Start of day 3

I need some help here….

I’m a desktop user. I’m not a geek, I don’t own any sandals and have no more problem with Microsoft than I do any other multinational. I had XP working the way I wanted. I used freeware that did ‘exactly what it said on the tin’ and was bloatfree. I had a machine that I could work quickly, effectively and safely on. Arguments about viruses / spyware are not on – I knew what I was doing there and could get rid of any spyware (and that only happened as a cost of me doing something ‘dodgy’).

I was lead to believe that Linux was ‘better’, not ‘bloated’, faster. This is not the case. I’m not talking appearance, i’m talking functionality.

So remind me – why is Ubuntu better ? Specifics appreciated :)

(And I’m not planning on geting rid of it just yet – but the light at the end of the tunnel is very dim right now)

17 thoughts on “Start of day 3

  1. I do encourage you to stick with Linux. Three days isn’t a particularly long time. Had you switched to Mac, or BeOS, or OS/2, you’d have all sorts of (possibly different) complaints. Don’t give up!

    I’m willing to bet that we can resolve your edit-over-FTP problem, with a little effort. It might be that that was a poorly tested feature from Ubuntu, and they might welcome your feedback. Or perhaps another tool is what’s necessary, and we just need to find the right one.

    First, the philosophical issues:
    * Linux is Free as in Freedom. You are permitted to use it in anyway, for any purpose you choose. You are not required to agree to a license, and you are not restricted from doing things with it that the authors do not want you to do.
    * Linux is Free as in Beer. You are permitted — and encouraged — to give your copy of Ubuntu to as many people as you like.
    * Linux is open. If you experience a problem, you (or someone else) can dig into the guts of the system to find out what is going on where. It is not a closed box from which you can only determine symptoms: you can determine causes.
    * No DRM, which means you are the one who decides what is and is not permissible with your hardware and software.

    Practical stuff:
    * Linux has pretty detailed logging. If you have a problem, you can review the system log files to see what’s happening. Error messages usally (but not always) makes sense.
    * Linux is a collection of parts working together. If your browser craps out, it does not take with it the entire operating system.
    * If for some reasons the system as a whole stops responding, you have several options for diagnosing and resolving it: CTRL+ALT+F1 to get to a command prompt; ssh into your desktop from a remote system; etc.
    * Linux is multi-user from the start. You can easily run applications as other users without being required to log off. Multiple users can log in (via remote) to the same machine at the same time without clobbering one another.

    Convenient stuff:
    * Just like with WordPress, if you have trouble, someone somewhere is likely going to know how to diagnose the guts of the thing, and suggest a fix. The fix may not be easy, but the fact that one can look at the source code to determine the root of a problem is pretty nice.
    * If you don’t like Ubuntu, you can install SuSE. They may have solved some of the problems you have. Or perhaps Red Hat has them solved. You can evaluate different systems, deriving from different developers’ contributions, to find a system that fits your needs.

    I’ll be the first to agree that some things about Linux really suck. In my experience, and for the things that I need/want to do, Linux sucks less than Windows. There’s no registry to manage; system logging is better; system updating is more convenient; the system as a whole (not individual applications) is often more stable (and in my experience, the applications are more stable, too); access to developers of applications makes problem-solving a participatory process; I can report bugs and monitor their progress; I can install all the tools I need on any computer I get without paying extra.

  2. Dude!! UBUNTU is anyday better than whatever else you’ve tried!
    For one- Ubuntu is free software. If you want to add proprietary or non-free software to your system, you can – easily, but this is your choice.
    Lets get specific.
    1. Easy, simple to install & configure (with no config file editing).
    2. Ubuntu uses grub and has a text-based boot menu. It’ll identify other operating systems that are on your system at the time of installation to allow multi-booting.
    3. About 1000 software programs are preinstalled and fully configured to be ready to use.

    A clean environment with the latest software :)

    I dont know if I missed something.. I just scrolled to type the comment! Will check out yer Day1 and Day 2 later!
    Rock on~

  3. Just try to get wireless networking working on Linux. After you stab your eyeballs and prepare to jump off the side of a cliff, you realize that Linux has a long ways to go.

    Linux isn’t ready yet. It is nice in some spots, but really awful in others.

  4. Wireless has always worked well for me, which is one of the reasons I gave my spare Orinoco card to Mark: it’s a well supported card that Just Works with current systems. Even my Intel PRO/2200 wireless Just Worked with Ubuntu (can’t say the same for Debian, though I’m sure with some effort I could’ve gotten it).

