinstalled OS. An equivalant review would be someone taking an old Linux PC and trying to put windows on it only to find that she's missing the proper drivers. Now add the industy's lack of Linux support and she has no one to hand her drivers.

    Linux on the desktop != supported hardware. It would be nice if there were drivers for everything, but that just isn't the case.

    I'm curious. When she bought that PC from dell, or whomever, did they just ship a box with a bunch of drivers on a bunch of floppies with a sticker saying, "Good luck!" Yeah, I don't think so either.

    No, she, like 99.999% of PC buyers got a PC with a working OS installed and working components because the manufacturer had to provide a working machine. Whether they installed drivers after the OS install or just got them to MS on time, is besides the point.

    All this review is telling us is that installation is especially hard with her hardware. Fine, but that isn't saying much. We all know Linux's driver support is limited.
  • Re:Article Summary (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Pyromage (19360) on Saturday April 05, 2003 @11:26PM (#5671456) Homepage
    I'd like to clarify a few things a bit.

    I admit I was a bit (bit? Whatever... understatements are fun) negative in my original post.

    I mean to say that many people (not necessarily a majority, but more than 5) here on slashdot bash people for being stupid, for not knowing this or that random command.

    I just think it's in poor taste to flame the author of this article for not getting things to work. Or for not searching hard enough. Or for not having spare computers for internet access.

    I just mean to point out that the aforementioned part of the population writes these flames far too much.

    I apologize for ripping on the various distros so much; I meant only to illustrate that there isn't a distro out there that has a stated and executed goal of making a distribution that is genuinely good and that works well, for the average user (Say, the author).

    Slackware provides nothing. Perfect for me, but not our average user. Mandrake, Red Hat, SuSE, etc. all provide many useful tools, but they are too fragile. Debian has some things better, some worse.

    The reason I mention debian is important: the optimal distribution for the average user doesn't provide 10000 packages, like Debian does.

    It provides a few packages, maybe a couple hundred, that have been reviewed, checked, and polished. That don't crash. That are well documented. That do the job. Why not include the best 2 products for a task, that have been looked over first and polished to perfection, rather than just shoving in many others that halfway do the job?

    I think the author is presenting an exaggerated view, because of her perspective. That's OK: it's a relatively average user's perspective. I just get annoyed when her exaggerations are flamed by slashdotters that exaggerate as much in the other direction. Nothing personal, but seriously folks, think before you insult.
  • by Peyna (14792) on Saturday April 05, 2003 @11:27PM (#5671458) Homepage
    It IS a pen name; or the person's parents have a horrible sense of humor. "Tsu Dho Nimh" or "Sue-Dough-Nim" or "Psuedonym".
  • by Nijika (525558) on Saturday April 05, 2003 @11:29PM (#5671471) Homepage Journal
    Using a computer should be easy; the computer is supposed to do "the work" for the user. It shouldn't be a chore anymore, it's not the 40's anymore.

    I see two problems here.

    One is in the GNU/Linux camp where on one hand the people are screaming for the downfall of Microsoft, hailing free software as the key, but on the other they are constantly insulting the very users they are trying to woo over, either directly or indirectly with bad user interfaces.

    The other problem is related to the first; the people holding the keys to the "computing palace" are techies. Overwhelmingly we techies play out some passive agressive game where we make this shit hard to use. Don't deny it, we do it.

    I'm trying NOT to do it anymore, in my software designs, and when I'm dealing with people who just want to get things done and not make operating a workstation a second job.

    It's where the free software, and GNU/Linux communities have to head towards, if we actually want people to switch!

    Give up the leet, for god's sake, learn to love the simplicity. Study is OUR job, not Joe and Jill user's.
  • by Nijika (525558) on Saturday April 05, 2003 @11:39PM (#5671505) Homepage Journal
    How are they supposed to taste this free beer if they can't open the bottle? The install should be the best of user experiences. With some of the more commercial Linuxes it can be just gutwrenching. Say what you will about Windows XP, it usually installs, which means people GET to actually use it.
  • by Jameth (664111) on Saturday April 05, 2003 @11:45PM (#5671524)
    In response to your wonder about why there would be a hundred ways of doing something in Linux:

    - It's made by developers for developers

    What's this mean? It means that it's made by people who care that they can be as productive as humanly possibly with the least effort humanly possible.

    So, why not one good interface?

    People work in different ways. If you're writing code, you want to use every niftty feature you usually do, and you want to do it the way you have always done so. That's why there's VIM and EMACS (May God smite all who use that ghastly creation) and KATE and CoolEdit and cat+touch and every other thing you can imagine.

    However, that doesn't excuse distributions. As far as I can tell, Distros add things that lots of people use. What they need to notice is that they can pitch all of the stuff that is only used by total Linux geeks. Why? Total Linux geeks know damn well how to './configure && make && make install' so they have every program out there at their fingertips.

    The main reason that Designers don't do work for Linux is Linux doesn't want them to, not money. In a lot of design environments you have this:
    Employee Type Coder gets instructions from Employee Type Designer and does them.
    If Employee Type Coder is confused or disagrees, it asks Employee Type Designer for clarification because it doesn't get to tell the designer what to do.

