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Old 11-03-2009, 10:44 AM   #1
dgoddard
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A How to Question which illustrates the worst impediment to Linux


This will require an example, so please bear with me.

On the page http://wiki.linuxquestions.org/wiki/Apt-get, the first entry under "tips" is:
to install a package:
# apt-get install NameOfPackage
Now please consider just the object of this line "NameOfPackage".
There is no information whatsoever as to what this "NameOfPackage" must be.
-- should this be a tar file?
-- must it be a deb file?
-- can it actually reside on the internet ?
-- if it can reside on the internet what must be included in the name of the package?
-- must it reside on the computer hard drive?
-- if it resides on the computer hard drive, must the path be included or will apt-get seek it out and find it?
-- if it resides on the hard drive is there a preferred or necessary subdirectory it must be in?
-- etc.

I have over $200 worth of "how-to introductory, comprehensive" books on my shelf and they do not do one damn bit better!

If there is so much as one introductory book that is even worth a bucket of warm spit out there for a linux distribution that is supposed to be so easy as Ubuntu (or pick your favorite distribution), I have been utterly unable to find it.

Efficient learning requires a short turn around time between formulation of a question and obtaining the answer.

Linux applications are international in nature, but somehow the writers of these applications never seem to think to have "native speakers" review their error messages for intelligibility in the languages they appear on screen. This results in errors or warnings like:
"It is not advised to append files to a
multi-session CD as the files will be
invisible but still readable"
--DUH !!! What the hell is a multi-session disk for if not to allow files to be appended ?
--DUH !!! By what intuitive method is an "invisible file" to be regarded as "readable" ?

Ok! Perhaps now you understand my frustration!

If there is a book out there, somewhere, anywhere, that is in fact useful to a Linux Newbie, I would most greatly appreciate being informed of where to find it.

Trying to use forums such as this, simply totally fails any criterion for efficient learning of the basics. Yes, for particular sticky problems these forums are excellent, but for learning the basics, I am sorry; but they are a failure!

My persistence in seeking to become proficient with Linux is driven by an intense LOATHING AND DETESTATION for the Micorsoft corporation immorality and their software, and an abiding respect for the principles on which LINUX was founded and persists.

But if someone does not address this horridly impaired learning curve, LINUX will forever be doomed to be some backwater niche operating system in the overall scheme of things !!!

Now could someone please forgive me for this rant and direct me to a good source that does not leave out important information for newbies and isn't written in incomprehensible jargon that it hasn't defined.

I am willing to pay for it.
 
Old 11-03-2009, 11:05 AM   #2
johnsfine
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Use Synaptic instead of apt-get

I only read about half your post. That was probably a lot more than I needed to read. Apt-get can be confusing for beginners. You don't like apt-get. I don't either.

Synaptic is a GUI front end for apt. It is easier for a beginner to understand and use.

What Linux distribution are you using? I found Mepis significantly more beginner friendly, especially for beginners who were previously experienced victims of MS Windows.

But open source documentation, especially man pages, is not going to be as good as even the garbage MS calls documentation. It is more fun to invent features than to document them. People who understand how the features work can't understand the viewpoint of beginners who are missing the basics and the overview. So man pages almost always lack the basics and the overview. They start right out with advanced details a beginner doesn't need and can't understand.

But you can make reading man pages and (even more so) info pages less stressful by at least using a decent program for reading them. The default program for man pages is crude and the default for info is absolutely vicious. The konqueror browser (default file browser with kde) is a very good help file reader. Try it. Konqueror is mainly a web browser, but I would never use it for that. Firefox is better. But konqueror is a decent file browser and a good help reader.

Last edited by johnsfine; 11-03-2009 at 11:13 AM.
 
Old 11-03-2009, 11:18 AM   #3
Jim Bengtson
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Maybe this will help:

Things You Need To Know To Become An Apt Guru
 
Old 11-03-2009, 11:19 AM   #4
Agrouf
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Hello,

There are some facts that you need to know in order to seek for documentation. This is true for anything. If you are looking for documentation about Windows, you will need to know what is a computer and what Windows is. This is the same with linux.

So, here are the facts that will help you seek for documentation:
"Linux" is not an OS, like Windows. It is just a kernel, like kernel32.dll, it is a small part of an OS. There are many OSes that use linux as a component.
"Ubuntu" is the full OS, like Windows. If you are intending to use Ubuntu, you should seek documentation about Ubuntu, not linux. You barely need to know what linux is to use Ubuntu.
"apt-get" is the preferred way to install applications on Ubuntu, it is not related to Linux. apt-get knows where to find software on the internet and downloads whatever is necessary to install the software you ask it to install. It has a graphical front-end named "Synaptics". Coming from Windows world, you would probably prefer using the graphical tool.

The most important fact is that you should search for a book about Ubuntu, not linux. Or whatever system you want to use. There are other systems that use Linux, like Debian, Slackware or Mandriva. They are all different.

Last edited by Agrouf; 11-03-2009 at 11:25 AM.
 
Old 11-03-2009, 11:34 AM   #5
alienDog
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First of all, it would be practically impossible for any tutorial to cover every single usage scenario and situation. I'm sorry, but I just don't see that ever happening. For any tool or OS. However, usually tutorials do cover the basics and give you some examples of typical usage scenarios. I'm absolutely certain you're able to find more in-depth information about apt from the internet. Efficient learning requires you utilize a variety sources, it's not just asking questions and getting answers.

