Linux

10 things you must teach new Linux users

Sharing a few key facts about Linux can mean the difference between a stress-free transition and a user meltdown.

During TechRepublic's Live Event, I said that I could hand a Linux machine to new users and give them the information necessary to make sure their transition to Linux was successful -- and they wouldn't be hounding me constantly on how X is done or asking, "What is Y?" I could tell by the faces of the audience members that some of them wanted to know how I could make such a bold statement. With that in mind, here are 10 pieces of information to pass on to new Linux users that will ensure a successful transition.

1: It's just an operating system

Only two years ago, this issue wouldn't even have been mentioned. The thing is, the vast majority of work now is done through a Web browser. This makes the operating system almost irrelevant. So long as the operating system can run a browser, it will most likely live in the background, working away without so much as being noticed. Of course, this should be the case anyway, as an operating system is nothing more than a layer between user applications and hardware.

2: It's not Windows

Many new users aren't exactly aware that there is a difference between Windows, Linux, and Mac. But they need to know that they shouldn't always expect Windows-like behavior. When a user expects an operating system to behave like another operating system, trouble will most certainly ensue. Does this mean you need to give them the rundown on every difference between the operating systems? No. They just need to be prepared to encounter different behaviors from what they expect.

3: There is no "C"

Windows users are accustomed to a file system structure that never really made sense. Linux, on the other hand, has a perfectly logical directory hierarchy. This is one issue users will need to understand. However, there really is only one main directory they need to know about: /home/USERNAME (Where USERNAME is their name). Most modern distributions create the following directories within the users home directory: Documents, Pictures, Music, Video. Those subdirectories speak for themselves, and new users only need know where they are located to function properly. They also need to know that their home directory is the only place on the file system where they can save files.

4: Installing software is a different process

This one can trip up the new user more than anything. PC users are accustomed to searching for software on the 'net, downloading the .exe file, double-clicking it, and waiting for the software installation to complete. So they need to understand that Linux distributions come complete with their own special tool that will do all of that for them. All they have to do is open the Add/Remove Software tool (such as the Ubuntu Software Center, PackageKit, or Synaptic), search for a piece of software, and install it. New users tend to love the sheer amount of software that's available to install. Naturally some of it is useless, but the majority of those titles are good pieces of software that serve their purpose.

5: The command line is not necessary

When new uses are handed a Linux box, one of the first things to come out of their mouths is often, "Am I going to have to learn a bunch of commands?" The answer is no. In fact, modern Linux distributions are created in such a way that users could live their entire Linux lives and never touch the command line. This is now a non-issue. The command line is there (and always will be), but only those who want to use it need ever open up a terminal window. Outside of that, users can rest assured that they will not have to grep, ls, mkdir, chmod, or chown. Nearly every action in Linux can be handled through a GUI.

6: There's no need to worry about infection

We're no longer dealing with Windows -- so all that concern for viruses and malware is a thing of the past. You don't see AVG or SEP in the notification tray? That's normal. Your machine will not be at risk without them. But it's still important to make sure users know that their colleagues may still be using Windows, so they shouldn't  be cavalier about forwarding email attachments to them. Just because those attachment won't harm the Linux box doesn't mean they won't harm the Windows box.

7: It's free

I'm always shocked at how much trouble users have understanding the concept of open source and the fact that most open source software has no cost attached. "Well then it must not be any good!," is most often the reaction. Not so. Of course, a consumerist society would have trouble with the idea that "free can be good," but it's one we should get used to. In many cases, open source software is not only better for society, it's better for your computer.

8: If you don't like it, you can change it

This is another strange concept for new users, but one they should understand. Unlike Windows and Mac, if you don't like a Linux desktop, you can change it. Granted, this isn't something a new user is going to just automatically do. But knowing that it is a possibility helps new users understand just how much flexibility they have. Besides, working with a desktop you don't like can make for a frustrating experience. I prefer to demonstrate for new users the types of desktops available for them and let them choose. Most times, they will go with what they're somewhat familiar with (KDE being a good choice for most), but on occasion a new user will go with something completely different just for the experience.

