RE: Linux users who like Windows - back on topic?

Subject: RE: Linux users who like Windows - back on topic?
From: "Samuel Choy" <schoy -at- us -dot- ibm -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Sun, 29 Sep 2002 10:31:26 -0500

Let me qualify this by saying that I still consider myself a Linux newbie.
What I basically like about Linux has already been mentioned - its
robustness, its licensing, it's free. But the following anecdote will
describe what I don't like about it:

After I installed Red Hat Linux on my pc, I discovered that my modem is
actually a WinModem, which doesn't work on Linux. I proceeded to look for a
Linux driver for my modem. Part of my search included the need to open my
pc, pull out my modem, and see what chipset my modem uses. So after some
more searching, I finally located a driver that *seemed* like it would
work. I down loaded and installed the RPM. It didn't work. To make a long
story short, I finally found out that downloading and installing the RPM
wouldn't work for some reason, and I actually needed to compile the
program. It took me about two weeks to get my modem to work.

One of my problems was that the documentation that was included with the
RPM was for compiling the source, not for installing the RPM. (Once I
figured out to compile the source the instructions were helpful, but that
was two weeks later) Any sort of troubleshooting instructions were
nonexistent. And in the README, the programmer who wrote the program
basically said that if you have problems installing this, too bad. Don't
bother me. It reminded me of a C programming instructor I had who said, "If
the user doesn't understand my interface, he's too stupid to use my

OK. This is where I attempt to get back on topic.

Based on my Linux experience (which I admit is still limited) I feel like
Linux is still too difficult for the average non-geek user. Many
applications are very poorly documented. As a technical writer, I suppose
that I could find a Linux project I like and contribute to its
documentation. And actually I'm playing around with that idea - guess it's
sort of that open-source community thing: but my wife got so fed up with
the hours I've already spent on Linux, it might not be worth the risk : )

OK I've rambled enough. I do like Linux a lot. But I think it has a long
way to go before it can become a popular alternative to Windows.

Samuel Choy
IBM Rochester
Office: 004-2 H109
Tie Line: 553-5654
External Phone: 507-253-5654

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