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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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Showing messages 1 through 7 of 7.

  • 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.
    • stupid individual.
      2004-02-09 03:57:57  jwenting [View]

      By your very response you DO give Linux a bad name, or at least the existing user community.

      In your response (and it's a typical one for Linux users) you:
      1) call someone who has a problem "stupid"
      2) tell him his problems aren't with Linux but with Windows (it worked there but shouldn't have...).
      3) claim that there are no problems in Linux but only some imperfections in software running on it (software that most users consider part of the operating system)
      4) you didn't even try to help solve the problem after chewing out the person having the problem.

      Fine sample of the friendly and ever helpful Linux user you are...
  • 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.
    • Furthermore...
      2004-02-08 13:53:07  thursday [View]

      kenengel: This is true, "unfortunately, an 8-year-old will neither understand nor care". I have seen this myself, people are willing to call something rubbish straight away. Which is understandable if they are used to having everything work fine under Windows.

      I didn't want to mention the Microsoft monopoly. But this is definately a major issue, and also the way that we depend upon so many things which are patented/commercial/closed source, which do not have Linux support because the vendors know that Windows is the most popular platform, and do not see the financial gain in supporting Linux. I personally believe this is one of the major factors holding Linux back in the mainstream, in the end most people don't care what they are using, as long as it works the way they want it to. However, open source always seems to find its way around obstacles, the future is definately brighter. I admire WINE and the Crossover Office suite for enabling my friends to carry on using the Windows software they *need* on Linux.

      I do believe Internet Explorer works under the crossover plugin, but I think it may also work with the free WINE implementation.
    • Jonathan Gennick photo Furthermore...
      2004-02-08 16:03:09  Jonathan Gennick | O'Reilly AuthorO'Reilly Blogger [View]

      Another possible solution is for me to buy a PC with a faster CPU. From what I can tell so far, the issue with the Lego game is entirely one of performance. I'm running on a fairly old box, with a 466mhz Celeron.
      • Furthermore...
        2004-02-08 17:34:39  thursday [View]

        gennick: Sorry if I sounded very critical before. its been a bad day :( bad excuse.

        In actual fact, I shouldn't be scorning criticism, since it is accounts like yours which will improve Linux and Open Source software. Every now and again I try different distros on an old machine which my sisters and brother use, I try to see how easy it is for them to use out-of-the-box without me tinkering with it. Its certainly getting there, but criticism is important (what a U-turn). There is even a section on Mozilla's website where I believe they request that users submit websites which do not work, so that Mozilla can become more compatible even with websites that do not comply with standards.

        As for the flash game. I think that perhaps the difference in performance is down to the Flash plugin made available by Macromedia for Linux. Although I could be wrong, I have personally found that flash movies run with better performance on my Windows XP 400Mhz, than on my Linux 1.7Ghz laptop. Even with Linux on that 400Mhz machine, the performance is often choppy. The older version of the plugin even used to crash Mozilla.

        WINE allows you to run Internet Explorer. I think that should solve the problem for your son. Of course you would need to install WINE. I make the assumption that you are new to Linux. Installing WINE isnt exacly easy for a beginner and can take a while :(

        You can get it here:
        http://www.winehq.com/

        This is mostly from memory...I'm not sure whether Sun's Linux comes with WINE? These breif instructions show installing WINE from source (this takes a long time).

        You can download the source tar.gz from the download section on winehq.com

        Open the console terminal. Change directory to where you saved the tar.gz file. "using cd", ie "cd /home/jonathan/"

        The following command will extract the source code:
        tar -xzvf Wine-*.tar.gz

        then cd into that directory
        cd Wine*

        as far as I can remember you execute:
        "./configure"
        "make"

        It's best to then leave the computer chugging away for a long time, until it has finished compiling the source code.

        You then need to change to "superuser" mode, by typing "su", hit return, then enter the root password (I think this is the Sun Linux serial number - maybe?)

        Then execute the following command:
        "make install"

        When that's done, WINE is now installed on your system. A SUPERB website with help and advice on running Windows software under WINE is available here:
        http://frankscorner.org/

        This includes configuring WINE.

        A mini-tutorial shows how to install IE6.0
        http://frankscorner.org/modules.php?op=modload&name=Sections&file=index&req=viewarticle&artid=49&page=1

        Frankscorner even has a forum, where people have most likely had the same problems you have encountered.

        I hope that this might be helpful.
        Andy
      • Furthermore...
        2004-02-09 09:06:29  jinjelsnaps [View]

        dude you were running WinXP on a 466 Celeron??? No wonder it took the thing 2.5 minutes to boot up! How much RAM did you have in that puppy, 128mb? (sorry, just giving you a hard time ;-)

        Having worked with the stupid thing for as long as I have, I don't even consider putting WinXP on a machine unless it's over 1ghz and has at least 512mb of RAM (DDR preferably).

        Windows 2000 might have been a better choice (though I suppose not for gaming) for the hardware.

        In any event, I totally get what you're saying about your son's frustrations. Hehe I remember that one of the first things I tried to do when I installed Linux a few years back was to try to play that Tux Racer game...except it locked up everytime. And took the whole OS with it.

        Sometimes I get the feeling that Linux is better than Windows...only if you don't run a GUI and have the exact right type of generic hardware...

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