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You definitely have valid points about all this, and I still disagree with you Chad, because at the end of the day to me, how I use my computer is more important than how it works (well at the moment, though I am starting to get into the how it works bit).
Your point about "wannabe" distro's, has, I feel, missed the point, because there is a massive gulf between being as conversant with IT as you are, and not knowing "shit from shianola" but still being able to "use" a computer in a task driven sense. Lets face it, not knowing the "innards" but being able to use a given application has made "Billy G" a very rich man (and continues to do so) i.e. the vast majority don't care how it works, just that it works.
Apart from needing to know about word processing when I was still in the RN, i only really got into PC's because the various types of media kept banging on about internet this and internet that.
I am now of the opinion, that while I don't necessarily need to know how my system connects to the net (I do, but that's more to do with my "service time"), I think that it is quite important to know about what is actually out there in "cyberland" because I wouldn't like to be in the position that one day when the net/web etc has become so pervasive and all encompassing, that just to live life means that it could come up and "bite me on the arse" (which is quite apart from the fact that I have embraced online facilities quite well for a stupid trucker!)
The two differing types of computer "person" are still poles apart, me being a good example because if I didn't have to know how it works, I don't feel that I would have bothered. My prime reason to learn about the mandrake that I've got was to be able to try and get away from micro$oft, though with your (and others) help I am starting to get some enjoyment out of learning how it works.
I would go further, and suggest that one of the main reasons behind the uptake of linux not being as fast as it could be is as per my "i.e." example above.
The commercial world is starting to wake up to the fact the "total cost of ownership" of a linux system is (apparently) between 30 and 50 percent cheaper than a comparable M$ based system.
Well, there again, I still don't agree, but that's simply because it does not fit me.
Not knowing how your computer works, would to me seem as bad as buying a car and not knowing what's going on under the hood. Alot of people do it, and that's why we have mechanics and the sort. But to save yourself time, money, heartache and the whole lot, you could simply learn what's going on under the hood, and then use that to your advantage later on.
Not only that, but having a "working" system, and learning linux can go hand in hand. The distro that sets everything up for you, and screws you out of learning anything valuable from hands on experience, isn't really going to be any more "working" than that of a system that you must learn to set things up on. The time involved is of course faster on getting to "doing" things on the system that comes all ready to go, but only short term. When something doesn't work right, you then are stuck, spending hours upon days finding the problem, and then after long, hopefully fixing it. That or you reach into your wallet, pull out a few crispies, and hope that your (now rich) friend can pull a few tricks out of his book, because he actually does know what's going on. Or if you are lucky, and are good at the "copy and paste" method, someone can hopefully find a way to fix your problem on an excellent help site or the likes.
Simply getting away from winbloze is, of course, definitely a HUGE step. But to take it further is a great idea. Taking it further and knowing what goes on behind the scenes of the pretty gui's is one way, but also actually "subscribing" to the whole idea of open source is another way, and even better. It's one way to be able to actually stay away from the beast, and not 'stray' back to that suck of an OS. If you know what goes on, and how certain things are accomplished, you can apply it across the board at many different applications, and config files. And when something doesn't go right, you can pinpoint the problem in a matter of minutes, and more than likely, troubleshoot and fix even faster.
In the end, I think this would lead to more "uptime" and ability to use your computer more often, for whatever it is you decide to use it for. Whether it be to learn more, or to play games, watch movies, listen to music, art, watch TV, program, help, commerce, travel, or whatever else you'd like.
But of course this is simply an oppinionated debate, and I am glad to see that it's still making good ideas. I do see your guys' points, and I do think they are very valid. But I am suggesting taking them to the next level, and not only be able to "play" on your system, but keep it in great health at the same time, or in the mean time.
Originally posted by MasterC And finally I do agree that tricky probably uses Slack, but that's only because it's listed in his profile as his distro
Its actually really the only distro I use in fact. Its actually easier for me to understand. Most other distro's to me actually confuse me at times
The one reason Slack appeals to me is that it just seems straight forward, in its scripts, its layout. It just makes sense to me. It hasn't changed much since its beginnings, well besides updates you know..
