miércoles, 16 de junio de 2010

That Linux Attitude...

I might be very passionate about Mandriva Linux, granted. After all, not experiencing a single virus attack for over a year of heavy internet surfing WITHOUT an antivirus can be very motivating. The BEAUTY of the system itself contributes, too. Seeing that a computer can be used safely, simply, and even artistically by people who where formerly paralyzed by fear is what makes me tell others about Linux.

I want to tell the world : "No more blue screens! No more panic! No more sluggish performance after a while!" That is how I see Linux: as a friendly community, as people who care for others and want to help computer users in need.

Windows users generally know very little about Linux. When they become interested and decide to try it, as they think that Linux is ONE OPERATING SYSTEM, they retreat baffled when they hear about Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Mepis, Xubuntu, Mandriva, Mint, PCLinuxOS, Tuquito, Sabayon, OpenSuse, Fedora, Debian, Slackware...or any other of the 300 available distributions.

Just imagine this poor Windows user locked in a room, surrounded by 300 bouncing penguins crying out: "Try me, try me, TRY M-EEE!" Appalled, the user yells: "But which one is Linux??" For two or three seconds, the penguins remain quiet and then, with a renewed vigor of bouncing,the penguins synchronize their squalling...the sound wave hits the ears of this person: "I AM!!!"

I felt that way when I decided to give Linux a try. However, that is not the point of my discussion.

Windows users sometimes feel reluctant to approach Linux because of how Penguin lovers treat them. Windows might be a flawed OS, but throwing stones at its users does not help them.
After all, most Linux users were Windows users once.

As there are Linux distributions and forums, there are communities behind them. Some of them are friendly and welcome new Linux users; others scare them away. Everyone should know this.

In my navigations through forums, I realized that there are Linux distros that I dare not touch, not because of the distro itself, but BECAUSE OF THE COMMUNITY BEHIND IT.

No offense, but although I personally dislike Ubuntu (the distro) and its company (Canonical), the community is wonderful. They work hard to HELP and maybe that's one of the reasons behind Ubuntu's popularity. The Ubuntu slogan ("Linux for human beings") becomes a reality in Ubuntu's community.

Mandriva's community is amazing. They welcome you as a member, help you, and TEACH you, not only about Mandriva, but also about off-topics. They even have a community chat where everyone can start threads about virtually ANYTHING. They do not offend you, even if you offend them with real silly questions. I once read a thread posted by a person who asked for help to UNINSTALL MANDRIVA AND PUT WINDOWS. I thought the Mandriva forum administrators were going to butcher him, but people replied and helped him... maybe not very happily, but they taught him what he wanted to know.

Mepis forums might be small, but they are cozy. There, I read a post that went like this: "Although it is probably late for saying this, let me say it: WELCOME TO MEPIS!" How good is that, I ask? You really feel you mean something in Mepis.

Now, again, without meaning to offend, I won't go anywhere near PCLOS... I understand the value of one's own exploration, etc., but, plainly, their forum rules make you feel UNWANTED there.

So, people should really think about this before starting their trip to TUX Land...Please remember that turning against Windows users or novice Linux users antagonizes the very spirit of Free Software: the COMMUNITY is the POWER OF TUX.

15 comentarios:

  1. Well said! Even Windows forums are helpful (still remember how much they helped me), but some Linux users and communities have such an elitist, self-conceited attitude that more than discouraging users, it actually repels them! Who'd like to get into a community of bragging, hate-spreading trolls who keep despising other distros while shouting "MY distro is THE distro. All others are junk"?

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  2. Odd. I like the Ubuntu distro for the most part, but find the Community not the least bit helpful. Issues I've posted have totally dropped away without anyone even attempting to help, even after me bumping it after a day or so in hope, but I get nothing. The Linux Mint forums on the other hand are brilliant, as are the PCLinuxOS ones. People will at least try to answer your issues, or ask for more data so that they can speculate as to what the issue may be, and try to help. Gave up on the Fedora Forums, the Nazi-like mods there are a real turn off. And the Mandriva forums are quite friendly also, if a bit slow in my experience, but again, at least there they try and help you.

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  3. Linux is easy to install, easy to use, secure and stabile. Third year for me using just Linux. Only thing newbies have to do is remember: Linux IS NOT Windows.

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  4. I agree with you in the sense that people are afraid of trying something new. I have to admit that I am one of those Microsoft users that resign to see the advantages of a free operative system that could avoid the annoyances and embarrasments of having viruses in my USB drive when using other person’s computer. That is one issue we could avoid if we really LEARN the usages of a computer with effective anti-virus scans. However, it would pass a lot of time for people to reject Microsoft and start using other operative systems because Microsoft has hypnothized people with new releases that at the end entail the same old errors or at least the most troublesome ones like incompatibility (within their own products) or incapability to run several programas at a time without blocking its process. Linux took away those problems with UNIX; yet, it is a shame that we do not look for the means to reach the proper information, or at least we don’t want to admit the urgency.

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  5. Thank you all for your comments.

    Megatotoro: You are right. Linux users must be honest with beginners: some distros are better for a migrating person than others. We have to be mature enough to see this fact and support the person. If I push the newbie to use MY distro only because it's MY distro, I might be doing Linux a disservice.

    Anonimo: I guess the Linux experience changes according to the distro of choice. My concern is not getting immediate help, but shunning newbies that post desperate messages and they are (according to PCLOS forum rules, for example) "likely to be ignored, or written off as losers" if they fail to follow the instructions...which Linux beginners are prone to doing, as newbies they are.

    Matias: You are 100% right. We agree in principle. Since all of us have been exposed to Windows in one way or another, frustration can increase to the point in which the beginner Linux user might want to give up the new OS. That's why a supporting community is essential.

