Saturday, September 12, 2009

3rd dimension and desktop support

I am starting to consider 3D art again. A few years ago I played with software called Rhino 3D that ran on XP. It was beta software at the time and today is quite developed and expensive so I don't own a copy of Rhino 3D. On the Linux platform, there are a bunch of 3D applications to explore. I was looking at Art of Illusion, a Java application and Equinox-3d and of course Blender 3d. I am settling on Blender 3d because of the well documented features and the how-to videos that show you where to start. The videos take away the fear of the reportedly imposing interface menus and huge learning curve. These videos should be the benchmark for all Linux graphic applications. Having wonderful features are meaningless if you have no clue of the workflows to get things done. The videos cut to the chase and illuminate the manuals. Blender has a wonderful magazine, same format as the Ubuntu Fullcircle magazine. It is in pdf format, downloadable or on-line readable and very cool. It's at

In computer art there is two things that get you there. Repeatable results is the first, as you can plug in all the parameters, make the same moves and produce the similar results as someone else. And also by making adjustments produce totally different results which is the second. You can discover what stuff works for you, the way you work, what you like to see. Anywhere along the process you can change and adjust things. You just can't do this with traditional art media to the same extent. So, today I begin the process of learning by looking at the tutorials and videos.

Another cool thing I get to do is be a Linux guide (haven't reached guru status). People are starting to explore Linux but need help with ways not familiar to them. Like when you dual-boot, how to adjust the boot time allotted for choosing which OS runs and which OS is the default. The OS boot chooser is called GRUB and the program to change GRUB is called STARTUP MANAGER. Startup Manager is usually not included in the original install, so you have to add it. I really hope the two programs can be integrated together someday, it would make life with Linux easier.

Why do Linux newbies get trounced by Linux vets? It is a simple thing but everybody must take their share of the blame. New folk want instant answers but don't want to do any research, homework or trial and error. They rather have someone explain it in simple precise terms. Most new to Linux folk are so smart and computer savvy they don't need no stinking manual, right. NO, the desktop GUI is the human compatibility layer, made so that you can transfer your MS and Mac skills with minimal confusion. The Linux behind the desktop is new to you, you know little of that and will have to learn what that is all about.

Linux vets have the reverse problem. They know too much and especially in the areas of their focus, not usually the Linux desktop. Linux has been used by mostly server admin, coders, developers and engineers. I have been to Linux groups where I was the only desktop junkie. System admin, coders, developers are usually far down the Linux road, it is retro to help newbies. I will admit that after I install and setup Linux to where it works I may not fuss with it until I want to change distros. It just works and I move on and forget what I've done. This has been my complaint for a long time, there are no Linux desktop support persons (for the general desktop), mostly system admin with server and corporate experience. I want to tell newbies so badly to read the blankety manual, but the need for desktop Linux support is what is aparent.

Now you must understand that learning materials, help sites, forums, distro sites are all on the net and aren't hard to find if you can "google". Linux was born on the net and has grown up on the net. Even though you can find Linux on some store shelves and get support from a few name-branded companies (Red Hat, Suse, Canonical), the majority of help to users is the experience from other users on the net. I would say Linux is 9% market and 91% after-market. Now say it with me, "it's not a flaw, it's a feature!" Linux is a different world.

So, Linux newbies must learn to research a little more and Linux vets must realize the desktop user is a new Linux phenomena and requires support (mouse-side manner). This is why I am a Linux guide, I know nothing of coding, and a small bit of server stuff, most of my experience is on the desktop, using applications. And just the same as MS and Mac users, I don't care about the OS as much as the applications to get what I want done. The Linux desktop GUI wins for me. I am not recomending the text input command line answer if a GUI solution is handy, but if that is the only way to do it quickly.............

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