Anyways, I am the type of person that I want to know what is going on. If I'm into something, I want to know how it works, how can I fix it myself first. Like my car, it breaks down, I attempt to fix it myself. I don't want some bozo telling me I need something that I don't really need. Same concept with computers. If my computer breaks and I let some other guy configure it his way, I don't want to sit around waiting for him to fix it, or tell me how to fix it. Its not what I want.
Oh well, its late and I'm crazy right now, I think I drank an old Dr Pepper out of the vending machine at work and feel a little sick.. I better go get some food and get working on my Configuring X howto for my site, so I have somewhere to point newbies here when they need help with Slack...
Yer not wrong there chadsky me old mucker (mucker - to muck in i.e. help out or friend or aquaintance etc) an excellent debate,
though I do think that what you are defining is western society in general. The man who has the high powered job in the city, but doesn't really care how the ticker boards in the stock exchange work. He has someone to pay when they go wrong, and also someone to shout at when he doesn't get them working quickly enough.
Next in the shit pile, is the middle class type, who whilst reasonably successful, has a basic requirement for limited maintainence knowledge of his system when the word processor goes "burzyquack" but more often than not can either repair it or do some sort of work round.
Then you have the working type bloke (me) who depending on what the general problem is, is prepared to try and fix it, but for various reasons, gets frustrated when the problem is one that the persons token brain cell, has little or no knowledge of how to effect a repair. this same bloke shares a point with the dummy at the bottom of the shit pile in that he mainly just wants the "system" to work.
The dummy just wants the system to work and declares that the inner workings of their computer are "white mans magic" and just want to point and click.
But, there should be nothing to stop the dummy being able to try a different version of "point and click". The differences might just elevate his interest to find out "whats under the hood".
This then brings me onto the point that while could walk past you in the street and not know you from "adam", it is patently obvious that when god was giving out "smarts", you had a double helping. I mean, just look at your job, pharmacy tech jobs are not handed out to the cannon fodder. Even if you don't have degree level education, I rather suspect that you wouldn't find it particulaly difficult to study for one (though as in my case, there probably aren't enough hours in the day to do so - hence the self professed stupid trucker label that I sometimes use for myself. When (if) my six numbers came up for the lottery, it would be stuff the job and head for the nearest university).
I digress, you/we can all make a not inaccurate assessment of someones intelligence by reading a persons writings. Just by the level of rhetoric used in a written piece, you could hazard a reasonable guess as to someones academic ability.
The majority of writings about linux are (I suggest) penned by people who are of very much above average ability in the interlectual sense (though I also suspect that as with a large number of exceptionally able people they may or may not have much in the way of "CDF" (common dog factor).
The smartest person that I know is a family friend who is irritateingly bright. He has 2 degrees (both first class and from cambridge). His first was the subject that was his main interest at the time - Political history, but he knew that wasn't a big money spinner, so went back to cambridge and followed it up with medicine and now works as a consultant epidemiologist. As i've said, he might have brains for his particular interests but when it comes to anything more complicated than wiring a domestic plug, he calls and electrician. He can drive a mop and bucket to clear up the water but still needs a plumber to repair the leak!
In the UK, someone has set up a standardising accreditation for written english called the "Crystal Mark" i.e. crystal clear etc. In fact the magazine that I have been taking the longest has been awarded the "crystal mark" for clarity etc because although it deals with mainly current/populist technology i.e. windows based systems, you could compare it against the vast majority of other computer mag's (see computeractive) and then compare it to the way say erm linuxformat and you could easily see that computeractive is written is a manner that is just plain english, clear, concise and too the point. I have tried other linux publications and have found them wanting. I understand about half of whats in linuxformat but most of the others are just too full of "geekspeak". maybe it's just my preference for plain speaking, i don't know.
Bugger, I suspect the thought and typing put into this post are nothing more than a circular arguement that is based on "horses for courses" (and judging by the last post from the trickykid, that is exactly why he uses slackware to best effect, while I might have derived some benefit from Lycoris or Lindows initially, but there is little gained by stepping backwards eh!)
