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My Definition of Linux
#1
This is a long post. Those who take the time to read it will learn a bit about where my head is at regarding Linux these days. It’s a reply to an e-mail I got from a person who was expressing frustration with Linux and the Community around it. I really don’t need to post the e-mail itself because you already know what it says; it’s the same crap you see posted again and again in forums all over the web. I usually just pass on responding to stuff like that but this time it was directed right at me and it wasn’t mean in its general tone. This person was simply putting blame for their problems in the wrong place. I see that again and again and this time I decided to to really take the time to respond and not just brush it off.

Here’s what I said:

I read through your well worded e-mail and I must be very honest with you: you're blaming Linux and the community around it for your own ignorance. Before you get mad and start typing a heated reply, let me explain what I mean.

Linux is not a product. There are those that "sell" Linux distributions but what they are really selling is support and that's not the same as selling Linux. Linux is free. It's a community driven technology that can be used by anyone willing to take the time to learn it. Linux takes time to learn. It requires personal effort on the part of the person who wants to take advantage of it. While many in the community are happy to help new users along, such as myself, we are not obligated to do so. Your attitude going in is crucial to your success.

There are millions of posts in forums all over the web that sound just like what you sent me. The Linux community doesn't care. They don't owe you anything. They didn't sell you anything. You don't have any right to demand anything from them. MS sells you Windows and Apple sells you iOS and MAC OS. There is always righteous indignation from users and it is quite common to hear bitterness and complaining directed at Apple and MS because they have made computers a product and people who pay for products expect satisfaction for money.

You speak of boot loader issues in a dual boot environment. Well, I have been against dual booting with Windows for years and I pretty much always answer questions about it by telling people that I don't recommend or support dual booting anything. It's a tricky process that is easily destabilized by updates to either OS and Microsoft has no respect for your Linux installation.  My advice is to keep Windows and Linux on completely separate machines. One per customer and the boot loader works seamlessly and needs no user attention at all. That's as it should be. If you want to keep learning Linux then put it on its own machine from now on.

As for browsers, I don't have those kinds of issues myself. I stick to Google Chrome and leave it at that. Yes, Chrome is proprietary but it offers trouble free access to Google services and just about everything on the internet will run in it. The little built in spy bots also do double duty and clean up any potential problems before they get out of hand. I'm OK with that.

If you approach Linux with a "this better be easy or I'll leave" attitude then you may as well not bother at all. Linux is a vast set of federated technologies from thousands of projects big and small. You nor I will ever live long enough to master it all. We take what we need and then give back where we can but we'll never ever know or use it all. The more you know, the greater your power with Linux. It took me ten years of reading, playing, a few classes and many tutorials along the way to get where I am today. I use Linux as my main system and so does my whole family. We don't have crashes or problems and things run so smoothly it's boring to a geek like me who likes to play. Sometimes I hope something will break. My web page is self hosted and the server has been up and running continuously for almost three years with zero down time at all. It runs on CentOS. It just works. Why? Because I understand how it works and I don't fight it. I let it do its thing and it takes care of itself.

I took a job last year that requires me to use Windows 10. It is on the computer provided by my work. I do not allow Windows to intersect with my Linux machines in any way. I have no personal information whatsoever on the work computer. This is the first time I have had Windows in years. The point here is that I have to use both Ubuntu and Windows side by side every day and I will happily tell you that I'd rather use Ubuntu than Windows. If I quit that job or get fired I will simply box the Windows machine up and send it back with no regrets at all. I don't need Windows anymore.

Whether or not you use Linux is entirely up to you. It all depends on what you need or want from a computer and how much time you're willing to invest in learning new things. Some people enjoy learning new things. They start with fundamentals and work up so they have a thorough understanding. They see Linux as a journey of discovery and not just a tool they use to get stuff done. It's these folks who do well with Linux. Those who are in a hurry, adverse to learning and generally looking for instant gratification are put off by Linux and walk away. I personally don't care if you ever touch Linux again. It doesn't change my experience with it at all. But... I don't want you walking away blaming the wrong people for your failure with Linux. That, once again, is all on you.

?

Joe
-- Your Fearless Leader!

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#2
Well said!!
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#3
(07-31-2020, 09:37 AM)bulldog Wrote: Well said!!
Thank you! Smile
-- Your Fearless Leader!

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#4
Even though I'm still going totally nutz trying to learn how to use Linux Mint and will be for some time (and, yes, I'm impatient; I'm old and and don't have all that many years left), except for the use of Google Chrome (there are far better and less snoopy browsers, such as Brave), I totally agree with you, Fearless Leader (I feel like I'm in a Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoon although I'm too old and fat to be a good Natasha  Wink ).