    Elizondo, K: Now that UCR is fighting for budget, recognition of the software problem becomes a MUST. Although our university uses Free Software (Moodle for Virtual courses, for example), because of ignorance and fear, we still pay ridiculous licenses to keep using XP in our labs. Imagine we won the budget struggle. A BIG CHUNK of the money UCR would get for research, development, financial aid, etc. would go to Microsoft to "modernize with Windows 7" maybe half of the computers we have today and the rest would be discarded. That means less aid, less projects, less room in computer labs. Who wins here? Not education, certainly.

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  6. I have to agree. No need for an antivirus, no blue screens, and faster performance sounds like computer paradise. Although using a completely different OS makes me feel overwhelmed (Yes, I am one of those Windows users tormented by the penguins), I am willing to give it a try. After getting tired of scanning everything I insert in my computer, I decided to listen to my friends’ advice and switch to Linux. If all of them have so positive remarks about the advantages of this OS, it must be for a reason. I do have to admit that my attitude of contenting with Windows in spite of all the problems I have had is conformist. From other experiences in life I have learned that not all what is previously established is "the best". Perhaps with the penguin it will happen the same too. Who Knows? We might even become friends!

    Calderon, T

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  7. Believe me, the penguin is friendlier than what we expect...Try several and you'll find one that will make you comfortable. And we are here to help!

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  8. Calderon T,
    Becoming an enemy of the penguin is fine, too, as far as you are well informed and have made your choice based on careful analysis instead of passive obedience. You are free to choose; do not let others take that away from you.

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  9. QUOTE
    MEGATOTORO SAID: Becoming an enemy of the penguin is fine, too

    You sound like such a troll, haha! But a very well-informed and balanced one :-)

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  10. Segura, H. I agree that as a user of Windows I panic when I listen to some names such as Kubuntu or Mepis because I am totally unfamiliar with them. Moreover, I can say that I do have a lot of problems with my computer; for example, I share the computer with six more people; thus, it will be easier for viruses to infiltrate the system because we do not know how to stop them or, even worst, we do not notice if viruses are actually there. Therefore, I want to know how it is the feeling of working in my computer without worrying about virus attacks. So, I desire to use the computer in a safely, simply, and friendly way. I want to be taught in a pleasant mode to be able to handle my own computer; hence, I will try one of the penguins of Linux.

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  11. I am another Microsoft user that agrees. I recently bought a laptop and, without a doubt, I preferred Microsoft over Linux. I have to admit I did not know anything about Linux and its advantages. Well, perhaps its penguin was familiar by then, but I was blind. How could I not know about Linux security system? Or the fact that it is free?! After reading a little bit about Microsoft, I found out that most of the information I read was about MC disadvantages. Probably, lack of information is one of the reasons why people do not change to Linux, and I do not blame them. MC has more ads than Linux and can also purchase exclusive contracts with Dell so that all computers have windows; as a consequence, most computer users do not realize that they can opt for other options. Linux offer its services to us for free, and I think it is time for us to start giving them something back: letting people know about this fantastic operating system.

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  12. Brenes, C.

    Certainly I see why Linux is such a good option. Who would say no to a virus free computer? I definitely would not! However, after reading that there are such communities that would not make you feel exactly welcomed I am slightly disappointed. I am sure that I do not adapt to change easily; hence, the idea of installing a completely new OS to a computer that offers Windows latest sounds irrational. I am not a Windows lover, but I have to admit that it has its benefits, or at least that is how I see it. Sure the awfully evil blue screens (problem that I have yet not experienced) sound like a dreadful thing, but if life were as simple as Linux seems to be what would be the joy in it? Not to mention the fact that I would definitely go crazy if you were to trap me in a room with as many penguins as you mentioned. I do not like animals that yell, much less those that represent a possible danger to the world I am so happily used to.

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  13. Brenes, C,
    The point that you are making is exactly the reason why Windows is so popular. All of us have taken its flaws as "natural" and bear and grin when our anti-virus doesn't help us, the computer goes slow, etc. We think "a different OS will be hard to learn" without even trying it.
    I truly hope you can find joy in life when, say, a virus destroys the work of 2 months on your Rhet 4 paper. I certainly could not do it when Sircam erased one year's work of my Master's thesis. Please read this other entry (it explains why us, previous Windows users, migrate to Linux. We discover that the comfort zone Windows provides is not so comfortable after all!)

    http://mandrivachronicles.blogspot.com/2010/06/no-one-takes-linux-seriously-until.html

    Finally, let me tell you that I try to be honest here. There are some Linux communities out there that might make you feel crushed and migrating to the distros they back up can be a painful experience for a novice computer user who is not familiar with Web language, computer components, or OS terminology.

    I hold that Linux can provide more satisfaction than Windows can, but under those conditions, I'd rather have a Blue Screen of Death than having flaming post replies to a question when I'm desperate.

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  14. Mechatotoro, I see your point. I sure sounds simple to just through Linux through a USB or a Live CD. I am considerig italling Linux when I have my own computer. For now, since I use the desktop at my house I'll have to settle for Windows... Changing the OS in a computer that is used by 6 people the least is not an easy task, much less asking them to adjust to the new one dispite the beefits it brings.

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  15. Pucca,

    Then don't change the OS! A live CD runs without installing anything. Use it to learn in the meanwhile...As I said, it's a life saver and, in time, if you ever decide to migrate, your learning curve will be almost zero. Although I think it is more a thing of becoming familiar and confident, not "learning". For example, today, my mother can burn DVDs and CDs in Linux with NO training and she could never handle Nero in Windows even after paying for a course.

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