Author Topic: Linux OS for a new user  (Read 9070 times)

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Offline james_s

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Re: Linux OS for a new user
« Reply #100 on: September 05, 2019, 03:17:47 am »
I'm reminded of years ago when I tried for a week to give away a sofa on Craigslist. Then I reposted it for sale for $10 and it was gone that afternoon. 
 

Online NiHaoMike

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Re: Linux OS for a new user
« Reply #101 on: September 05, 2019, 03:26:15 am »
I've also talked to many people and told them about Linux, how fast it is, and that it is FREE, including free software like LibreOffice, VLC, Audacity, KDenLive, Blender, GIMP, and the list goes on and on and on.... and they always wonder "what is the catch?", or that if it's free it must be garbage. They simply CANNOT believe or wrap their minds around the fact that it is free!!!! There is a psychology behind this that seems counter-intuitive but it is happening!
They're probably used to the "app store" on their smartphones and how a large percentage of (free) stuff on it are junk.
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Offline Kilrah

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Re: Linux OS for a new user
« Reply #102 on: September 05, 2019, 10:28:27 am »
What packages does the 'casual user' need to build from source?!
That can start with a simple Goggle for an equivalent to some nice helper tool you're used to having on your usual OS.

That's one of the main things for me. Yes on linux all the basic stuff works, but I've got many little tools on Windows that make my life easier, and there are no equivalents or they are more frustrating than helping.
 

Offline soldar

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Re: Linux OS for a new user
« Reply #103 on: September 05, 2019, 03:02:36 pm »
The number of Linux distros fractionates the market... There are so many players, it can be confusing to casual adopters, especially those that do not know where to start. While some people like Mint, others like Red Hat/Fedora and others like Ubuntu.... each has it's particular flavour and Desktop Environment, the fact that there are so many options for the "feel and look" also can paralyze some new users.

I've also talked to many people and told them about Linux, how fast it is, and that it is FREE, including free software like LibreOffice, VLC, Audacity, KDenLive, Blender, GIMP, and the list goes on and on and on.... and they always wonder "what is the catch?", or that if it's free it must be garbage. They simply CANNOT believe or wrap their minds around the fact that it is free!!!! There is a psychology behind this that seems counter-intuitive but it is happening!

I use Linux Mint and can say many good things about it but I can also recount tales of woe. Yes, It works out of the box ... Sort of. it has many wrinkled edges that need a bit more cooking. You drag an icon to the desktop and instead of staying where you put it it moves a few spaces to the right and down.  You need to run a different version of [Nemo] with admin privileges and this version cannot remember its own settings. It is crappy in the most basic ways. Free but crappy.

My wife is Chinese and we need Chinese input. Good luck with that because it is an ordeal. Something that in Windows is done with very few clicks requires a lot of time and investigating and no one in the forums can really offer simple help. And once I had installed Chinese input in one computer I could not replicate it in another because I had tried so many paths and steps I could not remember how I got to where I was. And once it is working in one computer it works in some programs but not in others (like Firefox). And it means hours Googling and hours testing and trying things.

And much of my favorite software does not run on Linux.

Again, I am satisfied with some aspects of Linux but it is far from easy or perfect. It is for geeks. If you have a geek in the family who maintains the system then yes, you can do basic stuff like you can do it in Windows. But when you run into any problem, and you will, often, then you better be knowledgeable and patient or have someone do it for you. And even then you can ask in the forums and come away without an answer.

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Offline Monkeh

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Re: Linux OS for a new user
« Reply #104 on: September 05, 2019, 03:05:37 pm »
You drag an icon to the desktop and instead of staying where you put it it moves a few spaces to the right and down.

This is called snapping and most people appreciate the assistance in keeping things orderly. You just need to learn where the grid is (yes, it could perhaps draw you one).
 

Offline soldar

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Re: Linux OS for a new user
« Reply #105 on: September 05, 2019, 03:22:43 pm »
You drag an icon to the desktop and instead of staying where you put it it moves a few spaces to the right and down.
This is called snapping and most people appreciate the assistance in keeping things orderly. You just need to learn where the grid is (yes, it could perhaps draw you one).
You can call it whatever you want but it is a known issue with Linux Mint. It does not snap to the grid like in Windows; it jumps half way across the screen and you have to look for it. I have not heard of anyone who appreciates this known fault. 
YMMV.
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Offline Monkeh

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Re: Linux OS for a new user
« Reply #106 on: September 05, 2019, 03:24:22 pm »
You drag an icon to the desktop and instead of staying where you put it it moves a few spaces to the right and down.
This is called snapping and most people appreciate the assistance in keeping things orderly. You just need to learn where the grid is (yes, it could perhaps draw you one).
You can call it whatever you want but it is a known issue with Linux Mint. It does not snap to the grid like in Windows; it jumps half way across the screen and you have to look for it. I have not heard of anyone who appreciates this known fault. 
YMMV.

Then there may be an actual bug. Perhaps you should see into why it hasn't been fixed.
 

Offline Nominal Animal

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Re: Linux OS for a new user
« Reply #107 on: September 05, 2019, 03:32:19 pm »
Linux [...] is for geeks.
Call me a geek or a nerd to my face, and you'll get hurt. >:D

However, I fully agree with the underlying sentiment: you definitely should have someone to configure and tune it to your needs.

It does not need to be a family member or a friend, either.  For example, any organization considering switching to or using Linux, should first get someone to analyse their existing workflow and tools, and prepare a design or plan for the workstations.  It should include user interface details, like pre-prepared default templates in word processing and spreadsheet programs, uniform font selection and defaults, and obviously application choices considering interoperability and all work-related tasks; maintenance details like updates and upgrade policies; and infosec features like firewall configs, tripwires, remote logging, and stuff like fail2ban (I love fail2ban).

I wished more people understood that that is part of the actual cost of switching to Linux.  If you don't do it, you'll be working with an unsuitable tool, like a dull kitchen knife.  You can learn to do it yourself, but it takes time and effort.  If it is done right, you'll have a customized tool near-perfect for your needs.
 

Offline Nominal Animal

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Re: Linux OS for a new user
« Reply #108 on: September 05, 2019, 04:00:00 pm »
I use Linux Mint and [...] you drag an icon to the desktop and instead of staying where you put it it moves a few spaces to the right and down.
Nemo defaults to auto-arranging icons.  To control how the Desktop icons are arranged:
    Right-click on the desktop, to open the desktop context menu
    In the Desktop submenu, untick Auto-arrange
    Optionally, in the same submenu, untick Align to grid, to keep icons exactly where you want.

In Nemo (file explorer), folder icon arrangement options are slightly different.
    In the View menu, there is an Arrange icons submenu.
    That same submenu is available in the folder context menu, when you right-click on the folder background.
    You can place icons Manually, or By name etc.
    The default layout is quite sparse.  You can choose Compact layout instead.

This is exactly the kind of difference between desktop environments (not just Windows/Mac/Linux, but KDE/Gnome/XFCE etc.), that throws users off.
However, in all Linux desktop environments, there is a sort of a context menu where these options are managed.  You just need to be aware of its existence.

The entire approach to UX is fundamentally different, you see.  In FOSS DEs, the underlying idea tends to be "if you don't like it, change (configure) it to be more to your liking", instead of "this is how it is, take it or leave it".  (GNOME is a weirdo, because its developers are going down the we-know-better-than-users path, and are removing configuration options.  Which is why I don't like it much.)
This kind of mind-twists abound, and make it difficult to move to Linux, unless your mind is willing and able to do the shifts.
Which is also why I believe Linux is easier for complete newbies than it is for those with lots of Windows experience (unless they are proficient with other OSes as well, as then their minds are more aware of those shifts I mentioned).

There is nothing Linux-specific in that, by the way.  I first saw this phenomenon in 1999, when I created and taught an introductory IT workshop/course; basic stuff like email, web browsing and search engines, fundamentals of word processing, spreadsheets, and scanning and photo editing.  The machines happened to be Mac OS 7.5.3's, with all material as web pages, and attendance optional.  The exam was a set of practical tasks, graded pass/fail only.
Users with Windows experience, and especially users who had learned Word on their own, had the most difficulty.  (Well, scratch that; the ones with the biggest difficulties was a small fraction who insisted on being shown where to click, as they did not want to think about all this computer stuff, and because that workshop/course existed to ensure the students had the necessary skills to participate in the studies, you couldn't learn that stuff by rote and pass.)
The single biggest technical hurdle was undestanding the purpose of styles in word processing, and how they are used to produce indexes and tables automatically.  Some had learned to use Word in a way that they managed everything by hand, from fonts to hand-editing page numbers on the bottom of the pages.  Unless they learned how to use the styles for formatting, they failed, because the test required the construction of a structured text of a few dozen pages, with "lorem ipsum" content; they just didn't have time enough to create a document of that size in the time allotted.  (Using styles as the web pages explained, you could do it in fifteen minutes or so.)

