Re: Desktop productivity with Debian GNU/LINUX
On Tuesday 21 January 2003 02:46 am, Eduard Bloch wrote:
> #include <hallo.h>
> * Hal Vaughan [Tue, Jan 21 2003, 01:52:40AM]:
> > > Linux, being an OS by geeks for geeks, up until just recently, needs a
> > > geek to get it set up properly. Mandrake and others have made vast
> > > improvements, but it's not automatic. If you expect it to be, you'll be
> > > disappointed. Wait another couple of years. Until then consider
> > > yourself a consumer; as a general rule, consumers get their computers
> > > pre-installed with an operating system and don't do their own OS
> > > installation (although they might do a "restore" using the System
> > > Restore disk that came with their computer).
> > At the risk of sounding like a troll, I have to take issue with this. To
> > be even more blunt, this paragraph is, in my view, an example of some of
> > the worst geek snobbery and elitism I've seen online.
> Bullshit. Truth is truth, even if it may hurt.
Then, speaking as a former teacher who spent years working residential
treatment facilities, that would explain your quick, knee-jerk reaction to my
comments. You're right. Truth is truth, even if it may hurt. I guess I hit
a vein of truth and hurts. Maybe you haven't noticed, but you accuse this
person of only whinning, while your response is nothing more than excuses of
why it's all wrong.
> > I also have to ask how long it's been since you tried Mandrake last. I
> > found Mandrake 8.0 to be great at detecting EVERYTHING on my system.
> > There was basically NO post-install to deal with. Printer drivers were
> > there -- everything I needed was there.
> Maybe what you needed because your average system with carefully
> choosen, linux-compliant hardware, perfectly matched the system that
> Mandrake may support. But do you really think that a newbie is able to
> compile a driver (module) manually if there is no free driver for it? Do
> you really think a newbie is able to setup channels for a TV card
> manually (seen last week on SuSE, nice GUI but braindead package pool,
> no zapping, no scantv, broken xawtv, only old xawtv able to show at
> least one channel). There are lots of things that are _not_ simple and
> not prepared by some upstream/distributor/vendor. You can workaround
> simple when you have some experience and are able to RTFM, but a newbie
Actually, I would ask you, as well, how long it's been since you've tried to
install Mandrake. I am NOT talking installing it on a system with specially
chosen hardware. In fact, when I started with it a year ago, the first
system I put it on included a Winmodem. Mandrake recognized it and got it
running perfectly. All I had to do to configure it was to use the Mandrake
wizard and tyep in the phone number, user name, and password. It recognized
ALL my hardware and, in new installs, continues to do so. As for your
reference to a "braindead package pool," you are showing the same snotty
elitism I was complaining about. What do you know about this person? How
smart/stupid is he? Are you so much better than he is because you can set up
and run Debian? Does that mean you are so smart you can judge him and others
as inferior? If not, look at yourself. That is basically what you and your
letter are doing -- saying that you are better because you know more about
computers and Linux and denigrating people who are not as smart as you are in
the fields you have chosen to explore.
I'm not just letting it fly. I'm confronting you with it. I'm sure you won't
like it and we'll get more knee-jerk reactions from you and others who are
also in your deep state of self-congradulationary elitist justification that
you use to avoid dealing with humanity and life. Why? Because this type of
attitude is one of the biggest obstacles Linux faces in reachign a wider
audience and being adopted on more systems and on a wider variety of systems.
On the other hand, that may not be what you want. Perhaps, instead of seeing
more people using Linux and being able to use a stable OS with a reasonable
amount of security, perhaps you prefer being able to tell people (as you look
down your nose at them), "I don't use Windows," and have your attitude carry
the unspoken comment of, "I'm just too smart for it, and I'm much smarter
than you." And I'm sure, within the Linux community, you enjoy the same
elitism as you tell people you use Debian and can enjoy the little
self-congradulatory pat on the back you give yourself with the implication
that creates that you are somehow better or smarter than other Linux users.
If this selfish elitism is not what you want, than you need to seriously
examine yourself, since it comes through in almost every line of your
Now, as for XawTV, I found it quite easy to setup on Mandrake. I barely had
to read more than a few lines of the man page and had it working pretty
quickly. One would find it easy to deduce from that last paragraph of your
post (the one quoted most recently) that you are not only an angry
Linux/GNU/Debian elitist, but that you haven't tried a simple to use distro
in a long time and, basically, don't know what you're talking about when it
comes to this. (By the way, several reviews have rated Mandrake as easier to
install than Windows XP.)
> > This is a user who obviously wants to learn more about computers and
> > Linux, but does not have the time to mess with selecting the necessary
> > kernal modules or with spending hours online tracking down drivers. This
> > does not mean he is not ready for Linux.