9: Not all hardware is created equal

That's right -- not every piece of shiny new hardware will actually function properly with the Linux operating system. This is not nearly the issue it once was, but for some pieces of hardware (such as multi-function printers, some wireless cards, and laptop displays,) the problems still persist. For those pieces of hardware, it is sometimes as simple as downloading proprietary drivers (something new users won't mind, but you will want to take care of). Other times, it may be as involved as switching to a different distribution all together. The good news is that Linux has come a long, long way in this area and continues to expand and improve.

10: Google is your friend

The single most important thing you can do for yourself and your new users is to ensure that they understand just how helpful Google can be. When there is a problem or an aspect of Linux they don't understand, they should know that someone else has probably documented this issue, and helpful info is just a search away. Show new users how to make the most out of a Google search so they are not inundated with worthless results. In the end, they might come to you with fewer request, and even more important -- they'll be learning along the way.

Easing the transition

People fear change. And it's become clear that the more things do change, the more people react. (Just watch Facebook long enough and you'll see this in action.) But change doesn't have to be avoided or handled improperly. With just a little preparation on your part, the new Linux user will have a positive experience and will most likely not look back.

About

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.

101 comments
nubwaxer
nubwaxer

I can't get Tencent QQ International in Linux, can I?

MongooseProXC
MongooseProXC

The one big problem I have had with Linux, or specifically Ubuntu 11.10 is the support for my Broadcom wireless card. On more than one occasion I have had to unplug my desktop and move the whole darn thing to another room and plug it into my router. I could then install the driver and move my computer back again!!! Call me a Windows fanboy but Windows Vista was brutalized over hardware issues less than this. Manual labor should not be a requirement for any OS.

nwmc
nwmc

Linux makes great thin clients. In an company where 900 of 1000 computers are only used for web browsing to the main business application or a couple of terminal server based applications going with Linux is a no-brainer. Would I ever try to replace the accounting department computers with Ubuntu? -Of course not, but why spend 100's of dollars for Windows where Linux will do the job just fine?

Papa_Bill
Papa_Bill

...but it would scare me to death.

Slayer_
Slayer_

I just had to teach my folks how the start menu works (I renamed Mint's menu to "Start") and they were able to use it in no time. A few shortcuts on the desktop and they were fine with browsing. If only Mint had a way to force automatic updates, it would be perfect. They rather enjoy when they click close on something and it lights on fire and burns away. They like it because it gives them a visual indication of whether or not the application was closed or minimized.

tor
tor

Linux servers are free and darned difficult to set up; there is no easy point and click server software to set up a linux home server; just a lot of arcane and difficult workarounds and problem solvers; each leading to more and more complex and even more arcane suggestions and workarounds. Ubuntu is the worst of this lot; nothing works out of the iso and sometimes it just works but you can't know why; tweaking after it works is impossible and ensures a crash from which it is always impossible to recover. DIY linux server software sucks big ones; it is too bad because when it works it is excellent.

noydbt
noydbt

"The thing is, the vast majority of work now is done through a Web browser." - I think this statement needs a full article to back it up. I can't think of any accounting systems written in html. If by "work" you're referring to updating one's Facebook status, browsing Netflix videos, downloading mp3's and surfing porn sites; then please ignore the preceding and offer me a job.

bornbyforce
bornbyforce

If you want to really be able to do anything you want you still need the command line. Don't get me wrong. I am a Linux user and quite happy with that. But unfortunately there are plenty of things missing. There is plenty that no GUI have been made for and even the ones that do have a GUI have bugs and missing bits and pieces which results in the nastiest outcome: The poor new user find he/she can not change the setting through the GUI; searches online and on a Linux forum finds a command line solution which will solve the problem through a "hack". I don't think there is a single Linux user who have seriously used it for a couple of months and have never encountered one of these cases. Unfortunately majority of serious Linux users do not take GUI and its design and its effect on the user experience quite seriously.

pgit
pgit

It does look like Jack tossed a match into the middle of his article... to generate flames?

dnox1978
dnox1978

Don't ever say that to users, "6: There???s no need to worry about infection," if you do that you and you alone bear the responsibility for all eternity, se mac and all malware problems, because the user did believe that there platform was bulletproof, and they did't use common sense because someone was telling that there choice of os was bulletproof. there's always security risk in almost every OS either because of the User a 3d party application or bad development.