Secondly, most of us are not native english speakers. That's a simple fact of life. Are you suggesting that only people who speak/write perfect english should be allowed to write software? Don't be an ass.

Lastly, if you have a problem with a piece software, fix it. If you can't, bitch to it's authors. Anyway, don't bitch to us. Not Our Fault.

--edit--

Oh, and about "invisible but readable": You can easily point to things not immediately visible with command line interfaces. You don't need to see it to be able to access it.

Last edited by alienDog; 11-03-2009 at 11:46 AM.
 
Old 11-03-2009, 11:46 AM   #6
w1k0
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To install packages with apt-get you have to have working Internet connection. NameOfPackage is usually the same as the command used to run it (for example: amarok, amule, skype, vlc). Don't speculate too much. Just type something like: ``apt-get install skype'' and enjoy. If you'd like to know more follow Jim Bengtson's and Agrouf's advices.

You didn't specify the situation when you saw the message: ``It is not advised to append files to a multi-session CD as the files will be invisible but still readable'' so it's hard to state what was wrong. In general: multi-session CDs remain multi-session CDs assuming you record the following sessions in multi-session mode. For more information ask Google about ``multi-session CD'' or let us know what you did before you saw that message.
 
Old 11-03-2009, 11:54 AM   #7
brianL
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Try Slackware - you won't have to worry about apt-get any more.
 
Old 11-03-2009, 12:25 PM   #8
Quakeboy02
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Quote:
But if someone does not address this horridly impaired learning curve, LINUX will forever be doomed to be some backwater niche operating system in the overall scheme of things !!!
I wish I had a nickel for every time someone had said that if X doesn't happen Y is doomed. It just may be that most of us don't really care whether Linux is "forever doomed to be some backwater niche". It works for us, and that's enough.

Use synaptic. The learning curve is pretty much zero; assuming you've ever used CTL-F for search.
 
Old 11-03-2009, 12:36 PM   #9
Disillusionist
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brianL View Post
Try Slackware - you won't have to worry about apt-get any more.
LOL

Seriously, apt-get is quite easy to use once you know what the name of the application you want to install is called.

This is however the crux of the issue, applications tend to have weird and wonderful names in Linux generally based on puns (less is more)

As everyone else is suggesting, use synaptic.

If you don't have synaptic install using:

Code:
apt-get install synaptic

Last edited by Disillusionist; 11-03-2009 at 12:42 PM.
 
Old 11-03-2009, 12:39 PM   #10
w1k0
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@brianL:

Is ``How to Stop Worrying and Start Living'' by Dale Carnegie about Slackware?
 
Old 11-03-2009, 12:42 PM   #11
brianL
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Yes, it's a guaranteed cure for all forms of anxiety and depression.
 
Old 11-03-2009, 12:49 PM   #12
j1alu
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@OP:
the problem you describe via example is where forums come in handy. lots of helpfull people out there.
qoute what you dont understand. if you dont understand an answer you may ask what aint clear, and all is fine.
i for one am not much of a docu-reader, but either read forums or how-tos.

and yes: i got the same problem whatever i learn: things i dont know are explained by other things i dont know too. thats the way that it is, and it sometimes is frustrating for me too.

over here we say: "rome hasnt been build within a day".

have fun and greetings

edit:as what in one book isnt explained is explained in another book i dont buy books but grep them from the library. costs me 15€ in a year.

Last edited by j1alu; 11-03-2009 at 12:51 PM.
 
Old 11-03-2009, 02:55 PM   #13
XavierP
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I agree, to an extent, with the OP. It becomes very easy very quickly to forget what it was like when this was a whole different language. However, as it is a wiki, it is very easy for any of our members to add in "NameOfPackage should be substituted for the actual name of the package, such as 'Synaptic'".
 
Old 11-03-2009, 03:17 PM   #14
mostlyharmless
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Hmm, this topic comes up pretty frequently, and while the suggestions are all good, my opinion is that they miss the point. Or, anyway, they miss the point I'm about to make, which perhaps isn't the point.

All of us, I'm sure, who have worked with people in any kind of customer service relationship know there are people who are never happy and who don't get it and always have a reason why it is someone else's problem, or that 'if only "X" then they'd be happy...'

Unfortunately, the OP comes across as one of those people. I'm left to wonder how he or she manages with the rest of life, which is more complex by far than apt-get. Is everything always someone else's problem to fix? Forgive me M. Goddard, if I err, but really? But perhaps you are merely frustrated for the nonce and venting, in which case I understand and actually sympathize, completely.

Quote:
It becomes very easy very quickly to forget what it was like when this was a whole different language
True, but if we make a commitment to learn it, we learn it and then it isn't really all that difficult. Most of us learned at least one language, though I have my doubts about some members who never write a grammatical sentence, can't spell, and are unapologetic about it. I suppose that's a topic for another whole thread though.
 
Old 11-03-2009, 03:20 PM   #15
Quakeboy02
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I could be wrong, XavierP, but my take is that the OP is trying too hard to get it right the first time, and over-analyzing what is asked for. That is to say, he is overly concerned about what the term "NameOfPackage" is and how the package will be located and downloaded, rather than just typing in some package's name and seeing what happens. I had somewhat the same issue when I started using Linux, I suppose. It was a big step to accept that someone had already put together a repository of every package they thought was useful, put it in a reliable place, and written software specifically to go get it and properly install it. Somehow, I guess I had just assumed it would take more work on my part than just typing something like "apt-get install audacity".
 
  


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