[ILUG] Favourite flavours
rick at linuxmafia.com
Tue Jul 13 15:46:43 IST 2004
Quoting Timothy Murphy (tim at birdsnest.maths.tcd.ie):
> I should have said, will I find a _knowledgeable_ person running ...
Quite so. But:
> For example, you recommended Lindows.
> If I had a Lindows machine with a hardware problem
> (quite likely, I imagine), would I be likely to find an expert
> running the same machine?
> My impression is that the cognoscenti wouldn't touch Lindows
> with a barge-pole.
Hardware issues tend to involve kernel and/or CUPS / X11 drivers. Those
are pretty much _the same across all distributions_. Therefore, my
assistance to Linux users on those issue tend to be pretty much exactly
the same across all distributions.
So, you would get exactly the same help from me if running LindowsOS as
you would if running any other distribution.
Also, experts hardly need be "running the same machine". C'mon, Tim.
You know better than that. I was helping people with USB problems for
years before I actually bothered to adopt those devices, myself -- and
while I was still trolling that bus's proponents by referring to it as
Useless Serial Bus. Haven't you seen me solve people's driver problems
on ILUG while prefacing my posts with "Disclaimer: I've never actually
used one of these, but might be able to help you anyway"? I'm
reasonably sure you have.
It's no more necessary to track down someone "running the same machine"
to get hardware help than it is to find someone running the same
distribution to get driver help.
In point of fact, one of the sure signs of extreme Clueless Newbiehood
is coming onto a Linux forum and saying "Does anyone else have a
Framistat model SUX-100 BIOS version 1.0F stepping 2?" Anyone who's
been around and paying attention will know that the _last_ thing you
want is to tell the resident hardware experts they may give you relevant
assistance _only_ if they happen to actually own or run the exact same
hardware (or software) you do, and that you're shooting a big hole in
your own foot by suggesting such a requirement.
That error is a subcategory of the larger (and very common) error of
_overdefining the problem_: As I said in How to Ask Questions the
Smart Way, "If your diagnostic theories were such hot stuff, would you
be consulting others for help?". See: Smart Questions FAQ on
1. <pedantic>My FAQ didn't recommend to novice users Lindows, which is
a company. It recommended _LindowsOS_, which is/was a
distribution.</pedantic> (That name was slightly out of date: I've
just now corrected it to say Linspire.)
2. The largest of the three reasons long-time Linux users still tend to
deprecate Linspire (formerly LindowsOS) is a misconception widely held
among the Linux community: that Linspire/LindowsOS disables system-wide
security and forces users to use the root account for everything.
This is a slightly distorted account of something that _was_ true of
LindowsOS 1.0, but not of any release thereafter: The distribution's
installer defaulted to KDM autologin enabled, and didn't encourage users
to create non-root login accounts. Therefore, the path of least
resistance (in LindowsOS 1.0) was to create initially no login accounts
other than the root user, and to enable autologin for that user.
Because of that, the semi-myth that LindowsOS disabled system security
and that nothing but root-user privilege was available to its users
became near-universal among the Linux community, pretty much immediately
upon that distribution's appearance. Expert users heaped scorn and
disapproval upon the distribution, based on third-party accounts, and
that shadow hangs over it to this day.
3. The reason those were mainly third-party accounts is that LindowsOS
includes non-redistributable components (such as its installer; many of
its editions also include enhanced-WINE things -- Crossover Office, I
think), with the result that few in the established Linux community have
ever tried the distribution, since few cared to spend the money for a
non-redistributable distribution aimed at novices. So, the second
of the three reasons long-time Linux users tend to deprecate
Linspire/LindowsOS is simple lack of familiarity.
(I'll have to admit that I've never bothered to buy a copy, either, but
have taken advantage of some occasional generous offers from the company
to download via bittorent its developer releases, from time to time.)
4. The last of the three reasons is that Lindows, Inc. changed a number
of the KDE application-menu items (the names of applcations) to make
them more generic, on a plausible theory that novice users will be
confused by names like "kspread" or "gnumeric", and would have an easier
learning curve if the menu items instead said things like "Spreadsheet".
This immediately caused yet another impassioned flamewar against
Lindows, Inc. in on-line fora of the Linux community, aided in part by
existing prejudice against the company and its distribution. Many
commentators asserted (at that time) in error that Lindows, Inc. had
actually changed the _names_ of those applications and acted to deprive
their sponsoring projects of credit for authorship. This was of course
_not_ the case: Kspread, etc. were fully (and correctly) credited to
their creators on their "About" pages, etc.
> > Given your starting premise, logic would actually have suggested
> > that you were recommending MS-Windows. ;->
> Well, I was talking about Linux distributions.
I wish I didn't have to spell out the joke, but here goes: You were
saying that novice users benefit from using whatever "system is used by
the greatest number of people". (I may be paraphrasing.) That "system"
(operating system) is, of course, Microsoft Windows -- not Fedora, and
not Debian. Thus my point.
> But actually I have found it quite difficult to get answers to MS
> questions on MS newsgroups.
You may recall that I have occasionally politely zinged cheeky
MS-Windows users (who were seeking Windows help here on the ILUG list)
by suggesting that they'd have much better luck asking in MS-Windows
technical support forums, "which I understand are extremely helpful".
I hope observers understood that I was trying to demonstrate the fine
art of telling people to go to Hell in such a fashion that they look
forward to the trip. ;->
> I wonder if there are in fact more people in the world
> who have installed Windows than have installed Linux?
Me, I no longer care! ;->
Cheers, "Why is the alphabet in that order? Is it because of that song?"
Rick Moen -- Steven Wright
rick at linuxmafia.com
More information about the ILUG