A response to Linux for Dummies

warbirdsdreamer's picture

I am 47 years old and have been a casual computer user for the last 12 years. I have no formal education in information technology but I read and search the internet. I have been playing around with Linux since a distant cousin by marriage mentioned it when Red Hat was still version 6.0. I do have a Masters Degree but everything I know about Linux is from playing with it and reading. One of my parallel interests has been in building and maintaining my own PCs and I've done that for years as well. As a result my hardware has not always been mainstream and I often have a mixture of cutting edge and dinosaur components (well, at least near cutting edge). That mixture has given me more than a few problems with Linux installations. However, I have been successful with and enjoyed Suse and Mepis. I have also used Vector and Slax but they both choke on SATA mixed with SCSI. My interest has recently grown to include working with amateur video (I am the amateur of record). I want to be able to use LIVES and eventually learn to use Cinelerra. LIVES, however, is apparently not easy to install on a Debian based system. I have not been able to get it to install on my Mepis system. The average PC user will not find managing the dependencies of wanted software easy, though in this case it was not very hard. Compared to Windows installations however it is an onorous chore and one that requires some level of confidence. Beyond that, once the actual installation is underway, I get an error message concerning a conflict with a needed program. I will not go back to using Windows, but this is an example of the frustrations the average and even above average PC user encounters with Linux. Windows 3d party installations are nearly stupid proof and problems are rare in my rather extensive experience. Unless one is pretty knowledgeable about Linux, software installation is not so simple. Of course, with Debian based systems you can use apt-get but what about for software that is not available in Debian's treasure chest? Same with Suse. And Slackware and Fedora have been nasty to install on many of the machines I have used. With Windows, installing the OS is only slightly harder (though more time intensive) than installing other software on the Windows PC. And Win2k and XP are actually good products, though overpriced and under the control of a paranoid, megamaniacal bullying virtual monopoly. Suse, by the way, has available a demo version of some great video editing software (I can't call the name right now) but the non-demo version is $199 and I'm betting that LIVES and Cinelerra will more than meet my needs for free.

Linux is the OS I choose, but not because it's as easy as Windows. It DOES matter to the average user that downloading and installing new software is normally easy, even when that software does not come from a list of software already prepared for the user by the masters of the distribution. And the average user will give up on Linux the first time they read much of the Documentation Project. I have been trying to find a local Linux User Group because I know that I could overcome many problems by having a knowledgeable person walk me through some of the things that seem murky even after much reading. I live in Spartanburg, SC and the nearest group is in Greenville, not far but too far for a working man with a family and other responsibilities. Still I know I can make an occasional meeting and I know that will help. The community that helps with the dark side of Linux is why I love Linux. Onward and upward. Will Turner

warbirdsdreamer - 2005, December 29 - 8:25pm.