Linux

Linux's dirty little secret

OK, so over the past few months I've grown from being a Linux skeptic into being quite a Linux fan. I've still got lots to learn but it's great having the ability to roll out a no-cost OS onto systems that don't need to have Windows on them (I understand that not everyone reading this will need Linux, but I do ...). That said, there are a few aspects of Linux that do annoy/frustrate/anger me/make me hulk out* (delete as overall mood dictates), and one of these aspects is so core to an OS that I'm surprised that it hasn't been addressed already.

Using Add/Remove Applications under Ubuntu is easy!

50 comments
guy
guy

Come on Adrian - the guys are trashing you here. How about replying and defending yourself?

john3347
john3347

I am a struggling Linux promoter/user who is fighting a loosing battle. I must, on the overall, back-up the complaints put forth here toward most, if not all linux forums. Linux is a VERY different experience from Windows and is very difficult for a long time Windows user to understand. When a post gets answered, it is very often answered with "top level lingo" such that the answer is totally meaningless to a new Linux user trying to migrate from Windows. I have been trying to gradually migrate toward, if not totally to, Linux for a couple of years now. I am continually bombarded with Linux terms and Linux lingo with no adequate explanation as to what the terms mean. I specify here "adequate explanation". It does no good to ask what does "-----" word mean, and get the answer that "it handles all your saved messages" or some such. I have yet to find a decent definition and adequate expansion of the basic definition of such basic terms as .tar, *nix (a new one that just appeared here in this discussion), apt/get, rpm, API, dev, and so on and on and on. HOWEVER, the fact that all these terms need explanation is the bigger problem with Linux, not the fact that these terms never get adequately explained to the non-professional computer user. The typical Windows user doesn't know what the equivalent terms mean in Windows either - and doesn't need to, to utilize Windows. One cannot utilize Linux, currently Mandriva 2009 in my case, without knowing and understanding all these terms. Perhaps this is really Linux's dirty little secret. Is it going to be kept a secret, or is it at some point going to be made available to the masses?

domanspc
domanspc

Seems somebody forgot something all the way through this thread. Linux is the OS and all the rest are applications (programs) from the GNU free software donations of a huge crowd of dedicated programmers. The "distributions" are the favorite way of putting applications into the computer to accomplish meaningful work or play games or make new programs or run a server. You should try a few dozen until you find one you like and quit bellyaching about the nitpicking little pecularities of the distributions. I like CENTOS5 as it practically installed itself on my IBM TP R40, and even found my wireless card by itself and connected to the NET and applied over 40 updates without my having to do more than hit a few keys. M$, on the other hand, caused me to work my B^^T off and even make considered opinions about what flaver of "Blue Screen od Death" I wanted to live with. Then it asked me to go look for the updates and followed that insult by repeatedly making me download security updates, even if (.NET) some were not applicable to my computer and wasted up to an hour waiting for the 'program not installed' message. Shame on Bill and his crew.

bblackmoor
bblackmoor

Did I miss the secret? Is the secret that Ubuntu (like Debian) uses apt-get, while most other distributions use some variety of yum (using RPM files)? Is the secret that you need to know which Linux distribution you are running before you download a binary for it?

badiane_ka
badiane_ka

There is a problem with a lot of windows users. It's the windows mentality. They start off by thinking that windows is actually the basis of computing, so they expect everything to work like, well, windows. You tried to open a rpm package with a deb package manager. Now I don't know if the deb package manager could be made to handle rpm's (by adding alien or a dh_make adaptation) but as it stands learn about the variety. It allows different people (like in reality) to choose what best fits their need or even, hey their personality. In reality if you had continued with the install from the command line you would have had to compile a module which would have had you download the kernel headers or source. The problem of people being "rude" has been observed but hey it's everywhere. In things that gets me is when a windows user expect computing to reflect the breadth of what they know about windows and from windows. I'm sorry but windows is not a standard; far from it it's pervasive. You would like to use Linux, don't ramify us to the limits of your experience with windows. Open a book and learn how different it is. Make the effort.

badiane_ka
badiane_ka

There is a problem with a lot of windows users. It's the windows mentality. They start off by thinking that windows is actually the basis of computing, so they expect everything to work like, well, windows. You tried to open a rpm package with a deb package manager. Now I don't know if the deb package manager could be made to handle rpm's (by adding alien or a dh_make adaptation) but as it stands learn about the variety. It allows different people (like in reality) to choose what best fits their need or even, hey their personality. In reality if you had continued with the install from the command line you would have had to compile a module which would have had you download the kernel headers or source. The problem of people being "rude" has been observed but hey it's everywhere. In things that gets me is when a windows user expect computing to reflect the breadth of what they know about windows and from windows. I'm sorry but windows is not a standard; far from it it's pervasive. You would like to use Linux, don't ramify us to the limits of your experience with windows. Open a book and learn how different it is. Make the effort.

j-mart
j-mart

It never fails to annoy me that in a technology industry where participants should have a reasonable ability to think we get some that seem frightend of learning something new. If you want a limited one dimensional product that is only limited in is usability yo will get a product that you can train a monkey to use. If you want a product that is versatile and able to be adapted to many uses to get the best out of it may require learning and a bit of work. I enjoy working with technology, learning new things, using my brain once in a while. If it was all too easy wages and salaries would drop and any moron could do the work. Nothing is that hard if you bother to learn.

