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Old 10-22-2004, 06:18 PM   #1
otheralex
LQ Newbie
 
Registered: Jul 2004
Posts: 6

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Seeking Newbies and Experts


Hello,

I'm writing an article designed at explaining to average computer users what Linux is and what they can gain from using it. I would like to find average users who can talk about their experiences switching to Linux as well as experts (admins, programmers, teachers, etc..) who are willing to answer a few questions for me.

I posted on this board about a week ago and was originally trying to only initiate email interviews, but Tinkster suggested I have people post their replies directly back to the board. I'm posting questions below that can be responded to on this board.

I would prefer to get names from whoever replies so I can quote you, so if you would like to keep it private feel free to send you reply to my yahoo mail account at: otheralex2 [at] yahoo [dot] com

Here are the questions. There are separate sets for average users and experts.


Regular Users:
1. Why did you decide to try Linux?
2. How easily were to able to learn about Linux and what resources do you recommend to a beginner?
3. What distributions would you recommend?
4. What problems did you run into while converting to Linux?
5. What do you use your Linux system for?
6. Explain some of the benefits and drawbacks you have experienced since converting to Linux?
7. Would you recommend Linux to someone who has no interest in learning the command line?

Experts:
1. In layman's terms, what makes Linux superior to Windows and MacOS?
2. How can an average computer user benefit from Linux?
3. How would you recommend a user with no previous Linux experience gets started?
4. What are some of the drawbacks of switching to Linux?
5. Would you recommend Linux to someone who has no interest in learning the command line?
6. Please include your qualifications as a knowledgeable Linux user.



Thank you for all of your help! -Alex

Last edited by otheralex; 10-22-2004 at 06:24 PM.
 
Old 10-22-2004, 07:21 PM   #2
Samsara
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Registered: May 2003
Distribution: Ubuntu, Mac OS X Tiger
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Let me shoot a few back at you:

1) Where is this article going to appear? Will it be available free on the internet?
2) If not, why should I co-operate?
3) What is the purpose of question 6, in the "Experts" section? I ask because
a) you cannot verify these "qualifications",
b) the greatest experts probably don't have any formal qualifications (e.g. I don't think Linus , Eric, Bruce, Tim or even Richard would have any time for this; Torvalds, Raymond, Perens, O'Reilly and Stallman, respectively)
c) by having this constraint, you are excluding potential respondents
d) your questions are not particularly difficult

Regards,

Samsara
 
Old 10-22-2004, 07:30 PM   #3
mcd
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i'd also be interested to know where this will be published, but samsara, i think the rest of your questions are quite rude and confrontational since it seems clear to me that alex is simply asking for perspectives of both those who identify themselves as average users, and advanced users. still, that's your business. otheralex, i'll be sending you an email with answers that match your questions as best i can.

Last edited by mcd; 10-22-2004 at 07:32 PM.
 
Old 10-22-2004, 10:52 PM   #4
Bruce Hill
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Location: Tupelo, MS
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Quote:
Originally posted by Samsara
Let me shoot a few back at you:

1) Where is this article going to appear? Will it be available free on the internet?
2) If not, why should I co-operate?
3) What is the purpose of question 6, in the "Experts" section? I ask because
a) you cannot verify these "qualifications",
b) the greatest experts probably don't have any formal qualifications (e.g. I don't think Linus , Eric, Bruce, Tim or even Richard would have any time for this; Torvalds, Raymond, Perens, O'Reilly and Stallman, respectively)
c) by having this constraint, you are excluding potential respondents
d) your questions are not particularly difficult

Regards,

Samsara
Mate,

You broke a few of the LQ Rules with your bad attitude in that post:
  • # Personal attacks on others will not be tolerated.
    # Do not post any messages that are obscene, vulgar, sexually-orientated, hateful, threatening, or otherwise violative of any laws.
    # Do not post if you do not have anything constructive to say in the post.
    # Challenge others' points of view and opinions, but do so respectfully and thoughtfully ... without insult and personal attack. Differing opinions is one of the things that make this site great.
Since I'm not a moderator, I probably shouldn't post it. But when you reply
with such as that, it not only looks bad on you, it's a bad reflection on LQ.

