Improving tech support

Avi Greenbury avismailinglistaccount at
Thu Jan 7 11:44:00 UTC 2010

Cyborg Alpha wrote:

> Avi Greenbury wrote:
> > Cyborg Alpha wrote:
> > If you're having an issue with Linux step 2 should be to reinstall
> > it? One of the wonderful things about Linux is how easy it is to
> > just fix what's broken, without having to nuke it and start again.
> >   
> I've done that - but I've found re-installing is sometimes better.
> With a properly backed up system, re-installation is relatively easy.

No-one backs up their systems properly enough that reinstallation is a
matter-of-course fix. And if you fix the problem, you generally learn
how to avoid it in the future. If you don't fix the problem, you might
well decide to do The Right Thing and file a bug so other people don't
run into the same issue.
Sure *sometimes* a reinstall is the easiest way to fix something, or at
least the quickest. But it very often isn't, and it's certainly not
something I'd be suggesting as a thing to try before seeking support.

I mean, we're on a Ubuntu mailing list here, surely at some point
before destroying everything you'd suggest seeing if a LiveCD suffers
the same problem?

> > This is not tech support, this is foisting your choice upon other
> > people. Some people do need to maintain a Windows install, others
> > like it for the safety net of something they can go back to.
> > Also, having a second OS to boot into is useful for deciding
> > whether an odd problem is hardware or software related, especially
> > if the two OSs are completely different (two Linuxen or even one
> > Linux and one BSD are likely to share a big chunk of code).
> >
> >   
> I'm not arguing the merits of OS, simply stating that it's possible
> to configure linux in such a manner to eliminate the need for
> windows.

That's an incredibly bold statement to make, and is often incorrect.
For example, I need Exchange support for work, I therefore need to
maintain a Windows install. Evolution doesn't cut it.
Some people need to use AutoCAD for work, or just like playing computer
games on their PC that don't work under Linux (CoD for example). Maybe
they share their PC with someone who doesn't want to use/try Linux, or,
as I said above, maybe they want the safety net of something they know
and can boot into when they're stuck with Linux. I have a similar
arrangement here - I work on Windows, but keep a Linux box handy for
when I don't know how to do something in Windows and don't have the
time to find out.

Though I do find it an odd concept that it is the Windows install that
is breaking Linux. I can't see how this would be the case, and if it is
I'd suggest it's something very wrong with the way dual boot
environments are configured by default.

And what if the Linux is dual-booting with another OS? OSX or another
nixy flavour, say? Would that still require removing everything that's
not Linux?

> As for tech support, when trouble shooting, it's sometimes
> necessary to have a comparison (independent) between two
> configurations. Dual boot does not allow for this. Boot options
> should only be added once single configuration are working, and it's
> understood that the issues are dual (or multiple) boot issues.

Dual boot does allow for a comparison of two configurations, that's
what dual (or multi-) boot is.
The Windows install, generally, was working fine before the Linux
install was added to create a dual boot environment. So we do generally
have someone who has waited for the single configuration to work, and
then added a Linux.

> I've seen it enough that I've begun tracking it.

Out of interest, what were the problems? I maintain several dual boot
boxes, it'd be handy to know what the symptoms are.

Avi Greenbury ;)

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