Alan Henderson
Alan Henderson

Been using Ubuntu for 2 months as my default OS. There's a lot to like but I've just switched back to the frustrations of Windows. Main reason in one word: Dreamweaver. But I DID find that VirtualBox is really easy to setup and use.

Iam_Mordac
Iam_Mordac

Apparently, you find it hard to read English?!? You said, "it's still hard to know what's happened and where the app has been installed to" however, your picture shows the 1st part of the answer! "Software has been installed successfully" As for the secoond part, if you accept the Windows defaults when loading an app, you may not know where the app is installed either. But I bet you can find where to run it from! Your lack of knowledge is not a problem with the software/OS/. If you don't know how to turn the key after putting it into the ignition, is the car to blame? If you don't understand internal combustion, it is hard to know what happened to the gas you put in, but your ignorance doesn't mean the vehicle won't do what it was designed for. RTFM and avoid the hyperbole.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

You don't like the package manager in Ubuntu (which ever manager that is) because it doesn't tell you where it put the app. That's a ding against that particular app manager, not Linux as a whole. I don't even use Linux and I know that. You have trouble installing VMWare Tools. Funny, I have trouble installing it on some virtualized Windows systems. That's a ding against VM, not Linux. The only dirty little secret I see it an article inappropriately titled in an apparent attempt to attract readers.

Penguin_me
Penguin_me

Maybe I missed it here, but what (in your opinion) *is* Linux's dirty little secret ? I'm assuming you liked the Ubuntu package manager, but the issue of not knowing where it installed to isn't important - if you install it with the package manager, use the package manager to remove it! To run it, go to the menu and run it, or open a archive, or run the app name from a console (to run FF, just type "firefox" and hit enter). I agree that the many package formats can be irritating, but there are always solutions, be it converting it, finding a pre-compiled one for your distro, or getting a plugin to get the package manager to use it...

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

ask again, and specify the parts that are giving you problems. We do ask that you try Googling the troublesome terms for yourself first.

jmgarvin
jmgarvin

The typically Windows user doesn't know what you are talking about why you use terms like system tray or control panel. As for Linux, RTFM! The information is available EVEYWHERE...it's not like it's hard to look up. Might I suggest: 1) Go to goggle 2) type define: command name That's it...Not only will you get a definition, typically it'll take you to a site with examples. As for the rest, why not post some terms you don't understand and we'll define them for you? Why not ask TR where we have tons of Linux experience in one handy forum. Most of us are nice and work with users on a daily basis and explain in simple terms for everyone.

leigh
leigh

I read all of this to discover that even though this is by far the best of it's type (the trolls are still sleeping in perhaps) polarisation is still present. The penguins believe that there is no dirty little secret...only a cheapshot title to catch readers ( I do tend to agree with this and Adrian is foolish not to realise that alienating the linux crowd is not the smartest thing he could do if he wants to keep writing articles about linux) The M$ crowd truly believe that all of linux is an arcane secret, and that they are probably failing to whatever because no one told them they need to sacrifice 3 virgins and a cat on the night of the full moon first. Most of them forget they felt like that when they first got windows all those years ago. Hell, most of them are probably still using XP to avoid the pain of change in windows. What is really encouraging is the sub-thread about VMs. I triple boot myself (vista, leopard, Ubuntu on a laptop PC) but the idea of running safely in an under attacked system has great merit. Let the trolls sleep forever and let OS polarisation join them. In 5 years we'll all probably be using Google OS anyway. I am in chrome so maybe I already am...

