Goodbye Linux and welcome back Windows

  bemuzed 12:25 26 Feb 2005

've been running Windows Me and after a recent PCA article I downloaded the free version of Mandrake 10.1 to give Linux a go. I loaded OK and I could get the WB browser up an running OK. I can word process etc. In windows I download then double click and it works: the program loads and an icon is added to the Start menu. In Linux I download to the PC then am lost what to do next; advice talks about command line stuff and RPM etc -not at all obvious. It says it recognises my printer model but give me few of the capabilities to change printer settings. It does not recognise my camera throught USB port not has the driver for my scannmer. After my eperience I think Mandrake at least has miles to go before even a competent Windows user should consider it, unless your a real masochist.

  GANDALF <|:-)> 12:59 26 Feb 2005

Never understood why home users dabble with Linux and this confirms my doubts.


  LastChip 13:58 26 Feb 2005

But like any new "tool" you need time to learn how to use it properly. I have said many times before, if you want to try Linux, you must accept it is a very steep learning curve.

By comparison to Windows, it is still a baby in some respects, and the "plug and prey" functionality is not as good as Windows. Given time however, that may change.

When you consider perhaps as little as three or four years ago, an ordinary user could not have considered installing Linux let alone use it, it has come a long way in a short space of time.

As more and more peripheral manufacturers produce drivers for Linux, (rather than Linux developers trying to work out how these things work and produce drivers for them), plug and play will become reality.

It's good you've tried it though, even if it's not for you.

  Forum Editor 15:42 26 Feb 2005

I doubt that you'll get much response to this bemuzed, it's not the kind of thread that ever attracts much by way of polarised comment.

  Dennis Goycoolea 15:49 26 Feb 2005

Hi there!

That is a shame, I think you should've given it a bit longer and persevered. :) Why not keep a dual-boot system so you can keep experimenting with Linux?

"In windows I download then double click and it works: the program loads and an icon is added to the Start menu."

Yup. In Mandrake Linux you download an RPM package, double-click and it works: the program is installed and an icon is added to the start menu.

For easy installation of a Windows program, you need to make sure to download Window programs packaged with an installer. Likewise for Mandrake, you want to download a program packaged for Mandrake Linux. Some of the advice you talk about (this, I guess: click here) *was* overly-complicated; it didn't need to be.

"It says it recognises my printer model but give me few of the capabilities to change printer settings. It does not recognise my camera throught USB port not has the driver for my scannmer."

In fairness, you cannot entirely blame the Linux developers (or Mandrakesoft) for this. Do you never need drivers for Windows? Where do you get those from? They come on a CD with the hardware, or you can download them _from the manufacturer_!

"After my eperience I think Mandrake at least has miles to go before even a competent Windows user should consider it, unless your a real masochist."

Granted, Linux is not for everyone. It works well for me; after using Linux for years I find the 'Windows way' often cumbersome and strange. I'm lucky though, I didn't own much hardware when I started using Linux; I've been able to make sure that when I need some new hardware I buy stuff that's supported under Linux (either in the distribution or by the manufacturer, note the difference).

True story: a friend of mine, after hearing that I use only Free Software at home, decided to give Linux a try. He's been using various win32 OSes for years and years, and works in IT so should know his onions. But he knows nothing about Linux, and wasn't really interested in learning. He expected a drop-in Windows replacement that would behave in exactly the same way, and expected to be able to apply all of his (considerable) Windows knowledge to Linux. It doesn't exactly work that way - I told him, a Linux distribution is a complete Unix-like operating system: not Windows-without-the-warez.

(Trying not to be too polarised and all.)

All the best,


  smudge101 15:59 26 Feb 2005

hi, bemuzed
There are many different flavours of linux and no two are the same. I must have tried at least 10 different distros until I found one I could work with.
Xandros has a free version you can download and I must say that I have yet to have any problems with it, they also have a very good help forum.
My message is: don't let one bad experience put you off all types of linux, there are some very good and user friendly ones out there!

  Taran 16:04 26 Feb 2005

The main problem with Linux for the desktop is when new users make the vast assumption that it is a Windows clone, which it isn't, as you now know.

There is very little I can do on a Windows computer that I can't do at least as well and in some cases a lot better under Linux.

However, that is probably for one very good reason; I've been using Linux for years from being a Systems Administrator to a desktop dabbler (but with a Sys Admins knowledge) and that is why I get along just fine with pretty much any Linux distribution.

Anyone comfortable with Windows should stick with it unless they want to take on a brand new learning curve with all that it entails.

Migrating from Windows to the Apple Mac or to Linux is a small-scale nightmare to many, and the same could be said for any Linux or Apple Mac user who wants to make the leap to Windows.

Remember when you first started a PC and crashed it ?

