Re: Learning UNIX

Subject: Re: Learning UNIX
From: Arlen -dot- P -dot- Walker -at- jci -dot- com
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 21 Sep 2000 13:20:20 -0500

Bruce questions my:

>> Linux, etc., is not ready for the average user's desktop.


>I'm curious about the basis for this statement.

And partially answers his own query with:

>It's true that you frequently have to drop down to the command
>line for administration and configuration.

This is not comp.os.advocacy, so I'll limit myself to one response, and one
which *does* have a TW hook in it, which I've hidden cleverly.

I'd also take issue with how much easier Linux shells are than DOS; it's
about a dead heat AFAICS.

Personal experience: I've set up four Linux systems under three
distributions, including full servers with apache, netatalk and samba. I do
know that installing SW on Linux can (note: "can" not "must;" sometimes it
goes quite well) be a real nightmare. Let's see, I can't install this
package because I don't have this particular file. OK, I can go out to the
web and find *that* file, but now that I have it, I need to go back out
again and find this other file to install.... This is a true adventure, and
one which recursed to about 5 levels before I finally got what I wanted.
There was no way of telling for sure (easily, anyway) just what I was going
to need before I embarked on that journey.

The shared library structure inside Linux is better than the MS atrocity,
but only slightly less bewildering.

Which points up a deficiency in Linux, so far. The documentation ranges
from quite well done to huh? to non-existent. They could certainly use some
more tech writers on the LDP, to get more topics covered well for more
distibutions (all of which differ just enough to make a lot of docs
problematic). Anyone out there looking for some Pro Bono work to puff a
resume? Hear that? It might just be your cue. And Linux, being hot, is
driving several magazines on the newstands right now, so it might just be
more Pro than Bono. ;{>}

Setting up to print to a printer, something most of our users do on their
own with their Windows systems (and who succeed about 90% of the time) was
a *real* pain. The included graphical setup tool didn't work, and it had to
be done manually, and even then finally succeeded with difficulty. I could
do it much easier now, of course; but that's the point -- now I already

Probably one of the most useful differences between Linux and Windows is
that Windows makes things look easy when they aren't, while Linux makes
things look hard that should be easy. That means Joe User is less tempted
to mess about and break something.

Oh, well. Don't interpret my statement as True Forever. Give the desktop
apps a couple more years to get their act cleaned up a little more, and
give the Eazel folks some room, and my statement may no longer be valid.

Just 'cause it ain't here yet don't mean ya can't watch ferit.

>At any rate, anyone who is comfortable enough with computers to
>write software manuals for a living should have no trouble
>learning Linux.

And I have already agreed with that. (Or rather, it agrees with what I
originally posted.)

Have fun,
Chief Managing Director In Charge, Department of Redundancy Department
DNRC 224

Arlen -dot- P -dot- Walker -at- JCI -dot- Com
In God we trust; all others must provide data.
Opinions expressed are mine and mine alone.
If JCI had an opinion on this, they'd hire someone else to deliver it.

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