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Each distribution is a very different OS from the same general family; they all have a Linux kernel but they are all interested in different things. Ubuntu focuses on polish and simplification and they do that fairly well. Debian on stability and security which is also done well. Mandriva is one of the original polish and simplification of administration distributions providing better hardware support than Ubuntu. In short, one distribution does not equal all distributions and the user needs to decided on which fits there needs best. In terms of software installation, stick to the repositories for the applicable distribution. Ubuntu has it's own repositories. Debian has it's own. Mandriva, Gentoo, PCLinuxOS, Red Hat, Suse.. all have there own and mixing those is not a good idea. Even if the distribution uses the same package format; both Red hat and Mandriva using .rpm does not mean that Mandriva should be configured to use Red Hat's repositories. These days, distributions have a simple way of adding repositories so you just let it happen and there shouldn't be any issues. But yeah, one does need to know if they are using a .deb, .rpm, pure tarball or other packaging based distribution before they should start downloading everything they find online. Usually, it's already in the repositories and can be installed directly through the software add/remove manager. The cases where a program has to be downloaded and installed by hand should be rare.

snideley59
snideley59

I speak Mac, I speak Windows, I speak *nix. No big deal. I'm a computer guy, that's what I do. The beauty of Windows and Mac OS is that my mom can point and click and manage to get their tool (the computer) to do what they want without my assistance. Now, on to Linux. All these package managers are just a way for Linux newbies do do the same thing as my mom. Why would they bother? They should just use Windows or Mac OS X (which, BTW, is just Linux with a pretty face). For myself, I like the fact that Linux has a very small memory footprint to which you add the stuff you want, not a huge amount of features that get installed by default that you'll never use. For my mom, I like the fact that she can go click,click,click and do what she wants to do. It's a matter of perspective. Two separate communities there, and they'll never cross. I have found during my tenure as an IT guy that there are a huge number of people that are elitist condescending jerks that miss the big picture. We're here to HELP people like my mom to get their jobs done, not to pat ourselves on the head and be cool because we actually understand the computer. In the long run, we are the cost of doing business. We provide no product but support, so, if we provide no support, we provide no product. Gosh, get a grip. My mechanic is a dragster enthusiast (yeah nitrous oxide, 1500+ HP, parachutes, the whole bit) but he also tunes up Ford Tempo's because that's his customer base. We in IT need to recognize that the clueless secretary in department 44B keeps us employed. If she needs to do her job, I'd give her Windows or Mac OS X . Leave Linux to me

dcolbert
dcolbert

I can't figure out what you are trying to say about windows as a standard... that whole line about "I'm sorry but windows is not a standard; far from it it's pervasive" is like saying, The moon is not round, far from it, it is spherical. I'd almost like to believe you worded it this way on purpose, plausible deniability either way. The more Windows people who run into problems, turn the to Linux community and ask for help and get, "read the F manual, noob!" the more that you're going to see and hear people going, "Tried Linux, it was real difficult to understand, and the people were rude, so I went back to Win32". The more that happens, the less odds are that you're ever going to see Linux grow beyond the limited niche it has now. Doesn't matter to me, either way. I'm not idealistic about *nix or Microsoft. I'll use whatever is dominant and most accessible. I'm on OS X in Firefox, at this particular moment. But it seems that those of you who think of Linux as a "cause", sure have a funny way of promoting it.

Jaqui
Jaqui

after all it isn't hard to open /usr/bin and find all the executables [ or linked to them ] for all non system admin apps installed in the one folder. /usr/lib/ usr/share/ are where the rest of the app goes.

boxfiddler
boxfiddler moderator

was a lot easier to setup than I expected, being a total Linux n00b and a total VM n00b. I've been pleased with both Ubuntu and Virtual Box in that regard.

Ray Collazo
Ray Collazo

I look at it this way: Why risk my entire life by having one very attacked OS be in control of my entire computer life? And so I and my Girlfriend (whom is an Adobe slave too, as she cannot have enough Dreamweaver or Photoshop in her life) have it set up where Linux is her Main OS, and she runs a virtualized Windows box to run her Dreamweaver: her virtual windows does a virtual connection via Samba to her documents on the linux side, which is mapped as her My documents folder in windows, and thus she's able to work with her documents from within Windows. She uses Windows only when she needs to use Adobe programs, otherwise she's purely within the linux environment. Dual Booting Is For the BIRDS!!!

Jaqui
Jaqui

really want to know where the app was installed? I don't use Ubuntu and I can tell you. /usr/bin [ where 99% of software is installed. ;) ]

