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Old 09-02-2009, 04:43 AM   #1
RaptorX
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Switching Windows to Linux? Then MUST READ!


Somebody posted a link to this website http://linux.oneandoneis2.org/LNW.htm, and I guess it is a must read for people that are switching from windows to linux.

I will replace big texts with [~~], you should take a time and read the whole article though because it has the best info about the two of them.

If you've been pointed at this page, then the chances are you're a relatively new Linux user who's having some problems making the switch from Windows to Linux. This causes many problems for many people, hence this article was written. Many individual issues arise from this single problem, so the page is broken down into multiple problem areas.

Problem #1: Linux isn't exactly the same as Windows.

You'd be amazed how many people make this complaint. They come to Linux, expecting to find essentially a free, open-source version of Windows. Quite often, this is what they've been told to expect by over-zealous Linux users. However, it's a paradoxical hope.

It is logically impossible for any thing to be better than any other thing whilst remaining completely identical to it. A perfect copy may be equal, but it can never surpass. So when you gave Linux a try in hopes that it would be better, you were inescapably hoping that it would be different. Too many people ignore this fact, and hold up every difference between the two OSes as a Linux failure.

[~~] There is more text here with examples so you can understand better, when you have time go and take a look, you wont regret it!

So the solution to problem #1: Remember that where Linux is familiar and the same as what you're used to, it isn't new & improved. Welcome the places where things are different, because only here does it have a chance to shine.

Problem #2: Linux is too different from Windows

[~~] There is more text here.

Two different approaches to fulfilling the same goal. They differ in fundamental ways. They have different strengths and weaknesses: A car is the clear winner at transporting a family & a lot of cargo from A to B: More seats & more storage space. A motorbike is the clear winner at getting one person from A to B: Less affected by congestion and uses less fuel.

There are many things that don't change when you switch between cars and motorbikes: You still have to put petrol in the tank, you still have to drive on the same roads, you still have to obey the traffic lights and Stop signs, you still have to indicate before turning, you still have to obey the same speed limits.

But there are also many things that do change: Car drivers don't have to wear crash helmets, motorbike drivers don't have to put on a seatbelt. Car drivers have to turn the steering wheel to get around a corner, motorbike drivers have to lean over. Car drivers accelerate by pushing a foot-pedal, motorbike drivers accelerate by twisting a hand control.

A motorbike driver who tries to corner a car by leaning over is going to run into problems very quickly. And Windows users who try to use their existing skills and habits generally also find themselves having many issues. In fact, Windows "Power Users" frequently have more problems with Linux than people with little or no computer experience, for this very reason. Typically, the most vehement "Linux is not ready for the desktop yet" arguments come from ingrained Windows users who reason that if they couldn't make the switch, a less-experienced user has no chance. But this is the exact opposite of the truth.

So, to avoid problem #2: Don't assume that being a knowledgeable Windows user means you're a knowledgeable Linux user: When you first start with Linux, you are a novice.

Problem #3: Culture shock
Subproblem #3a: There is a culture


Windows users are more or less in a customer-supplier relationship: They pay for software, for warranties, for support, and so on. They expect software to have a certain level of usability. They are therefore used to having rights with their software: They have paid for technical support and have every right to demand that they receive it. They are also used to dealing with entities rather than people: Their contracts are with a company, not with a person.

Linux users are in more of a community. They don't have to buy the software, they don't have to pay for technical support. They download software for free & use Instant Messaging and web-based forums to get help. They deal with people, not corporations.

[~~] There is more text here.


So, to avoid problem #3a: Simply remember that you haven't paid the developer who wrote the software or the people online who provide the tech support. They don't owe you anything.


Subproblem #3b: New vs. Old

[~~] There is more text here.

Firstly, you get the hard-core geeks who still assume that everybody using Linux is a fellow geek. This means they expect a high level of knowledge, and often leads to accusations of arrogance, elitism, and rudeness. And in truth, sometimes that's what it is. But quite often, it's not: It's elitist to say "Everybody ought to know this". It's not elitist to say "Everybody knows this" - quite the opposite.

Secondly, you get the new users who're trying to make the switch after a lifetime of using commercial OSes. These users are used to software that anybody can sit down & use, out-of-the-box.

The issues arise because group 1 is made up of people who enjoy being able to tear their OS apart and rebuild it the way they like it, while group 2 tends to be indifferent to the way the OS works, so long as it does work.

A parallel situation that can emphasize the problems is Lego. Picture the following:

New: I wanted a new toy car, and everybody's raving about how great Lego cars can be. So I bought some Lego, but when I got home, I just had a load of bricks and cogs and stuff in the box. Where's my car??

Old: You have to build the car out of the bricks. That's the whole point of Lego.

New: What?? I don't know how to build a car. I'm not a mechanic. How am I supposed to know how to put it all together??

Old: There's a leaflet that came in the box. It tells you exactly how to put the bricks together to get a toy car. You don't need to know how, you just need to follow the instructions.

New: Okay, I found the instructions. It's going to take me hours! Why can't they just sell it as a toy car, instead of making you have to build it??

Old: Because not everybody wants to make a toy car with Lego. It can be made into anything we like. That's the whole point.

New: I still don't see why they can't supply it as a car so people who want a car have got one, and other people can take it apart if they want to. Anyway, I finally got it put together, but some bits come off occasionally. What do I do about this? Can I glue it?
Old: It's Lego. It's designed to come apart. That's the whole point.

New: But I don't want it to come apart. I just want a toy car!
Old: Then why on Earth did you buy a box of Lego??

[~~] There is more text here.

So, to avoid problem #3b: Just remember that what Linux seems to be now is not what Linux was in the past. The largest and most necessary part of the Linux community, the hackers and the developers, like Linux because they can fit it together the way they like; they don't like it in spite of having to do all the assembly before they can use it.


Problem #4: Designed for the designer

In the car industry, you'll very rarely find that the person who designed the engine also designed the car interior: It calls for totally different skills. Nobody wants an engine that only looks like it can go fast, and nobody wants an interior that works superbly but is cramped and ugly. And in the same way, in the software industry, the user interface (UI) is not usually created by the people who wrote the software.

In the Linux world, however, this is not so much the case: Projects frequently start out as one man's toy. He does everything himself, and therefore the interface has no need of any kind of "user friendly" features: The user knows everything there is to know about the software, he doesn't need help. Vi is a good example of software deliberately created for a user who already knows how it works: It's not unheard of for new users to reboot their computers because they couldn't figure out how else to get out of vi.

[~~] There is more text here.

So to avoid #4 issues: Look for software that's specifically aimed at being easy for new users to use, or accept that some software that has a steeper learning curve than you're used to. To complain that vi isn't friendly enough for new users is to be laughed at for missing the point.



Problem #5: The myth of "user-friendly"


This is a big one. It's a very big term in the computing world, "user-friendly". It's even the name of a particularly good webcomic. But it's a bad term.

The basic concept is good: That software be designed with the needs of the user in mind. But it's always addressed as a single concept, which it isn't.
If you spend your entire life processing text files, your ideal software will be fast and powerful, enabling you to do the maximum amount of work for the minimum amount of effort. Simple keyboard shortcuts and mouseless operation will be of vital importance.

But if you very rarely edit text files, and you just want to write an occasional letter, the last thing you want is to struggle with learning keyboard shortcuts. Well-organized menus and clear icons in toolbars will be your ideal.

[~~] There is more text here.

Subproblem #5a: Familiar is friendly


So it is that in most "user-friendly" text editors & word processors, you Cut and Paste by using Ctrl-X and Ctrl-V. Totally unintuitive, but everybody's used to these combinations, so they count as a "friendly" combination.

So when somebody comes to vi and finds that it's "d" to cut, and "p" to paste, it's not considered friendly: It's not what anybody is used to.

Is it superior? Well, actually, yes.

With the Ctrl-X approach, how do you cut a word from the document you're currently in? (No using the mouse!)
From the start of the word, Ctrl-Shift-Right to select the word.
Then Ctrl-X to cut it.

The vi approach? dw deletes the word.

