Saturday, May 09, 2009

welcome to the Linux world

"You know it's not so easy, especially when your only friends, walk, talk, look and feel just like you, and you do the same just like them", or so goes the Jimi Hendrix song. Moving on to Linux is like striking out on your own when all you know and love is a Windows and Mac world.

"Are you experienced? well I aaammmmmmm!!"
A lot of the view of Linux comes out from ones experience. The long timers would probably squint at Ubuntu and say it is too tuned to new Linux users. And after my latest adventure, I understand and agree, somewhat. What new adventure? Why, I installed Fedora 10 (dual-boot with Xubuntu 9.04) and I can see there is a lot of Linux you don't deal with in Ubuntu. I would say that Ubuntu has pushed really hard in the new user direction to make Linux as point-n-click as possible. This is absolutely OK for surfing and snorkeling, but if scuba is your thing, you need a Linux with tanks, able to go deep.

Firstly, Linux is Linux is Linux, but then each distribution distinguishes itself by the tools, utilities and user access (look and feel of the system). So, you could put a distribution together that works but is more expert rated like Slackware or Gentoo or Red Hat. And you can also put user ease in the forefront like Ubuntu, DreamLinux, PC Linux OS. Scratch the GUIs because XFCE on either Fedora or Xubuntu makes them seem like twins. If you are a bit more serious about Linux then Fedora is more robust with expert rated features.

What the heck is expert rated, you ask!? Fedora has a full compliment of programs, applications, utilities, and tools to tweak, adjust, configure and manipulate data using both the command line and GUI. Fedora can do user friendly but more stuff is there targeted to programmers, engineers (various kinds), and system admin. Ubuntu has some of this but mostly favors popular desktop user needs. You have to realize Linux is like motorcycles, cars, vans, trucks, and big diesel rigs.

All vehicles have the standard user (driver) interfaces. It is the same with Linux only some may handle different environments and work loads better. Server, workstations, kiosks, newbie users, and long time users, all different skill, knowledge and requirement levels. Be glad, one size does not fit all. These days finding your size is easy. Start with the user friendly Linux and as your experience grows stay or move on at your own pace. User friendly does not mean dumbing down. At one time you had to know and type to mount drives, today auto-mount is standard with Linux. So, user friendliness is automating features to make them easier, convenient and/or accessible to a greater swath of users.

Let me tell you an ancient guru secret, those really intelligent appearing nerdie, geeked-out, do everything computer whiz types have one skill more than the rest of us. They have great memories. Take two average tech folks and give one of them an above average memory. They can comprehend tech stuff and remember facts and experiences and have excellent recall when needed. Good memory in humans and computers is what makes them excel at what they are.

In the real world you would ask which is better, Xubuntu or Fedora. If you can deal with Xubuntu but not Fedora, who is going to berate you? You use what works for you. I myself dual-boot because Xubuntu is easy and convenient. Fedora is slightly different in how it is Linux so it broadens my knowledge and experience. I will be the first to say the documentation is a big help. It is a misguided thought that computers are intuitive. There are too many features hidden inside for that. This is even true of Microsoft OS's. People write books on OS's so that you can learn the deep things. If you can't be taught, your local PC mentor or computer shop stays very busy.

No comments: