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Category Archives: The Sideline

As of late, it seems that the linux world is rising in some popularity whether it be the everyday user, people looking for something different, or even the system administrator looking for a break from the norm..

This post is not meant to tow the line for either camp (M$ or Linux), but to address an issue that seems to be growing pretty rampant no matter which OS or Distro you choose. For some time now I have been quite active in My favourite Distro’s forums and IRC support board. What I have steadily seen an increase in what has to be “mis-informed users”, to say that it is from MY viewpoint, too many users look for help in scenarios that could easily be addressed by some legwork before they make the “leap”. What i mean by this is pretty simple if I use a broader example;
You go to your local cell phone shop to get the latest and greatest phone, you get it home and (for 90% of us), open the manual while it is getting its first charge.
After that, if you get stuck with a function you find yourself going back to the manual.

This does not seem to be the case lately in the Linux world (same problem exists in the M$ world, just with the smaller user base in Linux it seems exacerbated), day in and day out, the same questions arise;

– Where do I get my programs from?
– What is a Package Manager
– What is this terminal you speak of?
– My World of War-craft.exe doesn’t load.
– I can’t install M$ Office.
– etc., etc., etc……..

This list goes on and on and on. Now lets look at what I feel is one of the underlying reasons for this and how it can be limited;

– Do your homework! No matter what your friend said, or what you read in some obscure post on the web Linux IS NOT Windows and vice-versa and I will not get into that debate as it is covered, blogged and re blogged as far as bandwidth can navigate on the web! Any comments relating to this point will be deleted.

– Remember that it is ALL about preference and nothing more. Just as some people prefer to drive a Dodge and others prefer to drive -insert make/model here -, I’ll bet dollars to doughnuts you researched that to death before you leapt.

– Understand what it is you are really trying to accomplish. This in itself should be the very principal that guides you! Are you truly looking for an alternative?, Are you mad that because of inexperience Windowz crashed beyond recovery? Just going for a test drive for look and feel? What ever the reason, an educated guess is always the good one and anything less is just plain DUMB.

To continue without these VERY BASIC skills in problem solving is just asking for trouble not to mention, it is mostly VOLUNTEERS handling the support and not a paid service, also most of these users started out as new too. They borked, re-installed, re-borked and re-installed again before they became proficient. As a good friend of mine said, and I quote:

“For one to think that it is as simple as booting to the install disk, installing the distro and on reboot magical things will happen like Unicorns dancing across your desktop while farting rainbows in itself is ludicrous”

In my opinion NO matter what OS you chose to go with, the current trend in today’s population of “I want it now, and it should work!” is going to be a problem across the board, whether it is your OS, Car or microwaveable meal, in the end it is the user to blame for 90% of a computer’s problems, whether it be due to mis-information, rushing through well laid out documentation to get to the end and wish a result, or even blindly following someone’s advice. Remember what your Mom always used to say?
“If your friend went and jumped off a cliff, would you?” Take a step back and think it through is all I guess I’m really trying to say.


Construct the idea of what you want to accomplish, what tools are available for you to accomplish it, then research it again, decide, then execute!

Pretty simple huh?