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Weblog:   Linux Brings Frustration
Subject:   stupid individual.
Date:   2004-02-08 11:30:11
From:   kbixler
Response to: stupid individual.

People that write replies like the one above are what give Linux a bad name.

Maybe, just maybe, you could offer some helpful advice before jumping down someone's throat. The article writer had just installed Linux yesterday, and his son is having problems with websites. Your answer to his problem is to attack him? How mature.

1) Two days ago, his son's websites worked fine in IE on XP. Today, they don't work in Mozilla on Linux. "If you could only be bothered to find out what they are" is not a helpful response to his problem, especially when he just discovered the problem. Suggesting an alternate browser that worked better for you when you had problems would be. Personally, I'm curious as to whether the sites work in Mozilla on XP or if it's an issue specific to Mozilla on Linux.

2) Try explaining to an eight year old that he can no longer visit lego.com because it doesn't pass the w3 validator. If you think this is an easy task, I suspect you don't have much exposure to small children.

3) In the public eye, Linux is not just a kernel. It's the whole distribution that comes on the CD or in the download. I love how Linux aficionados are quick to claim "it's just a kernel" whenever you run into a problem with Linux as a whole. No one uses just the kernel.

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  • Furthermore...
    2004-02-08 13:31:15  charliebrown [View]

    It's not the "fault" of lego.com, et. al. It's the unfortunate consequence of

    1. Microsoft is allowed to bulldoze competing browsers out of the market,
    2. Web sites that are trying to make a buck make their applications work with the dominant browser, rather than with standards.
    3. Microsoft doesn't care about standards, indeed, deliberately skews them and invents their own proprietary features, so that web sites only work with said dominant browser.

    It's just the state of things. Also, unfortunately, an 8-year-old will neither understand nor care. I do hope the plug-ins suggestion below works for you. Other than that, is it possible to run IE under Wine, and will those sites work that way? Seems like a long shot, but I would at least try it.

    After that, the only other thing to try is running XP under VMWare. Ugh - more money to spend. It's a trade-off you'll have to evaluate yourself.
  • stupid individual.
    2004-02-08 13:16:36  thursday [View]

    Firstly I do not give Linux a bad name. By my previous post I was not trying to sound intimidating OR elitist, and apologise if that is how I came across.

    I was responding to the author's inference that he was thinking of abandoning an operating system distribution purely on the basis of the web browser that came with it. I was outlining the difference between the core of the operating system and the software that you run on top of it.

    I have helped plenty of people with the switch to Linux, and surprisingly, I did not bite their heads off.

    I do have exposure to smaller children, since I have younger sisters and a brother. All of which have not had a problem with Linux. The real issue here is that Linux and Linux software is _different_ than that on Windows. Unfortunately some people will just reject something, purely because they cannot be bothered to find out how to get it to work. And problems with Linux can be solved by using google.

    While Linux is approaching the stage where it will be super easy and everything will just work, there are issues that are not the fault of Linux or the software running on top of it. The lack of support for Linux from proprietry software houses is one of these issues. Especially when they provide plugins and software which are inferior to the equivalent available on Windows.

    I myself started using computers when I was 8 years old using Windows 3.1, and have used Windows far longer than Linux. (Ten years of Windows, 3.1, 95, 98, 2000, XP). I switched to Linux two years ago, there were *many* things which didn't work as expected - however most of these issues have now been fixed. I didn't immediately think of moving back to Windows. I learned Linux in my spare time. People seem to forget that they had to *learn* Windows in the first place. And there are bound to be some hiccups along the way.

    Finally, while I refer to my machine as "running Linux", Linux *IS* just a kernel. I could just as well be running the X server and KDE on top of FreeBSD, or OpenBSD, or another *NIX. But I do understand why he refers to the system as Linux. Linux is just a kernel, but the kernel is arguably the most important part of the OS.

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