How about cutting five words with a Ctrl-X application?
From the start of the words, Ctrl-Shift-Right
Ctrl-Shift-Right
Ctrl-Shift-Right
Ctrl-Shift-Right
Ctrl-Shift-Right
Ctrl-X

And with vi?

d5w

The vi approach is far more versatile and actually more intuitive: "X" and "V" are not obvious or memorable "Cut" and "Paste" commands, whereas "dw" to delete a word, and "p" to put it back is perfectly straightforward. But "X" and "V" are what we all know, so whilst vi is clearly superior, it's unfamiliar. Ergo, it is considered unfriendly. On no other basis, pure familiarity makes a Windows-like interface seem friendly. And as we learned in problem #1, Linux is necessarily different to Windows. Inescapably, Linux always appears less "user-friendly" than Windows.

To avoid #5a problems, all you can really do is try and remember that "user-friendly" doesn't mean "What I'm used to": Try doing things your usual way, and if it doesn't work, try and work out what a total novice would do.

Subproblem #5b: Inefficient is friendly

This is a sad but inescapable fact. Paradoxically, the harder you make it to access an application's functionality, the friendlier it can seem to be.

This is because friendliness is added to an interface by using simple, visible 'clues' - the more, the better. After all, if a complete novice to computers is put in front of a WYSIWYG word processor and asked to make a bit of text bold, which is more likely:

* He'll guess that "Ctrl-B" is the usual standard

* He'll look for clues, and try clicking on the "Edit" menu. Unsuccessful, he'll try the next likely one along the row of menus: "Format". The new menu has a "Font" option, which seems promising. And Hey! There's our "Bold" option. Success!

Next time you do any processing, try doing every job via the menus: No shortcut keys, and no toolbar icons. Menus all the way. You'll find you slow to a crawl, as every task suddenly demands a multitude of keystrokes/mouseclicks.

[~~] There is more text here.

So to avoid #5b issues: Remember that "training wheels" tend to be bolt-on extras in Linux, rather than being automatically supplied with the main product. And sometimes, "training wheels" just can't be part of the design.

Problem #6: Imitation vs. Convergence


[~~] There is more text here.

It tells us that developers in both camps looked for ways of improving the GUI, and because there are only a limited number of solutions to a problem, they often used very similar methods. Similarity does not in any way prove or imply imitation. Remembering that will help you avoid straying into problem #6 territory.

Problem #7: That FOSS thing.

Oh, this causes problems. Not intrinsically: The software being free and open-source is a wonderful and immensely important part of the whole thing. But understanding just how different FOSS is from proprietary software can be too big an adjustment for some people to make.

I've already mentioned some instances of this: People thinking they can demand technical support and the like. But it goes far beyond that.

[~~] There is more text here.

All the Linux community wants is to create a really good, fully-featured, free operating system. If that results in Linux becoming a hugely popular OS, then that's great. If that results in Linux having the most intuitive, user-friendly interface ever created, then that's great. If that results in Linux becoming the basis of a multi-billion dollar industry, then that's great.

It's great, but it's not the point. The point is to make Linux the best OS that the community is capable of making. Not for other people: For itself. The oh-so-common threats of "Linux will never take over the desktop unless it does such-and-such" are simply irrelevant: The Linux community isn't trying to take over the desktop. They really don't care if it gets good enough to make it onto your desktop, so long as it stays good enough to remain on theirs. The highly-vocal MS-haters, pro-Linux zealots, and money-making FOSS purveyors might be loud, but they're still minorities.

That's what the Linux community wants: an OS that can be installed by whoever really wants it. So if you're considering switching to Linux, first ask yourself what you really want.

If you want an OS that doesn't chauffeur you around, but hands you the keys, puts you in the driver's seat, and expects you to know what to do: Get Linux. You'll have to devote some time to learning how to use it, but once you've done so, you'll have an OS that you can make sit up and dance.

If you really just want Windows without the malware and security issues: Read up on good security practices; install a good firewall, malware-detector, and anti-virus; replace IE with a more secure browser; and keep yourself up-to-date with security updates. There are people out there (myself included) who've used Windows since 3.1 days right through to XP without ever being infected with a virus or malware: you can do it too. Don't get Linux: It will fail miserably at being what you want it to be.

If you really want the security and performance of a Unix-based OS but with a customer-focussed attitude and an world-renowned interface: Buy an Apple Mac. OS X is great. But don't get Linux: It will not do what you want it to do.

It's not just about "Why should I want Linux?". It's also about "Why should Linux want me?"
 
Old 09-02-2009, 09:30 PM   #2
Quakeboy02
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Unless that's your blog or you own the copyright to the content, you should not be copying and pasting the whole webpage here.
 