    In Linux you have this:
    Random Person Coder sees a design suggestion and says 'Great, so why don't you implement it?'
    Random Person Designer shrugs and walks off because he can't code that and he knows it.
    - or -
    Random Person Coder sees a design is, a bit confused, and has Random Person Designer try to explain it to him over e-mail and without any direct contact because they aren't physically co-located.

    I'm good at design, and can code a bit, but I can't code a quality program and I know it. But if I put a post on a mailing list, it'll get ignored if I don't contribute something else, especially if it disagrees with what is the current trend in the group and, guess what that group is a group of coders who doesn't know shit about design.

    God said 'Let there be' and there was.
    Man wrote fifteen thousand lines of code and got a seg-fault because he missed a paren.
    We've got a ways to go as far as programming languages are concerned.
  • Re:Article Summary (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 05, 2003 @11:55PM (#5671565)
    What about Lindows? I'm not saying Lindows is a good distro--haven't used it, just read about it. But it seems that the future of Linux for the average (not geek) user is going to be something like Lindows if it's going to be anything at all.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 05, 2003 @11:56PM (#5671570)
    Why would you need a GUI enabled computer to act as a print server? Isn't that just a waste of resources? The idea behind your friends recommending Debian probably was that you didn't need a GUI and that you knew what you were doing.
    Anyway, a dedicated print server ought not be a seperate computer in the first place. It ought to be part of the printer (which you finally figured out). That's typical A-Bomb to kill an anthill thinking. The amount of extra electricity in the long run you waste with an extra node will pay for getting the JetDirect a couple times over.
    And no, setting up a seperate node as a print server in Linux is definitely NOT easy nor recommended for the average user, but something that an experienced sysadmin should be able to handle. Why? Because Linux by default isn't MEANT to be a print server. The problem isn't Linux printing, the problem is people like you who try to use a wrench to nail in a hammer.
  • by jbolden (176878) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @12:08AM (#5671617) Homepage
    I think as a designer you could find ways to get involved. There are groups like http://www.freedesktop.org/, kde-artists, kde-look... which address issues of design. Sure designers are not given the same amount of power in open source that they often have in commercial applications. That doesn't mean though there aren't areas where their input is taken very seriously. QT interface builder does not require much coding to make changes to.
  • by Bastian (66383) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @12:13AM (#5671636)
    Knowing computers and being able to install Linux are two different stories.

    Every linux distro I've used may include a nice installer (or not) and use KDE, but they also completely fail to obfuscate all the complexities of linux. At the worst, the installer poops out on a hardware detect and the new user is forced to figure out how to insall their hardware manually, and at best the configuration tools don't cover every feature you need so the user is forced to figure out how to handle some nightmare config file such as smb.conf.

    To make things worse, they always include every damn package under the sun. I have been a hardcore linux user for a while now, but I can remember the first time I tried Slackware and being overwhelmed by the number of choices, oftentimes package choices concerning things I didn't even understand because I wasn't a linux user yet (such as inetd vs. xinetd).

    Don't even get me started on partitioning. . .

    On top of that, she says right at the top of the second page that she's writing this from the perspective of what she'd expect a standard computer user to think.

    Don't think that just because someone isn't able to look at linux and immediately grok it, that person is computer illiterate. That kind of idea runs on the assumption that the world of Windows and the world of Unix work in similar ways.

    (If that seems to be the case to you, start reading up on why so many features of perl couldn't be implemented on the Win32 port and you'll understand how completely different they are, all the way down to how the creators think about computers.)
  • Re:nice quote (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Hard_Code (49548) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @12:14AM (#5671644)
    "I have installed more distributions of Linux and every other OS than you can imagine. Never have I ever had an installer do that. I have never had software set an immutable bit. I googled it and can't find much either. Nope. Not likely. Not impossible, but I am betting I have installed a couple hundred more boxes than you if you think this was the problem."

    The point is: who the fuck cares WHY it happened. It happened. And it prevented her from doing something she can do in Windows. That alone should be a red flag, regardless of whether she is brilliant or retarded. None of the things she was trying to was abnormal, and they could all be done on a 7+ YEAR OLD version of Windows.
  • Re:Brief comment (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Sentry21 (8183) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @12:27AM (#5671685) Journal
    No, you probably just aren't familiar with the shell. Many very good typists get very frustrated with UNIX because of the need to understand the shell.

    Google Posting [google.com]

    I have chronic tendonitis and nerve damage in both arms ... with documents, I run a spellchecker, print it out, mark it up, and have multiple chances to get it right. With a CLI, it either works, or it doesn't, or it does something I didn't intend for it to do if I happen to issue a command that is legal.


    $ ls
    hello.h ebonics.h ebonics.o ebonics.c hello.c hello.o whatup*
    $ rm -rf * .o
    rm: .o: File not found
    $ ls
    $

    --Dan
  • by nathanh (1214) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @12:29AM (#5671695) Homepage

    I was reading the article right up to this:

    Well, you shrieking geeks...

    And then I switched off. I really couldn't care less whether she uses Linux or not. She's not the sort of person who is worth fighting for. How can anybody act so ungraciously when a community gives her a free gift of software, a free gift of their time, and a free gift of their knowledge, all with the goal of HELPING her? She can go pay for new hardware and Windows XP and avoid having to deal with all those "shrieking geeks".

