Wednesday, May 14, 2008

doing some yard work in Linuxville

Here in Linuxville you don't need a builder's permit to do that special project that's going to upgrade your property, but then again you are not assured to have all the stuff you need available to do the job. I have dubbed it "the land of not". As a big fan of Xubuntu, I was expecting to have what was needed to do some expansion work, not!! What I was wanting to do was setup a MS Windowless network consisting of two Xubuntu computers, a router and a DSL modem. Yeah, I got it physically wired alright, but the software side is "not" happening. Not only does Xubuntu not have adequate network tools, but there is not one how-to that explains it in a simple, step by step way so that the average Joe or Josephine could understand it. If you use Samba, which I think is for connecting to MS Windows computers, there is lots of info. If you have only Linux machines, there is zilch. Then to top it all off, Xubuntu does not come with a network browser. Sure, if you are a techie who enjoys digging into the inner workings behind the GUI, you can make it all work. But if you want Linux to be the fairly popular desktop that might rival MS Windows, you have to have clear cut GUI ways to access these things. That also means that system mechanics need to swallow their savvy and condense the complicated path they took to make it all work into point-n-click simplicity. Xubuntu, Xubuntu, Xubuntu, you have it going for you and yet you come with missing parts. To be able to connect to a network is a simple thing. A network browser is not too much to ask for, even if it is an application that can be installed later. I have heard it from techs but the point is I shouldn't have to know so much to be able to do this. Every little detail requires an explanation and those explanations are scattered across the internet. I realize that Linux distributions tend not to do everything well, which is why folks try out many different ones. Alas, even I, must join the ranks of folks who say Linux is crap because something does not work on "my machine". No, Linux is evolving and growing and is better than previous versions, that is for sure. But, in the explanation of things, certain assumptions have been made. My complaint is that my particular needs have not been addressed and my skills have not progressed to where I can do-it-myself without help. My project is to have two Linux computers, share one internet connection via a router, see each other, have one remote into the other, share folders and a printer. In MS Windows, these things are not so complicated. Why are they so hard to do in Linux which was designed with networking in mind? Again, I am looking through Xubuntu glasses. This is like typical yard work at home, I can see what I want but don't have a tool to get it done easily and rightly. I mow, then it rains, the dandelions stand up like soldiers, 'ya missed me', where is agent orange when you need it? I call tech support, I want to install a "package", then point-n-click and get it done.
Somewhere, deep in the heart of the urban jungle of Linuxville in a small obscure curio shop with dusty shelves, strange lights and noises come from a back room, a couple of surviving machine code wizards motion to their young protege, faces still glowing from the ancient CRTs on the table, "oh, you can do that in Xubuntu can you?", "yeah, but can you manage it with a mouse and make a simple how-to anybody can use?" I wish........

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