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BradfordKHull 12-21-2007 07:05 PM

Another new oldie; primarily used Linux since '91
Hello, I'm Brad Hull, introducing myself as the banner suggested, in case anybody cares. I've been using Linux primarily as a desktop both at home and at work wherever possible (which is most places) since 1991, and usually one of the first things I do in a new environment is install Linux over the Windows they give me to work on. I find it much more responsive, and it's been improving at an increasing pace in recent years, while Windows has been degrading.
I use it at home to do a little recording and fool with new technologies. There are always so many interesting new toys to play with. At work, I'm a Build Engineer, which more or less means (to me) that I get to try to weasel my developers into using good practices in development, in Java or even in .NET (which is a lot harder, being a cruelly backward dev environment). It's great to be in this business in a time when doing things the best way is becoming accepted. It used to not be that way at all.

jlgreer1 12-21-2007 08:14 PM

Hi Brad,
I have also been a Linux user since the early days. I switched to Slack when Coherent went belly up. I'm not as lucky as you, I don't have the option to overwrite Windows on my computer at work.

kav 12-21-2007 08:23 PM

Personally I cope by installing cygwin. I hit alt+enter whenever I need to feel safe...

bob4lyfe 12-22-2007 04:31 AM

\\\\hii \brad
actually, am new to this \linux thing, can you gimme a details of what it really means and how it functions?

BradfordKHull 12-23-2007 09:59 AM

Kind of a large question!
Well, obviously that's an enormous questions, but I'll honor it with a summary small enough to read. Linux is an operating system, and comes with a lot of applications, so that basically what it amounts to is the same part of a computer that Windows is, in place of Windows. That is, the whole personality of the computer comes from the Operating System you run on it. If you run Windows, you have Microsoft's way of doing things, and if you run Linux, you have a different whole way of going about doing pretty much the same things. You can still do the same basic operations, like sending and receiving email, browsing the web, using specialized program of your own choice and so on, but the ones of these that run on Windows are mostly only sort of able to run on Linux, and the ones that run on Linux definitely don't run on Windows. There's a lot of compatibility built up on the Linux side, due to the fact that, for example, a whole lot of people send around Microsoft Word documents, so there are a number of different Word Processing programs in Linux that can read and write Microsoft Word documents. In the Windows world, they don't make the effort to build things compatible with Linux and the rest of the world to any great degree, even when there are international standards to follow, because they get more money if you are forced to buy their stuff, and Linux and its utilities are mostly free.

From a cultural perspective, generally, there is a large community of Microsoft habitual users in the world, and that world is full of expensive software of varying quality, which is proprietary (as opposed to open source, where everybody can contribute to its development); people are used to the fact that you can get many programs for a variety of purposes, all of them cost from a little to a lot of money, and a lot of them are really pretty worthless in one way or another. There is another, smaller but very active culture in the world that is the Linux/Unix/BSD/open source community, which is used to having a very large amount of free software that is generally more basically functional but often less oriented for a beginning user, but some of which is fully competitive with the quality and features of Microsoft software. In this community, forums like this one (LinuxQuestions) exist in many places and the community members help each other over technical problems.

Overall, the Linux/Unix world is harder for the non-technical user because so many things require a bit of your own technical understanding to handle, but we in the community have put a lot of hard work into evening that out. There are certainly a lot of things in the Windows world that are also technically challenging and hard, and some open friendly sources of support there too - the world recognizes the value of that, and is adopting it.

If you are a non-technical user, I would recommend you try Ubuntu; it's nice and comfortable to work with, has a very supportive community, and all you need to be able to work with a computer is built in without much technical challenge at all. Welcome to our world!

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