    If this lady is the sort of person that will be attracted to Linux if Linux is made easier to use then I think the current situation is fine. Keep Linux hard to use because that will keep these ungrateful brats away from Linux. Any valid improvements she might suggest are irrelevant if those improvements result in more users like her. She obviously considers herself to be a better person than the "geeks". I think the situation is exactly the opposite. Good riddance to bad rubbish.

  • by 3seas (184403) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @12:30AM (#5671702) Journal
    "Here's some advice: buy a newer used computer! What the heck do they pay "technical writers" anyway!?! Heck, I see Dell desktops with 7 - 900 mhz PIIIs for 300 bucks!"

    That's not a solution, only a bad trade off.

    What you call old systems are not that old and they are still working hardware.

    Perhaps I shouldn't say this as alot of the systems I have now are from others tossing them away as they "upgrade their system hardware".

    And it is this hardware that I'm looking to find software to make them useful in terms of today.

    with some shrugs as to why things didn't work and now do.... I installed College Linux DM on an IBM aptiva 266Mhz...... haven't tested modem or printer yet, but the sound card works.... don't know about playing CDs yet... not to mention burning any...

    I suspect things like multi-user issues contribute to complexities that many if not most desktops users don't really need to have to deal with. As such there really should be a distro that is for a single user system...

    Another OS I'm looking at as a free and open source based system is AROS [sf.net] which I hope in time will become a single user system of choice by those supporting such free and open source software. As a clone of the Amiga OS and my experience with the Amiga OS.... a small robust multi-tasking easy to use OS is greatly needed.

    Even better is the possibility to use such an OS hosted on a GNU complete system (The Hurd core) as a user space OS that can IPC tap into the resources of the GNU system.....

    But still...... Working hardware is worth throwing out only when it breaks..... not when software leading edge makes it slower...

    There really is a problem with computer component landfill pollution...

    In any event people don't like throwing out what is still working and if you can install software that make the hardware useful still....

    To be able to easily install Linux in a manner that is useful only means spreading linux not only freely but upon hardware that is either free or damn well near it... more so than $300 cheap...
  • Re:Article Summary (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bogie (31020) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @12:33AM (#5671709) Journal
    "Your attitude is why Linux sucks so much."

    Wow so its a fact now? Linux officially sucks? Why didn't I get the letter?

    "I use it every day. I don't have Windows installed on any of my systems. I *still* think it sucks."

    That's nice. So not only does it officially suck, but *you* think it sucks. Well that does it then, Linux officially sucks.

    "Asshole. Shut the fuck up."

    Umm. Relax dude you'll live longer.

    The parent btw was hardly a strong example of windows user bashing.

    More On topic

    These "I tried to install linux and these are the things that don't work" reviews are boring to say the least. At this point there must be half a dozen a week.

    I just don't understand why people can't get over the whole debate of whether linux is "ready" for the desktop. The answer now is the same as it was 5 years ago. It depends.

    Linux is an OS that mostly caters to those interested in using a different tool while at the same time learning more about their computers. Because it doesn't enjoy the same attention from hardware and software vendors that Windows does, it tends to take more effort to use and setup.

    This is one of the few truths in life and if everyone would just accept that and move on we'd all be better off.

    If anyone here think a few letters jumbled together out of pride or rage are going to change the fate of either Linux or Windows, its time to unplug.
  • Re:nice quote (Score:2, Insightful)

    by randyest (589159) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @12:49AM (#5671757) Homepage
    Jesus, dude. How many different ways does he have to spell "RTFA" for you? She was trying to replicate conditions of someone switching from Windows to Linux, which involves starting with FAT or NTFS partitions on an existing hard drive

    No it doesnt. You dont know what you are talking about.

    She put it on a seperate partition, NOT on a fat32 partition. IF you used partition magic or another drive to open the space, you would NOT format it as fat16 because you have to split it for seperat /boot, / and SWAP partitions anyway. Formatting it as fat16 is a silly waste of time and shows she doesnt understand what is going on. The fat16 partition she so carefully makes, is destroyed FIRST THING when you install. its irrelevent.


    The point stands -- she started the first one with FAT, and she reverted to that for each subsequent trial for consistency. What's your problem with that? It it's irrelevant, why keep yammering about it? Why let it affect your eval of the article or the author's execution of the trials?

    Actually, I am well under control. I just think it was a bad article, and said so, and every hard dick jumps to a ladies defense. No one ever acts this way if someone puts down an article unless its by a girl around here. Before you argue back, look back. I have.

    I think its funny how sexist some of you are. Patronising. I think she is probably a big enough girl she can handle one person not liking her article.

    Now, risking karma, but well worth it . . .

    You, sir, are an idiot. You couldn't address my point reasonably, so you play the sexism card. That's amazingly lame. I'm not sure if "Pseu - Do - Nym" is male or female, and it doesn't matter. His/her points are valid regardless of gender, as are mine. Your posts, however, have been weak, reactionary, hyper-sensitive, short-sighted, and generally annoying.