Perhaps you could adopt to this saying:
"If you don't have anything good to say, don't say anything."

Linux is a community, and LQ the biggest Forum of that community. No one
wants to live in a community where they're being criticized, ridiculed, and
attacked. That's why we have police in society, and moderators at LQ.

He's just after some information and no one is required to respond.
 
Old 10-22-2004, 11:29 PM   #5
Samsara
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I'm actually prepared to respond if he addresses my questions. You may want to read my post again because I feel that you have reached an erroneous conclusion about my intentions. The word "shoot" was used in a jovial sense. I apologise if this was ambiguous.

Regards,

Samsara

Last edited by Samsara; 10-23-2004 at 12:44 AM.
 
Old 10-22-2004, 11:52 PM   #6
kvedaa
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Location: Virginia
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Well I do not generally refer to myself as an expert, but since I do make my living as a system admin I will try to play along an take a shot at the second set of questions.

1) The answer to this question will depend on the application that the user is interested. I have no real experience with MacOS of any version so I cannot speak knowledgably concerning it. I prefer Linux over Windows due to the added flexibility available with Linux, I especially enjoy the supportive user base, even if they can seem a bit feisty at times.

2) The average computer user, which I read as the user who is experienced with a handful of MS Windows versions can benefit from simply experiencing a different take on computing,

3) Depending on what someone is hoping to accomplish. If you are looking simply for an alternative to MS products it is possible to start small. Take a look at some Open Source applications that run in Windows. One of my personal favorites is the Firefox web browser. The windows version is very good indeed (I prefer it over IE), or sample AbiWord (word processor), or Open Office (Office Suite). If you are ready to take a deeper plunge and you have the available space you may want to experiment with dual booting a computer (most mainstream modern distros handle this fairly well, such as Fedora, Mandrake, Suse, insert favorite distro here)

4) With any major change there will always be a learning curve, at times you may feel rather perplexed why something is not working the way that you think that it should. To help get through this do not be afraid to go through the documentation, experiment and don't be afraid to ask for help, such as on a board like linuxquestions.org.

5) If you are looking for a low cost, very powerful alternative I would recommend giving Linux a chance. I have set my parents up with a home system running Fedora and they seem to be making a fine transition from a 4 year old Windows box that had running NT. Trust me my mother has no interest in a CLI, but she has no problem getting her mail, surfing the web and writing (and printing) her correspondence.

6) I have been doing tech support/administration for 11 years on Novell, DOS / Windows, Linux & Unix. The last four years have been almost exclusively Linux / Unix.
 
Old 10-23-2004, 12:03 AM   #7
Bruce Hill
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Location: Tupelo, MS
Distribution: Gentoo
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Rep: Reputation: 124Reputation: 124
Quote:
Originally posted by Samsara
I'm actually prepared to respond if he addresses my questions. You may want to read my post again because I feel that you have reached an erroneous conclusion about my intentions. The word "shoot" was used in a jovial sense. I apologise if this was ambiguous.

Regards,

Samsara
My apologies to you, mate.

These look to be some good questions, and would have been nice for
me to read before I started migrating from Windoze to Linux.

Since there really is no formal qualification to judge whether or not a
man is a Linux user or a Linux expert, perhaps his question #6 will allow
that person to qualify himself. In his opening he stated "experts (admins,
programmers, teachers, etc..)" which is what I believe he's considering
an expert. I don't think he'd reject someone as "expert" due to their
answer, but this may help him sort his fields. Personally, I didn't view
Q#6 as a constraint, and don't see how that would "exclude potential
respondents." Maybe it will validate the respondent.

For instance. When I first came to LQ, I thought anyone with "guru" as
their title knew Linux very well, and was being cited by LQ as a poster
who's advice was somewhat qualified by that title. Only later did I learn
that the title guru was applied to someone after they made 1,000 posts,
which doesn't qualify them as anything IMO, other than someone who's
made 1,000 posts to this forum. Now the number has been raised to get
the guru title, but still doesn't mean they're a "Linux guru" to me. I have
over 2,000 posts, and I'm still very wet behind the ears. I just like to try
to help, and miss the mark sometimes. It's my hope that as I've matured,
I've stopped posting "guesses" and only something that I know works.