    Perhaps I’ve been too hasty in my advocacy, Mark. You’re clearly not an average Windows users. Why do YOU want to learn Linux? Are you just bowing to peer pressure, or is there something else?

    You’re clearly not an average Windows users. You have a level of mastery that many Windows users never attain. That competency did not come overnight to you. Nor will competency with Linux. But I think you’ll find the end result to be just as satisfying.

  5. Why do I want to learn ….hmmm..
    I want to see what the grass is like this side of the fence – that’s one.
    I want to see what all the OSS is about – that’s another.
    I want to challenge myself in some way..
    I want to play.

    But I also want to be able to work quickly and effectively.
    Yes there is a double curve that I am in – I am unlearning and at the same time learning. I knew this frustration would happen – and that it would come in waves.

    Suse …. why try suse ? Not debian therefore different strands of software ? I’ll go read distrowatch (I assume I can burn iso’s :) )

    I’m not bowing to peer pressure as much as exploring. There is no peer pressure, but I don’t want to throw in the towel only to pick it up in a few months.

    The free thing … I can see that, but to me it mattered not. Okay so the OS way pay, but nothing else was. It was all free (sometimes OSS, sometimes not) but it was written to do one job and do it well. So I’m not coming from a world of bloat but a trim and slim world – even XP was sliced and diced to how I like it.

    I was grinning like a loon last night when I got rsync working – and even more so when I then tested it. That’s where I want to be. I won a battle though in the face of what seems right now to be a gruelling war.

    I think I need to do two things:
    – set my goals to be lower but longer
    – make a list of the functionality I need.

    Oh – and install FileZilla. alpha or not, it cannot cannot be worse than gftp !

    And despite my moaning, I really do appreciate all your support !

  6. I’ve tried a number of flavours of Linux before I settled on using Suse. I’ve never tried Ubuntu but they all have their little foibles. I was always lead to believe that the top three flavours were RedHat, Suse and Mandrake. Redhat for geeks and Suse and Mandrake for those doing the switch. I don’t know how relevant that opinion is nowdays but at the time a lot of personal pain went into coming up with it. I’ve read your posts and recognised the stress. I’d prefer Linux to Windows 89% of the time … 10% would be due to gaming and the remaining 1% would be when it doesn’t like a particular piece of hardware I have. But it’s not easy. It’s a learning curve and can be steep. You really need to be comfortable with making and building packages and using the command line a lot to be on speaking terms with Linux. Plug and Play just isn’t happening with it and even though I’m a nix user it’s not ready for the mainstream.

    I reckon you’re a safe and secure Windows user who knows their machine well. I don’t see a need for you to switch to be honest. You said it yourself – you’re a desktop user not a geek. I honestly don’t know why you made the switch in that case … why go through the pain? What’s the benefit to you?

  7. Good question Gary:
    Only once you’ve slept with the enemy do you know their weaknesses :)

    It’s curiosity, it’s all the ‘Linux is better’ garbage, it’s seeing if the curve is too great for me.
    My needs are actually quite modest, but I expect those needs to be met perfectly. I think I’m close so far, and this kernel upgrade has certainly made life a lot more tolerable because it’s quicker (so I get to see failure faster !).

    And I also have all my data safe – I can be back in XP within an hour if I really need to.

  8. Mark on 13:49 Friday 6 Jan 2006 at 13:49 Friday 6 Jan said:

    I was grinning like a loon last night when I got rsync working – and even more so when I then tested it.

    I’m guessing you can probably count on one hand the number of times you’ve had that feeling with Windows. I experience that rush almost weekly on some level or another. Just wait til the first time you download the sources of Apache/PHP/MySQL and compile and install them from scratch and make it work. Now THAT is something you’ll grin about for a week. :)

    A good friend of mine told me when I first tried to switch to Linux that it took him three attempts spread out over about two years before he was able to do it. Ended up being the same way for me. I would just get frustrated at something I thought was so simple and reboot back to Windows. IMHO, you did a good thing as far as not leaving tourself a crutch. Windows is a re-install away (40 minutes) instead of just a reboot (2 minutes). I do think you should give SuSE a try. The reason there are so many distros out there is because DistroX didn’t work well enough for PersonY.

  9. And that is where I will be called – if – when – I return to Windows.
    Each distro will be said to be better (though cat will I’m sure not be saying I should go near gentoo).

    It’s like Linux users all hate Windows, but when you get in there they are sll dissing each other too. Not that I’m saying you are Justin, but you see my point ?