    Don't bother replying to me on this one, I don't wanna go that far OT or spoil my fine Sat night any more with your pointless vitriol. And besides, I just modded you down below my threshold, foe, so I won't see it anyway. Let the people with at least minor clue fragments post some, k?
  • Re:Brief comment (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mikedaisey (413058) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @01:25AM (#5671875) Homepage

    "No, you probably just aren't familiar with the shell. Many very good typists get very frustrated with UNIX because of the need to understand the shell."

    You bonehead--she can't be wrong about what her own requirements are.
  • by wayne606 (211893) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @01:46AM (#5671937)
    To everybody who says "I never have problems installing linux", let me point out that this doesn't mean that nobody has problems. I don't have problems either (most of the time) but obviously some people do. Rather than acting all defensive and saying "Microsoft sucks too" why not see if anything can be done to improve things?

    Also it doesn't make sense to say "what do you expect for free". If I pay RedHat or SuSE for a distribution I expect a certain level of quality. I wouldn't blame the authors of the individual GPL'ed packages, but I would blame the distribution people who let packages get on their CD without adequate QA.

    To the distributors that the author specifically mentions, I hope you are taking advantage of this free QA. Either she is lying about the problems she had (what would be the point of that) or these problems really happened. If they did they should be fixed. Bugs are bugs.

    The conclusion of the article is that Linux isn't ready for the mass market. If you disagree, fine, but don't claim it's perfect or more stable than Windows and therefore the whole article is BS.
  • by Corvaith (538529) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @02:02AM (#5671991) Homepage
    MS offers support? Maybe to businesses. As someone with two completely legitimate running copies of WinXP--one laptop, one desktop--I can say that I've looked, and there's no way to get actual real live support from Microsoft for them. I have to go to the vendor. What do the vendors say? "System restore. If that doesn't work, reformat."

    The up side is that WinXP *does* recognize all manner of hardware without so much as blinking at it, and so on. Which is largely why I still use it, at the moment.

    But, actually, as far as taking a relatively standard system and using it for non-gaming everday things? Linux does pretty well. It's not hard to browse the web, get email, write papers, IM people, that sort of thing. Which is good progress.

    No, you can't game, do major graphic design and desktop publishing, whatever, as well as on WinXP. But there was a long time when people said you couldn't really do those things on Windows, either. (Less so in the games department, but I do recall Sierra having a lot more Mac-emphasis, and they used to be huge.)

    So I wouldn't install Linux on my grandparents' computer right now, no. But by this time next year? This time two years from now?

    Everybody always acts like these things are fixed in stone, and they aren't. Everything changes. Maybe Joe User depends on the status quo, maybe Joe User just uses whatever's most likely to land in his lap, but the future isn't really determined by Joe User. The future is determined by the people who actually want things, and the people who're willing to do something about them.
  • Re:Tool or toy? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anitra (99093) <.slashdot. .at. .anitra.fastmail.fm.> on Sunday April 06, 2003 @02:08AM (#5672008) Homepage Journal
    I know people who admin labs of dells - and they DON'T all have the same parts. 3 or 4 different motherboard manufacturers alone in one batch of Dells, if I recall correctly. This is in "identical" Dell machines all bought at the same time.

    It would appear that Dell always buys batches of stuff from the current lowest bidder. That mish-mash of parts is then what they put in your new dell machine.
  • The problem we have here is a clueless newbie trying to install Linux on a somewhat-outdated system.

    When my friends want to get started with Linux, I do the install, download the couple of missing pieces and make sure that basic functionality is there. Once that happens, they tend to be pretty quiet on the support front.

    When she said that she was insisting on doing her own installs, I pretty much knew that trouble was on the path. I didn't manage to read the whole article (server errors), but I'm not too hopeful at this point.

    MS wants people to take a 6 week course just to be able to say that they know how to config a Windows box. I think that Linux is easier than Windows on this front, but it's still not likely to be a complete cakewalk with a hodgepoge system.

  • Re:Article Summary (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Qzukk (229616) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @02:48AM (#5672139) Journal
    Number 1 cause of black screen on starting X --- Incorrect monitor refresh rates. If you press ctrl-alt-backspace (not delete!) and you get the console back, then that means that X was actually running, but wasn't displaying for some reason.

    There are a few reasons why this might happen (video card with multiple outputs and X picked the wrong one springs to mind) but the number one cause is the monitor turning itself off to protect it from an incorrect setting.

    The advent of XFree86 4.x with its -configure option makes setting these by hand mostly obsolete (nearly all somewhat-modern hardware can be detected), however distributions haven't caught up to this level, and still want you to pick refresh rates that are "standard" or enter them by hand.
  • by barc0001 (173002) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @03:03AM (#5672176)
    No. Her real problem is the fact that she's using "just fell off the junk truck on the way to the landfill" class hardware. I mean come on, a frickin' Verite card? Go out and get dirt cheap GeForce MX for like $40 at some places. One crystal clear indicator that her hardware is flaky as hell is the fact that she got "different" results between boots on Knoppix. It's burned in stone on a CD for Christ's sake! *IT* certainly isn't a variable from boot to boot...
    As an aside, I've used Redhat for a while as a desktop at the office, works fine for me. I even installed Redhat 8 on a 3 year old laptop and it worked just fine. I've had complete Windows newbies absolutely astonished by Knoppix. After I gave one to the HR manager, she wanted to lead a crusade to move everyone in the office to it posthaste, and she's a person who can't find the start bar if it autohides itself.
    Bottom line: I think almost any disto in the last year is fine for the average end user who wants to read mail, surf the web, type documents (Openoffice), do finances (Gnucash), maybe play some games, etc. If they're looking for more than that, perhaps Linux isn't yet their choice. But it sounds like this person regrettably stacked the deck against herself with her choice of hardware and had a bad experience as a result. I couldn't possibly imagine her having this many problems even on a new Dell or some damn thing like that.
  • by Kirby-meister (574952) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @03:25AM (#5672225)
    You give Linux waaaay too many brownie points: 1) How many newbie users do you think even know what disk partitioning is? How many newbie users have even INSTALLED Windows? They have never even seen the Windows installer, so slickness isn't even a point to them. 2) How much was installed that you WON'T use? Who the hell needs multiple browsers or packet sniffers? What the hell is a newbie user going to do with a packet sniffer, besides piss off the local admin? What the fuck is a newbie user going to do when she can't decide which "internet" she wants to use, in fear that one isn't as big as the other. 3) Last time I checked, whenever I ran a program's installer, it conveniently left shortcuts for me, and even asked if and where I wanted them. Have you seen a normal user's desktop? They are often littered with shortcuts to the user's programs. Everybody OS programmer should become a "computer consultant" or IT for their college's dorm halls. It is probably the best study in HCI you'll ever get. I've been doing it for two semesters now and the best part is they pay me while I learn how stupid a desktop OS should assume its user is.
  • Re:Article Summary (Score:5, Insightful)

    by harriet nyborg (656409) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @03:35AM (#5672253)
    "I think the author is presenting an exaggerated view, because of her perspective. That's OK: it's a relatively average user's perspective."

    i like skiing.

    i've tried snowboarding, but for me, it's about as much fun as watching paint dry.

    funny thing is that despite my opinion about snowboarding, lots of other people seem to really dig it.

    no shit.

    you see them all over the place, wasting their time on those miserable snowplows when they could be skiing.

    sitting on their asses at the top of every run.

    slogging along on the cattracks like wounded animals.

    to a skier, you could think of them as the lowest form of life.

    or you could notice that these worms pump money into the lift systems.

    and force "ski" areas to change their way of thinking.

    i credit these scumbags with the phenomenal expansion of back country skiing in america. 10 years ago you couldn't cut through the woods without getting your ticket clipped, but today most mountains are opening up their backcountry. it is the biggest advancement of liberty since the signing of the declaration of independence. a fucking revolution (excuse my french.)

    now i'm off piste.

    my point is that the author's "exaggerated view" is more distored than exaggerated. she's a skier who got on a snowboard and got pissed off and frustrated when she couldn't turn. she wants to do all the same things she can do easily on skis, but no matter how hard she tries, snowboarding puts her on her ass.

    instead of complaining that snowboarding is not skiing, she should get back on her skis and thank all those dirtbag snowboarders for making skiing a better experience.

  • Re:Tool or toy? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by StarTux (230379) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @04:34AM (#5672413) Journal
    "my lab I would just yank the hard drive and boards and jam them in another mac. Ha! try that on your linux machine or windows machine. That effect alone saved me DAYS of time and kept my lab working."

    Actually I've slapped in different m/boards with no issues and other hard drives with Linux and have no issues. And I have known Apple people have issues when swapping hard drives around mac's.

    Sorry to say but you're just bs'ing, its all down to your hardware, not the OS as much, although I remeber win98 going nuts when I changes the m/board once.

    "This article sort of proves the point. So if you want something thats easy to use and is still unix, well you better get a mac. You only have to do the switch once. you can run Windows 95 and all your old apps on your old machine. Even keep the perifrials going during the trasition period."

    Not really, I am sure they will find things wrong that don't work in the Win95 way. I mean, who could spend that long on an OS like that?

    It is a well written article...But c'mon 8 years on Win 95? That raises more questions here than anything else, like how did you put up with it?

    Other than that some good points as no OS, Mac OS X included is perfect, each is flawed in different ways.

    StarTux

  • Re:Article Summary (Score:3, Insightful)

    by StarTux (230379) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @04:37AM (#5672419) Journal
    Cool, hope you will get help...

    My suggestion:

    New distro's coming out within the month, get 8.2 end of this month and join the SuSE mailing list.

    More info here:

    www.suse.com

    I am going to plug the mailing list as there some very smart peope on that list and its newbie friendly. Even the experts remember being newbie's at some point :).

    StarTux
  • Re:Article Summary (Score:3, Insightful)

    by FooBarWidget (556006) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @04:47AM (#5672428)
    Then by your reasoning, Windows isn't ready for the masses either. If you try to install Windows XP on an "empty" computer, there's no way that it will recognize *all* your hardware and make everything magically work. 99.999% of the time, you still have to search the net for more drivers, etc. Not only that, you also need a lot of add-on software to make WinXP actually useful.
  • Re:Article Summary (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DunbarTheInept (764) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @06:27AM (#5672573) Homepage

    It won't be ready for the masses until you can insert the CD, click Install and leave the computer for 20-30 minutes.

