Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?
Linux Software

The Clueless Newbie's Linux Odyssey 998

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."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

The Clueless Newbie's Linux Odyssey

Comments Filter:
  • 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.
    • Re:Article Summary (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      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?
    • 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 wilkinsm ( 13507 ) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @04:05AM (#5672344)
        In the review she tryed to install SuSE 7.1 - That release is so old now I would not even dare donate it. I think it's very disingenuous of her to slam SuSE they way she does. SuSE 8.1 (soon to be released 8.2) in my experience is a "click Install and leave the computer for 20-30 minutes" situation, no matter how oddball your computer is.

        Just by that fact alone, I consider this review nothing more than pure crap rant by a pure crap reviewer. There is no excuse for not using a fairly modern release and such a lazy effort should be rewarded with the article being pulled.
        • I agree

          I am no geek but Mandarke 9.0 installed painlessly, recognising all my hardware. Even with Mandrake 8.1 I only had to edit a config file once (to mount my camera as USB mass storage).

          I have also tried KNoppix on a number of several machines and it works every time as long as there is enough memory.

          The other thing is that Windows is not that easy to install - it is just that most people do not do it as it is already installed when they buy their PCs. I know plently of people who struggle for hours
        • In her defense... (her? could be male. the name is pronounced pseudonym.)

          She said that her review is based on a pile of discs someone gave her to try. You're going to have new and old distros in that bunch. She was clear that it was SuSE 7.1 she tried, not that SuSE in general sucks.

      • 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?
      • "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, g
    • Tool or toy? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by goombah99 ( 560566 ) on Saturday April 05, 2003 @10:27PM (#5671214)
      The only short sighted thing I could see in her article was the requirement it work with existing hardware. Up to a point thats fine but if your PC is really tool then I sure as hope the price of hardware is not more of an issue than the system maintinence. the cost of a new computer every 5 years (shes running windows 95 remember) is neglible in an office environment. or if its not then you should wonder why the person needs the computer at all.

      figure it this way. If you futz with your computer more than ten days a year (trying to get it to print, boot, re-install, upgrade) and you are paid more than 10$ an hour then you should seriously ask yourself if its cheaper to futz with an old machine when a new major system change is affoot or to get a new comuter.

      On the other habd I can see why people might want to keep some of their accumlated perfrials if they are particularly expensive or many. Likewise using old software is nice too.

      However if you really want to make the switch from windows to linux then most of your software is our. and much of your perfirials are out too.

      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.

      macs work. yeah sure they have problems too, just none of the ones she mentioned. And mac hardware not only works its insanely interchangable. When I used to blow up a mac in 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.

      in short the cost of a machine is how much you futz with it, not the 300$ you thought you saved buying a dell dude. (I say thought because you did not get all the cool software that comes with macs) Of course none of what I said applies to gamers.

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

        by StarTux ( 230379 )
        "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 goi
      • 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. Publish

    • Re:Article Summary (Score:4, Interesting)

      by earthcrosser ( 653266 ) on Saturday April 05, 2003 @11:04PM (#5671357)
      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.

      As a Linux newb, I couldn't agree more.

      I'm a programmer on the Microsoft side of the development fence (keep comments to self, please), and decided a few months ago that it would be a good idea to learn Linux. So I put together a decent box and downloaded a couple of distros (Red Hat 8, Debian). So far, so good.

      Well, in my desire to keep things simple, I apparently chose a mobo that isn't really a good starting point for Linux newbs to work with (Asus A7N266-VM... Nforce chipset). RH8 and Debian both installed fine, but when attempting to start X, the box just went to (and stayed at) a blank screen. Head to the newsgroups and forums, right?

      Everything I read online related to the problem I was having either A) was too general for a newb to understand, or B) listed specific steps, but those steps didn't match what I was seeing. A friend of mine (a rabid Debianite) insisted that I let apt-get grab anything it needed off the net. If my net card worked, I would have been happy to try that. He kept going around with "apt-get will grab and set up modules you need," and "you need net modules for apt-get to work." Chicken and egg.

