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Old 09-28-2008, 09:20 PM   #1
Registered: Jan 2007
Location: midwest USA
Distribution: gentoo w/ funtoo overlay
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piece of advice for new linux users?

I've been browsing forums this past week, just catching up on what's new and of course, what's old. I see the usual Ubuntu fanfare, lotta Mint talk, some Sidux, the usual "Gentoo is falling apart" but I still see the time tested, users helping users.

Where I have trouble, is seeing the distro bashing, and confusion it causes to new linux users. Ubuntu is the most popular distro, so it takes the most heat. Gentoo had/has it's turn, PCLinusOS took some heat too. But what good does it do? We should just encourage linux use, and let the people do like we did. Hunt around, have 20 dists on cd's spread everywhere throughout the house, try KDE and Gnome, take a peek at xfce and fluxbox, and see what works for them. Hell...I run them all depending on what mood I'm in. I kinda like LXDE this week, last week it was enlightenment (e16 and 17). Most of us have distro hopped until our eyes have bugged out along the way. I started on Gentoo, but have stuck with Sidux for the past year. You may like Slackware, and as stated earlier, Ubuntu is king right now. But what we're forgetting is that we ended up where we are because what we have, we have fit to our needs. We constantly preach about choice. Linux is a choice, the distro is a choice, and your desktop is a choice. Linux is the single greatest thing ever built for my ADD riddled mind.

So for the new people who've managed to browse down this post this far:

1. Forgive my poor and boring speech
2. Don't be scared to try new or old stuff out
3. It's only a blank cd/dvd, use's why you bought them
4. Keep an open mind...hopping around finding bits and pieces of distros that I liked until I found a nice base on which to build was half the fun for me

But then again, it's just my opinion and I'm probably wrong
Old 09-28-2008, 10:23 PM   #2
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I would say that most folks do not fully appreciate just how good Microsoft is at doing "what Microsoft has always done." (Ditto Apple.)

Until they encounter Linux.

(Frankly, I have been working in the computer programming industry for a full 25 years now, and I, too, felt that way ... like an iron skillet in the face ... when I first "took the plunge.")

It is not Linux's fault! (Nor, for that matter, is it Microsoft's or Apple's.)

Consider this: when you buy a Win-doze machine, or an Apple machine, all of the work has been done for you. There are no "decisions" to make. There are no "technical complications" to be encountered. It's a piece of consumer electronics. You plug it in and turn it on. Even if you do not have the faintest idea "what's really happening" as you apply this piece of consumer-electronics towards whatever intended-use you have intended for it, no one and no thing is requiring you to 'understand.'

When you fall into the deep pool of icy water, you pay a "Geek Squad" to bail you out. You pay lots of money for "anti-virus" and "anti-spyware" software just because it makes you feel cozy to do so.

(Translation: It costs you gobs of money that you did not need to spend, for services that you could have easily done for yourself and for software that 'does you no damm good at all' ... but it sure does feel "cozy.")

Linux, on the other hand, gives you a completely different experience: you actually do need to understand "how it works" before you turn it on. (If you feel like I am making that comment in some disparaging-to-you way, please consider carefully that I am not.) Linux hands you the bicycle without training wheels. It expects you to understand that you therefore might fall off that bicycle, perhaps not only once but several times.

In exchange, Linux promises to show you that even the most "ancient" piece of computer equipment is capable of doing things that you had never even dreamed of. It promises you a world "beyond training-wheels." But to get there, you have to be willing to fall off your bike ... and to figure out, if necessary, how to get back on.

You've already discovered the single greatest resource for doing that: this web-site, and the many hundreds or thousands of "been there, done that!!!" people who regularly frequent these forums.

Welcome. We have been there too.

Last edited by sundialsvcs; 09-28-2008 at 10:25 PM.
Old 09-28-2008, 11:33 PM   #3
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Well, the #1 thing for newbies is to be very very patient.

Since Novell says it does aim for the desktop space, I guess Suse, K/Ubuntu, PCLinuxOS, Puppy, and perhaps even Mandriva would be the top choices of distros to try. The Fedora people also aim for the desktop audience (although RedHat themselves say that officially they don't care about the desktop), so put Fedora on that list too.

Well, that's about it from what I can recall offhand. I'll wait for the Lenny release before I have another look at the Debian installer. I use Debian myself, but I'd be an idiot if I recommended Etch to someone who's never used Linux before. I just installed a base Etch the other week (so I could bootstrap to Sid of course) and that had me grinding my teeth because of install problems. A 20-minute job turned into a 4-hour job and I know what I'm doing. (On the other hand, a pre-release Sarge installation on a friend's computer back in 2004 went along without any problems.) So I think if someone had a K/Ubuntu install disc and a few others, they could just pop in the discs until an install succeeded and then see what the different successfully installed systems are like. On the odd occasion a large number of installers will struggle due to hardware defects and they'll have to ask for help to get advice like "you should have booted the installer with these extra parameters to work around known defects of that hardware".
Old 09-28-2008, 11:52 PM   #4
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I've done two installs of Debian recently, and even though I thought I had an Etch copy of netinst, Lenny was installed on both machines. Lenny is very nice compared to Etch, and Etch was a big deal from Sarge.
Old 09-29-2008, 06:52 PM   #5
Registered: Jan 2007
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have either of you two given Sidux a spin? I'm not going t get all preachy, but if you're installing for a desktop, give it a try and lemme know what you think. I had it installed and running in under 10 minutes...and no I'm not joking...but I'm curious to see if others have the same luck with it as I have


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