That's about the stage you'll be at when you first try Linux. As a desktop OS Linux is getting better all the time and as I've already indicated I can do more or less anything I might want a computer to do on either Linux or Windows.

I'm a lousy physicist but a pretty good metallurgist. I teach IT topics including programming and software engineering and I can use Linux, Apple Macs or Windows machines.

The above topics where I consider myself competent are only because I took the time and made the effort to learn about them, so don't think I'm bragging about them.

I like Linux a lot, and my camera, scanner and whatnot all work just fine with it. They didn't straight out of the box, but a few command lines and a bit of jiggery pokery later and all was as it should be.

I agree though, that the majority of Windows users who are happy with things as they are should not venture into the Linux camp. Doing so can seriously injure your pride, as well as give you a somewhat inaccurate opinion of the actual capabilities of Linux.

One of our forum members VoG™ is truly amazing with Excel. I'm sure he didn't start out that way, but he DID take the time to learn how to use it and I imagine he still is learning about it, despite his obvious expertise.

Compare that to someone who cranks up Excel for the first time and pronounces it incapable.

Is it the program, or it is the program user ?

Nothing I have written here is meant as a personal insult and your comments are only too common from newcomers to Linux. It does have a lot to offer though, in the right hands.

  Diodorus Siculus 16:41 26 Feb 2005

[quote]a bit of jiggery pokery[/quote] - that's where it gets too technical for me:-)

Anyway, I use SuSE 9.2 personal and find it great. I installed it onto my laptop which may have been foolhardy but I can afford to be without my laptop - not so with my desktop. It did take a lot of learning and I am far from being capable yet but have worked things out through google searching and trial and error.

I am lucky in that my time is my own - as a freelancer I have the time to work on it in the daytime when I am awake rather than try it after a day's work. Years ago I tried Mandrake (6?) on a toshiba laptop and it was indeed a nightmare. Linux has come on a lot and there is a lot going for it.

I cannot see it ever rivalling windows, simply by virtue of the fact that so many new PCs come with Windows preinstalled and people want a simple life, working with what they are used to. And why not, few people are geeks who want to spend their time on learing a new computing skill. Those who are tweak around a bit and get some satisfaction from it.

Anyway, I am in danger of repeating what others have said above in a much more competent and lucid way, so I will leave with a parting shot:

Why not dual boot with SuSE 9.2? It is free - mail me if you want a CD.

  Diodorus Siculus 16:43 26 Feb 2005

By the way, in your earlier post, I did try to explain what the linux equivalent of installer files are... it might be worth your while giving that thread a tick to close it. Maybe link to this to show people where you go to in the end.

Happy computing!

  Chegs ® 16:44 26 Feb 2005

I started on 98se,switched to XP and then set to with various distros and dabbled.I found my hardware(scanner/modem/printer)nigh on impossible to get running under linux initially.I also found my scanner refused to run under XP.I ran a dual-boot of 98se+XP to escape this problem.Then,recently I was lent the distro,Suse 9.2. I bunged the DVD into my main PC,it found my SATA HDD's straight off.I connected my USB card reader,and it found that with no cfg on my part,I tried my scanner,it also worked without any input from me.The later distros are as good as any windows OS(out the box)my only gripe is linux has few games(I play "Supertux" whilst I'm thinking up what to try next)
I found a d/l with basic linux howto's online,printed it and then set about cfg'ing my desktop,installing drivers,etc.I was running a Conexant PCI ADSL modem,I spent hours (with yet another printout)trying to get it to work in linux,Taran was generous enough to offer to build a linux driver for me,if I couldn't get it to go.I had it so near to going,but just couldn't get connected to my ISP.I gave up and bought a modem/router,which was found and installed under several distros requiring no more than a tick in a box during installation to work.My printer produces slightly better results under linux.I would change over from windows completely if I could get my driving games running in linux,but as I cannot I stuffed a few spares into a case,and bunged Mandrake on it.This I use to poke about and learn linux way of things,with XP online at google to find out what I need to do with linux.I am thinking of trying to create DVD's on the linux PC,as regardless of which app I use in XP it causes crashes/lockups fairly frequently either part way thru transfering from camera to PC or midway thru rendering.

It is entirely possible for a newbie to linux to learn the basics quickly,then progress further simply by use of the net and a printer.Give it another go,and be patient.Good luck.

  Taran 16:49 26 Feb 2005

I had meant to add in may previous post that using Linux, whether you stick with it in the long term or just dabble, will make you a better computer user under Windows.

Learning the command line interface may seem a bit heavy handed and let's face it, it is, but even slinging a few command lines around will get your Windows DOS and command prompt skills up to scratch in no time at all and there are times when the wonder that is Windows XP needs a bit of gentle encouragement, which is where these very skills come into their own...

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