(NB: There was at least one young boy who had hundreds of posts and
almost none of them had anything to do with helping someone with Linux.
I think he even made it to 1,000 and got that guru title with very little, if
any, knowledge of Linux.)

Do you know the qualifications of those men you listed? If you check, I
think you would be quite surprised.

Just give him an email, or answer here, according to his poll and help him out.
I'm excited to read the results, and hope this thread doesn't turn into another
one where people argue points and words that really amount to nothing.

It won't cost you anything but time, and he's allowing you to respond privately
(if there is any such thing on the internet). Perhaps you'll find it in your heart
to reply in this thread, so we can learn from your knowledge as well.

;^)
 
Old 10-23-2004, 12:13 AM   #8
TheMusicGuy
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Registered: Mar 2004
Distribution: Ubuntu 8.04
Posts: 127

Rep: Reputation: 15
OtherAlex:
It's funny that you have to do this article; I need to do one just like it, entitled "Why Linux Is Generally Better Than MS Windows". (I'm dead serious!)
It's for an english composition class, btw.

So...

1. Because Windows ME crashed my PC a great number of times and eventually rendered itself completely useless (I've fixed it since then but I needed *nix's help) and I was fed up with it.
2.
a.) It was a little bit of a challenge but I got the hang of it in less than a month or so.
b.) First, Search engines. I found most of my linux know-how from searching around google.com. After that I highly recommend LinuxQuestion.org!
3. I'd recommend a commercial boxed version such as SuSE or RedHat, since they have limited live support and are relatively cheap. Also, they are very easilly installed because they won't let you accidentally erase data from your HD if you tell it your a newb.
4. A number of hardware issues, most notibly *my printer not working at all (fixed), *cd burning programs not working (semi-fixed), *3D acceleration(fixed), *System clock keeps going out of sync (not fixed).
Also, I had trouble adjusting to the "configure make make install" process after using Windows Installer for so long.
5. Everything execpt Halo and GameMaker.
6.
+ Improved security (no more viruses, no more adware/spyware, no more accidentally deleting important system files)
+ Lots of advantages for programmers (everything is open source, lots of programming utillities at my fingertips for no extra cost)
+ Everything can be done in a command line and command lines are really easy to access, both unlike DOS.
+ Multitasking!
+ No more constant system crashes or programs wanting me to send people money
+ Seemingly endless customizabillity (With all the window managers to choose from and all their options)
- New interface to learn, not the just-too-easy interface of Windows.
- Need to log in as root everytime I want to install something
- Have to mount filesystems manually and type in a slightly longer location to get to them, whereas windows "mounts" things when you try to access them.
7. Yes. There are a lot of things you can do without a command line if you have a user-friendly utillity like YaST. Also, if you have a nice Desktop like KDE almost everything you can do from command line you can do visually.
 
Old 10-23-2004, 12:53 AM   #9
detpenguin
Senior Member
 
Registered: Oct 2003
Location: lost in the midwest...
Distribution: Slackware
Posts: 1,091

Rep: Reputation: 45
Quote:
Regular Users:
1. Why did you decide to try Linux?
2. How easily were to able to learn about Linux and what resources do you recommend to a beginner?
3. What distributions would you recommend?
4. What problems did you run into while converting to Linux?
5. What do you use your Linux system for?
6. Explain some of the benefits and drawbacks you have experienced since converting to Linux?
7. Would you recommend Linux to someone who has no interest in learning the command line?
1. i saw it as a challenge to learn something new and to see if i could actually teach myself to use it...which i did.
i still grin stupidly every time it boots up, amazed that i made this work.

2. it takes awhile to "unlearn" windows and grasp the linux idea...but the more you use it, the easier it is...like anything else. i've been using linux a little over a year now, and realized a couple months ago that i never boot into windows anymore, which i left on my pc because at the time, windows was the safe and stable os to use...wow, was i wrong.
resources i suggest would naturally be this forum as this is where i learned maybe 80% of what i know now, and also rute and tldp.org.

3. i recommend suse and slackware...suse cause it's very user friendly for newbies, which is what i learned on...and slack cause it just works all the time and makes you learn.