Network_Driven
Network_Driven

Had high hopes that this would assist new Linux users in navigating through an OS that???s already up and running. Had high expectations that someone out there in the world of Linux could share 10 things a new user would want to do with a PC that has the OS installed... Which packages should I test drive that would excite the Wow factor. Some pointers perhaps that could remove the Microsoft dependencies. Cheers

P.F. Bruns
P.F. Bruns

1: It???s just an operating system Yes, but lots of people have never actually fooled around with the nuts and bolts of their operating system. That's what their kids, or that nerdy brother/sister/cousin, are for. 2: It???s not Windows And therefore the stuff they do know won't apply; the easy stuff will be hard, and the hard stuff will be harder. 3: There is no ???C??? Linux subdirectories do NOT speak for themselves. I've played with Linux on and off for years, and I still have problems with the whole /bin, /usr/bin, /sbin, /usr/sbin thing. 4: Installing software is a different process I would have said "installing software is a DIFFICULT process." a.) Whether you're using a software manager included with your particular distro, such as Mint's excellent Software Manager, or Synaptics Package Manager, there's not always a guarantee that it will properly check to make sure your hardware and distro are compatible with a given app. b.) The command line process for installing is a Byzantine nightmare even for DOS veterans like me. I can't imagine how it would feel for someone with no experience outside Windows. Every package has different handling rules. Break one and bork the install--and in one case, I've borked my system that way. And again, even if you follow all the rules, there's no guarantee the software will run--and not break something else in the bargain. 5: The command line is not necessary Rubbish. If you ONLY stick to packages in your distro's repository, or in other repositories you pull down, and if nothing ever breaks, you won't have to go to the command line...often. 6: There???s no need to worry about infection There's LESS need to worry about infection. Bring an unprotected system online in the hands of your typical "It said Click Here!" user, and he/she will get pwned. Betting on it is like money from home. 7: It???s free ...unless you consider the hours you aren't getting paid to configure and repair it. 8: If you don???t like it, you can change it ...if you're not afraid of hosing your system. Installing the "recommended" NVidia drivers for Mint 11 Katya 32-bit? Congratulations. Either eat hot command prompt or reinstall. And the rules are different on every single distro. Compiz Fusion works differently on Ubuntu 9.04 than it does on 10.04 than it does on 11.04, and major chunks like window frame transparency don't seem to work at all in Mint 11 (at least not on the HP Media Center desktop with Nvidia card I was using)--either due to hardware/driver incompatibility or due to some conflict with some other customizing software (that I haven't figured out how to find, much less disable). Oh, and Windows has been reskinnable since Windows 98, as has been previously covered in this discussion. Mac OS can be reskinned after a fashion with CrystalClear Interface, even though it's a massive resource hog. 9: Not all hardware is created equal Avoid the HP LaserJet 1012 printer. Then again, avoid that printer if you have anything but Windows XP. The printer prints well, but it chooses its friends very carefully. 10: Google is your friend Finally, a point I (mostly) agree with. Gigs and gigs of Linux documentation exists, but 99 percent of it is written for die-hard fellow Linux people, and in lots of cases, user-friendliness (to say nothing of grammar, spelling, and other mechanics) is NOT a priority. I'm not saying not to try Linux. I AM saying don't give it to a non-techie to use in a production environment unless you have already configured it to do exactly what they need it to do, and unless you're willing to be on call when they want it to do something new, or in the rare event it does something they don't want.

elderlybloke
elderlybloke

spdragoo, If you mean problem about Printers, then going with HP will provide 100% compatibility .

elderlybloke
elderlybloke

I always have a firewall up just in case. I am a conservative bloke (with a small c).

jrhalli89
jrhalli89

What doesn't make sense about Windows' file system structure? I agree the Linux file structure is easy to understand when talking about /home/USERNAME only, but it gets pretty complicated after that. But I've only been messing around with Linux for about a year so I don't really know what I'm talking about. :D

the old rang
the old rang

About your 10 things you must teach Linux users, I would almost disagree with a few (e.g. not learning command line)... But, trusting google?? No... They are in bed with an administration that is destroying the rights to privacy, have and keep tons of info on all users, and indeed have sold it to some, and given it freely to the gov't. There is no way to avoid them entirely, but,.. Trust is not earned by them. I know they pay big bucks for you to put that tripe in the articles... But, that means you don't mind selling out.

