New on kubuntu

"Terrell Prudé Jr." microman at
Tue Jul 14 16:54:44 UTC 2009

Billie, as a former Microsoft Windows user, I sympathize with your 
position.  I'm one of those who made the switch from Windows to 
GNU/Linux back in 1999-2000.  I'll address your post, point by point.

Billie Erin Walsh wrote:
> There is one much loved member of this forum that was given CLI 
> instructions. Look where that lead. IMHO, he would have been much 
> better off if not given instructions on how to do something in the 
> terminal. [ In some cases it's kind of like handing a child a nail and 
> hammer. They wind up hitting their thumb. ] Synaptic is generally 
> smart enough to keep someone from getting into some of the mess's he 
> manages. That little black square in the middle of the screen is a 
> _VERY_ powerful tool. It should be used by novices with extreme caution.

That applies even more to MS Windows, I can assure you.  I've done help 
desk for years and still do it occasionally.  More users have hosed 
their Windows systems (requiring total system reinstalls) with GUI's 
than I care to count.  "Oh, that looks pretty, I'll click on it!"


GNU/Linux doesn't really have that problem.

> It's easier for some of the "gurus" [ I _DO_ respect all you guys for 
> your knowledge and skill ] on the list to just spout out command lines 
> without thinking of the weapon they are handing the end user.

Then don't give people cars, either.  They might kill someone.

The command line is not a "weapon".  It's a tool like any other.  Treat 
it as such.

> Most of the people that need the type of help the OP asked for are 
> used to doing _everything_ in a GUI [ windows ]. They will generally 
> have a basic understanding of how that type of thing works [ ie. menu 
> structures, etc ]. Instructions given in a language they _understand_ 
> will be much easier for them than just commands they don't understand 
> in a situation they don't understand [ arcane commands in a black box ].

Then I suggest you call up Microsoft and let them know that.  Their 
instructions for getting rid of that ridiculous Microsoft .NET Extension 
for Firefox have users directly modifying the Windows Registry.  
Microsoft repeatedly tell people not to do this (you can wreck your 
system, it's dangerous, etc.) why are they now telling people to do 
it?  Hmm....

Oh, and if that weren't enough, not only do they tell you to do it 
directly from REGEDIT.EXE, they also give the "arcane" command lines 
that accomplish the same thing.  Yes, they expect home users to do these 
things.  Here's the link.

Of course, with GNU/Linux, you don't have companies like Microsoft doing 
"stealth installs" into your 3rd-party applications in the first place, 
so this ceases to be an issue.  :-)

> One of the biggest fears most of the Windows users I talk to about 
> Linux is that you have to use that command line stuff to do anything. 
> Well, at one time that was how it _had_ to be done. But, modern Linux 
> systems can be used without ever touching the CLI for what most 
> average home users want to do [ case in point - ME ]. When they try to 
> make a move to Linux the first thing they get hit with is the CLI 
> commands and they run like rabbits. Now, if you don't want people 
> migrating to Linux that's a good way to get rid of them.

Hey, some folks don't want to switch to Mac OS X, either, and Mac OS has 
a reputation for being "easy" and "intuitive" for the end users.  That 
"fear" you speak of didn't stop people from using MS-DOS and 
Lotus/WordPerfect back in the day.  If they wanted to keep their jobs, 
they damned well better learn that computer!  That's what the boss said 
then and what the boss typically says now.  Guess what?  People wanted 
to keep gettin' that paycheck, so they learned real quick.

So I cannot buy the "fear of the command line" argument.  I've seen too 
many examples to the contrary.  On the other hand, I would buy a 
"general fear of change" argument.  Like I said, a lot of these same 
people won't even try Macs.  To this day, there are some legal 
secretaries that will not leave their beloved WordPerfect 5.1.

And since I have worked in help desks before, answering calls from folks 
"just like you", I can say with the authority of experience that the OS 
doesn't matter to most folks.  They want to run their specific 
applications.  That's why I get them on, Firefox, and 
Thunderbird on their Windows machines at the earliest opportunity.  
Then, when that Windows box gets infested with the latest 
malware/rootkit requiring yet another reinstall, that's when I introduce 
something like Kubuntu.  This is successful four out of five times.

> I told my mom once that if I didn't have computers to drive me crazy I 
> would have had to take up golf.

Oh, boy, I know that feeling.  I felt it a lot back when I was 
maintaining MS Windows machines.  :-)

Do you GNU <>?
Microsoft Free since 2003 <>--the ultimate 
antivirus protection!

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