    So, what you're saying then is that Windows isn't ready for the masses either, right?
  • by metachimp (456723) <tadish,durbin&gmail,com> on Sunday April 06, 2003 @06:44AM (#5672605) Homepage
    The author had good requirements. That list of things are exactly the requirements of anyone willing to 'go off the grid' in terms of Microsoft. There's a vast resource of people, after having been involved with the technology industry, that know that there are alternatives out there, but are concerned about the 'livability' of such.


    Usability is a huge concern. I've been using Linux systems since 1997, and they're improved a great deal since then, but there should be a joint usability services group that evaluates the current situation and how it can be improved. Input such as this should be welcomed, and paid heed to.

  • by Osty (16825) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @06:46AM (#5672610)

    IDE's suck anyways. They don't support autotools

    Perhaps you mean to say that current IDEs suck? What's stopping an IDE from integrating autotools support? I'd use it. I don't know how to use autoconf/automake (more from lack of caring than anything), but I think if an IDE made it easy for me, I would. As well, why does an IDE need to support autotools? There's no reason why you need to compile within an IDE. I spend probably 95% of my programming time writing code in an IDE but compiling it from the commandline. I don't use the IDE to compile, but I'm not going to switch to notepad because I like all the extra features I get from the various IDEs I like.


    Don't give me the "X86" only thing because there are now probably 10-15 somewhat incompatible varieties of X86.

    And unless you're writing assembly code, you're never (well, 99.5% of the time) going to see any of those differences. The compiler should take care of those small differences.


    For Debian at least, you can use GNOME, KDE, GTK, whatever you want because the package will pull in all the required libs when you go to install it. It's a no-brainer for the user, and not much more work for the developer either.

    And now you've got a debian-only distributable. People cry foul when someone like Oracle (for example) releases their product only for Redhat, but that's what developers are forced to do. Distributions are just too different for a developer to support more than one or two of them. I know there's the FSH [pathname.com], but filesystem standards aren't enough. Linux needs one standard interface for common functions, like ui for instance -- why do we need 50 different UI widget sets? pick one, whether it be gtk or qt or something else, and make it standard. You can be assured everybody with Linux will have that widget set, and so you can confidently write against it without having to add another dependency to your project. Dependencies suck. Look at trying to compile GNOME by hand. You have to track down a metric pantload of different libraries before you can even get the core installed. Yes, package managers make that easier, but there's another problem -- we've got deb, rpm, tgz, and whatever else, and even within those things are different. An rpm for Redhat may or may not install on SuSE or Mandrake, and vice versa.


    The point here is that without having some guarantee of what will be available to every end-user (not that they can get it, but that they already have it), few developers but the hardcore will target Linux because they either have to give up potential users or write to the least common denominator (ie, write directly to X for UI work). The former costs potential profits, and the latter is simply way too expensive (not to mention that it's usually only the hardcore that have that kind of knowledge, anyway). Testing for multiple distributions adds major complexity. Text matrices are already huge given the variety of hardware developers need to support. Adding in tests for every distro (multiply the costs of testing by a factor of N, for N distros), and for each distro they have to test scenarios where various optional components are not installed that the software requires. It's a mess, and Linux will have a hard time gaining ISVs if it doesn't do anything about it. Windows isn't better by much (though it's getting there with the death of the Win9x line), but it's still better.

  • Re:Article Summary (Score:3, Insightful)

    by blibbleblobble (526872) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @06:49AM (#5672616)
    "It won't be ready for the masses until you can insert the CD, click Install and leave the computer for 20-30 minutes. When you get back you should have a Linux system that has recognised all your hardware, still lets you run all your Windows tools and your background, sounds, themes and screensaver are all intact."

    Knoppix does that, but takes only 5 minutes to boot up (bootable CD, not install).

    It took me nearly a week to finish setting up my work PC on Windows2000 with all the netmasks, proxy servers, gateways, etc. (don't even mention the "Windows fileserver has run out of connection licenses" problem, which wasted two days of our time). I was quite astonished to see then, that knoppix started with full internet access on this same machine, and no involvement on my part.

    Oh, it also seems pretty good at running Windows programs. Luckily, it didn't try to import any Windows themes or background sounds (why would you want that?) but it reads all of the files in the windows area flawlessly.

  • by vivIsel (450550) <paul@noSpaM.selker.com> on Sunday April 06, 2003 @08:10AM (#5672743)
    You have provided a fabulous example of why, at this rate, Linux will NEVER become a mainstream OS, and will never recieve the benefits of being one.

    If developers (or users, for that matter) mantain a screw-the-newbies attitude, the OS is going to reflect that. How can an OS be user-friendly and easy to install if the people who are its (few, comparatively) advocates figure that the people who don't "get it" can just go back to Windows.

    Imagine what the situation would be like if the government stopped giving Social Security benefits to people who weren't grateful for it (protesters? (; ). Imagine Ari Fliescher saying,

    "Clearly, they don't understand what a great deal they're getting so they can just pack their bags and MOVE OUT! If they're going to be so rude lets keep these ungrateful brats away from the United States."

    Of course, it's an extreme and rather amusing example, if I do say so myself. But regardless of the aptness of the comparison I find your comments strange for a person who evidently uses Linux and probably would benefit from and be pleased by improvements to the OS that undeniably would come with mainstream acceptance.