monsurqa
monsurqa

Linux is improving it position in terms of functional strength, security and usability. Hopefully it will be the future OS for most of the computer users.

spdragoo
spdragoo

1: "The thing is, the vast majority of work now is done through a Web browser." Not at my job. While we have a few in-house applications that we use in a browser, as well as accessing some applications for the public that are browser-based, about 80% of our work is *not* browser-based. They're stand-alone apps, division/unit databases, and mainframe applications. So switching to Linux in our environment would be counter-intuitive. 2: "It???s not Windows" For a lot of users, though, they don't want a change in behaviour. They're comfortable with the way their old PC (WinMac) worked, & don't want to change just for the sake of change. Price isn't the only reason users have hung onto XP; they don't want to have to relearn how to use Win7. 3: There is no ???C??? See #2. Especially for those users that *aren't* as familiar with shell or DOS/UNIX-style prompts as the rest of us, telling them "your directories are here now" just confuses them more. 4: Installing software is a different process That's fine if the only software you installed came over the Internet. For the majority of us, though, most of our software comes from CDs, so an "app store" site doesn't really help. 5: The command line is not necessary Good...although Windows & Mac have been that way for years. That's why potential users ask that question; Linux doesn't have a long enough history of a desktop working "out of the box" without having to resort to command-line setup. 6: There???s no need to worry about infection yeah...that's why the kernel.org site was taken down... you know, the one running *on* Linux *for* Linux? Not saying that the security might not be tighter, but it's not 100% safe. 7: It???s free Directly, yes. Indirectly, no: it costs a few pennies for the power & Internet connection to download the distro, and/or some pennies to buy the blank disc you burn it onto for installation. The thing is, there's that little problem about tech support. WinMac users have access to the vendor tech support (Microsoft or the vendor for Windows, Apple for Macs). For a lot of those Linux distros, though, if you want the same level of tech support, you have to pay for it. 8: If you don???t like it, you can change it Again, though, that's been around for non-Linux OSs as well. Hello, Win98 Themes? Even in XP, you can make plenty of changes to the appearance of your desktop, as well as access to free 3rd-party utilities that can change the appearance of your desktop. 9: Not all hardware is created equal And there's the biggest killer right there. You tell someone the all-in-one printer they have "may not work 100%", & they'll tell you to shove Linux into the "circular file". Having to replace working hardware because the Linux distro you're trying to use won't support it, or doesn't have driver files yet, is not a good way to show how "good" Linux is. 10: Google is your friend Oh, wow...*snrk*... oh, wait, you were serious, weren't you? I think you'd better change that to, "The Internet is your friend", & not harp so much on Google. After all, they can use just about any search engine (ask.com, Yahoo, Bing, etc.) to look for Linux help. Or you could simply point them to some particular websites, instead of just throwing them to the figurative wolves.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

In short; jacks number six is completely false. the existance of Rkhunter, Chkrootkit and the string of breaches that have kept Linux.org offline for a month due to *and*infected*developer's*computer passing on malware seem to have been missed in Jack's morning reading. Don't get me wrong. I'm extatic with the performance of my chosen Linux distributions but let's keeps some reality in the discusion. Jack, I love your howto articles; yourusually spot on. Blatant errors in your opinion pieces and your lack of interaction in resulting discussions though... booo.

DWPNS
DWPNS

You've never been to my neck of the woods... and I mean that literally. I have more woodlands, cows and opossum's than people around here. As a testament to the how techno-dependent we've become, my company flourish's in an area where the mean income average is still less than 25k a year and although a large part of my business is doing great work cheap, most users feel it isn't their responsibility to learn anything new. I've implemented most of your TOP 10 just as a common sense applied rule of thumb but have had no luck introducing a single Linux machine longer than two weeks before loading Windows. Just one instance of "I bought this CD but..", "What's Brasero?", "Where's the START menu", "How do I find my programs" or the like, and it's already too much stress to deal with. It's not unusual to hear, "Whats a browser, again? You mean my internet"? Anyway, my point is in line with TBONE2K, most users don't give a crap. They just want the tool and don't care. I often hear, "Ah..what? Okay, whatever. Just make it work." If I sound cynical it's because I am. I insist that (interactive) Linux is not for the common user and more-so for pros like us. I practically live on NIX and can't see the usefulness for Windows other than the Enterprise IT Dept. Let's face it, Active Directory and Exchange is pretty bad-ass no matter how much you hate Windows. Great article but I'm inclined to disagree with the statement, * I could hand a Linux machine to new users and give them the information necessary to make sure their transition to Linux was successful*. Come to my county and see what happens. Thank you for a fun article.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