I suppose that could also explain why I find the linuxstandardbase thing such good news, I would even suggest that the point of "united linux" as being an excellent idea. If all the distros put everything in the same places, it would be down to semantics as to which distro someone used. but as they don't, it's down to many other reasons. I did some looking into things before I did the mandrake download, as the overriding consensus seemed to suggest that it would be the best one for me to try as a total beginner - though i would also suggest that those "so called experts" where talking out of their collective arses. i haven't felt that anything mandrake is particulaly easy (but I have been accussed of being a very cynical person in the past!)
p.s. whoa, I've made it to over a hundred posts. this means that I must know something about linux - NOT
(Deep Breathe, you may want to get a cup of tea before starting this book )
Actually it probably does. You have progressed because you learned something. Your posts increased because something sparked your interest, you grasped something, and kept pulling. At least that is what history has taught me on this site (in my ~6 months of history ). When I got here, and asked a few questions, I had the mindset we speak of here.
I was simply trying to get my system up to a point where I could just "use" it. I wanted to be able to surf, check email, watch movies, and download things. A few other things here and there, but basic computer things, that's all. I eventually was able to finally learn how to start X windows (startx ) and was happy to see a familiar environment somewhat. KDE was the first gui that popped up in Mandy 7.2 Lucky me though, I didn't do any research like you, Mandy just happen to somehow "fall into my lap". So once I started surfing, and generally feeling my way around, I was happy. I had no idea how to access my cdrom, or what all these directories were, OR if I d/l a file, where it was. I was searching for the eq of 'My Computer'. "Bah", I thought, I don't need any use for those, I am only going to use this for surfing, winbloze does everything I want, I am just "messing" around anyway. That went on like that for a few months or so...
Then I decided to build me a mobile mp3 player. Original deciding to put winbloze with a winamp player on there, I still had no reason to learn linux. I read a few reviews on this, and went to some sites. Most of them were linux, and I wasn't too impressed. I found a site that showed in very good detail how to create a mobile box, but they were running winbloze98. I was happy to hear that, I thought it might be impossible to run winbloze for some reason or another "mobily". I got to the section where he talked about his choice of OS. He rambled on about LCD this, and other nonsense that, at the time, was exactly what I wanted to hear. It was though, simply words from someone who had no idea how to use Linux (or possibly did, but had no idea how to set it up on something like this). He said (not exact quote) "I have read about a lot people using Linux for these projects, and that's fine. But I can do the same thing using winbloze98, and I don't have to worry about learning how to program. Alot of people say to use Linux for stability in your car, as you wouldn't want your computer crashing all the time, but so far I have had no problems with this stripped down version of win98". I was like "yeah" why would I want to use something I had no idea even how to access the CDROM on, much less run an MP3 player on. Well, just to keep my ideas open, I browsed a few more sites, nothing really too impressive at the time. I would click links and such, but nothing really caught my eye like the win98 based box. After a while, I decided to go ahead and start my project, I had enough spare parts lying around the house that I had a decent head start all ready. In the meantime, I played with Linux some more, and finally decided to see if it could challenge me to really find out how to at least access the C: drive (what is actually known as / to us right). So I went over to www.linux.org and took their online tutorial. It took me a little over 3 days to actually complete the "course" but it taught me so much, and got me so excited about Linux, that I am pretty sure that was the curving point for the Mobile Linux box.
A few days later, I was command lining (actually probably just cd /home mkdir cp and a few other basics ) and felt like I was now this amazing computer geek full of all the knowledge linux had to offer. So I decided that stability was important, and regardless of that author's luck, I knew that BSOD was something common to the plague known as win98. I decided to put Linux on the mobile box. You can actually find the posts on here where I ask my first questions about it, and some basic things (like how to shutdown ). Well since then I have grown and learned how to use my linuxbox, and was one of the lucky ones who actually learned/retained the knowledge from building something like that.
After my life long story about linux, what I think is most important from that is that I was once one of the people who just "wanted my box to work". My box did work, but to do what? And now, I can do most things on my box faster, easier, and with little a little command lining, do most things I used to need a lot of gui's to perform. Why? Because I wanted to configure things my way. I wanted things to work the way I wanted them to. And the easiest way for me to do that, was in fact to learn what was happening behind the scenes. Not allow everything to sort of "happen" on it's own.
Wow, long way about it, and not all that good of a point, I must need to go check the refills, or something, my debating skills are "slacking" right now.
John, I used to be the one with 300 or 400 posts, heck probably even 700 and I said "I have 700 posts, too bad I still don't know anything.". But now, with ~1900 I can say that I do And when I look back, I did then as well, it just seemed like it was nothing at the time.
Ok, I've read short stories shorter than this... but,
I understand there are really smart people, with degrees and all that good stuff. There are some who know alot about certain things, dont' know jack about others.
I know computer programmers who don't know the difference between Intel and AMD, or thought Celeron was the brand name of the computer. Just like I know car mechanics that know the gear ratio of every car they work on by heart but wouldn't know how to fix a leak under a kitchen sink.
I think its good that your learning Linux though John. And look, MasterC now knows a bit about Linux too, just from reading all the posts here in the middle of the night.
I give credit to anyone who knows how to do things on their own or willing to learn. Anyone I know who accomplishes something they had to do on their own, always makes them feel good about themselves which we can all say is a fact. I never seen anyone accomplish something then feel bad about it.
To me, it can increase your knowledge of things in general just by knowing other things besides whatever your profession is, etc.
I know everyone on this board knows someone that probably doesn't have a clue on how to change their oil in their car or something very basic like that. One reason I like to try everything myself and to learn new skills and knowledge is that it saves me money most of the time. I don't make much money, I save 20 bucks just by changing my own oil in my car each time. Hell, I've even been cutting my own hair for the past 6 years, I don't even need a mirror anymore . I even cut my roomates hair and a couple of co-workers hair when they want me to. Its just something I picked up and got good at. You should have seen me when I first started doing my own hair in front of a mirror. Many of times I messed up so badly, I just had to shave it all off.. hehe.
But all I guess I'm trying to say is that I learn Linux because it allows me to. Something Windows doesn't do for me. I like to get my hands dirty in anything just to know how it works. I don't call the plumber when my sink is leaking, I try to fix it myself, then I only call when I make the hole bigger..
Anways, the one thing I do like about Linux is no matter how easy it was to install or if that particular distro your using configured everything for you during the first install, your going to get your hands dirty and I guarantee you'll learn something about your Linux system...
And that is all I have to say to add to this novel that has gotten totally off subject from the original question..
The main thing that I was trying to get across was that I still feel that from the "know nothing" point of view (that I am really still at), i would have probably been more comfortable to have started off in an environment that I was familiar with.
It matters not that Lycoris and Lindows are accussed of being micro$oft by any other name, and as a result, feel that even my mandy 8.2 needs to be made easier in a way that it can be installed by a complete nugget like me, get everything working and maybe then point me at some basic tutorial type stuff.
Maybe something along the lines of 3 levels of install i.e. expert, standard and complete beginner (no linux knowledge/experience). This, I feel, would probably offer enough incentive for the more adventurous windows user to give it a go, especially now that so many ISP's are offering various forms of high speed access across Europe and the US. Obviously in the majority of other places that can't be described as "the west" (Australia/NZ etc count as "the west") have the incentive of the relative "cheapness" of linux i.e. the lower TCO for most distributions and accompanying applications.
And I don't mean that half the planet should hit the mirrors etc all at once, but as people in the less well off countries manage to get to the stage that they have obtained equipment, they can get themselves up and running without the potential for hassle from Software taliban. (Yes I appreciate that in most of the "far east" it's just as easy to run a pirate version of window$) but the increased steady stream of converts can only help the cause!
The thing that amazes me about this linux "thing", is that the sense of community in general is marvelous, you don't seem to get anywhere near that kind of cooperation amongst the windows crowd. Just little "cliques" of friends who happen to be into the same stuff e.g. the same game etc.
I still don't feel driven to want to sit down at my PC and learn everything that I can do under linux, I am still struggling to get this heap working in a similar fashion to when I have got windows booted.
For example, e-mail. I still haven't got my mail configured under linux (kmail), because the basic layout of the config is so different from the way windows configs it, i am going to have to have a mega dig around to be able to suss out which bits of info need to go into which "boxes". so again, it could do with the complete idiot option to be able to get it sorted.
I would suggest that that is why the planet is populated mainly by windows drones, the M$ packaging of their products is generally better, easier and simpler. If the major distro's could come up with an installer like "install shield", maybe as the default option, but also offering the option for the DIY/expert it might just be the clincher that bring more people over. If the various types of written media haven't got an excuse to point the finger and cry "GEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEK" then that is half of the "anti-linux" propaganda disposed of.
right, thats enough for the moment. I have to get to bed to be up and ready to leave the house at 01 buffalo for work so TTFN