      After two weeks of nightly work on trying to get things going, I gave up in frustration. My buddy continues to bitch incessantly about Microsoft "sucking" and being "a bitch to use." Guess what, though? Here I am, a computer literate, pro-Microsoft guy who honestly wants to learn Linux, and I can't even get something as rudimentary as network, sound, and video working. It shouldn't be this hard to evangelize the willing!

      It's very frustrating, because I want to get into Linux and OSS development.
      • Re:Article Summary (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Qzukk ( 229616 )
        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
      • Re:Article Summary (Score:3, Insightful)

        by StarTux ( 230379 )
        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:


        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 :).

      • A friend of mine (a rabid Debianite) insisted

        Urgh. I hate this. Nobody should EVER recommend Debian, Gentoo or Slack to newbies - no matter how elite they think they're being, they are just making more work for themselves and people on tech support channels further down the line.

        What I really hate is the attitude that "they'll learn quicker if they use Debian". There is of course nothing stopping you from learning quickly on any distro if you so wish, they are all Linux after all. It just turns what i

    • 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.

  • by blair1q ( 305137 ) on Saturday April 05, 2003 @09:39PM (#5671001) Journal
    Say the name out loud until you get it.
    • by Theodore Logan ( 139352 ) on Saturday April 05, 2003 @10:11PM (#5671143)
      Very clever, very clever indeed. I sense a conspiracy! Let's see what we can make of this: there are ten letters in "Tsu Dho Nimb" and Bill Gates was born on October 28, 1951. 2+8+1+9+5+1=26. 2+6=8, and 8 is written 10 in octal. Coincidence? I think not!

      Even a moron can see that there's got to be something more than meets the eye to a story that purports to show how Linux is still too complicated for the masses. I wipe my ass on your article, Bill. You're not fooling me!
    • Re:Tsu Dho Nimh (Score:3, Interesting)

      by jpetts ( 208163 )
      Yes, look at the original url at the top of the printer friendly version: anything strike you?

      http://www.linuxworld.com/site-stories/2003/0401 .tsu.html
  • by labratuk ( 204918 ) on Saturday April 05, 2003 @09:42PM (#5671012)
    I'm a lousy typist, and text mode is not an efficient way for me to interface with an operating system.

    Let me get this striaght. She's a Technical writer, but a lousy typist.

    Her work day must be living hell.

    • by Theodore Logan ( 139352 ) on Saturday April 05, 2003 @09:48PM (#5671040)
      A technical writer who doesn't know the first thing about computers and can't type? Either it's still the first of April or all those people who whine about how hard it is getting a job in tech these days are damn, cursed, liars!
      • Re:Technical writer? (Score:5, Informative)

        by rossz ( 67331 ) <ogre@noSpAm.geekbiker.net> on Saturday April 05, 2003 @11:04PM (#5671358) Homepage Journal
        If I wanted documents written for nongeeks, I want my technical writer to know as little about the subject as possible. A good technical writer's value is in his/her ability to collect the necessary information and put it in a form easily understood.

        Someone who knows the subject inside out is quite possibly the worst choice as a technical writer. They usually make that all too common mistake of assuming you know an important tidbit of information because "it's so basic".
      • 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 confi
    • by Soko ( 17987 ) on Saturday April 05, 2003 @09:55PM (#5671070) Homepage
      Doubt it. This guy Rob Malda [cmdrtaco.net] makes his living posting "news" stories, and his typing seems to be rather lousy, his spelling and grammer are rather poor, too. I don't see him suffering much.

      Besdies, from what I've seen, "Technical" and "Writer" don't belong in the same sentence, unless the sentence is "Techncally I'm a Writer, but I'm not terribly creative..."

      • 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.)
    • Re:Technical writer? (Score:5, Informative)

      by harlows_monkeys ( 106428 ) on Saturday April 05, 2003 @09:58PM (#5671089) Homepage
      Let me get this striaght. She's a Technical writer, but a lousy typist.

      She's a fairly regular posted on comp.os.linux.advocacy, and explained this there. Here is what she said:

      We're not paid by the word, so speed doesn't count. We're paid for the ability to collect, collate, edit, and publish accurate technical information.

      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.

      Here's the posting [google.com].