dcolbert
dcolbert

Seems to me, the secret is really in the form of a question... "Why are Acolytes of the Temple of Linux such defensive, abrasive, arrogant jerks"? No offense - but, it seems like the rudest, nastiest, most impatient and judgemental people in the world are drawn consistently to Linux. They're not aloof and pretentious like Mac users - they're just nasty and foul tempered. I've got a single world that comes to mind, but I won't use it here. I mean, I'm sure the "excuse" is, "After the 10,000th time explaining to someone who couldn't RTFM for themselves, you just get sick of hearing the same questions". Valid enough. People don't like to dig in and figure things out for themselves, and, other people probably get sick of trying to explain how to find a file in /etc, /var, /usr/bin or /usr/sbin But I still can't think of many other communities where the community is so ready to drop the hammer on any newbie who happens to ask a silly question. It is like, a custom or ritual of the Linux Initiate. Maybe the deal is, by the time you've crawled your way to any level of Linux competency, you're so bitter from all the abuse you received as you learned, that it is a self-perpetuating cycle of Newbie abuse. Whatever it is, if the Linux community were a high-school aged person, it would have a case-file in the counselor's office that said, "displays anti-social behaviors and does not get along with newcomers. Suspect psychological damage occuring in formative years heightened by lack of self-worth and self-esteem". The other thing is, *nix is complicated. There are some basic concepts (what do you mean my MONITOR is a FILE? What do you mean my DVD drive is a FILE?) in *nix that are fairly alien and arcane. In a world dominated by English and other Latin rooted languages, learning a non-Latin based language is extra challenging. Just learning a simlar language (say, Spanish), is difficult for most people. Take a guy who only speaks English, has no special gift for language, and try to teach him Chinese or Japanese, or something even more obscure. Same thing in principle, here. Except for, all the Native language speakers expect you to learn how to speak Linux fluently simply by reading the MAN pages before you dare ask a single question. I just don't get it. You guys evangelize like a Southern Baptist trying to save souls, but when someone shows up for church, the first mistake they make and the whole congregation stones 'em. No wonder Linux has a rep as the OS for anti-social geeks who think Sailor Moon would be an excellent girlfriend.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

It inserts carriage returns after every line of text. I see Google, makers of the perpetual beta, still don't have that fixed.

badiane_ka
badiane_ka

What I meant is that often times people relate to windows as if it's a standard. Applications are produced for the OS platform instead of hardware. An OS is not need to update a BIOS for example but they still produce them in function of windows. Computing is computing and how it's implemented is where the difference lies. There are other example where companies and users who approach most things related to computing as if windows defined what computing is. My comments were motivated by the article. The author should have at least read about the distros in general. I believe that's one of the things that windows does to certain type of users. They take for granted that it's all unified. That's also what I was alluding to by windows being perceived as a standard. I wondered if he did a search on installing vmware server? Does he understand the concept of kernel and modules and the extensibility it affords? Had he done a basic search he would have found the howtoforge articles. A bit more reading would about the distros would have shown the difference between rpm and deb based distros. As for the "rudeness," I meet it very often. I recently met with it on a NetBSD channel and a Debian channel. It's ignorance masked maybe by vanity and false pride. I usually express my feelings about. I belong to some of the meetups and try as much as I can to help. I do get frustrated when some people do not want to make the effort to read and blame everything else but themselves for failures. I have issues with companies; most recently with virtualbox which requires a logging out of a session to be able to start virtualbox. That reminded me so much of something that had to be done on windows. Linux/UNIX is a multiuser system (there may be applications being used remotely who upon logging out be owned by init; not necessarily a desirable behavior) and there should be no need for virtualbox to ask for reboots or restarts of sessions. They ask so because the user who runs it has to belong to the vboxuser group. All virtualbox has to do is to perform a getent group (or something similar) and they will know if the user is added to the group. I have tested it out by running a newgrp in my current shell (each shell has its own session) and virtualbox started. It's lazy and dare I say stupid of a company to ignore the nature and history of the platform for which they are producing. Linux/UNIX do things differently so learn. For me, show that there is a desire to learn and I will be more than happy to help. I will not efface myself in order to make someone else feel good about their inequity. By the same token I do not need to abuse anyone to feel better about myself. I will help but make an effort. I did. I was tired of windows and went to the bookstore and purchase a linux magazine and read until I understood more and read some more because I was tired of crap. No one has to placate anyone to join their camp; their joining is not a favor. If someone is not satisfied by their environment then they choose something else. I'm one of those who do not believe in dumbing down the OS to get increase adherents. I believe in making it more efficient and providing great documentation for every distinct level or proficiency. Provide interfaces which are in line the the OS' paradigm while allowing beginners to perform need functions. I'm very elitist about it and I don't care much about the feelings of others; That's not to say that it gives me some sort of right to, as stated before, be abusive; simply that I will not change my behavior simply because of someone's "impressions" or "feelings." I'm willing to lend a hand and help as best as I can. If I can't I'll pass it along and recommend. As for Mac; well just this morning I was recounting an episode at TekServe in NYC where I had the worst experience regarding my wanting an old powerbook checked. The OS is what it is, it's pretty but I'm comfortable using Linux and NetBSD. I've met great Mac users who are more than willing to share info. So again it's all about "education." It's not the group which affects people it's their commonality which leads them to form the groups. Anyway I hope that you understand what I meant. There would need to be an expansion of ideas but hey.