I had observed both students and teachers at that time, and knew that to be the case; which is why I approached the word processing part from a "this saves you oodles of effort and time" viewpoint.  Funny thing is, I don't remember anyone failing the word processing part twice in the year I did that. :D
(Also, although the material included screenshots and the machines had Microsoft Office, it explicitly explained that all word processing programs have a similar logic.  By design, it was called "fundamentals of word processing", instead of something like Basics of Microsoft Word.)

I hope this unnecessary background anecdote shows that my advice originates from the wish of people using their tools efficiently and without undue pain or effort; there is nothing ideological in it.
« Last Edit: September 05, 2019, 04:05:55 pm by Nominal Animal »
 

Offline nctnico

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Re: Linux OS for a new user
« Reply #109 on: September 05, 2019, 04:44:38 pm »
I'm reminded of years ago when I tried for a week to give away a sofa on Craigslist. Then I reposted it for sale for $10 and it was gone that afternoon.
Epic! I have the same experience. I never give stuff away for free. I always 'sell' it. But it has happened to me that people left without paying (around 10 euro) when I wanted to get rid of a large amount of concrete tiles. They did take all the tiles though so I was happy.
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Offline soldar

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Re: Linux OS for a new user
« Reply #110 on: September 05, 2019, 05:01:03 pm »
I use Linux Mint and [...] you drag an icon to the desktop and instead of staying where you put it it moves a few spaces to the right and down.
Nemo defaults to auto-arranging icons.  To control how the Desktop icons are arranged:
    Right-click on the desktop, to open the desktop context menu
    In the Desktop submenu, untick Auto-arrange
    Optionally, in the same submenu, untick Align to grid, to keep icons exactly where you want.

In Nemo (file explorer), folder icon arrangement options are slightly different.
    In the View menu, there is an Arrange icons submenu.
    That same submenu is available in the folder context menu, when you right-click on the folder background.
    You can place icons Manually, or By name etc.
    The default layout is quite sparse.  You can choose Compact layout instead.

I spent some time in the Linux Mint forum searching for answers and all I got was that they were known issues.  This was some time ago and maybe workarounds have been found since I last looked. 

For instance, regarding the problem that Nemo as root does not remember preferences I now find https://github.com/linuxmint/nemo/issues/1676 So a workaround seems to have been found but it will take me quite some time and effort to implement this and see if it works. This is an issue that never should have happened in the first place.

Regarding the Nemo desktop, it has quite a few deficiencies. Icons jumping around is just one. Icons sometimes overlap. Icons seem to have different grids and the only way to get them all on the same grid is to select them all and move them down and then up again. That seems to put them all in line. It is really shoddy work. (Yes, I know, I got what I paid for.)  These things in Windows work flawlessly. I get the impression the developers of Linux are more interested in moving forward with fancy, geeky things than in making something stable and solid. And it could well be that I am in a minority when I want stability and reliability rather than flashy novelty.

There might be solutions and work-arounds for all these problems but they are so basic they should never have happened in the first place. I could go on and on.

I am not close to my Linux box so I cannot go into details but, believe me, anyone heading into Linux better have a lot of time and patience or have someone do it for them.

And yet I am moving into Linux Mint because I refuse to use Windows 10.

I am reminded of a joke. A pastor was in a new church and officiating a funeral for someone everyone hated. As he personally did not know the dead man he asked if anyone would say some words of eulogy but there was an awkward silence while people looked at each other. The pastor insisted, there must be someone who could say something good about the deceased. After a long, uncomfortable silence a man timidly raised his hand and the pastor asked him what good words he could say about the deceased. The man blurted "his brother was worse!".

Ok, so if I am asked to say something good about Linux I would say that, on the whole, Windows is worse. :)

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Offline eugenenine

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Re: Linux OS for a new user
« Reply #111 on: September 05, 2019, 05:08:37 pm »
I have found that Windows 10 needs a geek with a lot of time and patience to keep it working, my wife and kids have had multiple issues that I've had to spend time fixing with their windows 10 systems and my Linux systems I never need to mess with.
So I have the opposite experience than a lot here.  But I got tired of fixing computers because I did it at work so I didn't want to at home, would rather spend time on other hobbies nd found that linux takes less work than windows.
 

