Thursday, October 28, 2010

living Linux with fewer gotchas

Are there any downsides to living with Linux? Depends! If you are fortune enough to have Linux pre-installed it is no different than Mac or MS, point n click. But like any new country you visit you must do a little homework or your tourist status gets changed to ugly problem child with issues, attitudes, unreasonable preferences and demands, can we deport him now!?!

Homework means you read a little to get what Linux and Open Source is about. The newly acquired freedoms and liberties (copy-left or GPL) are often misinterpreted and effaced by the folks use to the other PC platform legalities (copy-right and user license agreements). Find net info or books about the applications and browse. A little knowledge goes a long way.

Now if you need help beware of support sources, Linux enthusiast are varied. Some gurus will tell you to read the manual in colorful terms. They are not representative of us all. So if you want something fixed, who you ask flavors the answer you get. Realize you are a noob, nubi, newbie, padawan learner and you are actually a new class of Linux person, the desktop user. Most experienced Linux users are more likely to be System Administrators, Network Administrators, Software Engineers or high end engineers of other sorts. Finding one with "desktop user friendliness" is a blessing. While Linux has had a desktop for many years, the support of personal computers running Linux is still a rough area.

My example is this: I just switched my ancient laptop from Ubuntu to Xubuntu. They are the same but Xubuntu is leaner, faster and a less user friendly setup. Some of the setup tools are not in Xubuntu. I had to figure out how to get sound to work. The drivers were there but the app to interogate and test the system was not there. I hit the net, searched around. I learned that applications that did the job were not called what they should be called and the recipe (repeatable results) to put it together not in one place. The applications that run in the background are called a server. So I figured you need sound chip drivers, a sound server and a controlling front-end (mixer). I didn't have to use the commandline to type in commands I didn't understand. Mostly it was checking boxes and testing if I got sound, yet. I got sound!!!! The full-bodied Ubuntu has setup and testing tools but is a little rich for my acient laptop. Xubuntu is just right, takes a little work, but works fine now.

My point is this, system admin and server folks might be dap with connecting networks but desktops are a speciality by itself. So, each desktop user should have skills to manage their own desktop or take it to a Linux desktop support person. Linux desktop support needs to be created, with mouseside manners, user empathy and application know-how. Right now the internet is very good support but you must do your homework. If there is a local Linux user group near you, you have resources, use them!

This is why the Linuxville guide chateau is in the hood. The Linux server side is well cared for, the Linux desktop side needs more support. Don't take my word for it, check out Fullcircle Magazine for Ubuntu users.


Unknown said...

you are invited to follow my blog

rno said...

Sorry brother in Christ dude, I don't do "Christian" blogs. Local fellowship is way better which I have plenty. If you want to do private fellowship use email, not public forums, that way if we dis each other, it's not out in the pub for others to use as an excuse.