      Here's the complete thread [google.com].

  • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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 Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 05, 2003 @09:45PM (#5671025)
    With that wonderful endorsement, how can I *not* read it?!?
  • 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 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.-
      • 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
  • nice quote (Score:5, Funny)

    by mrpuffypants ( 444598 ) <mrpuffypants&gmail,com> on Saturday April 05, 2003 @09:47PM (#5671038)
    Well, you shrieking geeks

    that's a nice way to endear yourself to the readers. I'd like to read some of her technical writings...

    Now configure sendmail; you know where the sendmail.cf file is, you twit!
  • by DeadSea ( 69598 ) on Saturday April 05, 2003 @09:48PM (#5671042) Homepage Journal
    She's installed half a dozen distributions. That's five more than I've ever installed. Such bravery.

    I have had similar frustrations trying to get my printer at home to work. I've never been able to do it properly. Its an HP USB inkjet and it works just find from Windows 98. I really wish I had a postscript laser printer [gccprinters.com], since those are so easy to set up from Linux. (Never mind that Windows makes it harder than it should be to install one.)

    As far as the CD burner goes, she had problems getting it to work on Redhat. I've found that whatever version comes with RedHat is pretty bad. Upgrading to the newest version of XCDRoast [xcdroast.org] solved all my problems. They even have RPMs that are a breeze to install in RedHat. Yes you have to run it as root, but only once. You can give anybody permission to run it from its graphical interface.

  • 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.
    • 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 wo
    • by overshoot ( 39700 ) on Saturday April 05, 2003 @10:20PM (#5671176)
      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.

      Help me here -- she's having trouble with Mandrake's installer and you want her to try the BSDs?

  • by timothy ( 36799 ) on Saturday April 05, 2003 @09:50PM (#5671048) Journal
    First: This article makes some very good points, ones that people who push Free and otherwise Open Source software on others to the point of being annoying (like me) often have to skirt around. This kind of criticism is really important!

    Second: The author talks about the need (in her case) of a dual-boot system, and that's surely a common situation. However: What about Windows? If someone has a mostly happy, generally successfull Linux installation on a machine with a few tens of gigs of hard drive space, can Windows be nicely (non-destructively) installed as a novelty or ... for what Windows users use it for?

    I have installed Mandrake Linux (versions 7.1 and 8.0) on Laptops which arrived with different versions of Windows, and contrary to the upshot of this article, those installs (dual-booting with Windows) went pretty automagically (though I regret that I ended up with a big never-used partition on each of those hard-drives ;)). However, that's because Linux distros know they exist in a MS-dominant environment. Microsoft seems to offer tips on removing Linux, but how difficult would it be to go about creating a dual-boot system the other way?

    (This question is out of ignorance, and is not rhetorical.)


    p.s. A very similar, just-as-damning article could be written about the various interface flaws that infest Microsoft Windows; a few recent visits to my dad, trying to help him set up wireless networking under Windows led me to show him how if I popped in a Knoppix CD, everything Just Worked, but we never did get Windows XP happy with his network.
  • 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.

  • Brief comment (Score:5, Interesting)

    by smoondog ( 85133 ) on Saturday April 05, 2003 @09:55PM (#5671069)
    1. It must have a GUI interface for installing and configuring the system. I'm a lousy typist, and text mode is not an efficient way for me to interface with an operating system.

    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.

    BTW - Is anyone else totally baffled by the choices Mr. Gates and co used when developing MSDOS many years ago? The MSDOS "shell" has commands that are totally crazy. Some, like "dir" (and its output) are a little more intuitive than the default "ls". Others, like md are (arguably) less intuitive than mkdir. Still others are inexplicable, like using \'s instead of /'s for directory structure. What's up with that? It's almost as if they said, we need to create a new shell that looks like UNIX but is different, so lets randomly change a bunch of stuff.

    • Re:Brief comment (Score:5, Informative)

      by richi ( 74551 ) on Saturday April 05, 2003 @10:08PM (#5671125) Homepage
      The different direction of slashes is due to MS-DOS using '/' as a way to denote command-line options (e.g. DEL /S/F *.* ). Early version of DOS didn't have a heirachic filesystem, so when MSFT added the concept of directories, they couldn't easily choose '/' as the separator, so they thought that they should use '\' instead.

