Linux On the Desktop
Not happening according to Michael Gartenberg* over at ComputerWorld.
I really get tired of the Linux/Windows comparisons from writers and bloggers all over the Net. You know what the first thing is that I tell folks whom I’m attempting to introduce to Linux? LINUX IS NOT WINDOWS! Don’t start out thinking it is. Don’t start out thinking it’s even similar. Start out with NO preconceived notions.
The fact of the matter is that if someone wants to start using Linux, they’re going to have to LEARN… yes, that’s right! They’re going to have to read, research, search, study, use, use, and use some more till they’ve become comfortable with their new operating system. That’s just the way it is. You ain’t going to learn Linux by osmosis, folks.
Return rates for Linux netbooks were much higher than for their Windows counterparts…
Of course they were. Folks who bought those Linux netbooks did so thinking that Linux was “just like” Windows and that they were going to just boot up and off they’d go. As a matter of fact, I’ve actually heard a salesman at a local computer store make just that claim to a customer whom he was trying to sell a used Linux Dell to.
Listen folks, I participate in many Linux boards and forums, where our goal is to help folks make the transition from MS Windows to Linux; not because we’re running around evangelizing about the benefits of Linux, but because folks come looking for us for help. I can tell you from experience that some folks just don’t have the wherewithal to learn Linux. They want everything spoon fed to them. They don’t make any attempts to learn anything on their own. They just say, “Show me how to install K3b.” or “Tell me step-by-step how to install Ubuntu on my system.” 30 seconds on Google would have gotten them 100 hits on either of those requests. Did they search Google first? No.
Since most of us would go back to using paper, pens, envelopes and stamps before using the open-source text editor Emacs, it still seems likely that it’s going to be a Windows and Mac OS world for the foreseeable future.
Seriously, what does a legacy command line editor have to do with whether or not Linux is a viable alternative to MS Windows on the desktop? My brother is NOT a computer geek. He just uses his computer to write an occasional document or send an email or surf the Net. He wouldn’t know a command line editor if it walked up and began masticating on his glutious maximus. Yet, I converted my brother to Linux about two years ago. He loves his Ubuntu Studio edition. Every once in a while he asks me how to do something. I show him and that’s that. He doesn’t call me with computer related issues nearly as often now that he’s not running MS Windows, I can tell you that much.
Cool beans, dude. No one is twisting your arm here. What works for you and makes you the most productive and happy is what you should be running on your system. If it’s MacOS or MS Win 7, cool. Enjoy! That’s freedom. Ain’t it great! We of the Linux community are more than happy to assist you should you want to convert to Linux… or even if you just want to play around with it. We’re there for you. Give us a holler. We’re NOT trying to convert you, enlist you, assimilate you, or make a Linux-effing-zombie out of you.
Those commercial operating systems are welcome to compete with one another. The majority of Linux distributions out there could care less about competition. Let’s just all try to get along, huh. MS Windows is great. Apple/Mac is great. COBOL was cool. Octal machine code was tedious. I like Linux. I’ll use Linux.
The Importance of Keeping Notes
All Linux Explorers, but most especially new ones, will find it beneficial in the extreme to keep notes of their adventures as they progress in GNU/Linux Land.
My Linux Notebook is a simple bound composition book that you can buy in any grocery or general merchandise store. It looks like this…
…and costs a buck or so. If I had known then what I know now, I would have chosen a loose leaf version. I have many additions to my current notebook. I just slide in loose leaf pages within this existing composition notebook. A loose leaf binder would have been neater.
I divided up my notebook with stick on tabs. They divide the notebook into “General Linux” and “<insert name here>” distributions. I have a tab for each distribution that I’ve ever installed on any of my systems.
From the very start of the particular Linux adventure, the downloading/burning of the CD/DVD, I am taking notes. I write down the source of the download, the date of the CD/DVD creation, the method and means of partitioning, etc. After that, I take notes on everything that I do to setup and customize the operating system.
As I continue to use and learn more about the particular distro, I maintain my notes for that distribution. Not only is it helpful in learning the particular ins and outs of a distribution, but it’s very handy to have these notes when helping others or when reinstalling months later.
In the General Linux area, I keep all my notes about BASH, general scripting, init script tricks, tweaks for hardware, tweaks for GUI interfaces, etc. Basically, anything that is useful across Linux platforms gets jotted down in this area.
I cannot tell you the number of times in the past 3+ years that having these notes has saved my rear end. If my house caught on fire, I’d grab four things…my three cats and my Linux notebook!
Best of luck with your Linux Adventure!
Until next time…
This post is 100% my original material, but originally appeared in my Linux.com blog, $ ls -al everything_linux | more