jdclyde
jdclyde

to post a simple question asking someone to help you learn something new, or post a blog blaming an OS for your lack of knowledge AND unwillingness to ask for help? A simple, "I installed this package, but don't know where it is" would have not left him standing in the corner with the dunce cap on.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Installing VMware Server from the rpm package is dead simple: urpmi ./VMwa[TAB to complete].rpm vmware-config.pl With the tarball, it shouldn't be more than: tar zxvf VMwa[TAB to complete].tar.gz make make install vmware-config.pl But you will need the kernel source or kernel headers installed so vmware can build it's modules (kernel drivers). My rpm manager spoils me for that also so I can't comment on how other OS handle it. It would be nice if VMware packaged more than just the rpm and tarball though. A tarball will install across any platform so it's the universall package. The rpm seems to work across rpm based platforms. A DEB would be nice for the Debian/Ubuntu folks. Between the two, I've found better hardware support under VMware than Virtualbox. VMware seems to be more organized for keeping a VMs files all in one place with easy new machine creation and I couldn't get USB support through Virtualbox. It's good to have choices though.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Dual-booting is still the solution for those things that either need direct access to the hardware or are resource-intensive.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Windows Boot - for what needs direct hardware access like video games Mandriva Boot - for everything else Mandriva Boot VM'd Windows - for what needs Windows but does not need direct hardware support. It sure is more plesent to just boot up a VM beside what your doing rather than reboot the machine just for win32/win64 libraries though.

edlutz
edlutz

or you can click on the software name (in the package manager window) and ask for the properties, on the installed files tab. Synaptic (the Ubuntu high-level package manager) does NOT lack features like that. You just have to get familiar with the interface, as it happens with any program on any operating system.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

I'm certain I could have found the answer with less than 10 minutes of web research. My Windows experience would have me right-click on any shortcut created and check the properties; I suspect that would have worked even quicker. Either way, I still wouldn't know what the 'dirty little secret' is.

abasi_obori
abasi_obori

I am begining to suspect that all your points are valid and factual IMHO :(

boxfiddler
boxfiddler moderator

took the words right outta my fingers. I wouldn't even consider posting to a Linux forum. I'll read the heck out of them in hopes of finding what I need, but that's as good as that gets. At least here, silly questions get answered, usually without blasting the OP out of the ballpark.

Ray Collazo
Ray Collazo

Very sadly the majority (NOT EVERYONE!!!) of people whom bathe and breathe the *nix life are Socially Deficient, in that many (NOT ALL!) of these are the people you don't see much of in public. They appear briefly, do their thing, then theyre gone. They prefer Not to deal with the general public, and just about all the jobs they've ever held were always out of the public eye, meaning they've never had to smile or put on a happy face for many people except their superiors (which many people dislike and hope they don't have to deal with on a regular basis anyway). Mind you that these same people Do have tons of brains on their shoulders: Mechanically-oriented brains which can command and control machinery with God-like authority. When it comes down to it, machines (including computers) are the ultimate Control/Powertrippers tool for them, and thus they excel at working with them. Sadly, they cannot control people the same way, Thus, many appear to display the arrogance you describe. There are those of us *nix lovers, however whom Have been socialized decently, whom do go out and enjoy doing things with friends and know that being nice goes a long way: Especially when it comes to explaining things in simple terms, and having the patience to explain things over and over again for the people whom Don't get it the first time, like my 86-year-old Ex-boss, whom just recently left the planet, whom Loved technology but couldn't Stand reading manuals: The majority of my job to him was to reduce the software instructions contained in a book until it was summarized on one page. Thats quite a feat considering the amount of software he had accumulated over the years! Anyway, I'm a programmer, and have programmed in languages from multiple variants of Basic to C++ to Assembler to Javascript, and so on. I've also had to write simple Manuals that would explain the resulting programs to the bossman (or his wife). Thus, I've seen both sides of the coin: The Geek side of the droll, dry-reading Technical documents to the simple-to-understand User documentation (I draw the line when it comes to completely replacing All text with pictures: I think thats part of the decline of education, but I digress). I have found that the Windows documentation is actually More complicated in function and operation than Linux is, and in many cases one cannot have certain documentation for specific APIs without paying a fee, whereas Linux documentation is available for everyone on the planet for free. Very sadly because of the freeness of those documents, there is no set structure, and so things vary from source to source. What it really comes down to is who you deal with, and what kind of people They have dealt with and how they interface with other people. There are plenty of Windows zealots out there that are also of the arrogant nature, believe you me, but the again you will find that of EVERY group of people out there. Anyway I'm prattling on: If you've made it this far, thank you for reading. -Ray Collazo BTW: Here's my (hopefully) Simple explanation of devices in *nix being treated as a file: All of your perhiperals are streams of data, in essence. When you move your mouse, it sends a stream of data out to the computer. The best way to see this in action is to take a terminal program, such as hyperterm, and have it open up a serial port on which a Serial mouse (!) is plugged into. When you move the mouse, you get all sorts of characters on the screen. That is the stream of data as seen by the computer. Clicking a mouse button sends a stream, too. In the mouse's case, it is a read-only stream of data, as you cannot send anything back to the mouse (Newer "programmable" mice are also read only datastreams, but each button sends back a particular code, which the computers driver deciphers). This is the data that your mouse Driver deciphers to control the pointer of the mouse. Most other devices are treated as Read/Write streams of data: you can read from it, but you can also write to it too, given that you use the correct communication Protocol that the device will understand. Storage devices, Network devices, Display devices are all treated as read/write data streams. Now: Linux treats all these raw datastreams as Files under /dev . Using the console, you can 'ls /dev' and see them all sitting there. However, these files are not true "Files" in that they are static and they only have specific bits of information stored within, rather these files are Datastreams: As Root (whom has access to everything) if you were to do a "cat /dev/mouse" (cat, short for conCATenate, which is the equivelant of windows/dos TYPE command) and then move your mouse around, suddenly you'll see the datastream that the mouse is sending out! All perhipherals under Linux are treated as files: Hard drives (which are typically /dev/sdx where x is a letter), Network devices (which are /dev/ethx), are again all treated as datastreams, represented as files within the *nix filesystem. Any program that wishes to interact with these devices directly simply needs to access the appropriate file under /dev (Of course the more appropriate programmatically friendly way to access the device would be to access the device via its Driver, which takes care of the nuances of deciphering the code and communications protocols). That I hope explains the whole "Devices are Files" concept for Linux. If not, let me know and I can try to simplify that a bit more.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

