[Techtalk] What distro?

Little Girl littlergirl at gmail.com
Mon Oct 18 13:02:56 UTC 2010

Hey there,

Billie Walsh wrote:
> On 10/17/2010 04:34 AM, Little Girl wrote:

> > My conclusion is that advertising is what's needed.
> 1) Linux has a bad reputation as being a GEEK operating system.
> Only geeks and nerds can use Linux.

Exactly my point. That reputation will probably remain that way until
awareness, familiarity, and improvements change it.

> 2) When someone does try Linux out and joins a mail list for help,
> the replies they get and some of the messages flying around turn
> them off and they go back to Windows.

This isn't always the case, but yes, I've seen it myself. I think
humans are often just generally competitive creatures, and some are
outright mean. I don't think, however, that this is a Linux issue.
It's more of a world-shrinking issue. We're exposed to so many more
people via the internet than we would be in ordinary life that it's
more difficult to control who we rub elbows with.

When it comes to sources for help you can't control what others do,
but you can control what you do. If you're in a mailing list or chat
channel or forum or whatever and there's a rude person in there with
you, you can continue your quest for assistance despite that person
rather than letting them chase you away. I've found that humor often
works wonders to defuse volatile situations and get back to the main

This is also no different from the rude or uncooperative help-desk
person you get when phoning in to companies for support. How many
times have you called to get some information about a product or to
solve a problem with a service and had the help-desk person either be
snobbish or inattentive or to outright use diplo-speak on you to
avoid giving you the information you know darned well they have?

Come to think of it, the same thing can happen in person when trying
to reclaim lost baggage or resolve an issue at a place like the
Department of Motor Vehicles. It just happens. Difficult people are
here, there, and everywhere, and we can't wish them away. (:

I got a rather bad impression of a specific distribution's doc team.
They either dismissed suggestions outright or spent forever talking
about doing something without ever actually doing it. Those of us who
were decidedly passionate and enthusiastic quickly became
disappointed to be surrounded by so many inert people and left to
find other places where our energies are more welcome. I'm not sure
if that's changed, but I haven't bothered to go back and check.
That's a shame, and I wonder how common it is.

> If I wanted to use the command line routinely I would still be
> running DOS.

DOS was a good thing back in the day. (:

> I want a GUI. I want things that run in windows. I want
> convenience.

As you've already seen from the replies of others, you just
contradicted yourself because the terminal runs in a window and
convenience is what the command line is all about. (:

> When questions are asked and long strings of esoteric command line
> strings are given in reply it's an automatic turnoff. I understand
> that there are many that have used Linux from long before there was
> a GUI so they know more about CLI than they do GUI. But common,
> move into the twentieth century you guys. There are some things you
> can do with the CLI that you just cannot do with the GUI but when
> someone asks for help give out the GUI method when it's possible.
> Those esoteric command line string scare off people. Only add to
> the GEEKINESS quotient. "RTFM" is _NOT_ a helpful answer.

I'd like to weigh in on this to add to what others have already

First of all I'd like to say that there's nothing you can do with the
command line that you can't do with a GUI. It's just a matter of
somebody writing the GUI to run the command(s).

That aside, though, if you take a command as basic as ls and look at
the man page, it's staggering how many arguments there are that you
can use with it. Now imagine creating an ls GUI that's capable of not
only each and every one of those arguments, but of any and all
combinations of them as well. If every one of those was a button,
imagine how big that GUI would have to be! Then go one step further
and imagine doing that with every command possible on a Linux
machine... I wonder how many people would be willing to wade through
such big GUIs to find exactly the combination of arguments they want
to use rather than just typing in ls -al or whatever. (:

As a comparison, it can take up to 360 hours to brute force your way
into a single-dial 40-digit padlock because of all the possible
combinations, and that's just using three digits.

> 3) Microsoft just plain plays dirty.
> Microsoft has just about locked out any operating system other than 
> their own as OEM installations. Most people use Windows because
> that's what came with their computer. They are not aware that there
> is any other option. In those cases some really intelligent
> advertising might go a long way.

Hopefully we can all get together and see to it. (:

Little Girl

There is no spoon.

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