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I first started linux when i was 10 on an old dell. I used some version of Red Hat, and being 10 i managed to completely screw over the whole system. 2 years later i decided to try again and now i have 4 computers running linux....idk about u all, but i was pretty enthused when i first started, the original failure was a big downer though
I started with Slack 2.x back in the day. I was more curious than excited at the time. I got it going, then after a while fiddling around I got x running, with fvwm. Tinkered with it on an off a bit. As far as big distros, played with RH 5.x... MAJOR dll hell, found Caldera and bought that, then bought the upgrade when it came out, thought I was in Linux heaven because stuff actually worked decently.. though still had dll hell going on during app installs. Went to Mandrake in the 7.x versions through the 8.x upgrades. Messed with Suse.
Then I found Debian, and it was good... and the gods said "Let us bring ye unto apt, and let the dll hell be ended. The sources ye shall have, as well as binaries, they shall fall unto the lands as softly as the moonlight, and all goodness bringeth unto ye. So say we all."
Mandrake was my first distro and somehow I worked through all the problems, modem, printer, gcc. (with LQ's help of course) I guess I was just ready for something new and stuck with it. If I can make it work anyone can.
My views are in line with KimVette's.
Newbs don't seem nearly as willing to do anything to resolve problems now-a-days. There's a ton of newbs who are just plain happy to stay newbs and'll follow whatever directions you give them... Linux is a learning process, and I'm a firm believer in keeping it that way. Along with newb issue, I've noticed that the whole unix philosophy is being ignored more and more. And instead of small, resuable, and pluggable tools we have single large programs that encompass an entire subject...
It's all a result of this "desktop ideal". Who really gives a **** if linux is made more like windows (easier), I'm more concerned with the quality. Ease-of-use is a fortunate side effect of good development, it should never be the main focus. Frankly if you aren't willing to learn and experiment, I think you're using the wrong operating system. Linux shouldn't accomodate newbs, newbs should accomodate it. It's forums like these were I see the massacre of linux in full swing...
rh 7.3 mine My video card wasn't supported well at the time, I spent much time in the console, then a month or two later xfree 4.3.0 came out with a much improved driver.
and the gods said "Let us bring ye unto apt, and let the dll hell be ended. The sources ye shall have, as well as binaries, they shall fall unto the lands as softly as the moonlight, and all goodness bringeth unto ye. So say we all."
Wow, amazing. I have to admit, when I read that, I got a good laugh. Only because I realize how big of a nerd I have become (but honestly, is that a bad thing?)
I'll be honest, I am a recent convert. About a year ago I came into Linux, my friend kept raving about it and told me to install it. So, I installed Fedora Core 2. I wasn't that impressed. Lack of mp3 support, ntfs support, and the complete inability to get my softmodem working drove me away in about a day. Honestly, I didn't give it enough time. I googled things, but it was a pain in the bum to get my how-to's from windows to linux, I got sick of having to edit config files and this crazy thing called an fstab to add my USB flash drive. What? You mean it doesn't support automagically like windows. What crap, I thought.
A few months ago I decided to give Linux another try, and after a few distros I fell in love with mandrake. Then tried Mepis and love apt.
Installed gentoo on a spare partition cause i want to mess with my system, and love it as well. Moving to arch.
Even though I am a "noob" I notice a lot of people ask simple questions looking for one answer, and I can say I have been guilty of it. After about a week of using Linux full time I discovered the man pages (something no one had told me about!!!! They are priceless), and this Forum. I was realy used to my windows where I could fix things very quickly, but as I get more and more comfortable in Linux (i've gotten rid of Windows completely), I realize now that I prefer the way Linux works over windows, by a great amount. Linux is a bit daunting at first because it is something completely different. I hadn't really used a command line of any sort since DOS 4.0 (or 5.0, I forget). I now realize how powerful the BASH is, and while I am still learning a lot (gentoo has taught me tons, and I wish I would have started with it, and stuck with it) I like the forum here to help.
I do have to admit though, when looking for an answer the first thing I do is search! I have learned a lot more from looking for answers to my own problems than by someone giving them to me. While I can't say to the state of Newbies from five years ago, I can promise you that I am really excited about using Linux (or GNU/Linux). The choice is amazing to me. And honestly, if a High School English Teacher can figure out how to use Linux, anyone can.