      Muscle memory sanity for people switching between DOS and Unix wasn't exactly seen as an issue to those guys ;-)

    • Re:Brief comment (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Sentry21 ( 8183 )
      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

    • Re:Brief comment (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mikedaisey ( 413058 )

      "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 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 ) <randomregsNO@SPAMgmail.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 J. J. Ramsey ( 658 ) on Saturday April 05, 2003 @10:18PM (#5671171) Homepage
      "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."

      Stability is not antithetical to usability. If anything, reliability improves usability, since it means that things work more consistently. Security can be a pain, but basic stuff like having separate root and user accounts isn't too much of an issue.

      IMHO, the problems with Linux's usability have more to do with the availability and quality of GUI config tools, and the lack of a standard target for third-party developers to build against, which in turn makes it tricky to install third-party binary applications. Making Linux usable by the masses is doable. Both the technology and the standardization efforts are in place. It just has yet to gel.
    • Busted! (Score:3, Funny)

      by NoData ( 9132 )
      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.

      By your own admition: Saturday night, posting to Slashdot.

      You may be a technical guy, but c'mon, you aren't seriously fucking. Anything.
  • Hey... (Score:3, Funny)

    by 1nv4d3r ( 642775 ) on Saturday April 05, 2003 @09:58PM (#5671087) Homepage
    Tsu Dho Nimh my ass...John C. Dvorak, is that you?

  • 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 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@NoSPAM.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.
    • by Kourino ( 206616 ) on Saturday April 05, 2003 @11:03PM (#5671351) Homepage
      I'm so discouraged by this I just need to stop and agree ...

      I've been sitting in the IRC channel for a popular icculus game recently and every day someone brings up (again) the "we need OpenGL support" topic.

      Now, you can't do this in general, but today on LKML I saw what I consider to be a contender for greatest message ever ... damn, did it make me laugh XD

      From: Alan Cox
      Subject: Re: poweroff problem

      On Sad, 2003-04-05 at 07:08, Anant Aneja wrote:
      > also i cant give u the complete listing of the cpu
      > registers since it occurs at the last stage
      > of shutdown and i cant copy it to a file
      > and am too lazy to write it down

      We are too lazy to help you.

  • 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!).
    • 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
  • by SlashChick ( 544252 ) <erica @ e rica.biz> on Saturday April 05, 2003 @10:25PM (#5671199) Homepage Journal
    My experiences mirror this author's.

    Having administered Linux web servers for several years, I decided to set up a dedicated Linux print server at home. My printer is an HP Color Laserjet 4500 which installs easily with pretty much any Windows version; I decided to forego buying the JetDirect ethernet card for the printer and use Linux as a print server instead.

    I asked my friends what to use on my AMD K6-2 300 that had been commandeered for the purpose of running Linux (no dual-boot attempts here.) They said "Debian." I shouldn't have listened.

    dselect is the most nightmarish application I have ever seen. I spent a good 15 minutes reading the help files, most of which were of no use to me. I then somehow managed to exit out of dselect by hitting some keystroke. BAM! I was dropped into a console prompt with absolutely no packages installed.

    Aha! I thought. Apt-get to my rescue! After all, that was the saving grace of Debian. I tried "apt-get install kde." Not the right package name. Okay.... "apt-get install gnome." No? I just need to apt-get some sort of GUI!

    With tedious Google searching, I finally figured out the sequence of commands to install KDE, and I was off and running. (I think I ended up installing some calculator program that required the KDE libraries, and it went ahead and installed KDE for me.)

    I rebooted and was dropped into KDE.... exxcept that Debian wouldn't detect my USB mouse. I ended up having to go into #debian on freenode and get the instructions on how to edit some mouse configuration file just to make Debian understand that my mouse was on a USB port. After my mouse worked, I started using Debian, except that I got this weird C error dialog whenever I ran any application. I gave up and tried Red Hat 7.3 (then the latest) instead.

