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for whom?

Posted 03-01-2012 at 11:39 AM by hplc

I've been trying out most of the linux distros and all of the BSD distros from the early years, and today it struck me. Linux and BSD aint "user friendly", they are "absolute"

Despite risking a flame war i cannot help but to compare linux / BSD against the oh so well known microsoft windows, i have no experience at all with Mac, so i leave them out of this blog.

My current experiment consist of a linux based firewall / router distro, behind that i run Ubuntu desktop on an older HP and sometimes hook up my laptop to the internal as well.

For as long as i stick with nice GUI step-by-step guides all seems to work just fine. And as long as i dont deviate from what can be considered "normal" its a world of fun and exploration of free software. But last week i realized i had an older wireless pci card and started wondering if i could connect laptop to internet thru that card wich was in the ubuntu / HP machine. Yes, "ad-hoc" was a possibility, the card "dlink DWL-G520 rev B3" did have native support for ad-hoc, so, after a quick look at some graphical step-by-step guide with help of google it seemed crystal clear.

The graphical configuration of ad-hoc on ubuntu side was very easy and very fast, took less than a minute to make it work, then i told my Win7 laptop to go looking for new wireless networks, no problem.....there it is, it worked just fine...for an hour or so, ever since i cannot connect to the network, now, i can live live with using a cable those occasions i need internet access on laptop.

But i cant stand the fact that "something works!........Oooops, not anymore". The raw brutal fact that somethings broke, nnone knows how, noone khows why it worked, and noone knows why its not working anymore".

In a 100% pure ms enviroment "the magic" would just seem to happen by itself, and when the day comes when it breakes to pieces people just shrug and go "yeah its the usual annual reinstall, everyone knows that, just go do a clean reinstall just as the rest of us"

On the other hand, in a pure linux / BSD CLI eviroment, everything works exactly as intended for ever and ever without the need of a single reboot until the sun dies and the universe collapse into a singularity......but that implies that:

A: you perfectly well know WHAT file to edit
B: you peferctly well know HOW the new config file is suppose to look
C: you remember the "obvious" post-config tasks (restart / reload services..."the firewall? does that need any changes?")

UNIX / Linux / BSD is NOT forgiving, one single mistake, one single character wrong, forgetting one single PRE / POST task, and one WILL fail, and to track down the flaw as an ordinary Joe / Jane is simply such a major project that one simply go "screw this, it wont happen". If these tasks are merely hobbies one can live with it, and even enjoy the challenge to make it work, but in a real live server enviroment theres no way it will be tolerated that one goes around in circles mumbling while staring at the floor for a week or two. If something goes bad in such enviroment it IS for a reason, SOMEONE have messed things up, there IS misconfig, there IS atleast one solution to that very problem, but bug-hunting requires skill, guts, intelligence, wisdom and experience "theres the flaw, heres the solution BANG!", no wonder those are the choice of cyberwarriors figthing at the front with perfect military discipline, the mind of a jedi-knight and the intelligense of a MENSA-member. I personally love linux and BSD as a hobby, but it would be a living nighmare for me to be forcefully appointed the task of administer such systems, get a call in the middle of the night and get 45 minutes to solve the issue while still half-awake. And no wonder some admins love ms servers, when something goes wrong one can always "oh well, shit happens" / "yeah its the usual annual reinstall, everyone knows that, just go do a clean reinstall just as the rest of us"
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