Old 09-02-2009, 09:36 PM   #3
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I believe the State Government of Uttar Pradesh in India uses Linux exclusively. Started a few years ago.
 
Old 09-02-2009, 09:57 PM   #4
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Must be tired after all that copy & paste.
 
Old 09-02-2009, 09:59 PM   #5
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Old news.........

This work is copyright 24/05/06 and belongs to Dominic Humphries. It may be redistributed under a Creative Commons License: The URL http://linux.oneandoneis2.org/LNW.htm must supplied in attribution.
 
Old 09-02-2009, 10:05 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by http://linux.oneandoneis2.org/LNW.htm
This work is copyright 24/05/06 and belongs to Dominic Humphries. It may be redistributed under a Creative Commons License: The URL must supplied in attribution.
As far as I can tell, reproduction of the article as has been done here, is in compliance with the copyright. The OP should however append the license and the authors name to the posting.

Sasha
 
Old 09-02-2009, 10:07 PM   #7
brianL
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And if you browse through the Comments about that article on his blog, you'll find three by me.
 
Old 09-02-2009, 10:11 PM   #8
GrapefruiTgirl
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brianL View Post
And if you browse through the Comments about that article on his blog, you'll find three by me.
lol -- anything incriminating??? ^.^
 
Old 09-02-2009, 10:37 PM   #9
brianL
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No, a little rant about linux elitists. A sore point with me, any kind of snobbery, me being a simple working-class chap from Up North.
 
Old 09-02-2009, 10:43 PM   #10
GrapefruiTgirl
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Heh well, I'll join you in that club then -- I've gone into <rant>mode</rant> on (maybe more than) one occasion that I explicitly remember for sure, on the comments/feedback area of somebody's blog. It too was to do with elitist attitude
 
Old 09-02-2009, 10:45 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brianL View Post
And if you browse through the Comments about that article on his blog, you'll find three by me.
A tad convoluted, but fun ;D
Code:
lynx --dump http://geekblog.oneandoneis2.org/index.php/2005/12/31/linux_windows_feedback_1|awk -F'(:|[[])' '/Comment from: /{ print $3}'| sort|uniq -c | sort -n| awk '$1 == 3'

=}




Cheers,
Tink
 
Old 09-02-2009, 10:48 PM   #12
GrapefruiTgirl
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Code:
bash-3.1$ lynx --dump http://geekblog.oneandoneis2.org/index.php/2005/12/31/linux_windows_feedback_1|awk -F'(:|[[])' '/Comment from: /{ print $3}'| sort|uniq -c | sort -n| awk '$1 == 3'
      3  <name removed to protect the guilty>
      3  <name removed to protect the guilty>
bash-3.1$
Not sure how that code produced those two names alone, unless the two guilty parties are the only ones to comment!?

 
Old 09-02-2009, 11:02 PM   #13
brianL
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Look for Brian Lawrence. I had to scroll down quite a bit to find them. Tried using Find in Firefox, ended up with a jumbled page.

Last edited by brianL; 09-02-2009 at 11:06 PM.
 
Old 09-02-2009, 11:04 PM   #14
Tinkster
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GrapefruiTgirl View Post
Code:
bash-3.1$ lynx --dump http://geekblog.oneandoneis2.org/index.php/2005/12/31/linux_windows_feedback_1|awk -F'(:|[[])' '/Comment from: /{ print $3}'| sort|uniq -c | sort -n| awk '$1 == 3'
      3  <name removed to protect the guilty>
      3  <name removed to protect the guilty>
bash-3.1$
Not sure how that code produced those two names alone, unless the two guilty parties are the only ones to comment!?

The only ones with three comments :}
 
Old 09-03-2009, 06:36 AM   #15
RaptorX
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hi guys!

I know is old news, i just thought it was still useful for some people that are switching.

and actually it was not tiring, I just copy pasted, then removed the examples just to leave the key info, actually the idea was to just put the Title and the solution but then I saw that without some info the reader wouldnt understand a thing.

But here in the forum it actually looks longer than it really is!!

On the copyright thing.... the copyright states that "The URL http://linux.oneandoneis2.org/LNW.htm must supplied in attribution." and thats the first thing I did.

Im sorry if it caused any issue.
 
  


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