[buug] Re: Jackpot!
zkrahlin at yahoo.com
Sat Jul 8 15:07:23 PDT 2000
--- Rick Moen <rick at linuxmafia.com> wrote:
> But, if you have root access on a Linux box, if only your laptop
> running Linux-Mandrake, then you _are_ by definition a system
Each client that now uses Linux is a "user", not administrator. I am
the administrator for each of their stand-alone boxes. I do not give
any of my clients root access...they don't even know the password for
Considering all the nuisances that Windoze is, my clients have no more
problems or questions in Linux, than they ever had in Windoze. In fact,
they seem to be considerably less.
> And, if you have spent your learning time studying (e.g.) shiny
> buttons and menus of _one_ generation of KDE GUI tools, that is time
> and energy lost that you could have spent gaining meaningful
> information about _Linux_ (or any other Unix).
My learning (as administrator for my clients, as well as my own
personal interests and education) exceeds well beyond learning KDE.
While my clients just need to learn to be comfortable in the KDE
desktop. IOW, I have given them the tools to use Linux for Internet
connections, and for most of their workstation needs. Since they've
never really learned Windoze very well, the change to Linux is
transparent to them. They need a word processor? Spreadsheet? Database?
PIM? Of course, Linux has it all...include the WordPerfect Suite.
> But, if anything changes on them (e.g., something as simple as a new
> version of KDE), or they accidentally switch to a different window
> manager, or try to use some other slightly different Linux box, they
> will probably be completely at sea. Because they haven't really
> learned much about Linux.
I believe you exaggerate. Even with that consideration, Windoze has
proven to be no less problematic for non-techie users...just in
different ways. And glitches in Linux seem to be a lot less difficult
to resolve, than those in Windoze. Upgrading KDE--and Linux in
general--is something they will learn in due time. As I learn more, I
can then give them the simplest methods to maintain their system. In
the meantime, and non-trivial upgrade can easily be performed by yours
truly...I can even guide them over the phone, or perhaps in an e-mail
I have also given them the tools they'll need, should they ever want to
learn Linux on their own. They are *not condemned to be dependent on
me, but can go as far as they want with Linux. That is because I
believe in empowering people on their PC's, rather than hiding vital
information from them.
Overall, maintaining my client's systems with Linux is proving to be
much easier for me, than maintaining these same systems on Windoze. And
I have only just begun delving into Linux!
> That's fine, if your aim does not include learning Linux.
My aim *is...but not necessarily that of my clients. But since the
majority of PC users have no choice but to learn some use of computers,
it would be absurd for me to discourage them from using these machines,
considering there are no real alternatives, at this time. Dedicated
appliances are still in the future...likewise for remote services via a
> If this were just a matter of you having a different opinion, that
> would be fine. We all have 'em. But you're recommending to others
> "good books on Linux" things that I am quite sure are actively _bad_
> books on Linux, and I'm able to articulate exactly why.
You would keep Linux only for the techie elite, and not assist regular
users in running a Linux box. You cannot expect every PC user to study
the architecture of their systems. Windoze is no less complex, yet they
managed to create a GUI that can accommodate your average user...albeit
The idea of a PC ("personal" computer), is that anyone should be able
to run it to perform necessary work...without having to gain a master's
degree in computer science. It is no crime that Linux is now competing
with Windoze, to do just that...and I applaud them. M$ being a monopoly
for so long, has strangled the competition, and thus slowed down the
evolution of user-friendly PC's by at least a decade.
What books I recommend to my clients, are based on what have worked for
me first...after perusing with a fine tooth comb, all the books
available on the market. I can assure you there is no way "Running
Linux" will allow the average PC user to operate his or her workstation
any time soon. In fact, no client has yet really needed any book to do
his work...but with some of my basic instructions, and setting up the
system with the necessary programs...they are doing quite fine, thank
> My point is that you're not doing these people a favour.
Your implication is that I just forget them, and discourage them from
using any OS but Windoze...unless, of course, they are willing to go
all the way and become Linux-heads. If Windoze techies had that same
attitude (and some do), we'd also be telling our clients to stick with
I *am doing them a favor on a number of levels: alleviating their
concerns about virus and security attacks over the 'Net; providing an
OS that hardly ever crashes; very low cost use, maintenance, and
upgrade; and an ethical alternative to a monstrous corporation...to
name but several.
As for what books I recommend: I have shown all my clients all the
books I have...telling them that books like "Running Linux" are what
they want, if or when they really want to take Linux by the horns (and
just ignore all that tiresome 19-century lithography; who started that
in the first place? It might have been clever the first few times
around, but after a decade...well, it's like, it's like, well "beating
a dead horse", or tarsier, or owl or mouse, whatever). But the KDE book
has proven the most successful in assisting such newbies.
So I have not withheld from them, the various resources out
there...should they ever want to be more than users of a workstation.
But as it now stands; they don't. They are your typical PC users, whom
we more knowledgable users should be helping to make their use of
computers as amenable as possible. (This, of course, will no longer be
a needed goal, once PC appliances become popular. But until then, the
"personal computer" should always be regarded as "personal", and thus
as user friendly as *we can possibly make it.)
>That is of (indirect) concern to me as a Linux community member.
I consider myself part of this Linux community...the branch that is
struggling to ease users over from Windoze to Linux. Your
recommendations I nonetheless respect, and have followed through on (as
I did finally purchase "Running Linux", and I have applied your
recommendations on running a successful user group and website). I see
your instructions as "If you really want to master Linux, here's the
way to go."
But there is no dimension in your ideas, that would help anyone
switching from Windoze to Linux...at least, for the average user (not
the student or techie). No do I expect you to, as I (and some others)
gladly take up that aspect so as not to unduly burden and frustrate
others in the community, who serve a better purpose in guiding true
At risk of being written off as a Linux heretic, I remain, as always:
Hacking for PC empowerment since 1985.
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