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Old 09-05-2005, 04:13 PM   #1
sundialsvcs
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A better take on "How|Why Linux" ...


If you've always been a resident of the Windows world and you're itching to try Linux because the winds of obsolescence seem to be whispering in your windows at night, let me offer a couple of frank suggestions:

(1) Just do it: C'mon in, the water's fine. Yes, Linux and the Unix-variant environments are very important things to know. Even if you love Windows and are persuaded that everything you'll need to do in your entire career you can do with Windows ... ... learning a new trick is always a good thing to do.

(2) Start with a machine that you can trash, and no expectations: Grab the spare machine out of the closet. Go by the Goodwill store and grab a machine. But don't do anything to your existing Windows machine! Don't dual-boot it, don't repartition it, just leave it alone. Now you can learn Linux without screwing anything up, and you can proceed at your own pace ... which will be slow!

(2a) Start by picking a distro, installing it, and staring at it: It might not have turned out to be a good choice but it's a good start. Which packages? All of 'em! (Why not?) Now... Snoop Around... kick the tires, pop the hood, admire the chrome. "Gee, I wonder what this does..." Remember, it's a machine that you can completely trash, as many times as you want to, and nothing will be harmed by it. Unless you have a considerably higher security-clearance than I do ... ... nothing's gonna melt-down or explode.

(3) Don't bad-mouth Linux: Linux is what is, just as Windows is what it is, and there's no point in taking out your frustrations on the system. Just turn it off for the night, go back to the Windows machine, and plan to revisit the Linux project in a couple of days. It'll wait. Cursing and swearing at the natives might feel therapeutic but it's in extremely bad form.

(3a) It is perfectly all-right to continue using both OSes! Since you have two machines, you can choose and compare. If there's a particular game or system that runs better on one, or that you simply prefer to run there... do it. It's your application, your machine, your personal preference. Linux won't mind, and neither will Windows. There really isn't a "competition" ... just two solutions to a problem. It's also to be expected that you may prefer, even strongly prefer, one or the other. That's your choice (or your misfortune ...) but from a professional, career point-of-view, the fact that you have now become familiar with two systems is "money in the bank." You'll discover that your depth of knowledge of both Windows and Linux has grown considerably. Linux holds no secrets: if you don't understand something you see going-on in Windows, you can "use the source, Luke!" and figure it out using Linux.

(4) Keep a diary of what you've done, what you're planning to do, what questions you have and what answers you found. This lets you approach issues in no particular sequence.

(5) Get to know the search features of this site and of Google: No matter what question you have, it's been asked before.

(6) Don't set high expectations for yourself: This system is different, from the ground-up. Although there are many, many similarities between this and "what you're used to," those differences are subtle. Consequently, since you might be moving from an environment that you know thoroughly to one that you know very little about, the experience may make you feel rather-constantly stupid. You aren't, of course. But the psychology can get to you. Don't take it out on your neighbors, your netizens, or your disk-drive. One purpose of your diary will be to help you sort out what to focus on next... It is extremely critical that you pace yourself.

(7) This system is big: The typical installation of Windows, even "fully maxed-out," is comparatively modest in comparison to where Linux can go. Linux runs on more than 24 different architectures, ranging from IBM mainframes to Apple iPods and various PDAs. It runs on single-processor systems to (literally) hundreds. It can do things that Windows, frankly, cannot dream of. You're not going to learn it all. Keep a "I'll read it someday" page in the back of your diary. You may encounter a lot of things before any of it makes sense, but trust me: one by one, the little lights will start coming on.
Quote:
"Never underestimate a friendly little Penguin until you've seen one coming straight at you going a hundred miles an hour..."
(8) Plan what to do with your "old" Windows machine: Bet it'll run Linux real good, real soon!

Last edited by sundialsvcs; 09-05-2005 at 04:25 PM.
 
Old 09-05-2005, 04:42 PM   #2
Half_Elf
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Amen, a guru hast spoken!
 
Old 09-05-2005, 04:47 PM   #3
ctkroeker
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Make this a sticky, mods! please, I'm begging you!
 
Old 09-05-2005, 05:46 PM   #4
crAckZ
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very nice. well written and i like how you encourage to compare both. i wonder how many will head the words within? anyways, good post
 
Old 09-06-2005, 01:51 AM   #5
Charred
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"Hear, hear! Well spoken, Bruce!"
 
Old 09-06-2005, 02:44 AM   #6
oneandoneis2
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Actually, I disagree with #3 - just make sure you put it in <rant> </rant> brackets, and end with "I feel much better now", and nobody really minds
 
Old 09-07-2005, 01:42 PM   #7
XavierP
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Moved to Linux-Newbie.
 
Old 09-07-2005, 02:21 PM   #8
bushidozen
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This was definetely one of the best posts I've ever read.
 
Old 09-07-2005, 02:46 PM   #9
sundialsvcs
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Original Poster
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Cool

Quote:
Originally posted by bushidozen
This was definetely one of the best posts I've ever read.
*blush!*

thanx...
 
Old 09-07-2005, 02:49 PM   #10
tuxdev
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very nice article. There must be somewhere to put stuff like this for posterity.
 
Old 09-07-2005, 02:59 PM   #11
bosewicht
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Re: A better take on "How|Why Linux" ...

Quote:
Originally posted by sundialsvcs
(5) Get to know the search features of this site and of Google: No matter what question you have, it's been asked before.
The font should have been increased on this point....
 
Old 09-08-2005, 03:36 AM   #12
marsm
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Some very good points, sundialsvcs, except for (2), imho. What would the first GNU/Linux experience be without sitting infront of your maschine with a pair of sweaty palms and a good deal of tearing at one's hair in the middle of the night

I hope you don't mind if I add (0) to your plan of action:

(0) Realise that virtually all previously Windows-only software has not only been replaced, but in many areas improved dramatically (Firefox, Thunderbird and OpenOffice to name a few). You are most likely using VLC, XChat and *Torrent also already. A great deal of the traditional Unix userland is actually available for Windows, so go ahead and try Vim (editor), Lynx (browser), Wget (download manager), 7Zip (archiving), Gimp (graphics) & Python (programming). If you're really anxious about installing a Linux distribution you can even try to emulate the bash (shell) in Windows first!

So when you make the switch, all you really need to get used to is installation and configuration.

Yes the Linux kernel is very safe, stable, flexible etc and free of course, but 95% of the people migrating to it couldn't care less when faced with their first hardware incompatibility or kernel panic! So if you really want to convince people to start using Linux, show them the goodies on their Windows box first, where they feel safe.

The first thing I'd do would be to get Vim and complete the vimtutor and create a vim cheat-sheet, as no matter what distribution people use, I continue seeing them get stuck using Vim and asking in various IRC channels how the hell to get out of this evil editor
 
  


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