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Well, my success story doesn't so much have to do with Linux itself, but with programming. I have always wanted to do some programming but it was so obtuse. I would read the source-code and just think whaaaaaaaaaa? I thought it would always be beyond my grasp.
Finally I sat down with the Advanced Bash Scripting Guide (from the tldp) and started writing scripts. I ended up writing a script that converts mp3s to oggs (dir2ogg), learning more and more along the way. The script was all right, but it was limited in the things it could do. I needed a more powerful language.
Using Eric S. Raymond's 'How to be a Hacker' as my inspiration, I tried some stuff with python. The docs are good, the language is clean, and it is much faster than shell scripting.
I decided to rewrite dir2ogg in python. It took all of an hour, and it worked correct on the third attempt. I also got it to preserve the ID3 tags while converting (something the shell version could not do). Talk about breakthrough, I just reached that level when previously baffling things start to make sense.
I am now getting the crazy, foolhardy urge to prototype a cross-platform p2p filesharing app in python, using a gui toolkit (not sure which one yet. Why p2p? Because in my opinion that is the one missing app that Linux needs.
It may take years to get this project in any sort of useable form, but at least now I have the confidence to start it.
ok, this doesn't do much at first glance, but it inherits the native windowing systems controls(close, minimize,restore,and menu) plus the button automagically repaints itself after its been obscured. thats alot of horsepower for 7 lines of code.
There is a great p2p for linux called pysoulseek. (THe windows version is soulseek) It's coded in python using wxwindows. Best p2p out there imho. Check it out.
home page here http://www.sensi.org/~ak/pyslsk/