Offline Monkeh

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Re: Linux OS for a new user
« Reply #112 on: September 05, 2019, 05:14:32 pm »
For instance, regarding the problem that Nemo as root does not remember preferences I now find https://github.com/linuxmint/nemo/issues/1676 So a workaround seems to have been found but it will take me quite some time and effort to implement this and see if it works. This is an issue that never should have happened in the first place.

Because, for a start, you never should have run it as root.. but that's a whole argument we'll not get into.

Quote
Regarding the Nemo desktop, it has quite a few deficiencies.

Nemo is not a desktop, it is a single tool in the environment.

Quote
I get the impression the developers of Linux are more interested in moving forward with fancy, geeky things than in making something stable and solid.

Your impression is entirely incorrect. The developers of Linux are much more interested in making a kernel than anything else. Your desktop environment is not developed by them, for them, or for the majority of users of the OS.

You really must remember that there is no single group of developers for your desktop experience (or for most of the OS, to be fair). The primary goal of the overall system has nothing to do with your desktop environment. This is not Windows, this is not Mac, this is not any regular development model of a single system.
 

Offline soldar

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Re: Linux OS for a new user
« Reply #113 on: September 05, 2019, 05:38:30 pm »
Because, for a start, you never should have run it as root.. but that's a whole argument we'll not get into.

Except when I need to run it as root to do something or I can't do it.  This is just a silly argument. There is a known bug in the software and your answer is to not use it.

The developers of Linux are much more interested in making a kernel than anything else. Your desktop environment is not developed by them, for them, or for the majority of users of the OS.

Fine but I don't care about the reasons. I am a user who needs a desktop that works. If Linux is aimed at super-duper users who do not have much use for a desktop then it is not for me because I am not a super-duper-command-line-user, I am only a lowly, non-expert user.

This way of thinking and this attitude is what has kept most people away from Linux. And it is definitely keeping me away to a certain extent because I have no interest in learning the deep language of the command line, I just want a computer that works easily and simply. Like most casual users.

When I say Nemo has a bug and the reaction I get is one of derision it does not exactly encourage me to move to Linux.

It seems Linux fulfills the need of some people to feel superior to the rest of mortals who just want a computer that works. That is something that has pushed many people away.
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Offline edy

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Re: Linux OS for a new user
« Reply #114 on: September 05, 2019, 06:30:43 pm »
You really must remember that there is no single group of developers for your desktop experience (or for most of the OS, to be fair). The primary goal of the overall system has nothing to do with your desktop environment.

Yes I can relate to that... I was having some terrible times with a particular configuration a few years ago. For some reason after I upgraded to a new major version of Ubuntu I lost the ability to load my old Desktop Environment. The only thing I could do was drop into another non-graphical shell (Ctrl-Alt-1) and install other environments. After a bit of work, I ended up being able to start a graphical desktop again but it was Gnome. My old one was listed at login but wouldn't initialize properly. Then I started playing with Extensions, which led me to record the video you see below:



Soon after, the entire thing experienced a major meltdown and I ended up backing everything up and reinstalling the latest Ubuntu Studio from scratch which reverted all back to my original Xfce desktop environment. Since then I have chosen *NOT* to venture into anything else for the time being, although I have other distros I have used with Gnome and they play nice. I try not to mess around with desktop environments but stick the one that defaults with the distro and try not to modify it too much.
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Offline Nominal Animal

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Re: Linux OS for a new user
« Reply #115 on: September 05, 2019, 07:44:15 pm »
I spent some time in the Linux Mint forum searching for answers and all I got was that they were known issues.
The desktop environment (DE) you use is called Cinnamon. It is a fork of Gnome 2, and is not "just" Linux; you can use it on e.g. FreeBSD, too.  Nemo source is in the Linux Mint Nemo Git repository at GitHub.  Nemo (all of Cinnamon) uses GTK+ for its widgets, and GTK+ uses OOP in C, which may look a bit odd the first time you see such code.

In a very real, very practical sense, Nemo is just another application that runs as yourself/the user, and is nothing special, even if it does happen to use the root window ("desktop" or "wallpaper" in X11/Xorg).  It has no extra privileges or hardware access.

Desktop environments and such utilities don't get as much attention from developers as say the kernel or device driver, because that kind of eye-candy doesn't seem to interest most developers.  Because of the long history, and the very interactive and asynchronous nature of such apps ("signals" for updates) means the codebase takes a while to get used to.