    It's like all those lower-middle-class republicans voting against their own economic interests because they're pro-life or something social like that. It doesn't make sense to vote yourself into poverty over an ideal like that. Vote yourself into prosperity and then do your lobbying.

    Oops. I couldn't help it. I slipped..I find it hard to avoid political commentary.

    Another thing that gave me pause about your post is the whole "gift" idea. It's great that the community has put so much work into a product. But if the community can't take criticism the product (or do you consider it a "gift," and not a product?) won't improve very quickly and won't gain a user base so fast either. You also fail to notice that she PAID for the software she got. Notice the comments about the box for Linux for Windows? Nice gift the community's given her of functionality at a reasonable price, eh? Redhat Professional? SuSE Professional? Lycoris? That doesn't look like much of a gift to me. It looks like a big hole in her pocket.

    Not to mention that your post is far more pugnacious (and far less helpful) than her article, complete with "shrieking geeks" reference. If you look in context, she's not being so much accusatory as you are. One would think that slashdot readers, from what I see in the comments, would be used to such talk (to the point of thinking that it's fairly benign!) by now. Furthermore, her article is actually very productive. Imagine--what a newbie she is! In fact, I'd make the case for her being a perfect newbie! She documents meticulously what she wants out of the operating system, how it failed to meet her needs and, what's more, what should be changed! Not to mention that she has seemingly inhuman persistence! If I were mandrake, or redhat, or Lycoris, (or...ad nauseam) I'd hire her away from her current job as a tester. Or maybe not...but you get the idea. Your comments just serve to insult and degrade the user base which is exactly what Linux doesn't need.

    Phew. That was intense. Have a nice day.
  • Re:Tool or toy? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by IamTheRealMike (537420) <mike@plan99.net> on Sunday April 06, 2003 @08:25AM (#5672761) Homepage
    The only short sighted thing I could see in her article was the requirement it work with existing hardware.

    What about the requirement to not use the net? I thought that was ridiculous. She clearly had access to it, so placing artificial restrictions on herself just further removes this review from the realms of reality, rather than making it more "real world".

    I'd like to see any newbie (re)install Windows (any version) from scratch with the tiny manual Microsoft provide.

    Review my backside. Published bitching session more like.

  • by B'Trey (111263) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @08:47AM (#5672797)
    She is not technically inept. She is a technical genius compared to many of the people I know. To many of them, running sndconfig is so far out of their league it isn't even funny. The very concepts of dual booting or partitioning a hard drive for different OS's is as foreign to them as the idea of performing a transplant.
  • by stock (129999) <stock@stokkie.net> on Sunday April 06, 2003 @09:02AM (#5672815) Homepage
    Go to a local LUG, or go online at a linux channel on irc before buying your PC. Have linux users/admins give you suggestions for what they think is kick-ass hardware for running Linux..Then installing distro's like redhat 9 , mandrake 9.1, slackware 9, suse 8.2 are a breeze.

    Why? Because Microsoft has a stiffling grip on the OEM hardware market. There's a shitload of hardware on the market which was designed to be a win2k/winXP only gadget. That would mainly be certain USB devices, winmodems, winprinters, scanners, soundcards and graphics cards.

    Robert

  • Re:Article Summary (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 06, 2003 @10:09AM (#5672992)
    I love it how you moron trolls always come out of the woodwork whenever one of these articles pops up here.
    What is your point, exactly? Linux isn't ready for the masses..alright. So what? Do I care? Does that mean I can't use it, because Joe Windows can't? No, it doesn't, nor does it decrease from its meaningfulness or usefulness. Just because many people don't have the expertise to run Linux doesn't mean it's useless.
    Who said anyone even wanted Linux to be ready for the "mainstream desktop?" Sure, lots of companies are striding towards it, but how many of them do you actually think are building their business model around "let's oust Windows from the desktop" as their business model? It'd be hard to keep a straight face in the board meetings.
    Of course to people like you it doesn't matter. Ignorant slanderers who have nothing better to do than take pot-shots at people who *gasp* like to run something other than Windows, just for the sake of satisfying your own sadistic tendencies. The Internet is full of them.
  • by Queuetue (156269) <scott&pantastik,com> on Sunday April 06, 2003 @10:28AM (#5673037) Homepage
    I don't use RedHat any more (Gentoo made ma a believer), but I knew is was simple to download the iso images, so I tried it.

    www.redhat.com->download->Red Hat Linux 8.0

    At this point, you can click on "How to download Red Hat Linux", which explains the process in great detail and fairly simply, or you can continue to "Download Now!"

    Click "Download Now!" and you are in the ftp directory. If you read the instructions, or you know what you're doing, you're already downloading.

    How is this "retardedly inaccessable?"
  • Re:Article Summary (Score:3, Insightful)

    by YellowBook (58311) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @01:44PM (#5673763) Homepage
    I think the key point of the article is that Linux (not the kernel, but the whole experience of a distro) is severely lacking in usability engineering. It takes a different kind of mindset to be able to write software that less technical people understand. I think we've all known this, but have never been able to find a way to address it. OTOH MS throws *lots* of money on usability and comes up weak, but reasonably usable products. Anyone have any ideas how we can improve usability in Linux?