"You guys evangelize like a Southern Baptist trying to save souls, but when someone shows up for church, the first mistake they make and the whole congregation stones 'em." The main complaint with this article has not been the writer's technical issues, it's been the inappropriate title of the article. I'm not a Linux user and I questioned it. I would have done the same had the article included 'Mac' or 'Windows' in the title. There is no 'dirty little secret' in the article, just problems with two features. If I remember correctly, at least one of them is about a particular package manager. That's an application or distribution issue, not a problem with Linux itself. Second, you're right about some (not all) Linux community web sites. I've seen this behavior too, but it isn't everywhere. For example, it isn't here. I've found that a sensibly phrased Linux question posted on TR gets intelligent responses, and the members are willing to repeat themselves using one-syllable words if necessary. I've also found a poorly worded question may draw rude responses but that's true regardless of the OS in question or the forum; poor questions draw poor answers. Other places I've received friendly, helpful assistance include: http://www.linuxquestions.org http://www.linuxforums.org and the official site for each distribution. I find newsgroups and chat rooms to be the most frequent offenders in the rude and abusive category. Now for that request for assistance. Would someone please add the link to "How to Ask Questions". I'm not implying dcolbert needs in, but it may be helpful to others reading this discussion. Second, would others add links to the sites they find provide friendly, helpful info to newbies? Thanks. Oh, and Sailor Moon would make a lousy girlfriend. That wouldn't keep me from getting her drunk and letting her hair down.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

I didn't like the way it formatted my posts here. I didn't like the lack of plug-ins or other ways to add functionality I was used to having in both IE 6 and FF 7. I don't remember what else I disliked; I guess I could use TR's lame search function to track down what I posted. I do remember it uninstalled cleanly :)

Forum Surfer
Forum Surfer

And am I the only one who finds google chrome not very appealing visually? It has a certain kindergarten designed look about it imo.

sven.de.jonghe
sven.de.jonghe

There is always the choice one can make NOT to react to a post. If you feel the user is a noob and should RTFM first, just don't react and leave it to the people that do have something positive to say to the poster. One (maybe badly titled or documented) post always starts religious crusades about *nix, windows, ... That's also why it is hard for newbies to find any decent information about the questions they have, answers are mostly very arrogant or off-topic OS worshipping. Lot's of questions in the *nix related fora, but hardly any decent answers.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I was using the repository provided package for my distro so it would have been the OSS offering. I'm glad to hear they take the two layer approach of community edition and business edition though. It seems to be a successful model in the other places I've seen it. I'll have to remember that when I give it another go; grab the download directly from the site.

fevrin
fevrin

Using the closed-source version of VB, available from virtualbox.org directly (well, the downloads page links to a Sun webpage)? The closed source version supports USB devices, and if you got VB from your distro, you probably got the open source version.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

One of the outstanding support issues is a scanner/printer that only works with the Windows drivers. I can install the drivers in a VM easily enough but need the USB bridged so the guest can see that bit of host hardware. At that time, Virtualbox did not support bridging to the USB bus. I'm sure it will gain any needed but missing functions quickly but worth keeping in mind. I hadn't used VB long enough to find any RAM limitations. Under VMware, I give winXP a gig of ram and it runs fine. *nix VMs get 512 and run happily. The other night I had a win32 and three *nix VMs booted up before i felt any lag on the system with a physical 2gig of RAM though the four core cpu helps. My outstanding 2 gig of ram just came back from warranty though so I'm back at 4 gig and 4 cores (gaming and multiple VM where the build benchmarks after all).

