Tuesday, August 02, 2005

I Hate Linux

(Originally posted here)

I love how the linux fans scare 99% of n00bs away from linux by turning every thread into a huge debate about which distribution is better, etc... Seriously, stop scaring away the potential converts! First off, quit it with the unfamiliar terminology. Someone who is just starting out is not going to know what dependencies or binaries are, or the difference between KDE and GNOME or whatever. Second, you should stop arguing with yourselves about whatever you're arguing about, and just recommend a good distro for a person with no prior linux experience. I know we're somehow inferior because we weren't born with intricate linux knowledge pre-programmed into our brains, but perhaps a "candypanzy" linux where its a bit easier to install and run would be better for us, so we can learn and eventually move on to something a bit more difficult. But for now we don't need to see your penis-measurement contests of who's running the linux distribution that's so complex that it takes an entire team of MIT graduate programmers three years to install it.

As you may have guessed, your first experiences with linux WILL be painfully frustrating. So either grit your teeth and work your way through it, or get murderously angry and give up, like I did. And don't expect the linux "community" to be of any help. I know they are rumoured to be very welcoming and helpful and whatever, but I don't think it counts if you aren't already one of "them". In my experience, you'll first be criticized for choosing the wrong distro, then you'll get made fun of for not knowing how to do something basic (the "stupid n00b" effect), and then if you're very lucky someone will post a helpful response - or at least it would be helpful if you had a Ph.D. in Advanced Linux and possibly a Bachelor's degree in C Programming. Truth is, you're on your own. Don't expect the documentation to help you, because it assumes you already have a working understanding of linux. And no matter how hard you google, there will never be a good starter's guide for linux. This is because once you understand linux, it alters your brain chemistry in such a way that you regard non-linux users as a lower life form. To them, writing a starter's guide to linux would be like writing a television operator's manual for a squirrel - completely pointless.

So my advice is to just stick with Windows. And before all the linuxers start protesting, I'll answer their three main arguments that they have for convincing people to attempt the switch:

1. Linux is free!

This is the most common argument they use. A variation is "Linux is open-source!", however we'll consider them equal (oh yes, we're all just *dying* for an OS that we can add to ourselves - it's a good thing I have years of free time so I can read the source code, and I'm glad I'm the smartest person on the planet so I can actually understand it, much less be able to make useless modifications to it without accidentally causing it to format my hard drive or blow up the processor...). You know, lots of things are free. Dirt is free. But more importantly, YOU ALREADY PAID FOR WINDOWS. So why are you getting rid of it?

2. Linux is more stable!

Windows XP has crashed maybe twice since I got it three and a half years ago. I think that's stable enough.

3. Linux is more secure!

So is Windows if you install a decent virus-scanner. Unfortunately, this fails as an argument anyways because the people who need the most protection from virii and hackers and the like (you know, the type of person who opens every single email attachment) are the least likely to even have the mental capacity to install linux


So there. Just stick with Windows. It's like the blue pill to Linux's red. But I happen to agree that ignorance is bliss.
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