[lug] The changing Linux Community was Re: cp and rm

J. Wayde Allen wallen at lug.boulder.co.us
Fri Aug 3 09:07:48 MDT 2001

On Thu, 2 Aug 2001, D. Stimits wrote:

> they are still contributing by commenting on what they think sucks.

Yes, the key here is to provide a real comment.  Just saying something
like "Linux is crap" doesn't help much.

A recent discussion I had goes something like this:

    Person:  I just tried installing KRUD and it didn't work.

    Me:  Oh really, thats odd I've usually had good luck.  What happened?

    Person:  I put the disks in the drive and it just hung.

    Me:  How far did it get?

    Person:  Oh it basically never started the installation.  By the way
             I also tried FIPS and didn't like some of what it
             said.  Decided it was a poorly written program that wouldn't
             work for me, so stopped it so it wouldn't screw up my disk.

    Me:   OK ... I can't say I've heard of people having problems with
          FIPS, but in any case there are other options - I usually use
          fdisk for instance.

    Person:  Yes, well that would mean I'd have to rebuild my entire
             drive.  This is a brand new laptop with MSWindows
             pre-installed and I really don't want to mess with that.
             I decided that I wouldn't re-partition my drive.  I'll
             just install KRUD in my MSWindows partitions.  After all
             Linux can do that right?

    Me:  Yes, I think so, although I've not tried that, and it isn't the
         most common thing to do, and laptops can sometimes be a bit
         tricky anyway.  Sometimes there is some odd hardware in there.

    Person:  OK, well as I said I tried installing the disks you gave me
             and the install program just quit working.  I decided that
             maybe I didn't have the latest version of package X, so
             downloaded that.  Still didn't work, got the same errors.  
             Figured that if I got a newer set of CD's from you that this
             installation bug might be fixed.

    Me:  Well ... maybe, but if you downloaded the latest version of
         install program X that probably isn't the problem.  Sounds to me
         like you'll probably need to tweak things a bit.  After all,
         you've chosen to do a non-standard install.

    Person:  WELL!  I'm just trying to do an install like most anyone
             just wanting to try Linux would want to do.

    Me:  Maybe you should just try booting the CD if all you want to do is
         see what it looks like?

    Person:  Can't do that, the CD in this box isn't working.  I have to
             do a floppy based install.

    Me:  OK ...

    Person:  I have to tell you, if Linux is planning on replacing
             MSWindows they've got a lot of work to do.  This stuff just
             plain doesn't work.

    Me:  Hmmm ... I've installed a lot of Linux and never really had such
         difficulty.  You probably should remember that you are doing a 
         a somewhat special installation too.


You get the idea.  I don't really think that this was a particularly
helpful exchange.  Sure there are some things in here that one can
glean.  The continued search for an easier installation method is
one, and maybe better support for FAT32 files systems is another.  Also
there is certainly the need to continue learning about, and adapting to,
changing hardware.  Especially in the laptop world.  On the other hand,
this discussion was with a professional programmer.  Also the implication
that MSWindows is "good software" since it can only be installed one way
is interesting.  In retrospect I found it really amazing that this person
would never expect MSWindows to install itself in any way but what the
company intended, and especially not on a non-native file system.  That
Linux was "bad" because it had the flexibility to do this sort of thing,
but didn't just read his mind and do it is completely amazing to me.

OK, I'll get back off the soap box.  I guess I've been doing this long
enough I'm kind of tired and jaded.

- Wayde
  (wallen at lug.boulder.co.us)

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