boxfiddler
boxfiddler moderator

nice to know about potential USB problems. I'll need USB. Haven't been able to play in it the way I'd like, this board maxes RAM at 1G. XP and Office 07 run like lame dogs at the 512M I can give VB. Which is why I set the VB up in the first place. etu

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

The Questions forum here isn't dedicated to Linux or an individual distro. It's frequented by individuals from a variety of disciplines. That makes it difficult to cop an attitude; you can look like a genius answering one question and then not have a clue about the next one posted, unless you're HAL. Rude answers usually draw the wrath of other members.

Forum Surfer
Forum Surfer

I posted many beginner questions on different linux forums With each one I started my post with "I'm a long time windows user, a linux noob and I want to learn more about using and configuring (insert whatever *nix i am exoerimenting with here). Here is my problem I am experiencing:" I don't like being talked talked down to as alot of posters did. Some were helpful and polite, but the others made me want to beat them with a redmond stick. So eventually I stopped posting and now I surf posts/wikis without commenting.

snideley59
snideley59

The OS is like house plumbing. It takes the input (typically water in this analogy) and directs it to the task at hand. If it's dishes, pipe it to /dev/sink. If it's a shower....well you see where this is going. If it's output you no longer need, pipe it to /dev/null or /dev/septic system. Windows does the same thing, but hides it under a pretty face. These machines understand only understand 10 things, a "0" or a "1"

edlutz
edlutz

I absolutely agree that everyone, including Linux fans should try to be more polite, more friendly, specially regarding newbie questions. Everybody is a newbie on something. Now, about OS friendlyness, it is a relative concept: it depends on your experience. For me for example, Windows (TM) is extremely non-friendly because it lacks lots of features that I think are essencial on any professional OS and forces the user to do things in a way that I don't like. Ubuntu, on the other hand, is quite intuitive and friendly from my point of view. About the installation of programs through synaptic however, let us compare Windoze and Ubuntu for a moment. 1. How do you install a program on Windows? First you need a CD/DVD or a downloaded installer, right? Would you try to execute a file named mypicture.jpg as if it were a program? No, you should install a program with EXE or MSI extension. And the installation process on windows is not standardized, BTW. On ubuntu, you usually install programs with DEB or BIN extension, but in most cases you don't need to bother downloading installers by yoursef. Just use synaptic (or another package manager) and it does everything. On the example of the first post, there is an attempt to install an RPM package on Ubuntu. It is a perfectly normal mistake if you think GNU/Linux is one operating system (it is not: it is a family). RPM is a software package format for another branch of the Linux family, but nobody is born knowing that. If you know nothing about Windoze, you will face similar problems trying to do common tasks. 2. Ok. I installed a program. So, where did it go? Well, what happens on Windows? Sometimes it creates an icon on your desktop, sometimes not. Where do you look for the program in order to use it in that case? You go to the programs menu an have a look. What do you do on Ubuntu: exactly the same thing. You don't have to know anything about /etc, /usr, or even the directory where the program is installed. But what if you want to uninstall the program? Run the package manager again and ask for a clean remove. You don't need to know where the program was installed. What about "everything is a file"? Normal users don't need to know anything about that. But if you do need, you just must remember that specifying paths like "C:\something", with many different devices (D:, E:, PRN:, etc) clashes with modern URI patterns and is much harder to manage than a unified tree of paths the leads to all system resources, including files and devices. All modern architectures use Unix-like approaches. Windoze does not use a modern architecture because it is bound to the obsolete DOS architecture, which in turn is an extension of the CP/M conventions. The normal progress path would be windows adopting Unix-like conventions, not the other way around. About going towards more "user friendly standards", many user interface features on Linux are becoming more and more windows-like, which is good for windows/ex-windows users but annoys users like me, who prefer Linux standards because we are more used to them and they usually offer richer features than the windows counterparts. We are going towards more primitive and obsolete standards just to please windows users with bad habits. The bottom line is: if the first OS that someone learns about is some variant of Linux, for that person Linux-like features will be friendly and windows-like features will not, unless they are also Linux-like features. I've seen it happening, actually. Windows is not completely ready for the desktop, but there are so many windows users that they can easily ask each other how to get things done and get used to it that they don't even notice how many things are very complicated on windows. You can see that when you try to use a different OS. With that in mind, there are remarkably few complaints about Linux from windows users. That's an excellent sign!

