[Date Prev][Date Next] [Thread Prev][Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Re: Why "free" shouldn't have to mean "complicated"


Felix Steiner wrote:
> In the past weeks I tried to "get out of my Windows-world" (Apple TV-ad).
> Because I couldn't change to a Mac (I'm a student -- and students do not
> have any money as you know) I tried a lot of software. Just a short
> overview:

This report is rather useless and has a potential to start a flamewar
instead of being of any help.

First of all, GNU/Linux ist mostly developed by volunteers.  They are
doing a good job and develop flexible and versatile tools such as
installers package managers, support tools and the like.  Your mail
belittles the effort they do, just because you are unable to install
it.  In fact, you are offending many Debian people, and to make it
worse you even say that Debian is similar to SCO, that's really
ashaming of you.

However, if you are unable to complete the installation of MiniWoody,
Debian 3 and Mandrake, I wonder if your hardware is broken or contains
unsupported hardware or if you are really too stupid.  If three
*different* installers fail to complete the installation on one
system, I'd ask myself what is going wrong before I start blaming the

> 1. MiniWoody-Linux (German distribution in 200 MB): didn't start up after
> beginning booting

Completely useless report.

What did happen?  What is the last thing you saw on the screen?  You
said, it didn't start after beginning booting.  So the kernel was
finished booting Linux?  The installer already started?  And then?
What?  Did it install packages?  Did you partition the harddisk?  Did
you refuse to fiddle with the harddisk, leaving no space for
GNU/Linux?  I don't know, so we can't judge if this is a structural
problem or just PEBKAC.

> 2. Darwin (BSD): Lost all my data; arrived at a screen with 256 Colors; no
> mouse because of USB.

Can't judge, but "lost all my data" is a detailed report.  Did the
installer wipe your harddisk?  Maybe you said "use the whole disk"?
In such a case, no wonder you lost all your data.

Btw. if this turns out to be a problem for you, you haven't read the
Debian installation manual which says:

     2.  Backup your system, perform any necessary planning and
         hardware configuration prior to installing Debian, in Chapter
         3, `Before Installing Debian GNU/Linux'.  If you are
         preparing a multi-boot system, you may need to create
         partition-able space on your hard disk for Debian to use.

> 3. Debian: Took the whole lot of installation-steps but didn't arrive at an
> end. However -- it crashed at the end.

Where did it end?  Did the installer install packages?  If not, how
far did it come?  Neither the kernel nor the Debian installer usually
crash, hence I assume that your hardware is buggy.  I hope that the
sign of crash was not the screen that says "Login: ".

If you seek help, provide details.  If you discover a bug, report it.
If you don't provide details, your mail is not helpful.  Save the time
for writing and read a book instead.

> What to say? Well, perhaps I'm just too stupid to get things work. Perhaps
> it isn't only my fault.

I don't know yet, but I'd opt for "too stupid".

> What is the aim of free software -- and what it sould be:

The aim of Free Software is to provide Free Software.

I don't think there is any more.

Some vendors, however, have additional goals.

> It's to make free software. Software everybody can change, expand, develop.


> Everybody can run (and it can cost). Not everybody is a developer. Everybody
> is Joe Sixpack that wants to have a computer that works. No configuring, no
> compiling, no choosing. Well, he could buy a Mac -- but as you know, J. S.
> hasn't the money or the spirit to do.

So expand your facilities and your know how to be able to work with
something you don't pay anybody for.  If you purchase a bike, do you
expect to be able to ride it without ever having seen a bike before?
No, you learn.  Why do you refuse to leern how to use Free Software?

> If you thinkg that he has heard of Linux -- and is going to the next Best
> Buy to get the newest RedHat because people said it is the easiest way to
> get "free software" -- it isn't J. S. any more. An OS should be simple and
> impressing enough to be preinstalled on Computers. There is no real
> difference between Suse, RedHat, Debian, Mandrake, SCO (besides spiritual
> aspects). They all are very, very complicated to J. S.

You are entirely wrong.

An Operating System should provide the functionality that an Operating
System needs.

A Unix-like or POSIX-like system such as GNU/Linux provides more than
just a game-booter.  Such an operating system is complicated, this is
its nature.

It is your decision to choose to dig deeper inter the OS and install
Debian, Gentoo, Rocklinux or *BSD, or go the easy way and pay a vendor
to hide the operating system from you and use SuSE, RedHat, Mandrake,
Lindows, Lycoris or whatnot.

If you don't take the time to learn, what can you expect?  Nothing.
Looking at what you've got, I guess there's a connection...

> If your aim is to bring (free) software to everybody -- J. S. included --
> why don't you do it? Why are there still hundreds of steps to do before J.
> S. can run his WYSIWYG-LaTeX-distribution and get documents you can look at
> (not as docs made in MS Word)? Why has he to chose a Window-Manager? Why has
> he to choose thousands of packages to be installed? Why has he a Webserver
> on his machine? Why an FTP-server? Why to read tons of pages of descriptions
> to install (and not as in Mac OS X just 30 beautiful pages, 1 single page to
> install the iMac)? Why has he first of all to download hundreds of megabytes
> of data?

I see that a Unix-like operating system is not supposed to be what you
want.  You should purchase a Mac from Apple and stick with MacOS.
That's the best for you.  Don't tell me that you don't have the money,
go working for a while and throw out all the pc crap.  You'll be much
happier afterwards.

Debian offers the freedom of choice.  You are able to install a window
manager, KDE or GNOME, a web server, a time server, an ftp server a
whatever.  It is your job to choose and decide what you want to do
with the system.  If you don't know yet, turn of the computer and
think about your goals.

Other systems such as MacOS or Windows don't provide applications but
only the core operating system.  They, however, don't let the user
choose to use one out of 25 window managers or work without a
graphical interface at all.  You don't have the possibility to

If you don't want choice, don't use a system that offers choice.
Quite simple.



Have you ever noticed that "General Public Licence" contains the word "Pub"?

Reply to: