I found an interesting piece on reallylinux

about the very real

barrier being created by ‘Linux Snobs’. It makes an interesting read

and raises some very good points.

I remember when I first started ‘playing’ around with Linux, It took me

at least a week to download the ISO’s for mandrake (56k)–I was utterly

confused by the abundance of different distributions, all claiming to be

‘the best’; hardware support was a major headache, It was such an ordeal

(for a zero experience user) to get online via a modem that I ended up

connecting via a hub and my Windows 98 PC (using NAT). Ok, so once I

was online I needed to learn about using this new OS. Great, there was

an abundance of documentation–however I didn’t really want to spend 4

hours reading a very comprehensive how-to when my only goal was to get

my USB mouse working! Not a problem, I went to one of the helpful IRC

rooms and asked if there was an easier way to get things running

smoothly; hmm, 2 seconds after asking a question I was kicked and banned

from the room with some useless comment like ‘Read the manual n00b’ or

‘$tick with Windoez’. There were some IRC rooms with more helpful

members, rooms like #linuxnewbies and #linuxquestions. These did tend

to get quite crowded and unless the question was relatively

straightforward then one was often overlooked.

After this initial experience, lots of wasted time and quite a bit of

frustration I gave up on Linux for a few years. Later I came back to

Linux mainly due to necessity–managing our web/db server which was

running Fedora Core 1; I had no choice but to dig my teeth in and learn

the slow/hard way. I also installed Fedora on my laptop and worked on

it as often as possible (even managing to have Dreamweaver running with

WINE at one point), increasing my exposure to the OS. I found forums to

be a very good source of information and direct help; the responses were

also more detailed and quite mild mannered compared to those found on IRC.

I have found that as I become more experienced, working with Linux

becomes easier, not because I know the ins and outs of a particular

program but rather because I have a better understanding of the

underlying system and how/why thiongs work in the way that they do;

working as a full time Linux Sys Admin I now also find the advice and

knowledge shared by more experienced colleagues to be invaluable. I

find the mailing lists for the specific program or distribution to be

very helpful and finally there are still many forums such as

www.linuxquestions.org which will normally return a quick answer to any


What was your introduction to Linux like? How did you pick up your

initial survival skills and how did you deal with the sometimes less

than polite characters in the realm of Linux?