Is Ubuntu safe to try

Stephen R Laniel steve at
Wed Jul 6 03:41:00 UTC 2005

On Tue, Jul 05, 2005 at 10:25:43PM -0500, Tom Adelstein wrote:
> You have plenty of people helping and lots of documentation in the
> forums and mailing lists.
> I've seen people log on to other's computers and fix things for free.
> That's the commitment of the community. You can't pay for that. Money
> can't buy it.

Mmm ... I'm going to have to go ahead and disagree with you
there. Money can, in fact, buy support. I am an all-around
tech weenie, and I sell my services. Money is tight these
days, and for a good hourly rate I will gladly sell my
tech-support and tech-education services -- Windows, OS X,
or Linux -- to just about anyone.

I'm glad that Linux has a strong community. But I'm not
convinced that this will pay any bills in the long term.
When you say that the community support makes Linux what it
is, I can't help but think of my friend Adam, who some years
ago tried to set up Debian (the Potato version) on his
uncle's computer. After hours and hours of trying to get X
to work, and get printers working, and so on and so on, they
quit. His uncle went back to Windows.

Things are better now. Most of the time Linux Just Works.
That makes me happy. I recommend that all my friends try
Ubuntu Live. But the community is not why I'd recommend it
to them. Indeed, in the best of all worlds they wouldn't
need to consult the community at all. OS X is not famed for
requiring you to consult your guru friends. Linux is -- and,
in my experience, so is Windows. The presence of a
supportive community, while nice, is really not a trait we
should be advertising.

Stephen R. Laniel
steve at
+(617) 308-5571
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