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

And every horce trainer has a different idea of how the horse is made to run best. Not fastest even but best for it's specific set of goals. Red Hat Enterprise is one OS and it has it's own central install process. It also allows for the traditional tarball install process which really, is the heart of any *nix I guess. (Tarball crosses processors and distributions and it's really not that hard. It is secondary to the OS native install for any posix like OS that a new user probably wants though.) Mandriva uses urpmi for rpm packages installed from it's repositories; setup easily. It is rpm based but urpmi/rpmdrake are the core program installers. Drakconf has other modules for the rest of the system. Debian uses apt-get/synaptic as it's cli and gui program installer and library; three thousand some odd available programs at last count. ubuntu is Deb package based with it's own repositories easily setup though also using apt-get/synaptic. Everybody has there own aproach. The choices of similar OS built using the same lego pieces but with different goals is a strength that benefits end users. I like how Mandriva is put together but would probably move to Debian if I changed. Other's like how PCLinuxOS is put together. Maemo is great on the Nokia devices. Eee has a default OS but you can also put Fedora, Ubuntu or Mandriva on it along with others. *nix is a classification of OS more than any single one. Mandriva is it's one "Operating" System product lines. Red Hat has it's product lines. Novell, IBM have there own though I think IBM goes to Red Hat or uses there own stuff. Gentoo does it's own thing. Debian does it's own thing. Fedora is the R/D lab for Red Hat. FreeBSD, OpenBSD, NetBSD.. all different OS doing there own things. I believe it's a fork of OpenBSD that is running under the osX pictures. Each OS has standardized it's install process and provided libraries of optional software. The thing is, it's not Linux or BSD or *nix versus Microsoft. It's Redhat, Mandriva, Novell, IBM, Microsoft, Apple, Cononical and whoever else competing in the market. It's also Debian, Gentoo, Knoppix, Elive and other's doing there own thing outside of the consumer market. Linux isn't anything more than Thunderbird, Firefox or any other application included in the OS install; it is just one of many kernel programs that links the rest of the code to the hardware.

James.Weston
James.Weston

Shouldn't an "Operating" have rules on "Operating". Installing an application should be standardized. It should be at the heart of any "Operating" System. If *nix wants mass appeal it will have to have user friendly standards.

dcolbert
dcolbert

I didn't even really understand if the original post was negative or positive. I did get that he liked the overall ease of package management, but that he was frustrated with how VMWare installation runs under Linux. The title and the content weren't well crafted. On the other hand, MY response wasn't based on this, it was based on the general, defensive, abrasive nature of the responses. I don't think there is any justification for that, and I think it simply reflects poorly on the Linux community as a whole. Most Muslims are probably pretty nice guys, but you meet a couple of militant extremists, and pretty soon, you've formed an opinion about everybody in a turban. The other thing, on a technical note, if the "one problem" is or isn't a *nix issue is subjective. I understand that his 7Zip installation was a ubuntu distro of the app designed to be installed by the Ubuntu package manager, and the VMWare package was unlikely to be an Ubuntu specific package (may not even have been a .deb package). This can be seen as a strength of *nix or a weakness, depending on your perspective. Again, from a mainstream perspective, *nix package management is pretty darned DIFFERENT, at the very least. This applies to Unix and Linux both. .rpm, .src, .deb... Microsoft IE and TrueType for *nix had a custom installer more like a Win32 installer. You've got a lot of flexibility in how things install under *nix. If you're a guy used to hitting setup.exe and clicking YES a dozen times, this can be a source of endless frustration. The fact that the *nix community has spent so much effort on package management schemes speaks volumes about if this is a problem with a select vendor's package or with the philosophy of package management in *nix in general, IMHO. Complex, flexible, but not very user friendly - and that is today. 5 or 10 years ago things were FAR worse in *nix Package Management. Ubuntu (by way of Debian), has made great strides forward in the *nix community in this area. Anyhow, he LIKED the ubuntu package management, but was unsure where things installed to. He didn't like the VMWare package install, and also didn't know where it went. If his question was a little badly formed and maybe perceived in misleading, wouldn't it be refreshing to see a post that said, "Well, it seems you are new to Linux. Package management and the directory structure of Linux can be very frustrating to the new Linux user. Can I ask you some questions to get a clearer picture of your problems and clarify your questions? Once I get this, I may be able to give you some advice that will help you get headed in the right direction". Big difference. That makes me look like a helpful professional genuinely interested in promoting the use of Linux - rather than a guy with greasy, stringy black hair locked in a basement, listening to NiN and running *nix on a machine pieced together from dumpster diving expeditions. My point is really that - just an observation. The linux community is largely responsible for perpetuating their perception by the public in general. And it is a public perception that does not serve Linux well. Wouldn't kick her out of bed for eating Pocky Sticks, huh?