Hopefully, as there are a lot of people asking simple questions that I have noticed asked millions of times within the past six months, As someone said. As Linux gets more popluar we are going to see far more of them.
* For newbs, switching to Linux now is a lot more exciting than five years ago because it's easier to get a workstation up and running. The interface and driver support is far better than it was and in some distros you never even need to touch the CLI.
* We all know that people want choices. People are starting to realize that Linux is a choice they can actually make and participate in. And the result for them is a better product, better experience - you'll help make it a better community.
* Newbs will tell other newbs about Linux and not all of them will be easy to deal with.
* There will always be people who don't RTFM. Maybe they're lazy. Maybe they process things differently. But sometimes newbs just need a starting point and the FM is not always a good one. Annoying? Yeah, but lots of people are annoying.
* It might not always come across in text, but newbs are grateful to those who help them. If they aren't, you can always pretend they are.
* Pay attention to those newbs who aren't annoying and teach them how to develop/admin/donate to the linux community. They probably want to.
* Linux should not be easy and people should learn by working at it. Linux should be totally newb-friendly and the learning curve should be minimal. And with a little research you'll probably find a distro that does either. If you don't, you can make one. How beautiful is that?!
* I am a newb. If my post count ever says something different, I'm still a newb.
When I started using Linux there was no real community I knew of that I could turn to. There was one out there but it wasn't something I could just surf on over and find. I did have some contact but I recognized that the best thing to do was to avoid the purely "newbie" questions -- which would just infuriate people. I learned this through observation, thankfully, and avoided asking questions likely to get me noticed.
The best way to avoid asking the wrong questions was to research. Most newbie questions can be answered with 5-15 minutes of reading in obvious places. I had a Linux book which took care of almost all of them and when I used the web I hit the rest. Of course, by learning to look for my answers first, I developed the habit of searching first.
The vast majority of my questions have had answers I was able to find only by looking for them. I did have one issue with ppp which I never found a solution for (it would not connect until the third attempt or more... and took forever). I asked for help but never really resolved it. Which is okay because it gave me a reason to upgrade my connection.
Anyway, I do think there are a larger number of people these days who ask first before looking. But there were people like that 5 years ago... even eight years ago. The difference is that there are more people starting to use Linux now... which makes it seem like such a big thing compared to before. And the community is working on integrating these people in and has developed a stigma against telling people what to do with their easily found answer... so there is less opportunity to vent off the frustration of hearing the same question 6 billion times.
I don't think the newbies have changed... just more of them and a more accepting community which permits greater social misteps without slapping the offender down.
@ploosh; all technicalities aside, linux functions as a unix does. And a majority of the base programs were designed with the philosophy in mind. Perhaps you are simply not aware of the brilliance of it, or what it always the informed / creative user to accomplish in a short amount of time. Pike's "Note's on C Programming" are a must read, and time permitting I also recommend Raymond's "Art of Unix Programming", thought AoUP comes in book form, it's available free online... The philosophy is not something to be scoffed at, do not take the pipe for granted, it's a wonder in interapplication design.
Once again, I'm not against newbies, I just against how they've managed to cause development to shift away from the philosophy which allows a simple user to get so much done and truely *use* the machine.
@frob; I guess that's another problem I have :| I get frustrated when I see that a very tiny minority is even attempting to keep the masses of new users in line. The solution obviously isn't to hold people's hands and give them everything they to be cozy, but neither is rtfm! or getting harsh. Everyone was a newb at one point, somewhere in the middle of those to extremes must be the proper method for dealing with what seems to be, the "untrained" majority of the community.
The philosophy is not something to be scoffed at, do not take the pipe for granted, it's a wonder in interapplication design.Once again, I'm not against newbies, I just against how they've managed to cause development to shift away from the philosophy which allows a simple user to get so much done and truely *use* the machine.
Don't get me wrong, I have complete respect for what Unix is and how Gnu/Linux was inspired by it [and other posix nix's]. I think at the heart of linux is the ability to create a fantastic (dare I say intimate) relationship between man/machine despite level of ability, should one desire it. My point was somewhat tongue-in-cheek, responding to "I'm against moving away from the things that make unix unix" when you're talking about linux - surely you find the comedy in that given the brilliance behind the letters Gnu. It's this philosophy that is worth noting since in it's soul lies the freedom for a system to become whatever is most desired. The development efforts will reflect that and I suspect they shall remain diverse - it is us that risk making them polar.