Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Brief Rant: We Have The Secret Knowledge

You know, the good thing about Linux MIGHT be that it was free and accessible to all...if the geeks that put it together weren't so proprietary about their own expertise. The whole Linux world is all about "We have the knowledge, and we may allow you to partake IF you play by our rules and pay your dues in our world, working your way slowly up the geek ladder."

I bought a book on "Linux For Non-Geeks" which included a distro of Fedora, all for $35.00. Thinks I: "I'm finally gonna learn how to do Linux, and I'll be able to get my roommate's computer, on which Window$ 98 crashed, up and running in time for his daughter to get here this weekend."

OOooohhh. Class, do you see all the bad thinking examples here?
First of all: NEVER do anything computer with a deadline approaching. The buttered side of the toast is as likely to fall on the carpet as the carpet's price is high and its difficulty of being cleaned is high; the likelihood of a computer thing being successfully installed by a deadline is proportional to the calmness and serenity surrounding the installation.

My computer had a working Ethernet card which I used to connect directly to my DSL router. Then 98 crashed. Fine, I said: I have this nifty little Fedora distro; I'll just install it.
Fedora didn't recognize my audio card or my Ethernet card. And I couldn't hook it up to the Internet to download drivers or all of the myriad geekly fixes recommended to me, because...I had wiped Window$ when I installed Fedora.

Oh, say the geek forums: you can burn a CD of [various geekly applications designed to enable Linux to see cards and applications designed for Window$], because the format will work on Linux.

No, it won't.

My bitch about all this is: I think the forums and all are fine and a great idea -- community helping community and all -- but then they put these "We Are Geekier Than Thou" rules on the forums for posting, rules like "Don't post a question if you haven't searched every nook and cranny of our poorly organized forum site for your answer, or else we won't trouble to answer you. Also, if you're too craven a newbie, or we just don't like the scent of your post, you're SOL."
So my frantic desperate posts were mostly ignored by the super-geek 14-year-olds who populate these forums.
Finally a kind soul from India deigned to reply to my pleas for help. None of his fixes worked, though.

I went to Goodwill and bought a refurbished Window$ box running XP.

I know, it's the evil Window$. But I just don't have time to dig for the answers. Why does Linux have to have so many different and incompatible distros? Before giving up on it, I spent another week trying to download Xandros and get it to work. (It works fine on the refurbished PC I bought, which I partitioned for XP and Xandros.)

Now I see that "Linux For Non-Geeks" is superseded by a new version which comes with a Xandros CD. Sigh.


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