and it's still not apearing. TR.. I give up. Fix your CMS.

dosida
dosida

Try some of the already configured servers from Turnkey Linux or Bitmani. If it still doesn't work for you perhaps you might wanna do it the normal way. Trial and Error... if you don't screw up you don't learn. That's the hard and honest truth about anything computer-related. That's how we all learn :)

Papa_Bill
Papa_Bill

Try all the popular and new OSs. Experiment, fool around. Keep a good boot disk. Looking for the *Oh, thank God!* moment? Stick to Windows. No mazes, good maps. No strange territory. Keep a good boot disk.

pgit
pgit

There are a few sites that list programs against their windows equivalents, some of them do a good job reviewing the Linux side, as in being honest about the limitations, eg that some openoffice/libreoffice docs will lose formatting when opened in MS Office. One thing I do is give people a list of little tools I've found handy, as well as the easiest way to find and run them. Most Linux environments bring up a "run" dialog with alt+F2, and typing the first 3-4 letters of a command will autocomplete, and display possible options. It becomes a point and click operation from there. For example, someone needing to know if they can copy a pile of stuff to their USB thumb drive they just plugged in hit's alt+F2 and types in 'kdf' then enter. (I set most people up with KDE) The bar graph showing used and free space, partition info and even the mount point are displayed. BTW one of the advantages of Linux is there's often a few apps that handle the same general task. I've gotten documents from people that formatted like crap when I opened them in libreoffice, but when I opened them in abiword they were perfect. If I simply need to print the thing out, with just the one option in libreoffice I'd have to deal with white space, line spacing, carriage returns, oddball formatting symbols etc to manually straighten the thing out. Of course that would ruin the original formatting if I had to make changes and send it back to the windows user on the other end of the project. Same with audio/visual players. I always install the lot of them available and tell people that if A doesn't work right, try opening with B, C and on and see if one does properly handle the format. I'm surprised, but people actually don't seem to mind having to try a different app now and then. For one thing they learn "a video is a video is a video" is plain wrong, there's different formats and numerous sub-settings within each one. I've had a lot of people tell me they converted their mp3 collections into ogg for the ability to use the files across numerous machines easily. (and dodge the MPAA trolls, perhaps)

al_shark
al_shark

I bought an Asus laptop an year ago and tried Ubuntu on it, but when I installed the recommended graphic drivers("tested by the ubuntu community", Yea right.) whole OS crashed. Since then I've tried several other distributions and NONE of them worked smoothly (Mint, Fedora). And then I gave up. Three months back I saw that Ubuntu has new desktop interface, Unity, and got excited again. At that time I was in a search for new Laptop so checked on Ubuntu laptop compatibility site and got one of the Ubuntu CERTIFIED laptops, HP ProBook 6550b. I really, really like the new interface which runs smooth on this laptop. Tried some 3D games and it's a mess, smoke rendered as white frames, no transparency. I run the driver update tool and indicates new graphic driver available, "Tested by Ubuntu developers". Yea right. I install it and mess again. 3D games work great but unity slow as hell, fps reduced by half. Formatted the whole drive and tried fresh Ubuntu installation and all the same. Solution: when I want to play games activate driver, when using unity deactivate. Yea right. And this is Ubuntu certified laptop, could imagine what a nightmare is with other ones. Tried fedora 15 too (love the new Gnome 3 also), but no wifi. No surprise there. Installed some proprietary drivers and the wifi adapter works, somehow. Currently shows a list of ~30 "Unknown" networks and it tends to break once a week so I have to reinstall it. Can someone tell me how could I have been prepared for my negative experience? Hardware issues... I bought a freaking Ubuntu Certified laptop and it still sucks. I love fedora 15 and will keep it on my external drive and I'm steel afraid to install graphic drivers. But don't tell me there are 10 simple things I need to know to be prepared for the jungle. I can finally agree with a sentence I read somewhere: "Linux is free, as long as your time has no value!".