GTK+ apps can have user-specific preferences that you can access via e.g. dconf-editor.  For example, /org/nemo/desktop/ contains some relevant knobs, like horizontal-grid-adjust and vertical-grid-adjust, where you can adjust the grid spacing between 50% and 150% (0.5 to 1.5).

Just out of interest, I took a look at Nemo.  The icon arrangement stuff is in src/nemo-icon-view-container.c.  After a quick check, I think that the cases where dropping a new file onto desktop or into a folder "jumps" the icon (and it is not just a case of auto-arrange being enabled), is actually a race window. If so, the solution is to swap the second and third if clauses in src/nemo-icon-view-container.c:nemo_icon_view_container_move_icon(), so that snap_position()/nemo_icon_container_icon_set_position() is called before nemo_icon_container_redo_layout().  However, without seeing and understanding the issue, and reproducing it for myself, I am not sure, and this is just a guess.
 
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Offline Bud

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Re: Linux OS for a new user
« Reply #116 on: September 05, 2019, 08:06:23 pm »
The developers of Linux are much more interested in making a kernel than anything else. Your desktop environment is not developed by them, for them, or for the majority of users of the OS.
Thank you very much , finally a clear explanation why Linux is such piece of shit from user perspective.
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Offline james_s

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Re: Linux OS for a new user
« Reply #117 on: September 05, 2019, 08:24:00 pm »
Thank you very much , finally a clear explanation why Linux is such piece of shit from user perspective.

Sorry I'm just not seeing it. I've been using it on several machines regularly for the past 5 or so years, and on servers before that. I moved my mom's laptop over to Linux a couple years ago after I got tired of fixing Windows all the time and it's been smooth sailing, it just works. Your comment sounds like someone who played with Linux 15 years ago and never touched it again.

As has been mentioned multiple times there are many different groups, the kernel developers focus on the kernel but there are multiple distros focused on making a polished package for regular people and they have done quite a good job. The Ubuntu and Mint releases from the past few years are every bit as polished and functional as Windows, actually they're a lot more polished than what Windows has turned into. As long as you have supported hardware, which is not particularly hard to find, they install and work like any other modern OS and can be used "out of the box" without any command line hacking whatsoever.
 

Offline soldar

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Re: Linux OS for a new user
« Reply #118 on: September 05, 2019, 09:37:40 pm »
The desktop environment (DE) you use is called Cinnamon.

Nominal Animal, thanks so much for your explanations which I find very helpful. I will look into several of the things you mention.

Having said that, to a casual user the desktop, the GUI, is the OS. I do not accept the premise that I should like the OS even though the GUI sucks just like I don't accept a company representative telling me "don't blame me, I only work here". No, to me you are the face of the company and if you disclaim responsibility for what your company did to me then get me someone with authority and responsibility.

So telling me the interface by which I interact with the OS sucks but the OS is great makes no sense to me because I need the GUI to work flawlessly. It's like if you tell me you are selling me a great car, it has a great motor but, unfortunately, no steering wheel.

Your explanation helps me understand why Cinnamon is buggy but it does not resolve the buggyness.  If I assign you a job, you getting the job done well and you giving me a very valid explanation of why you couldn't do the job do not have the same value to me.

Pros may interact with Linux mainly via the command line and have little use for Cinnamon or Nemo but that is not my case nor the case of home users. We are used to Windows GUI and want something similar. Home users are not going back to the days of DOS.

So you explain well why the Linux community have little interest in optimizing desktop and file manager but that, in turn, explains why many home, non-pro, users are discouraged. Most of us would rather have a product built as a unit than a product built in several parts by different companies and the parts don't always work together perfectly.   

I have been using Linux Mint for over three years now and will continue to do so and learn but I have to say it takes time and effort. 

Thanks again for a very interesting explanation.
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Offline Kilrah

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Re: Linux OS for a new user
« Reply #119 on: September 05, 2019, 09:48:53 pm »
Then there may be an actual bug. Perhaps you should see into why it hasn't been fixed.
That's what a dev/enthusiast will do, but again for a casual user it's none of their business. They couldn't care less and probably don't understand at all what bug trackers etc are, for them they just expect the thing to work in a commonly recognised standard way and if it doesn't "it's just broken".