    Red Hat was much easier for me to use. It detected my mouse during the install program, which was nice. However, it didn't detect my printer. I finally got the printer installed under the "control panel" sort of thing that KDE had, only to find out that most of the computer's applications didn't recognize that I was using CUPS! I went back to IRC and asked what the deal was. "Oh, that's normal," was the response. "If you set up the printer under KDE, only KDE applications will recognize it! Then you have to go in and tell all your other applications that the printer is now defined under CUPS instead of LPR. A window manager doesn't control your entire system! You should learn the difference between a window manager and the underlying OS."

    By this time, I was miffed. If I set up a printer in Windows or Mac OS under the Control Panel, all the applications realize that that printer is now my default printer. Why in the world couldn't Mozilla (to use one example) do this? As far as I was concerned, the GUI control panel was the system control panel. To force users to learn the difference between window managers and the underlying OS and to force users to understand that changes they make in the window manager won't apply to the entire OS is a usability gaffe of such proportions that it hasn't been committed since Windows 95 took DOS out of the picture 8 years ago.

    It took me several more hours to set up Samba to share my printer out to my Windows XP box, most notably because of a bug in Samba that prevented sharing printers to Windows XP. I then had the printer working with over 7 hours of work. It was a very long day for me.

    I used the print server successfully for a few weeks. I then went away for Christmas and turned the computer off. When I came home and turned it on, there was no print server (and yes, I'd made sure that all the correct services were set to run on startup, which was yet another annoyance I had to consider in the 7-hour setup process.) Instead of being frustrated, I remembered that I had an old Pentium 75 in the garage that ran Windows 95. 15 minutes later, I had downloaded the Windows 95 drivers from HP's website, clicked the "enable printer sharing" button,
  • 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.

  • Hardware matters (Score:3, Informative)

    by be-fan ( 61476 ) on Saturday April 05, 2003 @10:52PM (#5671313)
    My experiences in installing Linux have been totally different. The last time I went through Linux hell was back around the libc5/glibc fiasco. After I ditched RPM-based distros, it's been smooth sailing ever since. Over the winter, I managed to hose my installation of Gentoo on my laptop (that's what running every 0-day cvs ebuild in sight will get you :). I wasn't going to have a broadband connection for about a month, so Gentoo was out of the question. So before I left on vacation, I grabbed a set of RedHat 8.0 CDs.

    Installation was dead simple. I'm hardly a newbie, but the installer didn't really give me the chance to do all that much. I let it autopartition, autoselect the filesystems, picked my package sets (GNOME workstation, etc) and sat by while it installed. I occasionally had to swap discs. The bootmanager configuration would probably be a little confusing. There is no reason to really have it in the "braindead-newbie installation mode" because installed OSs can probably be auto-detected. Then, it rebooted do a nice GNOME desktop. The GeForce4Go in my Inspiron 8200 was autodetected. My USB mouse was autodetected. My network card was autodetected. I had to install the NVIDIA drivers seperately, which required me to drop into the command line. This would be the first hitch for a newbie user (who wants 3D anyway). In all, there was one text file to edit (a one-liner). No recompiles. Overall, it was easier than the average WinXP installation. The WinXP does partitioning and filesystem formatting through a curses-like interface. Two of it's options panels (date-time settings, network configuration) are a good deal more complex than the very direct RedHat panels. Getting good 3D performance in XP also requires an trip to NVIDIA's websites for it's drivers. Further, after the install, about an hour of additional software installation is necessary to get the system to a usable state. Once the RedHat install is done, it's done.
  • by unitron ( 5733 ) on Saturday April 05, 2003 @10:54PM (#5671317) Homepage Journal
    I don't see anything in the actual article or the page it's on to indicate whether the author is male or female and I don't know if the story submitter (overshoot) knows for sure or just assumed.

    That probably is a pen name and not the author's real name, but it's not unheard of for columnists to do this.

    The author might not be able to whip up a brand new operating system in assembly overnight, but it's obvious from reading the entire article that he or she knows a lot more about computers than the average user and is no stranger to installing software.

    We need to get Taco to set up one of those best 10 question interviews with him/her.