4. 2 problems, really. getting my modem figured out, and unlearning all my microsoft habits...

5. it's my main operating system now, so i use it for everything i do on the pc.

6. benefits...no crashes, no virus and spyware, tons and tons of software available for free which covers virtually anything you'd need for your pc...most distros are free for download also.
drawbacks...sooo much software, so little time when you don't have dsl or cable to download, upgrade and just keep current.

7. if they're not interested in learning at least some command line stuff, nah, i wouldn't recommend they use it.
many distros are very user friendly, very gui packed...but you still need to know some command line stuff to really make it work.
 
Old 10-23-2004, 04:11 AM   #10
acummings
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Registered: Jul 2004
Distribution: Slackware
Posts: 615

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Re: Seeking Newbies and Experts

Quote:
Here are the questions. There are separate sets for average users and experts.
Regular Users:
1. Why did you decide to try Linux?
2. How easily were to able to learn about Linux and what resources do you recommend to a beginner?
5. What do you use your Linux system for?
6. Explain some of the benefits and drawbacks you have experienced since converting to Linux?
7. Would you recommend Linux to someone who has no interest in learning the command line?
1. curiiosity at first. like, what is this recent wave, that type of thing ie to find out for myself. Then, the discoveries began to tell the story for me (so, also see #1 answer in experts section)
2. community college beginner and intermediate Linux Operating System classes. books. LUG
5. internet ie www and email and rss news, Perl programming, learning C programming, the fun of the power of the height of the customization that Linux avails itself to.
7. YES! can use the X windows. Then I would inspire them to new heights by demonstrating the powers of scripting such as command line (known as bash) scripting and/or Perl script. I've upwards of 70 of my own custom scripts most are Perl some are bash script they reside in my ~/bin folder.

Quote:
Experts:
1. In layman's terms, what makes Linux superior to Windows and MacOS?
2. How can an average computer user benefit from Linux?
3. How would you recommend a user with no previous Linux experience gets started?
4. What are some of the drawbacks of switching to Linux?
5. Would you recommend Linux to someone who has no interest in learning the command line?
6. Please include your qualifications as a knowledgeable Linux user.
1. each have its own niche. but, now reference #1 in regular users above: the story that began to be told to me via Linux experience pathway divulges the customizability of Linux, security, runs a lot without crash, customizability yet once again, and, customizability. The way that the Linux is engineered. It's no wonder that engineers use it!
2. Have an experienced person set up a neato sys for them to use. They will be pleased with its ease of use, that it gets no viruses or compromises like another OS that we know of. The (software) update realm differs from that of another OS.
6. 2 + years useage, installing, scripting. the classes. I likely lie between your two categories which is why I answered some ques. from each.

--
Alan.
 
Old 10-24-2004, 11:59 AM   #11
otheralex
LQ Newbie
 
Registered: Jul 2004
Posts: 6

Original Poster
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Thank you to everyone who has responded to me. I really appreciate your help and input. I'm only in for a minute so I can't write a long post, but tonight when I'm home I will respond to all questions posted above.

TheMusicGuy, if you need any help writing your article I would be happy to return the favor.

Thanks, Alex
 
Old 10-24-2004, 09:09 PM   #12
Bruce Hill
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Registered: Jun 2003
Location: Tupelo, MS
Distribution: Gentoo
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Re: Seeking Newbies and Experts

Quote:
Regular Users:
1. Why did you decide to try Linux?
2. How easily were [you] able to learn about Linux and what resources do you recommend to a beginner?
3. What distributions would you recommend?
4. What problems did you run into while converting to Linux?
5. What do you use your Linux system for?
6. Explain some of the benefits and drawbacks you have experienced since converting to Linux?
7. Would you recommend Linux to someone who has no interest in learning the command line?
1. I'd just bought a second hard drive to run RAID0 for more speed, and the helpdesk guy at my email service suggested my box was fast enough and I should "try Linux" on the second drive. I'd tried it about 4 years previous, and gave up after a couple of months. The rest is history in the making.