However, there still is a small segment of the Linux community who are rather snobbish and impatient when it comes to helping newcomers, especially those with learning disabilities (like me). That can be rather off-putting to newbies (and even those who aren't brand-spanking new). Fortunately, those individuals are becoming fewer and farther between. Even more fortunate for me is I have enough Irish and German in me to stand up to the occasional Linux snobs or bullies I encounter and rip them a new one (it's a wonder I've never been arrested for practicing proctology without a license). This is a good video on this subject: Toxicity in Linux Communities and Help Forums: A real (but solvable) problem - YouTube

Also remember that, with Linux, one has the advantage of choice when it comes to distros and customizing them. You can customize your installation to be whatever you want. However, Windows refugees (such as me) who are new to Linux are easily overwhelmed by all these choices, not to mention having the handicap of having to unlearn an OS that they used for years, if not decades. Adding to the confusion (especially for Windows refugees) are the individuals that are convinced that only their choice of distro is the best one (or even the only one), even for beginners. I'm not blaming Linux itself for the difficulty many people have when trying to use it but the fact remains that starting to learn how to use Linux can be rather daunting. Same as not everyone has the ability to easily learn other skills, not everyone will find learning how to use Linux as easy as it was for others.

It was one of your videos with simple, well explained, step by step directions on how to install Linux Mint Cinnamon that got me started. For that I'm eternally grateful since I probably never would been able to get started otherwise (with my learning disabilities, I need simple, step by step directions to learn anything). I also took your advice to install it on an older machine I had knocking about rather than attempt to dual boot with Win 7 (the last good Windows OS although MS degraded it considerably while trying to get people to abandon it; with me, they succeeded and I abandoned Windows altogether). However, keep in mind that not everyone can afford that or, for those who still have to use Windows, such as, for example, for work (fortunately, I'm retired), have enough room to setup two machines so dual booting, pain in the...ah...neck though it can be (especially for newbies), may be the only practical option.
Jeannie

One has to be proactive, not reactive, to ensure the safety of one's data so backup your data! And RAID is NOT a backup!
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#5
Jeannie: Great Video ... it was worth my 17 minutes to watch it.

typically I don't watch YouTube for Linux or Tech info or help, my eyes glaze over and content is difficult (for me) to suck out unless the notes include links, etc.

Joe, a Hint for you. You started out with a real negative rant, that's cool. We all need to rant.
BUT when you went on with the "your own ignorance" bit, that was not cool.

anyway, back on a positive note, I for one want to be remembered as a grouchy old man that Tries To Do Better.

My best, Peter
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#6
(07-31-2020, 01:27 PM)Lady Fitzgerald Wrote: However, there still is a small segment of the Linux community who are rather snobbish and impatient when it comes to helping newcomers....

IMO there are three types of people who are likely to be rude or unhelpful to newbies:

1) IT professionals who live most of their lives on the CLI or in a server-centric world and think anyone who doesn't RTFM cover to cover and learn the 100 most important CLI commands isn't worth talking to.

2) People who are so deeply into writing code for apps and OSs that they think non-esoteric questions aren't worth a polite "You'll be more likely to get an answer if you ask that on the ______________ forum."

3) People who don't really know very much but have an inflated opinion of how much they've learned -- the equivalent of second-graders making fun of kindergarten kids who don't know how to read.

Fortunately all of those are rarer in the Linux world now than they were 15-20 years ago when Linux required deep majick just to get it installed and configured. And they're getting rarer all the time because so many new users have come to Linux in recent years and most of us are totally willing to help each other figure out how to do things.

But the real heroes are people like Joe (Fearless Leader, Mr Desktop) and Jeremy (cleverwise, Mr Server) who donate their time and expertise to help everyone and put up with the inevitable "id10t errors" https://www.ezeelinux.com/talk/showthrea...ight=id10t  (Thanks Guys!!! Heart )
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#7
(07-31-2020, 03:04 PM)mexsudo Wrote: ...typically I don't watch YouTube for Linux or Tech info or help, my eyes glaze over and content is difficult (for me) to suck out unless the notes include links, etc...

LOL! Your reaction to some videos sounds like mine except my eyes also cross, I start to drool, rock back and forth, and repeatedly mutter, "Buh, buh..."

All seriousness (?) aside, there are quite a few Linux videos on BoobTube that are quite easy to follow, even for me; you just have to dig around for them (check out the "Switched to Linux", "Chris Titus Tech", and "LearnLinuxTV" channels for starters). Since anything on the "Interwebz" (gotta love Bushisms) is ephemeral, when I encounter a video that is even remotely possible to be useful for me, I download it so I'll always have access to it, even if I don't have access to the "Interwebz". I use a simple to use program called Video Downloader. I just copy the URL of the video I want to download, click on the Video Downloader icon in the panel, then, in the little window that pops up, paste in the URL, choose whether to download either Audio or Video (the latter downloads the video with the audio), and click Download. The download is permanently set to be delivered to the Download folder.

(07-31-2020, 03:22 PM)Skipayear Wrote:
(07-31-2020, 01:27 PM)Lady Fitzgerald Wrote: However, there still is a small segment of the Linux community who are rather snobbish and impatient when it comes to helping newcomers....