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Okay, that's the high point of my early Monday morning.

spdragoo
spdragoo

I *hate* HP printers. I'll grant that just about every printer manufacturer out there now installs software with the printer setup that a) starts automatically with the Windows boot, and b) apparently has to run so that your other apps will recognize it & print to it... but HP seems to be the worst offender in number of apps running at any given time, amount of resources apparently dedicated to them/effect on boot time, & just plain not working 100% of the time (lost track of how many times my mother-in-laws series 1400 wouldn't scan or copy things, even if we used the buttons on the device itself, but my Lexmark works fine as a copier/fax/scanner).

Papa_Bill
Papa_Bill

XP didn't like my brand new Canon nor my brand new Lexmark. I did have to download Lexmark - for - Linux from the Lexmark website, but it worked right away. The Canon was already loaded. With Win 7, I had to do it all over again. Win 7 also will not *see* my Lexmark on my network. I had to put it back on it's associated computer.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I've run out of drive letters a few times. I've got what, 26 mount points less system reserved mount point letters less reserved mount point letters for each slot in the fancy multi-reader. It sounds like a lot but you can use them up pretty quickly these days. Without network mount points, I'm looking at AB,C,D,EFGHI,J,K and half of those letters point at empty slots in the multi-reader. - Contrast; Never had an issue with running out of mount points with my same hardware under Debian. I either mount attached storage where it makes most sense (my HDD for VMs is mounted a directory .../virtualization not V:\virtualization) or mount removable storage by name (my flashdrive mounted .../media/flashdrive). I've seen drive letters change. I have a flashdrive that mounts on F and shortcuts to kick off a portableapps menu along with various files and folders but I have to direct them at a drive letter. So when a different flashdrives gets plugged in first, Windows mounts it on F while my regular flashdrive mounts on G; all my desktop shortcuts break. Now, I'm admin so I Su to Administrator and fix the drive letter mapping in the storage manager but any of my users would be stuck fixing there desktop shortcuts. More likely, they'd be loosing work time while filling a helpdesk ticket. - my flashdrive always mounts to .../media/flashdrive and any sync software, shortcuts, links or scripts that interact with it just work. In general, a regular user probably doesn't need to ever leave /home/USERNAME (aka. ~/ ) either since within that is all the directories they actually interact with are Documents, Music, Video and Downloads which are pretty standard among major desktop environments. On the Windows side you have similar folders all contained within My Documents; the user doesn't really care about the other folders within there home directory let along throughout the rest of the system. In a business environment they will also have network shares mounted to drive letters by why shouldn't these simply be displayed as additional folders within the user's own workspace? Windows has actually supported a rooted file system (for lack of knowing the correct label) since around WinXP if not Win2k. This is yet again an issue of third party software holding everything else back as the letter mounted file system remains only because there are programs still in use which only support the letter\directory type paths. In your case specifically, as a sys-admin or learned geek, get comfortable diging around in /etc, /home/* and /var/logs/* with maybe a few other places under /var/. Much of the rest is managed by the system and package installer. I can't remember the last time I had reason to dig into /bin let along /usr/bin for something. Primarily though, you'll remain within your home directory. In the case of a system builder or admin, I can't overstate how nice it is to have rational partitioning presented as a unified directory tree. My system files, user files, VMs and archives all on seporate hard drives yet they all mount under directory names resulting in a single directory structure. I'd love to seporate my Windows OS files, installs programs, user directory, user data tree and VMs between without each becoming a new drive letter. Imagine c:/users/USERNAME still apearing at that letter/path even though it's physically on a seporate disk or partition. Reinstalling Windows; no worries, format the OS partition and reinstall without killing any of the other partitions. Make sure they all mount back to the same directories and tadaa.. back in business.

