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Over several years of using Linux distros (Debian happens to be my fave) and BSDs for my primary computing, I've picked up the odd piece of useful info.
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Zero Reply Threads: Rant

Posted 12-25-2009 at 08:43 PM by ofaring

I am using a Linux distro: Debian. I enjoy it, a lot. I love the flexibility of the system, and when I need info, I find it. How? By searching and taking the time to educate myself. But masses of the questions asked on this forum are idiotic and unnecessary. I can't imagine what it must be like for those individuals who've been using Linux since the early days. I know that there are users on this forum who are intelligent, rational people. I also know that some of them prefer one BSD edition or another over a Linux distro.

And who can blame them?

Just take a peek, no, you better not do that. That's the modus operandi of too many Linux users. Take a good look at many common OpenBSD and FreeBSD docs. Keep in mind that BSD docs have been around in that quality for a long time. Now try finding inane, idiot questions on a good BSD user resource. Not that those questions aren't there, and granted, membership is quite a bit lower*, but still, I wonder what the ratios would look like? Nearly every time I read through "Zero Reply" threads I end up rolling my eyes and not bothering to respond to questions I could try answering.

Am I just being spiteful? Sure, whatever. Then again, what's with the attitude displayed in many questions:

"Switching to Debian from XYZ, how do I add repositories for Apt?"

Are you serious? RTFM, and I don't mean the politically correct rendition**. So, you're smart enough to figure out how to get online, download a copy of Whatever and burn it, but it all ends there? After that it's, "What? Internet, WWW, brain, what are they? *sounds word out* D...e...b...i...a...n...d...o...t...o...r...g. WTF? Windoze suks." I may be a jerk for not responding, but on the other hand, how is it respectful to ask a question which can be easily resolved by spending some time with the docs? You don't even have to search the all-powerful Google for such answers.

Yes, yes. These thoughts have been voiced before and by many. Just add me to the list. I really can't be bothered with X-Box, TV, spoiled, lazy kids who are almost, but not quite, entirely illiterate after years in school. The avalanche of stupid Linux questions are a much bigger indicator than just MS and Apple making systems overly simplistic.***

Now, lest I sound like a raving lunatic (Oops, too late?), I will say that I'm glad whenever someone is making an effort to explore new options. That's the beginning, after all. Too bad that's not enough in itself. If they're lucky, they'll get a taste of the underlying ability and flexibility, and that will drive them to explore documentation. Then they'll actually learn.


* Why is this? It's the long-time docs, dude. Add to that an often fundamentally different attitude, and the popcorn users are either not attracted or rebuffed. If they can continue in their niche, it's far more good than bad.

** Political Correctness: God forbid that anyone's feelings get hurt. And we are supposed to maintain a "Free Society" when a large part of today's popular concern is whether I "hurt" or "affected" Jim's liberty through commentary which has nothing to do with racial superiority. Oh, we're such an advanced, strong society. A shining light for the rest of the world. In reality, masses of our young people have stopped trying to discover, believing that the world is "discovered out". Which leads to making mountains of minute issues.

*** Although this is also a grand issue. Apple and the PC were meant to free people from the "aristocracy" of the old mainframe world. Today, we are full-circle. There are PCs and what-not everywhere, and a small minority outside of the industry who understand how they work. Yes, the majority have access. But to an unprecedented extent we are now slaves to what we don't understand. That makes it a volunteer two-class system, access or not, with massive options for maintaining superiority through use. Fascinating, really.
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  1. Old Comment
    yah it's disgusting. i think the same way: if they are able to connect to internet, find this forum and register(it's a long way), why isn't it so easy and fast to look over readmes and official docs...
    Everyone just needs to know this: How To Ask Questions The Smart Way. But that won't be soon
    I've seen some users first came here and ask really good-formulated questions but they're like a drops in ocean...
    I remember my first meeting with linux(it was Debian Lenny) in June 2009. I asked questions from my friends, already were on linux, and the only question i asked in public(that was on debian's IRC channel) was about 3 SATA HDDs: I was unable to boot when i inserted my two other HDDs and I got pretty clear advice to move /etc/fstab to UUID instead of locations in /dev/. I got through all other things myself, when I came to understand that this system(i mean linux itself, not the single distro) is the one I wanted my entire computer life
    Linux rocks! Last thing to say. And it will rock.
    Yes it is not too user-friendly by now but in fact i'm beginning to doubt that "user-friendliness" is good. I think it's the reason why most users don't know anything about computer, so they unable to work without mouse or nice buttons of windows/etc. I see it more like a death of computer world, not the high technologies developing.
    Posted 12-26-2009 at 01:19 AM by Web31337 Web31337 is offline
    Updated 12-26-2009 at 01:27 AM by Web31337
  2. Old Comment
    The subject of common sense which is a great part of the ability to self teach and reason with problems is not only related to computers.
    Look at road signs that they have on freeways telling you to slow down because fog is on overpass or bridge. Can not a person see the fog and reason with the danger of driving too fast.
    We have become a society that is not supposed to think for ourselves. Some of this may be due to pressure to instantly learn and apply without taken time to understand the theory.
    I think there is going to be a slow but large change in the computer world in the next ten years and it will become a throw-a-way society with no individual repair or sales. Most of the servers will be very large and small companies and individual servers will be mainly for the bobbist. This of course will require fewer jobs.

    I hope I am wrong but will sign off because I could go on all day with this subject.
    Posted 12-26-2009 at 06:32 PM by Larry Webb Larry Webb is offline
  3. Old Comment

    I'm not sure whether I've come across that site on asking proper questions before, but it kicks a$$. What an awesome write-up. Thanks for the link.
    Posted 12-31-2009 at 04:44 PM by ofaring ofaring is offline
  4. Old Comment
    @Larry Webb

    Yeah, I know. It's the unfortunate trend of unchecked industrialism, which I can also go on and on about. I hope, in my small way, to bring better balance where I can.
    Posted 12-31-2009 at 04:48 PM by ofaring ofaring is offline


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