    • 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".
    • Definately "She" (Score:3, Interesting)

      by overshoot ( 39700 )
      I don't see anything in the actual article or the page it's on to indicate whether the author is male or female and I don't know if the story submitter (overshoot) knows for sure or just assumed.

      Tsu Dho Nimh has been posting to Usenet for a loooong time. Several posters to bot news.admin.net-abuse.email and comp.os.linux.advocacy have met her in person [1], and "tOSG" of the article is a known poster who works with her.

      Just in case it matters to anyone.

      [1] Under another handle, I'm one of them.

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

    by Trepidity ( 597 ) <delirium-slashdo ... g ['kis' in gap]> 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.
  • by Pinball Wizard ( 161942 ) on Saturday April 05, 2003 @11:10PM (#5671389) Homepage Journal
    and as someone who sets up Linux systems for clueless newbies to use, I have to agree. Generally, this distro has been the best support I've seen for setting up a basic workstation, which means everything should work right the first time. I'm not a newbie, but I don't have a lot of time to spend on end users systems, so I appreciate an easy to use(for the users) distro that sets up correctly without having to go back and do a lot of tweaking.

    I will say, from the progress I've seen over the last few years with Linux desktops, they are improving at a fast rate. The distros just keep getting better and better, and I think we will one day soon see a truly usable Linux desktop.

  • similar experience (Score:4, Interesting)

    by siliconwafer ( 446697 ) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @12:27AM (#5671686)
    I had an experience similar to hers.

    The first command I ever ran on my Linux box was "rm -rf /", as root of course. This was on Slackware 2.0. I was taking the advice of some people on IRC, in #linux on EFnet, and supposedly that command was "the one" to run. What a mistake that was.

    That was my first, and last Linux installation. Don't get me wrong, I've tried to install other flavors of Linux since then, multiple times. Never been successful though. Mandrake installer would always freeze, or something wouldn't go right with the distro of choice at the time. Funny how FreeBSD has installed every time with no problems, and is remarkably stable.

    In the end, I bought a Mac. I'm suprised that hasn't been mentioned more, as many comments are discussing Windows vs Linux. Try a Mac running OS X. Awesome GUI, very powerful, and stable. What more would you want?
  • 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.

    • Parent deserves being moderated up.

      The most frustrating part about these articles is that they aren't productive, in any way -- a person who has been given a free set of tools and all the resources they'd conceivably need to help maintain and improve them bitches that said tools don't do exactly what they want.

      Perhaps we as a community are somewhat at fault for trying to shoehorn Linux into a desktop role (although consider the alternatives, which are often insecure, buggy, and expensive), but regardles

  • Right (Score:3, Funny)

    by arvindn ( 542080 ) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @12:34AM (#5671717) Homepage Journal
    After a few paragraphs of whining that she couldn't play CDs she finally reveals that it was because the volume was set to zero. I know, this is a newbie and we aren't supposed to flame her and everything, but really, I have to ask if a person who doesn't think of increasing the volume if she can't hear sound should be using any kind of computer at all.
  • Ummmm (Score:3, Funny)

    by geekoid ( 135745 ) <dadinportland&yahoo,com> on Sunday April 06, 2003 @01:08AM (#5671824) Homepage Journal
    I think what she wants is a BSD varient. With a nice GUI. Probably by a company named after a piece of fruit.
  • by Micah ( 278 ) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @01:13AM (#5671837) Homepage Journal
    ...when and only when a couple appropriate neurons spark inside the skull of an appropriate entrepreneurial computer manufacturer and he/it/they start producing a "ready to go Linux system" which comes with all the software people will likely need and markets the heck out of it.

    As long as people have to choose to wipe 'Doze of their box and fiddle with Linux CDs, and getting everything to work right, there won't be much incentive for it to happen. But when a consumer-savvy manufacturer steps in, makes it all just work, provides decent hardware and decent tech support, and sells it all for less than an equivelant 'Doze system, we'll be getting somewhere!

    I have written up a Proposal for such a system [eradicatewindowsnow.com]. Come on computer manufacturers, listen up!
  • 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.

The human mind ordinarily operates at only ten percent of its capacity -- the rest is overhead for the operating system.