The entire approach to UX is fundamentally different, you see.  In FOSS DEs, the underlying idea tends to be "if you don't like it, change (configure) it to be more to your liking", instead of "this is how it is, take it or leave it".  (GNOME is a weirdo, because its developers are going down the we-know-better-than-users path, and are removing configuration options.  Which is why I don't like it much.)
And that is actually the problem in many cases. The vast majority of people don't understand how things work or should be, when presented with options they don't understand them and have no idea whether or why they'd want one or the other, they'd much rather be given something that they just learn to use and hope it'll never change so that they aren't thrown off and have to relearn. That's why Apple is so popular even if I find a lot of stuff frustratingly limited, and Linux is such a minority in desktop use even if you can do anything you could want with it.
« Last Edit: September 05, 2019, 09:50:31 pm by Kilrah »
 

Offline Nominal Animal

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Re: Linux OS for a new user
« Reply #120 on: September 05, 2019, 11:17:30 pm »
Having said that, to a casual user the desktop, the GUI, is the OS.
True, unfortunately.  Thing is, Linux has several good GUIs that are completely separate.

I, for example, like XFCE and LXDE more.  I do keep using Cinnamon, because I like to volunteer my help to faculty of science students at an university, using this same Linux distribution and hardware.  Others prefer KDE Plasma, and so on.  Many distributions, like Ubuntu and Mint, allow one to pick their DE (Desktop Environment) at login time.

It would help everyone, if we could push people to use more precise terms, however.  For casual users' problem reports, the desktop environment and the distribution names are the key.  For example, starting by stating "I'm using Cinnamon desktop on Linux Mint", or "I'm using KDE desktop on Kubuntu".  The main benefit would be that doing a web search would point one to the right set of developers to talk to.  It would also make it easier to compare desktop environments before using them, and even to find whether a bug is in the application (it happens in all DEs) or in the DE (it happens in only one).  If they all are called "Linux", the problem space is too vast for anyone to help!

(When I was an IT support person when I was young, I remember getting the most unhelpful problem report of all time, once.  It was a post-it note on my office door: "One of the computers has a problem! Please fix."  That is a literal translation.  The computer was not specified, and there were two possible classrooms with dozen in each (based on the signature in the note).  Neither was there any help as to what kind of a problem it was.  Because I was young, and prided myself for keeping the machines in working order, that "problem report" bugged me for days.. I think I might have reimaged the machines anyway, just to be sure, the next Monday. I still remember this, and not fondly.  Communication failures may feel like unimportant minor issues, but they are the root cause to most problems!)

(Around the same time as above, when I worked more with HTML and various types of people, I played with the idea of writing a guide: HTML to Humanists. The key is the concept of container: each document node being a bucket, with the attributes being its lid, and the child nodes being the content in the bucket. The entire document is a tree (in the graph theory sense), and can be visualized as one big bucket with specific other buckets in it, with their contents and order defining the visuals.  I used this analog to explain how web pages work, structurally, to several very non-technical people.  Successfully.  Now, the reason I bring this up, is to show that sometimes, correctly expressing certain concepts, and getting them right and well defined, makes everything else orders of magnitude easier.  It acts as a sort of a trigger, starting a cascade, where things start slotting into place almost effortlessly.  These concepts, and how they change our viewpoints, are crucial here.  I wish I knew how to viral-meme these!)
 

Offline Nominal Animal

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Re: Linux OS for a new user
« Reply #121 on: September 05, 2019, 11:36:00 pm »
In FOSS DEs, the underlying idea tends to be "if you don't like it, change (configure) it to be more to your liking", instead of "this is how it is, take it or leave it".
And that is actually the problem in many cases. The vast majority of people don't understand how things work or should be, when presented with options they don't understand them and have no idea whether or why they'd want one or the other, they'd much rather be given something that they just learn to use and hope it'll never change so that they aren't thrown off and have to relearn. That's why Apple is so popular [.]
Yes!  And that is why many Linux communities may feel hostile for such users.  And that is why I do not recommend any existing Linux distributions for such users.

Apple in particular has done a lot to fine-tune the user experience for their users. If one is looking for a computer/OS that does not need tuning out of the box, and has an approved/recommended way to do stuff, Mac is a good choice.  In the balance, you lose some upgradeability (because of Apples hardware choices), and the hardware cycle is relatively fast, so you do pay for it too.

My own efforts are geared more towards people using their tools efficiently, saving time and effort.  For scientific and engineering use, to show them powerful enough ways of combining tools that nothing is a question of "is this possible?" anymore, and become questions like "do I want to spend that much time (or processing power) to solve this this way?" instead.  I cannot care about "casual" users who mostly use a browser and email, because that sort of use is outside my ken; my suggestions would be like a trucker giving advice to a bicyclist.
 