IMO there are three types of people who are likely to be rude or unhelpful to newbies:

1) IT professionals who live most of their lives on the CLI or in a server-centric world and think anyone who doesn't RTFM cover to cover and learn the 100 most important CLI commands isn't worth talking to.

2) People who are so deeply into writing code for apps and OSs that they think non-esoteric questions aren't worth a polite "You'll be more likely to get an answer if you ask that on the ______________ forum."

3) People who don't really know very much but have an inflated opinion of how much they've learned -- the equivalent of second-graders making fun of kindergarten kids who don't know how to read...

Actually, I can think of a fourth type:

4) People who have been using Linux (or any other OS or program, for that matter) for so long, they forget what it was like to be a total noob and/or assume that there are certain little tidbits of information that are so basic, everyone already knows them.

I run into 4) frequently. Usually, it's unintentional and asking for clarification usually yields positive responses. Sometimes, though, I run into what I "affectionately" call "Tech Snobs" who can't be bothered with someone who doesn't meet their standards of knowledge (this isn't limited to just Linux, btw). Those are the ones who frequently throw out "RTFM" or "LMGTFY", not realizing (or not caring) that one may not know enough to know what search terms to use. Or, they may reply using technical jargon that noobs may not understand, then get P.O.ed when asked for clarification.
Jeannie

One has to be proactive, not reactive, to ensure the safety of one's data so backup your data! And RAID is NOT a backup!
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#8
New Linux forum users can be equally rude, especially the "know it all wanna be" types. 


After receiving an answer, the "know it all wanna be" makes an excuse why they could not figure it out, and they just keep complaining about why they have to do this.  And, they never reply with a simple thank you. Sad  


                                                                                                                                                                                                                  


By the way, some of the man pages are very useful and well written.  Unfortunately, some new users encounter a very unclear man page, and it seems to set the expectation for all other man pages. 

Most new users are unaware of additional documentation.  The "info" utility might have much more useful information.  Likewise, a lot of the packages have separate optional doc package. Additionally, the developer of the package might have extra information on their (github) web site.


.
Idea Give a person a fish, and you feed them for a day. Teach a person how to fish, and you feed them for a lifetime. ✝️ Proverbs 4:7 Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.
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#9
(07-31-2020, 06:49 PM)Lady Fitzgerald Wrote: 4) People who have been using Linux (or any other OS or program, for that matter) for so long, they forget what it was like to be a total noob and/or assume that there are certain little tidbits of information that are so basic, everyone already knows them.

True. Very true. There are loads of basic things newbies don't automatically know. Things like: In Microsoft Dos you type "dir" to get a directory. Simple. Obvious. But in a Linux terminal you type "ls", which makes no sense until you stumble across the tidbit that "ls" stands for "list storage". And Dos uses "more" which also works in Linux, except in Linux the preferred command is "less". And let's not even get into different programs giving different names to identical functions and putting them in different places within the drop-down menu system (I'm especially thinking about MS Office vs LibreOffice).

After someone becomes proficient with a specific program or OS, it's easy to casually answer a question by saying "You can do that with kudzu." without realizing the person asking the question may not know what kudzu is or how to find it. (kudzu = https://www.thegeekdiary.com/linux-os-service-kudzu/ ) And I think sometimes we're all guilty of doing that.

And unfortunately there are indeed some proficient users who get rude or dismissive when a newbie doesn't understand an answer they were given.

(07-31-2020, 08:40 PM)deck_luck Wrote: New Linux forum users can be equally rude...and they just keep complaining about why they have to do this. 

Case in point: Some how-to articles, like this one https://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/2020/03/remo...top-ubuntu , give a long, involved, explanation of how to do something using GUI menus, and then provide a simple, one-line CLI command that does the same thing.

Almost always, one of the first comments will be, "Why isn't there a simple way to do this?" because the complainer didn't grok the CLI command as being a truly simple way to do it. (But IMO the author and complainer are equally guilty in this specific case.)
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#10
Skipayear is correct "more" or "less" (pun intended). Wink

Forums are good for resolving problems, but they are not ideal for learning very basic Linux skills. If you need basic linux user skills, you should consider alternatives instead of attempting to pick up small random pieces from a forum.    

                                                                                        


The Joe Collin's EzeeLinux Youtube channel has a very good Bash Basics Playlist.  

                                                                                        

For a free formal Linux introduction course,  The Linux Foundation in cooperation with edX.org offers a free "Introduction to Linux" online course.  See the following link:

https://www.edx.org/course/introduction-to-linux

The course is free if you do not wish to gain the certificate of completion.  For new Linux users looking to gain a general insight in to Linux I highly recommend it.

                                                                                        


I would encourage you to check out the The Linux Command Line training web site.  It is a reasonable site for learning the command line and understanding bash.  Also, the site has a free The Linux Command Line A Book By William Shotts downloadable PDF book.

                                                                                        


I guess I am rambling again, so I will shut up now.


.
Idea Give a person a fish, and you feed them for a day. Teach a person how to fish, and you feed them for a lifetime. ✝️ Proverbs 4:7 Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.
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