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Old 07-11-2004, 11:28 PM   #1
LQ Newbie
Registered: Jul 2004
Posts: 5

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why must linux be so complicated?

i would really like to learn how to use linux. i'm pretty good with windows, and am self-taught. one of the many problems i have with linux is how difficult it can be to use. most of the documentation i find gives just enough info to be dangerous, but always leaves out some small, yet vital, piece of information. for example. i'm trying to install netscape. no problem, right? netscape's website has a link for install instructions. one problem...mandrake doesn't appear to have come with adobe acrobat reader. so i go to adobe. download some .tar.gz file and pull my hair out trying to figure out how to install it with no i pulled it up on my windows xp machine. so i go to install netscape, and everything appears to have installed. just one problem. HOW DO YOU RUN THE PROGRAM? WHERE IS THE LINK/ICON IN THE MENU (i'm using kde)? what magic words must i repeat to get the all mighty netscape to appear on the screen? the install instructions fail to tell me that one. or, am i just missing something?

i would have to say that software installation and documentation are far from being adequate enough for the general home computer user, or linux newbie, to figure out left from right. i'm a system's engineer for a large company, and have to deal with human machine interface issues all the time. i don't believe the people at mandrake have given much thought toward presentation...which, for me, is a HUGE part of an operating system. sure, it's got all these bells and whistles, and can run circles around windows (so i'm told), but if it's painful to use, then why bother.

another question...what's with all the application names that start with the letter "k"? just give it a normal, preferably self explainatory name for crying out loud.

anyway, i just thought i would share my thoughts on linux. i'm not ready to give up on it yet, but it's got a long way to go before it replaces my windows machine. for, now if someone could help me with software installation, i would be very much happy.

Old 07-11-2004, 11:40 PM   #2
Registered: Jul 2004
Location: the other side of morning
Distribution: PCLOS, Fedora Core, Slackware and Mepis.
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I have a couple of interesting article for you to may give you alot of insight.

Why Windows Causes Stupidity

What User Friendly Realy Means...

If you send me an email, , I will send you a .zip file of the "textbook" I used for Linux+ and Advanced Linux Admin...It will give you alot of the basics to help get you going.

As for getting nutscrape to run, try a right-click, run command, netscape.
Old 07-11-2004, 11:42 PM   #3
Registered: Nov 2003
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Everyone has been frustrated with linux at one point or another. It is a paradigm shift from windows, to go into the world of linux is to give up the world of windows. The goal of windows for years has been user-friendly, and linux has had this goal just recently. Linux really appeals to the Computer Science individual, anyone who understands a lot of computer theory and philiosophy understands linux on a much more intimate level than windows. Windows does a very good job at hiding many system aspects from you, whereas linux is completely exposed. (As long as you know where to look).

the incantation for installation of tar files is:
tar -xzvf filename.tar.gz
cd filename
make install

almost 99% of the time this is the case:
the first line unpacks/unzips the sources
you should know change directory -cd
./configure will check a few things and make the make file setup compiling etc.
make actually compiles the package
make install will put the .o or .ko files in an appropriate place like /usr/local/bin /usr/share/bin or somewhere else that is specific.

To run your program like netscape you should simply be able to type netscape at the prompt. If you get nothing go back and look at what happend when you tried to install the .tar.gz sources. You never want a line that says error, but warning is sometimes ok. After a while you will learn to watch for good compiles and you will learn a little bit more about what is going on.

Linux is different, but once you become used to it, it endows you with an enlightening feeling. I hope that I have helped a little at least.
Old 07-11-2004, 11:46 PM   #4
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Registered: Oct 2003
Location: hopefully not here
Distribution: Gentoo
Posts: 2,038

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use the package manager, they usually solve dependency problems for you

Gentoo's package manager is probably one of the best, as rpm based systems use binary only, and when using binary, you get into a problem with 1 version of a library not being binary compatible with another version of the same lib, so programs require multiple versions of the same lib so you can use all the programs

compiling from source solves this as the source codes compile themselves for whatever version you have (assuming its compatible, like gtk 1 is not compatible with gtk 2 as they are different libs as far as programs are concerned) (btw, portage, Gentoo package manager can install from source or binary form)

and i find the docs usually give more info then i ever get with windows, at least they tell you what to tell the program.... but many of the man/info pages are less then adequate as they do sometimes leave out a highly important detail thats for some reason, very important, yet hard to find (imagine that!)