> When he posts such a large thing with only whinning instead of saying: I
> tries this, this and this, and failed on those things, what's the
> problem - then I cannot agree with you.
Maybe I see something a little different. The fact that he's trying and has
tried different distros shows he is interested in learning. I remember what
it was like when I, after not having used a computer in a technical capacity
in over a decade, started with Suse 6.4 and ran into problem after problem
with my system and, since I could not get the internet connection working for
a good while, had nowhere to go for help. There's also the HUGE barrier in
Linux of re-adjusting to the different way the Linux community provides help
and support, as well as re-adjusting to how the file system is set up (and a
million other things). Personally, I'd rather give him the benefit of the
doubt than to come on strong and say a lot of ugly things that boil down to
telling him, "You don't know enough to use Linux. We're much smarter than
you are, so go away." If you don't think that's what you and the poster I
responded to were saying, then go back and re-read your letters. You say it
with almost every line.
> > I would STRONGLY recommend trying Mandrake. While I have not had any
> > problems with Mandrake 9.0, I have heard of some people who have. I
> > found Mandrake
> Mandrake is not the cure of all problems.
Nope. And neither is Debian. But, again, when was the last time you tried
it? If you haven't tried it since 8.0, then I submit that you do not have
the experience in seeing how easily it installs and how well it recognizes
hardware and works with newbees to know what you are talking about.
> > 8.2 to be solid and stable. It's basically your choice -- I would think
> > either one would work fine. One nice addition or change to Mandrake 9.0
> > is that it does not require the user to mount/umount cd-roms when they
> > are put in or removed from a drive.
> Fascinating, a new feature, hooray. I would be happy as windows user,
> but that's something I would define as bugfix for a good distribution,
> not more.
See what I mean? That ugly, "I'm better than you because such things aren't a
problem to me" attitude creeps through in every line. Would it really hurt
you that much to try to work with or help someone instead of retorting with
piss and vinegar and trying to build yourself up at the expense of tearing
> > While I don't think Linux is just for geeks anymore, I do think Debian
> > is. And, to be honest, I think the Debian developers and maintainers (and
> > administrators and others in charge) prefer it that way -- sort of a last
> > retreat for geeks as the Linux world goes more and more mainstream.
> Who does pay us for this job? I guess you never tried to optimise
> something for "end-user". It is painfull, time-expensive and does not
> help your reputation. If you need a Mandrake-like Debian, get Xandros.
Actually, as I said, I had not used a computer in a technical fashion in over
10 years. Then I sat down, had to learn new languages (including some that
weren't even around when I had programmed before), and create a system for
lawyers. All jokes aside, lawyers (at least my clients) are intelligent
people, but they do not have time to learn a program that is supposed to do
work for them. They'll run it and just assume they're smart enough to use it
without a manual. Within the first six months after I was back to
programming, while I was still re-adjusting to it and re-learning old habits
and tricks, while I was still learning new languages, I had to write the GUIs
for the end users.
Was it fun? No.
Was it a pain in the butt? Yes.
Was it so hard I couldn't do it? No. Was it as bad as I thought it would be,
given the amount of whinning I've heard from programmers about writing UIs?
No. It just took a good amount of advanced thought and the ability to have
some empathy for the end user and look at things from his/her point of view.
Writing a UI for an end user is not the easiest job in the world, but if it is
considered necessary, it can be done, and it really isn't as painful (at
least in my experience) as many programmers make it sound.
I stand by my original comment: "I think the Debian developers and maintainers
(and administrators and others in charge) prefer it that way -- sort of a
last retreat for geeks as the Linux world goes more and more mainstream."
If that were not true, than someone would have a Debian installer that wasn't
such a pain to use. One where people who actually have activities and jobs
and interests that keep them from spending hours tweaking and setting up and
adjusting their systems could easily use for setup (as opposed to people who
have jobs and activities and interests that all revolve around the computer
There is nothing wrong with keeping a distro for programmers and techies only.
But if that is the case, at least be honest about it. And be honest about
the attitude that some users, like you, show. Admit it -- you want to be
able to use the most esoteric of the esoteric so you can feel good when you
talk about it and make it sound like you are just so far above others because
you are so smart you can use something most other people can't.
> So, yes, Debian will be the most smooth distribution for people that can
> _read_ and understand Unix concepts. I do not know many people that are
> willing to create id^w(windows-user)-proof frontends for it.
Perhaps because they are more active in the world and life than others and can
see needs and markets that you, from your ivory tower, cannot.
Perhaps because they don't see Linux as just a tool for the elite, but as
something everyone can use, given the proper tools.
Perhaps because they realize windows-users are people too and deserve an OS
that doesn't crash 1.8 times in an 8 hour work day and has a reasonable
amount of security.
Perhaps because the people making these distros have a wider view of life and
the world than you do.