  10. Linux users are generally more passionate than Windows users (I hate painting with broad brushes, so please apply any disclaimers to that statement that you feel are appropriate). Linux users are empowered to solve a great many problems on their own, and as such they take pride in their solutions. Linux users can configure their desktops to match their work style, and as such they’re often fiercely protective of them. It’s not necessarily that UserY can’t do what they want to do with DistroX — it’s just that there’s no real need to learn DistroX’s indiosyncracies when they’ve already tamed DistoZ…

    Many Linux users are, unfortunately, dispariging toward Windows and its users. You, Mark, have already denigrated all of us Linux users with your sandal comments — is it much different? If you filter out the vitriol, you’ll see that there’s simply a lot of passion.

  11. I have no intention of starting a linux-distro one-upsmanship thing here, but if you’re concerned about bloat, you might try Slackware. It has a reputation for not being very newbie-friendly and less easy to install than other distros, but my experience has been quite the opposite. (And I’m no ubergeek.) Like you, I wanted to try Linux for a variety of reasons, not least of which was to mess around with it. My only requirement was that I had to be able to dual-boot with Windows.

    I tried all the ‘newbie’ friendly distros…Redhat, Mandrake, etc. I finally got around to Slackware with some trepidation due to its somewhat intimidating reputation. Well, I was able to install it with NO hassle. In fact, it was the easiest of any of them. Everything worked (although I don’t have wireless so I can’t speak to that.) Dual-booting appeared like magic. (Both RedHat and Mandrake corrupted my FAT, requiring a complete HD format/reinstallation of windows.)

    The Slackware newsgroup has a bad rep as well, mostly for not suffering fools gladly. It’s more a matter that they expect to have done your homework before asking questions, which I’m sure you of all people can appreciate. :)

  12. I’m following your trials and tribulations with interest, mostly because I would like to do the same thing: but can’t afford to not be on a working machine for too long.

    Originally I was looking at Fedora, but Ubuntu is up there atm as well, I think my main concern is what I call The Menu Problem: too many choices, and so I’m never happy with one. Would I have prefered the steak to the fish? It will cost me more than its probably worth to find out, and in the end I come away not entirely happy with anything.

  13. I run openSUSE on one box I own, dual booting with windows xp. By no means is it a primary machine, all I’ve really done with it was try to make a file server, but decided I needed faster than 100-baseTX could provide, but when I was messing with that, I found that when I plugged a hard disk in with usb, it Just Workedâ„¢. However when I plugged it in via IDE, it totally hated me. It would not mount the HFS+ volume that it just had via USB. No matter what I did in the /etc/fstab, it would not work. I finally gave up, mainly because of the network’s speed issue, instead I’m making a multi-bay firewire enclosure.

    Basically, I’ve found out linux (and anything else) can sometimes throw you some Pretty Fucked Up Shitâ„¢. (In my opinion.)

    I’d use ubuntu but I cannot stand gnome. I learned linux on KDE, a long time ago, with mandrake. KDE (imo) owns gnome.

    Why did I go with openSUSE? It was the only one that would work on the box. :)

  14. i remember when i was trying to learn linux using red hat. after all the books i read, i gave up and junked my pc, literally! i wanted to see what everyone said was “better”. it could be. but to a non-geek like me, what works is what works. mac works for me and i’m glad i switched. ubuntu? what the hell is it? LOL! j/k

    anyway, no offense meant to linux people.

  15. I do think OS X is the optimal choice, but since you are likely not going to be able to run out and spend $1,500 US dollars on a computer anytime soon, Linux would be my next choice. Windows is absolute last on the list. I was lucky though, mostly for me Linux just worked. My husband pretty much configured everything I needed, and I got to make my desktop “mine” by configuring it. I did learn some pretty basic commands, and was able to follow documents step by step on my own, but I had a person to call whenever something didn’t work the way I wanted. I didn’t bother to take the time to learn because I knew in a few months I would be running OS X again (February cannot get here fast enough), so I realize it’s easy for me to say stick with Linux when I did not have to take the time to figure stuff out the way my husband did, or the way you are doing now. But from an end user standpoint, once things do work, there really is a great feeling about running Linux. It is user friendly, and it can be a good experience. Just my 2 cents.

  16. I’ve got a dual-boot running XP Home and Fedora Core 4. I probably use each about 50/50.

    Give it enough time, you’ll love it. Some things I still run to M$ for, but I like being able to have more say about how my desktop looks, how things run, etc.

    It’s just … fun.

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