Offline nctnico

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Re: Linux OS for a new user
« Reply #122 on: September 06, 2019, 12:12:33 am »
Just a thought. What is interesting is that Apple, Google, Microsoft have 'application stores' nowadays where you can find all kinds of applications. Most Linux distributions have had this for decades. About half an hour ago I wanted to mess around with some audio files. Google for recommended Linux audio editors, copy the name of one of the top 3 programs into the package manager and a few seconds later I have the software installed (from a trusted source) ready to go.
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Offline edy

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Re: Linux OS for a new user
« Reply #123 on: September 06, 2019, 12:15:44 am »
Thank you very much , finally a clear explanation why Linux is such piece of shit from user perspective.

Sorry I'm just not seeing it. I've been using it on several machines regularly for the past 5 or so years, and on servers before that. I moved my mom's laptop over to Linux a couple years ago after I got tired of fixing Windows all the time and it's been smooth sailing, it just works. Your comment sounds like someone who played with Linux 15 years ago and never touched it again.

As has been mentioned multiple times there are many different groups, the kernel developers focus on the kernel but there are multiple distros focused on making a polished package for regular people and they have done quite a good job. The Ubuntu and Mint releases from the past few years are every bit as polished and functional as Windows, actually they're a lot more polished than what Windows has turned into. As long as you have supported hardware, which is not particularly hard to find, they install and work like any other modern OS and can be used "out of the box" without any command line hacking whatsoever.

True, I concur. I remember installing Ubuntu maybe 10-15 years ago on an old Dell Inspiron laptop that was as thick as a brick. I got it to work, no USB booting back then, had to put it on a CD or maybe DVD. Either way, it was a headache but I managed to get the system to work. No easy installation back then, no automatic setting of dual-boot options, it all had to be done manually. So for many years I dabbled with Linux here and there but never made it my main OS.... I used WinXP, then got a laptop with Win Vista just before Win7 came out, so I took advantage of the free upgrade and was on Win7 for years.

Fast forward to a few years ago, when Microsoft decided to push Win10 down our throats. Remember the Win10 upgrade? Downloaded to your computer without your knowledge as an "update" sitting in the background, using up 4 GB of space? Remember when it started to give you two options... YES INSTALL NOW, and YES INSTALL LATER?  :-DD

I decided at that time I would revisit Linux again more seriously and discovered to my surprise that things advanced quite well. I was happy to see LIVE systems and USB keys that could be booted and that had either "try" or "install" options. That meant it was easy to download a few distros, set up a bunch of keys and play around. I decided to go with Ubuntu Studio as it had a fairly "lean" desktop environment and came pre-bundled with a ton of creativity/production software. Today I may have gone a different path, knowing how to install things from repos and such... but back then I was a Linux noob and Ubuntu looked like it was a fairly widely used distro with user friendliness in mind.

For 6 months I had Win7 and Ubuntu Studio set up as a dual-boot system. Sometimes I would boot into Win7, and sometimes into Ubuntu Studio. I still needed to work on all my office documents so what I did was just mount my Windows partition whenever I was booted in Ubuntu and used LibreOffice to work on the files. I *DID NOT* have a duplicate set of files. All my documents were in one location, and it didn't matter whether I edited them with Microsoft Office or LibreOffice, they seemed to work interchangeably without messing up anything. Over time I found myself booting Ubuntu Studio more and more... For one, it was faster than Win7 on my machine. Secondly, I started to see that I had alternatives to my Windows programs that I could use in Linux. Video editors, audio, graphics. I even found that I could run some Windows programs under WINE.

Fast forward to today, and I have been using Ubuntu Studio almost exclusively at home (and installed it to all my kids laptops, some have Lubuntu which is even leaner) for 2-3 years now. It was not always a smooth ride. I had some difficulties upgrading through Xenial Xerus (16.04) through to the latest versions. It wouldn't jump directly and by the time I wanted to upgrade they already took Yakkety Yak (16.10) out from the repos so I had to change my download locations to BACKPORTS and then work my way through some tenacious upgrades, at which time I had a meltdown of one of my systems!  |O  Fortunately I got myself out of that mess. Most of my laptops upgraded fine, but one of them had a problem with the desktop environment and I decided it was easier just to reinstall the latest Ubuntu from scratch and restore my backups. I reinstalled the apps fairly quickly as I had made lists of what I was using.

