(An aside on the posts about TW’s Linux problems and the really helpful comments people have posted.)
When they are working, new forms of Linux are great for the user and they make you feel all warm and fuzzy about the possibility of voluntary co-operation.
I love Linux when I can get on a machine that someone else has set up.
A few years ago, setting up Linux was a fantastic challenge. (It took two days to configure it to even see a screen display on a bog-standard monitor.)
Modern versions set themselves up on a stand-alone machine perfectly, while you are having a cup of coffee. But modern hardware and our expectations of having things like networked wireless broadband access can make the set up process just as intransigent. It’s great to use a pre-configured and working Linux system. It’s harrowing to set one up when something goes wrong.
Not least because you need net access to even start to find a solution. Hmm. How exactly do you manage this if you haven’t got another working machine with an Internet connection? Pretty unsurmountable problem there.
Surmount it and you find an infinite number of forums that offer access to other people’s expertise. Assume you are lucky enough to find one where you aren’t laughed out of the place for saying “what’s the root directory?” You find that the people who know what they are doing and are really trying to be helpful expect you to be able to adapt their instructions to edit the source code and recompile binaries for your PearlDropsElectric 4-USB-hub adapter on the basis of a slightly similar driver for the Dolcis 2-USBII adapter. (Yes, I made them up)
At this point, you already know you will reduce a potentially working PC to a new form of electronic landfill if you even open the file in a code editor.
At the same time, a fair number of Linux distros still seem to call for you to use a floppy disk, when it’s unlikely your case even has one, let alone that you have spare disks that haven’t degraded into the dust from which they sprang.
You slink off back to Windows, shamefaced, until you have taken a post-graduate course in computer science. In Swedish.
If only someone would bring out a version of Linux for morons… This blog has always whined about technology books that claim to be for “newbs” or “dummies” or “idiots” and turn out to mean “slightly below par rocket scientists who do brainsurgery in their spare time”.
It has to be for real Linux morons.
People who can’t even untar distros (or understand what that means.)
(The FireStats for this blog – which makes its fair share of LInux posts – show that about twice as many visitors use a Mac than use Linux. A Mac, ffs. )