Make Linux easier for the general population! Please.
GeneralThis forum is for non-technical general discussion which can include both Linux and non-Linux topics. Have fun!
Welcome to LinuxQuestions.org, a friendly and active Linux Community.
You are currently viewing LQ as a guest. By joining our community you will have the ability to post topics, receive our newsletter, use the advanced search, subscribe to threads and access many other special features. Registration is quick, simple and absolutely free. Join our community today!
Note that registered members see fewer ads, and ContentLink is completely disabled once you log in.
If you have any problems with the registration process or your account login, please contact us. If you need to reset your password, click here.
Having a problem logging in? Please visit this page to clear all LQ-related cookies.
Introduction to Linux - A Hands on Guide
This guide was created as an overview of the Linux Operating System, geared toward new users as an exploration tour and getting started guide, with exercises at the end of each chapter.
For more advanced trainees it can be a desktop reference, and a collection of the base knowledge needed to proceed with system and network administration. This book contains many real life examples derived from the author's experience as a Linux system and network administrator, trainer and consultant. They hope these examples will help you to get a better understanding of the Linux system and that you feel encouraged to try out things on your own.
Click Here to receive this Complete Guide absolutely free.
View Poll Results: Do you want a Linux with an Interview Style Install and Setup?
I'm a newbie/novice and Yes, I love that idea. thats just what Linux needs.
I'm an occassional user, I don't care either way.
I'm an experience/hardcore user and I don't need it to be any easier. I am happy with it the way it is.
The Top 10 ways things would be different if Microsoft built cars:
1. A particular model year of car wouldn't be available until AFTER
that year, instead of before.
2. Every time they repainted the lines on the road, you'd have to buy
a new car.
3. Occasionally your car would just die for no reason and you'd have to
restart it. For some strange reason, you just accept this.
4. You could only have one person at a time in your car, unless you
bought a car '95 or a car NT, but then you'd have to buy more
5. Sun Motorsystems would make a car that was solar powered, twice as
reliable, 5 times as fast, but only ran on 5% of the roads.
6. The oil, alternator, gas, and engine warning lights would be
replaced with a single "General Car Fault" warning light.
7. People would get excited about the "new" features in Microsoft
cars, forgetting completely that they had been available in other
brands for years.
8. We'd all have to switch to Microsoft Gas (tm).
9. The US government would be GETTING subsidies from an automaker,
instead of giving them.
10. New seats will force everyone to have the same size ass.
From Bruce Ediger (email@example.com)
Quoting one of my all-time favourite fortune-cookies
If you make it idiot-proof then only an idiot will use it...
Oh, and I'd note the idea that "hardcore users don't want Linux to be easy" is mostly false in my experience, dunno where you got that idea from.
Perhaps this is because I work mostly in the Linux developer community, and consider hard core users to be the guys hacking on the kernel, or GNOME, or XFree, whereas for you "hard core users" are just the local kids who want to be l33t.
Distribution: openSuSE 13.2 / 12.3_64-KDE, Ubuntu 14.04, Mint 17
IMHO this discussion is slightly disjointed . I understand both "extremes", form wanting an easily installable OS to really understanding what happens in the system and I sympathize with both.
What I think what could really be improved is two things:
1. User-friendliness -> Usability. This includes testing of software on the least computer-savvy people one can find, not on your fellow nerd. Example: SuSEs YAST2. Marvelous, what it might be able to do, if the developers had ever tested it under real-life conditions and implemented its promises (e.g. online-update by users choice remembers earlier runs and loads again -- without warning, very funny with a 56k Modem / installation source set to hard-disk accepts only iso-file-systems, not what you just compiled / etc.etc.etc. and never any explanation or warning).
2. Introduction of error messages, not the standard quiet abortion when something goes wrong (e.g. rpm -i fails, when an older version exists -- without the least hint). And no cryptic abbreviations either!
That's (IMHO) what is killing some of the good reputation of Linux when encountered by newbies (and maybe others) -- and deservedly so, since it is simply unprofessional. <- With that I don't mean to imply that the programmers are not professionals! On the contrary, good work, guys.
Could these two issues be addressed and resolved, both points of view would be reconciled: the newbie gets intelligent suggestions / warnings when something is off, the nerd has a capable tool without always having to know every and all possibilities of what just now can go wrong again. And the transition from newbie to nerd is eased.
Please see this as constructive criticism, I do apologize to any and all, who might harbor hurt feelings, I just think the idea of free software deserves the best.
Distribution: Debian if i can ever get it working right
both sides have a point i have just decided to move to linux and was advised that Debian was good for starters i installed it no problems, logged in and was stuck, nowhere in the documentation does it mention the fact you have to manually configure the Gui and run startx and my first assumption was that the install had gone wrong. So i created a thread asking for help with the install process and eventually someone pointed out that my problem wasn't that the gui hadn't installed but that i hadn't configured it and told it to run (now hopefully with this latest tit-bit of data i should be finally able to replace windows as the main os of my computer).
This seems to be indicative of the two points of view being thrown around if you know what your doing you can do it easily if you don't your in deep SH*T because finding out where to look to find the problem can be poorly documented, yes most of this problem is down to the fact that linux gives you the freedom to make you system do what you want it to instead of windows where you have to figure out how to bend your task to what the MS monopolists want to let you do, but not all of it the rest is down to the fact that the poeple Writing the program's error handling and documentation forget that someone new to the system might not jump to the same conclusions as someone more familar with the system will which is mostly avoided my microsoft by the fact that the are a comercial company that has some many different poeple looking at this sort of thing that they tend to be picked up before release (shame there can't do that with the testing of the code). now i'm not saying that windows doesn't have it's foibles it's just that unless you a total newbie to the world of computing the fact that the product hasn't basicly changed (and admit it, it hasn't they've just been tuneing it into the product they should of released in the first place, while adding and badground technology they can boorow from linux's open sorce code to keep it running in the market) since windows 95 means that most poeple don't even notice them
linux does need (at lease the destros that i've seen which is i admit very limited) do need to make it easier for the newer person to use while they're still learning the ropes, and the fact that one of the first guys to comment that linux is easy also mentioned that he'd had to get a 1000 page how to book in order to learn is a sign of the problem as if it was easy to learn how to work linux why would someone have written a 1000 page book, if it was easy no one would buy the book
Last edited by Windows Runaway; 04-17-2003 at 08:35 AM.
I am a newbie, so my opinion is not the opinion of an expert Linux user.
The first time i have seen Linux on a desktop i had the same confusion mind as the first time that i have seen Windows. I think that all the people speak of Linux like an OS very difficult to set and use just because all the people is accustomed to the Windows interface, i also think that a native Linux user after many years of Linux use and abuse could find every Windows interface difficult. I find Linux difficult because i have 8 years o Windows experiences, before i was working on DOS and the first time i saw Windows it was unusable for me. With the time people learn, i learned to use DOS, after Windows and now i am learning to use Linux ... i am in an office where people is abitued to work with AS/400 running with OS/400, this people is not able to use Windows!!!
I think that the real problem of Linux diffusion is not the interface but is always the same argouments of the Pc producers that preinstalls the MS systems on theyr machines and the software houses that write the 90% of theyr commercial programs only for MS systems.
If you want to have your shooters working
on Linux, ask the Game manufacturer to port
them :P instead of complaining how Linux isn't
... we want that Linux continue to get always more popular, this imply that Linux may run also videogames and not only server applications. In this manner Linux becomes ready to enter in every home of every family with childrens that start in young age to use it. For obtain this is not necessary that Linux should be like Windows.
i affraid i don't agree, yes if you remove the high powered methods and replace them with idiot proof controls that can't do half the stuff you want then yes it right but there is nothing to stop you providing the safe idot proof control as well as the root control after all when i first started using computers you wouldn't have wanted me anywhere near the dos delete command, so having a gui that feeds the selected files in and proivded the 'are you sure?' box was a good idea as i did need to delete files before i'd learnt the dos commands quirks now i still tend to use the GUI option (while complaining about the fact that the recycle bin makes the are you sure redundent yet it's still there) but can use the DOS command and be certain that i only delete what i want.
just because you provide a safe and easy alternative don't mean you have to remove the more powerful option though you might well hide it somewhere that means that you can't find if unless your deliberatly looking for it
in fact that is the whole point of the GUI - until ms decided to stop improving the command line area of the operating system and Dos was a much better operating system than windows 3.1 and to some extent win 95 but the problem came when windows stopped being a front for a command prompt that let beginners use it to being the entire OS hopefully htat is a mistake linux can avoid
I like Linux so far; but find that simple things such as the CD player application, sound, video capture, and scanner support fall short. This is not all the fault of Linux distros; some blame goes to the hardware manufacturers who refuse to provide support for linux.