Papa_Bill
Papa_Bill

People can't tell if they're getting instructions for a Windows machine or a washing machine. Oh, poo. That's bull. But if they get instructions from *anybody* who knows nothing but Windows (like software for their new TV remote) the result is going to be absolute confusion, even though the Linux drivers are there. And it's not because "Linux is for pros", and it's not due to lesser education or intelligence.It's because they've never seen it before. Anybody who can learn Windows can also learn newer distros of Linux. It's up to the trainer's level of expertise and *patience*.

hippiekarl
hippiekarl

I moved back with my mom for a convalescence there in 2005; she (as were many others) was paying a local 'ISP' $9.99-24.99 for about 10hrs/month of 56k dial-up on a thoroughly-adware/spyware-infected Windows box. Even without pop-up hell, she was (of course) unable to even keep up with e-mail and bills with a mere 2.5hrs/week online. I cajoled her onto unlimited DSL for around $25.00/mo., cleaned up her machine (ie wiped and reinstalled XP, AV and firewalled it, and found her copies of 'Internet for Dummies' and 'PCs for Dummies'. My mom's not stupid, but she (like so many others, in rural PA especially) was just daunted by her computer, wanted the convenience etc that it purported to offer, but was afraid to wade in and learn at risk of 'messing something up'. With that as an approach to the mysteries of Windows computing, it's easy to see how arcane a Linux OS (and it's care and feeeding) must be to many.

spdragoo
spdragoo

The site said I was logged in this morning, then when I tried replying in another blog it logged me out & then said there was a server error when I tried logging back in. I even tried the "forgot password" option, no dice. Apparently it's working now.

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

Avoid using any word containing the string s u g g. Palmetto discovered it last night. This thread of four letters will make your post disappear right away... even if edited in later. But you're right... the non-posting is particularly bad right now... maybe they're messing with the scripts?

pgit
pgit

Yours is an unfortunately common situation. The big bottleneck at the moment vis video are hybrid machines, that have 2 graphics adapters, a cheap one for low power consumption and "good enough" graphics, and a high end card to switch to for games, videos etc. Linux hits a brick wall with these devices, at present. There is a project "bumblebee" I believe, that will soon take care of this. A lot of folks have compiled the source and gotten theirs working. But most distros don't have the right libraries to do this yet. If your system has "hybrid" video, search around for the term +"bumblebee" and find the happy people in whatever forum. That'll be the distro you want to use. :)

P.F. Bruns
P.F. Bruns

'cause it's an "homage" to id Software's message when someone tried to play the old DOS Wolfenstein 3-d games and failed the copy protection code three times: "Eat hot DOS prompt, pirate!"

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Instead, try an 'Add printer' first, and browse the CD for the drivers. Also try the vendor's web site for a 'driver only' download. Yeah, HP is pretty bad about installing half a gig of bloat- and ad-ware when the drivers take up less than 20 meg.

spdragoo
spdragoo

I'll probably be replacing my PC within the next month or so, so I'll check to make sure they've got a driver waiting.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

This joint's been buggy this week; buggier than a rotten log in a Georgia swamp.

P.F. Bruns
P.F. Bruns

So basically if I have a s u g gestion for TR, I have to be very careful how I say it. Fail.

al_shark
al_shark

Thanks for the worthy advice! I'll shore keep "bumblebee" in mind when I decide to change distribution. For now I'll stick to fedora and see what happens.

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

and a good memory for detail. Those are like, anathema to the whole TR scene :p :D Or are you worried about the implications of failing the copy protection code three times ;)

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

(Yes, I actually do that.) I haven't figured out a way to print consecutive MS TechNet pages; just one at a time, and they aren't formatted for printing anyway.

Papa_Bill
Papa_Bill

I would *RTFM* 'til it came out my ears if one were published. The on-line versions are harder to navigate than a 40 year-old map of Atlanta!

hippiekarl
hippiekarl

...'My Alerts' and ZDNet's weekly digest, since the time that posting issues arose.

P.F. Bruns
P.F. Bruns

*puts on sunglasses dramatically* to give those spammers the boot.

hippiekarl
hippiekarl

It's the latest comment in "Five Future Technologies..." An uGGly comment, to say the least........

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

the string turned out to be ugg to be precise... had to do with recurring spam.

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