Thursday, September 10, 2009

go educate yourself

Nothing new here at the Linuxville guide desk, beside putting #!Crunchbang Linux on my spare PC. Everything is running smooth and causing all sorts of normal computer fun. On the internet though is where incremental improvements in life are noted. The first is the downloadable Ubuntu magazine called Full Circle. It is a very cool pdf mag. It has got techie stuff and average user stuff and............... you check it out yourself.

Then I don't know what to make of this yet, it is a web site that lets read about Linux applications and install them. It is more descriptive than the on board application installer Synaptics or Add/Remove. It is called All My Apps and it also is pretty cool, go educate yourself.

Hey, Go Educate Yourself!! It's not a smart-aleck smirk, but an asking kindly (with strong emphasis). I was just at a friend's home who had some computer problems. They wanted my expert advice on XP problems. I could not because I am a Linux user, have been for 10 years, I don't deal with XP on a day to day bases. So, I am not an XP expert. When I told them this, they said what's Linux? I tried to explain, then I whipped out a live-CD of #!Crunchbang Linux, popped it in their machine and showed them. There were questions and concerns and lots of computer superstitions (this is normal). These were typical XP users who had no awareness that Linux existed or what it was like if they heard of it before. I liberally used the words "free", "open source" and "don't have to install it, but you can" and "user support is available". Also I mentioned that a lot of open source software comes in both Linux and Windows versions. Most Microsoft users are so blinded by commercial name-brand software, they don't even realize that the computing world is bigger than that and more accessible. The days of poor quality freeware/shareware are over and "open source" insist on a high level of quality and usefulness.

The other thing typical XP users aren't used to doing is getting help when they need it. I learned to open Google, type in my question or go to computer user web sites, forums and ask my questions there. I almost always get help or pointed in the right direction. "Oh, I didn't know I could do that!!" Yes, this is what web browsers and search engines do best. If you have to get an expert, chances are this is what they do if experience or memory is short.

To say it plainly Microsoft users look to Microsoft for help, which is why they wind up calling a technician (expert). Linux users look to each other for help, this pool includes the casual user and the advance technician, programmer and developer, plus commercial support is available if you need that. An awful lot of problems are solved and fixed before I even install the software. Both the operating system, the libraries, utilities and applications receive updates. Now most of Linux troubles are installation and setup, if you have them. Once you are past that, Linux just works. That has been my experience in the past 10 years.

I have two computers, an HP with Ubuntu Linux and one I built that dual-boots XP and #!Crunchbang Linux. I only use XP when I have to which is rare. If I did'n need to refresh my XP experience to help other computer users I could eliminate XP with no remorse.

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