2. There are no books in English here, so it's all been online. LinuxQuestions.org has been invaluable - without LQ I would not be running Linux today. I am still "wrestling Slackware to the blood," and consider myself a new user still "learning about Linux" but here are some resources:
Google <Linux>
How To Ask Questions The Smart Way
Introduction to Linux
The UNIX and Internet Fundamentals HOWTO
The Linux Documentation Project (some are out of date, but great information here)
Bash Prompt HOWTO (a must have)
Learning the shell
The Linux Tutorial (basic but not so overwhelming as some links)
Rute User's Tutorial and Exposition
Linux Newbie Administrator Guide (specific to RedHat and Mandrake - last updated Nov. 2002-version 0.191)
Debian Tips by Rick Mowen (latest at http://linuxmafia.com/debian/ )
The Slackware Linux Project (the epitome of Linux - the purest)
Other links:
LinuxQuestions.org Links Database
Phil's (fancypiper) links (cause he has awesome information here)
Kernel guides:
Newbie Guide To Compiling A Kernel by DrOzz here at LQ
Kernel Build HOWTO by Kwan Lowe (which is linked from KernelTrap and Linux.org)
Because if you haven't recompiled your kernel, you're still running someone else's operating system ;^)

3. Slackware for those who want to learn Linux. Debian stable for those who want the smallest install and most secure for a server. Knoppix Linux LIVE CD for those who want to "check it out" but not commit.

4. Some of my hardware isn't supported in Linux, and I tried to replace all the software I'd been using for over a decade in Windoze immediately; rather than doing it one step at a time - patiently. And the difference in terminology and some poorly written documentation.

5. Email; web browsing; playing music, VCDs, DVDs; copy and create CD, VCD, and DVD discs; some graphics and photo editing (GIMP); writing documents (OOo); encrypting and decrypting (GnuPG); writing data to USB drives for backup; beginning to create web pages and manage a website (N|Vu); view images on memory stick of camera before d/ling (ImageMagick); transferring files (gFTP) - probably some other stuff I've forgotten. And I like to do everything I can from cli rather than gui, because it's faster, more stable, and you can see (-v) what's happening.

6. Benefits (+) and drawbacks (-)
+ more stable than Windoze
+ more secure than Windoze
+ multi-tasks better than Windoze
+ more cost effective - software is free, upgrades are free
+ quicker response time for security patches
+ community spirit where everyone has ownership, rather than M$ owning it
+ no problems with virii, worms, trojans, spyware - no software to purchase, update, upgrade
+ freedom
+ control over my personal computer
+ many more choices
+ ability to customize my system almost unlimited - tweak and hack to your satisfaction
+ ability to learn how programs work via open source code
+ community of users willing to help each other, many more knowledgeable than Windoze counterparts
- steep learning curve
- much esoteric documentation
- some hardware not supported because vendors didn't write drivers or release code
- lack of quality open source apps (though they're constantly improving)

7. No, not for an installed operating system. Would recommend they run a Linux LIVE CD such as Knoppix
 
Old 10-25-2004, 08:30 AM   #13
WhiteChedda
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Location: Florida
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Re: Seeking Newbies and Experts

Originally posted by otheralex


I posted on this board about a week ago and was originally trying to only initiate email interviews, but Tinkster suggested I have people post their replies directly back to the board. I'm posting questions below that can be responded to on this board.


Me thinks Tinkster wants to read the impending flame war.

I would prefer to get names from whoever replies so I can quote you, so if you would like to keep it private feel free to send you reply to my yahoo mail account at: otheralex2 [at] yahoo [dot] com

A rose by any other name would smell as sweet though, this is the internet, hopefully no one is dumb enough to give factual personal information publicly. In which case, I am the knight that says Ni! Or you can call me WhiteChedda, Cracked Tooth, Rattboy, or John Connor, your choice. None of them really mean anything unless you played certain games at certain times in my life.

Here are the questions. There are separate sets for average users and experts.


Regular Users:
1. Why did you decide to try Linux?


I remember being very excited when I first started messing with computers, at the time these were TSR-80's, Commodore Vic-20's, and the PC Jr. Learning these was like magic, I thought Linux might be fun like that. I suppose it would have helped if I was still a wee tot, because Linux is often more painful than fun in the beginning.

2. How easily were you able to learn about Linux and what resources do you recommend to a beginner?

How easy, I can't say as I never devoted myself to Linux full time. I still dual boot XP to this day. I always liked the evil empires throughout history too though; Vader, the Borg, Silons, etc.. Must have something to do with listening to Metallica's "Am I evil" one too many times. Anyway, suggested resources... A good offline command reference is a MUST HAVE utility. I use Linux desk reference from O' reily, but there are several flavors to choose from. Other than that a good UNIX concept book of some sort, things like groups, users, permissions, etc. need to be grasped sooner rather than later.

3. What distributions would you recommend?

Depends on what they want to do. If they just want to install and go, mandrake is probably the best for this, it simplifies a few things with its installer IMO. For a starter distro, I would reccomend getting a live cd thingy. You're going to end up going back to windows a few times if you are like most current windows users, the CD takes the messy partition/boot loader issues out of the equation. This can leave a bad taste in someone's mouth and make them resist coming back and trying Linux again. I should probably mention my first run in with Linux was on a 486SX [FPU's were for the rich back then] IBM PS/2 19-C {Actually the model was something like 2133-19C or some such, it's hell getting old.} and Linux [Debian I think it was] obliterated my hard drive, did not boot and left me up for 3 nights trying to recover from this. I gave up and reinstalled Dos 6.2 and win 3.1, later that week I upgraded to windows 95. Both went 10X smoother than the Linux install did. Linux has come a long way since then, however. I've used a few flavors of mandrake which at the time amazed me after my initial experience, redhat, gentoo but I lost my patients too many times with it, and now I use Slackware for now.

If they want to really learn Unix via Linux they have 2 choices, Slackware or Gentoo [debain can be used, but I shudder at that name to this day]. Gentoo requires a few extra things though and it not for the weak of patients. A GOOD broadband connection and I 'm not talking 1.5Mbit, more like 3MB+, a top of the line CPU [me compile you long time], and either a bald or shaved head, because if you can grab your hair, you'll be pulling it out. Nothing like taking 3 hours to download and compile something to find out its broken, or it broke something else. Oh joy!

4. What problems did you run into while converting to Linux?

"Am I evil?" I never converted. There is an industry out there that you have to deal with, or at least I do, and it is the gaming industry. Linux just isn't up to snuff here. I already grow frustrated at having to find work arounds in windows for crappy game design or support for certain things, there's no way I am going to find work arounds in a windows emulator in order to play a game I paid $40+ for. I'd be in jail for killing somebody if I tried. Microsoft succeeded at pushing its DirectX API onto gamers in the late 90's. Perfectly good games that would have run fine on OpenGL insisted on stuttering on Direct3D for some unknown reason to me. Direct3D has gotten better, but somehow OpenGL looks better to me to this day.

However:
With the exception of this forum [and even here there are exceptions] the linux community in general is a long list of holier than thou snots who are under some impression that people will be enlighten by there RTFM attitude. Humans are social creatures, and learn better in social settings, get over it boys.


5. What do you use your Linux system for?

Playing movies, browsing web sites, reading UseNet, E-mail, programming, fun, work, school. Pretty much anything you can use a computer for legally.

6. Explain some of the benefits and drawbacks you have experienced since converting to Linux?

Benefits: Cost. I don't always know if I want to get into something new, and paying for the software to get into it is often a failed investment. For instance, if I decide I want to run a personal communications server for myself, where people can leave me messages by voice mail, E-mail, text messages, and I can leave myself to do lists, or schedule appointments and be able to access it from work, home, and anywhere else I can have an internet connection. I'm not going to go buy $400 piece of software to test this idea out. I may find I just don't care enough to check the server for the data [which is the case in reality]. In Linux I can set this up for the cost of time [and sanity which I lost a long time ago anyway], in windows I'm buying the software then trying to force someone to take it back and refund my money.

Drawbacks to Linux, Unix was initially designed to be a server OS, and is sometimes inadequate on convenience for a desktop os.