Keep in mind all of my laptops and computers are at least 2-3 years old, if not older. They range from maybe 3 years old to 10 years old now. Perhaps the newest computer with the latest graphics card and chips may not work with Linux because of drivers not being available. But my older laptops all use established and I guess relatively common hardware, onboard Intel graphics, etc, so they are supported. Also I use Brother and HP printers/scanner multi-functions and they all work as well. These printer companies now have support for Linux drivers. So while there are still perhaps some people who may have trouble, I think the vast majority of users who are not tied-in to some specific need for Windows can function in Linux. HOWEVER... would it provide them with any advantage??? … An advantage worthwhile enough for them to go through the hassle of switching? It is not that Linux would attract them... it is more that Windows would aggravate them so terribly to REPEL them that they would go seeking out an alternative (like I did).

I'll give you another example.... iPhone....

So people with BlackBerry or Android should be able to plug their phones into a Linux machine no problem, it mounts the internal memory and/or SDCard as a drive and then you can transfer your files back and forth no problem. People with iPhone cannot use iTunes, as it is only available for Windows and MacOS and is a bloated piece of crap anyways.... but I digress.  :-DD  I found that with older iPhones I had to install some special software from a repo that would let me mount it and access the files. Newer iPhones I found will be detected and show up. So I can transfer files back and forth (mostly photos, videos). These days I don't even bother physically connecting the phone to the computer... I either use CLOUD-based transfer or using certain apps on the phone (like Documents on iPhone for example) I am able to just connect to my computer through WiFi and it gives me access if I need to transfer files.

I also agree that Linux is *NOT* for everyone. The reason my family is using it is because I am the "Tech support" guy for everyone. My son's laptop has Win7 dual-booting with Ubuntu because he still plays a lot of games that need Win7 (e.g. Roblox only works on Windows). Many of the other games he has COULD work on Linux using WINE, and so I do multi-player games with him where he is running it in Win7 while I am next to him using WINE to run it in Ubuntu!  :-+  For example.... latest game we have been playing together is LFS:  https://www.lfs.net/ , which recently popped up in the Ubuntu Software Store, although installing it from Ubuntu's Store is problematic. You have to follow directions I made in this video to install the Windows EXE through WINE:



The game runs like a beast, is incredibly fun and fast with HD full-res resolution on my Linux machine (while I capture it with Voko Screen Recorder as you can see in the video above), even though it is a Windows program! He runs it in Win7, I'm in Ubuntu. But with the Software Store LFS version messed up, the average person probably will be frustrated that it doesn't work even though the software runs fine on Ubuntu. It is the fault of whoever wrote the configuration files for the Software Store setup (I'm not sure why it doesn't work but it installs as a "Snap" which has something to do with it, rather than through WINE).

The average JOE who goes into a store and buys a computer with Windows on it will NOT bother (or perhaps even know) how to set up a bootable DVD or USB key, they will not bother to explore Linux or even know it exists. From my experience talking to friends, people who venture into Linux will typically be more advanced computer users. And for most people who use computers and just want to be able to use Facebook and copy their phone pictures and chat with their friends, they will stick with Windows 10 because it works and they don't know any better. Also, Win10 is actually not that bad.... I installed it recently on a few machines that are about 8 years old and it runs fine. I am not a Linux evangelist... it suits my needs and if it retains small user-adoption I am fine with that as long as we continue to have developers who are committed to it (and I thank every one of them for that).  :-+
« Last Edit: September 06, 2019, 12:35:35 am by edy »
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Offline james_s

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Re: Linux OS for a new user
« Reply #124 on: September 06, 2019, 03:29:57 am »
Having said that, to a casual user the desktop, the GUI, is the OS. I do not accept the premise that I should like the OS even though the GUI sucks just like I don't accept a company representative telling me "don't blame me, I only work here". No, to me you are the face of the company and if you disclaim responsibility for what your company did to me then get me someone with authority and responsibility.

There are some in this group who possess a degree of pedantry unlike anything I have encountered anywhere else in life, perhaps engineers are just more likely to be like that, I don't know. Whatever the case I think it's perfectly reasonable to consider the whole package to be the "operating system", I mean Windows also has a kernel, a command line shell, a desktop GUI, etc. The fact that these components are not available separately nor do you have a choice of reasonably replacing any one of them individually does not change the fact that they are separate components.

When most people speak of "Linux" in the context of a PC it is implicit that one is referring to the whole distro unless stated otherwise.
 


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