We are looking at implementing Linux throughout 200+ schools, but the issues I mentioned above needed to be addressed. I've deployed Linux in one location seems to be doing well.
In my opinion, rather than ask why isn't "linux" easier, a more valid question might be "why isn't <insert distro here> easier to install/configure?" If you had isues with the way redhat or SuSE did or didn't do things, would you fire off a letter to Linus or to the makers of your distribution?
"linux" gives me the ability to choose something other than microsoft to control my pc. I am grateful for this choice. I understand that there are/will be limitations due to propriatory hardware etc. and I accept this as the price I pay for the "ability to choose" that Linux provides me. I also accept the fact that because linux is made to be used in a wide range of environments, I have the ability/freedom/responsibility/requirement to configure my linux kernel and distribution in any way I need or see fit (which at times includes breaking it)
Freedom of any kind comes at a cost - not the least of which is the willingness to learn how to live with this freedom. Which at times is difficult.
There is no question that a propriatory system such as windows has some decided advantages. If your the only game in town, then everone has to play by your rules. To the end user who just wants things to work and doesn't care how or at what price, this is desireable and acceptable. For those who want some thing different, the added work is an acceptable price. That being said, I'm not going to build LFS, so for now I have to accept how whatever distro I choose decides linux should look/feel/behave. If I don't like their idea, then I'll just look for a distro I can agree with.
I have used linux for about 7 months now. I am not a computer professional, tho I do like to tinker and am a closet geek, and I will admit that starting out was frustrating. I decided that using several distros would help me learn. I started with RH 7.3, moved to SuSE (loved the way it set things up for me - at first), went back to RH to make it work the way SuSE did, then added Slackware. All three of these distrobutions did things differently and at first this led to even more confusion. Then I broke down and started learning the CLI and editing scripts and config files by hand.
One thing I have learned is that that while it can take alot of work to find out how to do something in linux, actually doing it is usually so simple that is sometimes quite shocking. Fixing something in windows.......?
As I became more comfortable with editing things by hand and not using a GUI, I became more annoyed with the limitations a GUI tool like YaST caused. I still love the way YaST configures my printer, I have yet to learn how to get the same functionality from RedHat and Slack. Most times tho it changes the way my system works without explaining what it did or how it did it - including overwriting config files I had edited by hand and had working the way I wanted.:mad. Not to put words in other people mouths, but I think that this is why many people dislike GUI tools and equate them with loss of freedom and a lurch toward a windows-type contol mentality. You pay a price for ease of use. Admittedly, this may be very small in most cases, but where does it end? This may not be very important to some people, but to others it is. Your philosophy may vary.
The thing that happened to show me that my way of thinking about linux had changed was when I went to RedHat 8 and found that they had buried the konsole several layers down in the menu. I was surprised to find that this pissed me off as much as it did. Of course this is easy to change, but it made me feel like something profound and important had changed. I view the placement of items in the menu as an indication of the importance of that item to the distro. Just what did this say? Don't get me wrong, I am only slightly less clueless about the CLI than I was several months ago so I'm not proclaiming my CLI elitism. I just have, over the last several months learned how powerful and useful it is and so I can understand the attitudes many linux users have regarding it. It's NOT just another DOS prompt.
As a final note to this already way to long and rambling post....
In regard to the difference between installing linux and installing windows. I recently redid my entire harddrive with win98 and 3 linux distros. I didn't time the process, but I will tell you this. The time it took to install windows, install windows drivers, download updates to windows (56K dialup), inastall all my other software, and install those updates was considerable. With linux (all three distros) the install (full in each case) was roughly 1 hour for each (slack was much less). Downloading the updates wiped out much of that time advantage tho. Futher configuring of linux was more time, but would have been far more if this was my first experience.
all that being said, I know 2 things to be true:
1. The longer windows runs, the more broken it becomes and i will eventally have to reinstall it.
2. Barring my own stupidity or hardware failure, linux - after all configuration is done - will continue to run as well as the day it was installed.
Sorry for the length of this post. I think theres a point there
I guess I'll go ahead and add my opinion into this discussion. I've been using Linux on and off for about 4 years now. Why on and off?
It's not the installation, even 4 years ago it wasn't that difficult and it's got nothing but better and easier since.
It's not the hardware support, hardware support 4 years ago basically sucked, now it too have dramatically improved. It's not even the configuration anymore (I used to hate it). I don't really mind configuring something, but I don't necessarily want to have to do it right away. Now with the current crop of distros, everything is set up durring the install and when I decide to 'tweak' it or have time to work with it I can, until then it works fine.