7. Would you recommend Linux to someone who has no interest in learning the command line?

Probably not, at least not right now. I firmly believe as time goes on, unixes and this includes Linux, will move away from command line interfaces, and more toward a GUI based configuration like a Mac or windows currently is. The kernel already comes with an X config utility. Its only a matter of time before there is a Xfstab editor, an X local module configuration, etc..




Last edited by WhiteChedda; 10-25-2004 at 12:38 PM.
 
Old 10-25-2004, 10:08 AM   #14
oneandoneis2
Senior Member
 
Registered: Nov 2003
Location: London, England
Distribution: Ubuntu
Posts: 1,460

Rep: Reputation: 46
1. Why did you decide to try Linux?

When I was at university, only the Sun workstations could access the WWW. That got me onto Unix, and Linux wasn't far behind...

2. How easily were to able to learn about Linux and what resources do you recommend to a beginner?

Reasonably easily. The two most valuable resources are: (1) A friend who knows Linux beter than you, and (2) a good book!

3. What distributions would you recommend?

Well... that depends what you want to get out of it, doesn't it? Probably Suse to start out. Then if you want to understand Linux better, get Slackware. Then start looking into LFS & Gentoo to really understand how a Linux system is put together.

4. What problems did you run into while converting to Linux?

Dependency Hell. That's why I threw away Red Hat and got Slackware instead... after that, it was easy, except for the paper cuts from my O'Reilly books

5. What do you use your Linux system for?

Web surfing, MP3s, a few games, and learning how Linux works..

6. Explain some of the benefits and drawbacks you have experienced since converting to Linux?

I no longer get an ugly blue screen every few hours. Everything loads up blisteringly fast, it all works exactly the way I want it to, and I know how to change it if it doesn't. I don't have to worry about viruses, I have a good firewall, and to top it all off it was all free.
Drawbacks... hmm... it DOES occasionally take a bit longer to install software than it did on Windows. But only when I'm compiling from source.

7. Would you recommend Linux to someone who has no interest in learning the command line?

Yes, if they just want to be a casual user who'll be ok with the Vanilla distro setup. If they want to be a "power user" but have no interest in the command line, they're just wasting their time.
 
Old 10-25-2004, 04:07 PM   #15
cyberliche
Member
 
Registered: Aug 2004
Location: Atlanta
Distribution: Slackware 10
Posts: 85

Rep: Reputation: 15
I've been using Linux for about 6 years now, so I'd say I definatly qualify above "regular user" and I always hate to call myself an "expert" about anything so I'll answer both sets of questions .
Quote:
Regular Users:
1. Why did you decide to try Linux?
2. How easily were to able to learn about Linux and what resources do you recommend to a beginner?
3. What distributions would you recommend?
4. What problems did you run into while converting to Linux?
5. What do you use your Linux system for?
6. Explain some of the benefits and drawbacks you have experienced since converting to Linux?
7. Would you recommend Linux to someone who has no interest in learning the command line?
1. Alot of my friends at University were using it, and like the saying goes: "There's a time and place for everything, and it's called college." . Actually one of my harddrives died, and I had some data I really needed to get off of it. So one of my friends put it in his linux box and we were able to get the data off of it no problem. I didn't have the money to replace the drive at the time, so I thought, well if Linux was able to read the drive maybe I can get it to install on that drive. Sure enough, even though windows wouldn't boot, nor even re-install, Linux installed and I continued using that drive for 4 more years.
2. There is definatly a bit of a learning curve. If your adverse to learing, Linux isn't the way to go. I was able to pick it up pretty easy. I'm technically adept in most cases, and I always love learning new stuff. When I first started out I picked up tons of books like "The Red Hat Bible" and others in the same vein. Most online resources then weren't very n00b friendly, but that has dramatically changed. I would recommend picking up a book like "The Red Hat Bible" seeing what you can do on your own, and then checking friendly forums just like this one. IRC can also be a good resource, but can be risky for a new user.
3. It really depends on what you want to do. If your just looking to replace your windows install, and not really intrested in the nuts-and-bolts, something like xandros, lindows, or linspire would likely be a good way to go. If you actually want to learn something I'd recommend Mandrake. Mandrake is very user friendly, and at the same time you can tinker all you like. If your really looking to get into the innards gentoo is the way to go. Slackware is also a good choice (I use 10 myself) as it has the BSD style I prefer and forsakes many of the "bells and whistles" that characterize many of the newer distros.
4. Not really that many. Hardware support was hit-or-miss in the days when I first started. Modems especially. Documentation, especially at an entry level is (still) practically non-existant. You really have to dig for some information. While this has certainly improved is still is unfortunatly true.
5. I use Slack 10 exclusivly at work as a systems administator. I use it for monitoring, web browsing, e-mail, music, games (ssh don't tell the boss!) printing, graphics, chatting... tons of other stuff. I dual boot Slack 10 and Windows XP at home, but I use Slack alot more. The only reason I keep XP around is some of the newer games I play don't work under Cedega yet, and I've not come across a satisfactory means of DVD authoring/burning/copying under linux yet. I use Slack 10 for probably 95% of my computing needs (gaming included) and very much look foward to being able to give Windows the boot for good.
6. Benefits would include becoming more knowledgeable about IT in general. Not just about how my PC works, but about IP law, DRM, fair use and a myriad of other things that effect the IT world in general and linux in particular. A larger benefit is I don't have to worry about many of the things that my friends worry about with their computers. My computer doesn't crash all the time. I don't have to worry about spyware or viruses (for the most part) and I'm not constantly having do some sort of maintence to keep my computer working correctly. I take at least 3 calls a week from family and friends that are having problems with their windows box. I simply don't have that problem. AFAIAC there haven't been any drawbacks. Moving to linux has been nothing but a positive experiance for me.
7. I'm not sure. I can't imagine not using the CLI because it's such a powerful tool. I've not using any of the "beginner" Linuxes like lindows or xandros so I can't really say how well these work. In my experiance the CLI is as much a part of Linux as Explorer is a part of windows. I simply can't not use it. I think it's definatly possible to use Linux without the command line, but I wouldn't want to.