    First things first -- make sure you're looking at the current state of usability on Linux, rather than what you remember from a couple of years ago (for non-Linux users), or from your own personal hacked-together setup (for current Linux users). Go out and buy or download a set of RedHat 9 CDs. Pop the first one in the CD-ROM, reboot, let it do its thing, switch CDs when it asks you to. Play with the resulting system.

    You'll notice (probably) two things. One, the GNOME project has been putting HUGE amounts of thought and effort into usability. Money has been thrown at it by SUN, and the developers have studied the results of MS and Apple's usability studies in depth. As a result, GNOME 2.2 has a simple, clean, and consistent interface that is at least as good as anything else out there (in the mainstream) at the moment. Second, you'll notice that RedHat has put a lot of effort into integrating their GNOME-based desktop with your hardware (via the kernel), and with non-GNOME software. Except for unusual circumstances, there is never any need to use the command line.

    I'm not a RH employee; just a satisfied customer for six or seven years, and I'm using RH as an example because that's what I know best. Mandrake 9 or later, or Debian unstable might be just as good, for all I know. What I do know is that Linux distributions have made significant improvements in usability in the last year or so, so if you haven't tried a new release of a major distribution like RedHat lately, you may not have an accurate picture of Linux usability.

  • by Chemisor (97276) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @03:46PM (#5674312)
    The newer is the hardware/software that he claims is the only one that is perfect. Next year, this very geek will scornfully denounce a user trying to install SuSE 8.1 because "that release is so old now I would not even dare donate it." And I used to run an SLS distribution with kernel version 0.99 on a 486dx33 with a now totally outdated Trident 8900 graphics card and a really ancient 1200 baud modem. Linux installed and ran without major problems too. When are programmers going to stop making excuses and just fix the damn problems that are being honestly reported here. I am an expert myself, but I always view building a computer as a trying experience. Sure I can always get it working, but those pesky little problems still exist. The difference between me and the author of the article is that I know which files need fixing. But the developers never seem to solve them. They just write another HOWTO when they could have written a configuration utility that does what the HOWTO explains how to do.
  • by EllF (205050) <kevin@thehCOFFEE ... m minus caffeine> on Sunday April 06, 2003 @04:07PM (#5674423) Homepage
    "So basically, free software sucks [...]"

    I don't see free software as sucking. I think it's excellent, personally. You'll notice that I made no judgements along this line in my original post, because they're just opinions. Opinions about quality are rarely defensible.

    "She gave numerous problems she had which prevented her from adopting the operating system for her day to day usage [...]

    To make another quality judgement, the article in question was offensive. That's what irked me. I'd be willing to look past it if it was something novel or useful -- "hey, here's a bunch of insights no one's had before, perhaps this will help you guys who are doing a massive amount of work for free, for my benefit as a user?" Unfortunately for the author, that's not the case. Whining about how free software isn't easy enough/full featured enough for you is kind of like masturbating. You might feel good doing it, but ultimately you haven't accomplished anything, and you've made a mess.

    You can either use free software, where you can both contact developers and ask them to implement something you want, and if they're unresponsive, implement what you'd like to see yourself, or you can use closed-source software, and be at the relative whim of the companies who make up that world. Those of us in the free software world made our choice -- we said, "Ok, forget about overpaying for things we don't like or want, we'll do it ourselves!"

    What boggles the mind is that there are people unwilling to do much more than bitch at us for writing code they're free to do anything they like with, but they feel compelled to make as much noise as they can about how horrible it is that their experience with the alternative to closed-code isn't exactly what they want it to be.

    "Shrieking geeks", indeed.

  • Re:Article Summary (Score:2, Insightful)

    by neuroticia (557805) <neuroticia@@@yahoo...com> on Sunday April 06, 2003 @07:25PM (#5675342) Journal
    Err. That's like saying 'I've had apples, oranges, and pears, and pears suck the worst. Sorry." Back it up, for God's sake.

    Are you talking about the GUI? And in the case of Linux, which GUI? They all have their pro's and cons, and a lot of what's considered a pro and a con depends on the task you're using it for. ie: XFCE works great for my laptop, but on my better equipped desktop I tend to like KDE or Gnome better because they're more full-featured (think: bloated) I'm not really a big fan of either the Windows or OS X GUIs, either. Look-wise I like KDE. Functionality-wise I like KDE. Stability-wise I like Windows XP.

    Or are you talking about the file system... The kernel... The shell? The applications? The installation? The security? The quality of the media you purchase it on? The updates? The licensing?

    If you're going to say it sucks, at least say it in a manner that resembles intelligence. Otherwise I'm tempted to just dismiss you as a complete idiot. In fact, I think I might do that anyway. Especially after reading some of your other clueless posts regarding Linux. Particularly about those running Linux on a Mac. "Why do you want to buy a perfectly good computer with OS X on it and ruin it by running Linux?" Like duh. Some of us LIKE Linux, LIKE Mac hardware, but can't stand the eye candy that is OS X.

    Your arguements/attitude are so close-minded it's no surprise you don't "get it". "It sucks, just 'cuz I dun like it." Bah.

    -Sara

I'd rather just believe that it's done by little elves running around.

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