What keeps me from using Linux muxh (currently less than 5% of my computer time) is software. Though software in general has improved and many are easily as good as it's Windows counterparts, there are still some apps only available for Windows and no Linux clone worth a damn is available. Games are another issue, I don't play many but I do have a few I like to play every so often. (don't say use WINE or wineX. I rather dual boot than deal with those abominations) Not only is the software I'm looking for not available, but the installation of it is archaic. I'll use a text editor to configure most things, even bite my teeth and go into the command line to accomplish something occasionally but I like my apps to show up on the start menu, or be placed in a folder where I can at least find them easily, or hell, most of the time I'd be happy if they even worked, not only that but didn't break something else in the process. Basically we got a dozen different formats of RPMs, .debs and source. Granted, with apt and urpmi debs and RPMs have gotten MUCH easier, still it's messy and even though I know a little about Linux I still often FUBAR my system trying to install something.. something else always stopps working or error messages will start popping up.
To a newbie (even worse, average computer user), these things will be confusing as all hell. You need to download this RPM for your distro version, needs to have at least this kernel and/or this lib* +*+*+* and if they somehow managed to get the install to actually work.. good luck finding where it's at.. there are no icons, don't know the name of the executable.. can't even go through the command line crap, hmm well I think most apps go into this folder..nope not this one.. try again.
I'm not trying to make Linux like Windows but even for a newbie, double click, I accept, next, next, finish BAM, Icon on the desktop (unless you told it not to) listed in the start menu and where is the .exe located? Program files.. simple, self explanitory.
In the last 4 years I had been hoping for one thing.. better software installation. The software is catching Windows fast, arguably in some areas passing it.. The software installation hasn't even left the starting gate. It's like the floppy drive on a computer, the rest of it gets faster and better, it's still running on 20 year old technology.
Before the flames start, I know there are LOTS of Linux users who happen to like the current methods of software installaion, some of those however, I believe fall victim to the same things they accuse Windows people of, or even worse, shallowly embrasing it simply because it's not the Windows way.
I don't think they should get rid of the current methods, I know they allow more options and control, that's one of the great things about Linux, we have options, and personally, I like a better one in this area.
I understand the frustration of learning linux. 3 distros which greatly minimize then frustration are Skyrix linux, Lindows, and Xandros linux. Probably the easiest to install and use (IMHO) is Xandros. Has 1 of everything pre-configured. Including java enabled browser. Makes the transition very easy, and when you get adventurous, download and install Debian kernel and you have a Debian distro. All configs and settings of Xandros are retained.
Just my $.02 worth.
Well I have found that Linux is getting easier to install, I just installed RH9 and it sensed everything quite well. When you are installing Linux you have to have some idea of what you are going to be using it for, select the option you want and install the defaults and you are done. If Linux had been main stream and MS were the new kids on the block people would be complaining about MS they way they do about Linux now when the support from the hardware and software side isn't there.
When people do start to have problems right from the start because some hardware isn't supported, and this is due to hardware vendors just worried about Windows because hey when have you ever seen a computer you buy and choose the OS, very seldom do you get the chance so here you go home plug in everything as according to the large pictures and Windows is already pre-installed and configured, (So Why do you think windows seems so easy to setup, because it is setup) Try installing Windows from scratch and see the problems you run into (Need Windows Cd, reboot, Need windows Cd, reboot, need windows cd, reboot, you get the message) Then when you buy software you hit setup and windows is nice this way it messes up your drive but it will put shortcuts all over your desktop and in your start menu.
On another note if when you bought a computer and Linux was already installed the way Windows is, you go home plug in the computer boom startup create your user accounts, go on your merry way and surf the net, word process, use spreadsheets, even financial records. People would be using Linux more. I know that Lindows is there but who wants to pay $99.00 per year just to have access to their software.
On a final note until the hardware and software manufactures come on board Linux is not going to become main stream but for most people Linux will do everything and more than what they require now, but give flexibility to those people who like to tinker. There are some good installers out there for Linux (eg. Netscape, NVIDIA Driver) and once you do become familiar with the Linux structure you can find those new programs easily (eg. whereis mozilla). The Good News is that slowly Linux is starting to be supported by these people, then you will see more people come onboard to use Linux because of stability and freedom from EULAs, Who out there wants to become part of the Microsoft .NET and give all your information to MS even if you don't want to ( such as the bug reports)