Quote:
Experts:
1. In layman's terms, what makes Linux superior to Windows and MacOS?
2. How can an average computer user benefit from Linux?
3. How would you recommend a user with no previous Linux experience gets started?
4. What are some of the drawbacks of switching to Linux?
5. Would you recommend Linux to someone who has no interest in learning the command line?
6. Please include your qualifications as a knowledgeable Linux user.
1. You're just trying to start a flame war aren't you?!? Seriously though, if nothing else, Linux is made by the people for the people. Bill G and the rest of Redmond couldn't give 2 hoots about any of their users past the fact that they give MS money. It's very easy to see. If they were very concerned with their userbase we wouldn't have nearly the amount of problems with virii, worms, spyware and other "annoyances" that plauge windows users. Further, their code isn't open. I'm not an OSS zelot, but having code I can see, manipulate, and compare with others has become very important to me. If code is hidden I simply can't be sure what it's doing. And considering Redmonds issues with mis-informing and mis-leading the public using their code in my opinion is very risky. As far as OSX goes, I really can't bad-mouth it to much. The same OSS arguments still apply somewhat, but Apple has a much better track record than MS. As far as the OS goes, I really like OSX. It has a wonderful interface with a powerful Unix backend. I don't really see Linux as an OS as being superior to OSX aside from the OSS issue. That and OSX is not platform independant. Those 2 things are the biggest drawback to OSX. In fact, I see OSX as a benchmark that Linux should try to reach and overtake.
2. In short they get to escape the complaints they make against MS without the cost of moving to OSX.
3. Find a local LUG or someone that uses Linux and ask them to serve as a mentor. Most linux users I know are happy to help new users (13370 skript kiddies aside). If the users is already computer savvy picking up a book and visiting forums such as this one are the best way to go. The Linux learning curve is getting shallower every day. Linux certainly isn't as difficult to use as it was 4 years ago, or even 2 years ago for that matter. It just takes a little patience and a willingness to learn.
4. If everyone you know is still using windows you might run into some problems (easily fixed) sharing data. Other than that there are still some hardware issues that might plauge a new user, but these occur under every OS. For the most part I would say switching to linux is drawback free.
5. Please see answer to question 7 in section above.
6. I've been working professionally with linux for almost 6 years now. I've also worked with *BSD and Solaris for that same amount of time.
 
  


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