a lot of programs start with "k" because you are using kde, if you used gnome, they would start with "g" , those programs where made to be used in those environments

and to start netscape i think you just type in "netscape" at the command line

its best to learn the command line, as its always the same no matter what desktop, or distro you are running

after you learn linux (or maybe the command line, and compiling from source without help), it will seem just as easy as windows ... after all, if you lose a program in windows, you could spend hours trying to find out where it is, in linux, just pull up a term and enter in the command and get going )

Last edited by SciYro; 07-11-2004 at 11:52 PM.
Old 07-11-2004, 11:50 PM   #5
bruno buys
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Registered: Sep 2003
Location: Rio
Distribution: Debian
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but if it's painful to use, then why bother.

You seem to have your mind made up, so why bother? Stick to windows.
If you need help with linux, then kindly ask for it. We'll kindly try to help.

As for me, its mainly a matter of political/philosophical standpoint. I won't support MS and its practices anymore.

Regarding Netscape: sometimes the software installs, but no menu item is added. To edit kde's menu, you can use Menu Editor, very easy. In my kde 3.2 I rightclick the K icon (bottom left) and choose menu editor. Just add a netscape item, if you wish.

When looking for programs on your mandrake install, you might prefer those packed in rpm format. Much easier to install than tar.gz.
Old 07-11-2004, 11:54 PM   #6
Registered: Jul 2004
Location: Canada
Distribution: Fedora Core 2
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i just installed linux myself after erasing my entire windows setup and u have to approach the os with an open mind, everything wont work as smoothly as it might have in windows at first but once u get the hang of it (and with the help from people on forums like this) it is possible to learn all that one needs to noe to run the os

I myself now know how to get around the operating system after reading many books and expirementing
Old 07-12-2004, 02:48 AM   #7
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Registered: Jan 2002
Posts: 6,042

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Programmers and engineers do not write sentence for people to comprehend well. I read some O'Reiley books and the authors jumps to much, so I can not understand. I can understand technical manuals well, but I have a hard to understanding O'Reiley books. The O'Reiley books are written by programmers and engineers. Yes, I agree the manauls and documentation from LINUX needs to be re-edit by someone else, so people can understand what the programmer or engineer is trying to say. Its better to have documentation than having nothing like in Windows.

Its not Mandrake's fault. Its just how LINUX is designed. LINUX has multiple desktop manangers and window managers. Also LINUX is distributed by companies and people that change the directory structure, so making a program to add an icon to the desktop or in the menu will not be very predictable. The program or installer can tell the user what file he or she can run the program that they installed. Then they can either make an icon on the desktop or in the menu. The menu editor that comes with Mandrake is pretty easy to use. If you want to know what file that runs a particular program, at the console type whereis proram_name. For example, if you want to find out where netscape is hiding, type whereis netscape. It should give a few paths to search for. Try doing this in Windows. In Windows you will be searching for a while.

The k* programs are either kde programs or kernel programs.

Mandrake should have installed programs to read PDF and PS files. Look for KGhostView or GhostView.

A few sites to get you start behaving like a LINUX expert

I find that using Google to search this forum gives the best results to find what you are looking for. Read through mailing lists at Google and other sites on LINUX topics.
Old 07-12-2004, 02:50 AM   #8
Registered: Sep 2003
Location: chikyuu (E103N6)
Distribution: Redhat 8.0 (2.4.25-custom), Fedora Core 1 (2.4.30-custom)
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Re: why must linux be so complicated?

Originally posted by r_hartless
i would really like to learn how to use linux. i'm pretty good with windows, and am self-taught.
Linux is a different OS from Windows. So just start to learn Linux like you did when you learned Windows. I don't think that when you learned Windows, you became proficient with it in just one or two days. And don't compare Windows with Linux like Windows can do this easily Windows can do that... It is a different thing and you have to learn to understand how Linux works instead of making Linux work just like Windows. Just try it, and learn it bit by bit, and you'll like it (or hate it, may be).


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