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Hi all, A newbie's point of view, is it possible to avoid command line altogether? By that I mean has Linux progressed far enough that you can work from the ...
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  1. #1
    Linux User martinfromdublin's Avatar
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    Why I'm unhappy with Linux-a newbie's point of view


    Hi all,

    A newbie's point of view, is it possible to avoid command line altogether? By that I mean has Linux progressed far enough that you can work from the GUI alone? I find that every distro I try runs into problems of one description or another and the only way to even diagnose is to get involved at the command-line level.

    I understand that many in this forum are very good at command line but there are some newbies, like myself, who find it too difficult, complicated or downright horrendous. I had and still have the same problem with MS DOS command line. Maybe it's a knack you either have or don't but I feel that if Linux is ever to give Microsoft a run for it's money, then we need to have O.S. that are completely user-friendly and have easy-to-understand tools/control centres to help you analyse and correct faults/problems.

    Right now, I don't feel we are getting this from Linux and many are put off trying Linux because they know that getting their first Linux up and running may be a time-consuming and tiring process. For example;I've just spent 2 days trying to get Xantros to load properly on my system, it has no control centre like Mandriva or SuSE do, I found no tools to help me resolve sound or issues, the bootloader would not boot any other system (see my Avatar for what I'm running and bear in mind there are 3 Windows systems as well) and overall found the whole O.S. a bad experience. I had a worse time with Ubuntu and both these installation disk will now just gather dust as I can neither use them nor find help to figure out what has gone wrong.

    What I'm getting at here everyone, is not to have a whinge because I've had problems with an O.S. or two, but I'm trying to point out is what I see as one of the main reasons people will go for Microsoft before Linux because systems like XP run 'out of the box' with the majority of users not having to seek assitance. If Linux is to move forward & challange Microsoft, it has to do so by also becoming so user-friendly and easy to set up that the public will have a real choice.

    I'll get off my soap-box now, but if anyone wants to comment-not argue, I'll see you back here in the Coffee Lounge.

    Martin,

    Dublin, Ireland
    LINUX: Where do you want to go.......Tomorrow!

    Registered Linux user 396633

  2. #2
    Linux Guru anomie's Avatar
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    I feel like SuSE + KDE is close to being newbie friendly in terms of being able to do it all using the GUI. I don't think they will ever be completely analogous to XP, and I don't think that is their intention either.

    Windows seems to want to move toward doing everything for the user, and removing control from them. I don't see Linux in general going down that path.

  3. #3
    Linux Guru budman7's Avatar
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    I always thought that the tools in Suse were good.
    Not very familiar with MDK, but I read that it is supposed to be very newbie friendly.

    But I have just gotten to the point where I prefer the command-line when troubleshooting problems.

    And sometimes when I try to solve problems in Windows I just wish that there was a decent command line for me to use.
    When things go wrong in Windows, I have found that the GUI tools that are there are just not very good. And you really have to know what you are doing in order to use them.
    A newbie in Windows would probably have a rough time solving problems and would have to go to a forum for advice on how to solve it.
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  4. #4
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    I'm curious what issues you ran into with either Suse or Mandrake that required the command line. I've found both of these to be very near windows from a basic installation point of view. To make a fair comparison however, you would need to start with the standard windows install discs (vs OEM rescue disc) and try that along side Mandrake or Suse.

    I had a similar experience as you with Ubunto, as well as several other distros. If you are looking for an automatic/GUI driven process, Mandrake and Suse are the best I've personally tried.

    One positive note about the command line: I did phone tech support about 10 years ago and at the time really hated working with customers in DOS. So often they would type something wrong, and even a single character can ruin the whole thing. Over the phone, Windows was much easier to walk a customer through, especially if we had the same set up on our machine. Fast forward 10 years, and ironically the command line has the advantage when getting (and offering) support because of technological advances (like this forum). I had problems with setting up my scanner the other day, and one of the people on the board showed me how to fix my problem with 2 short lines that I could paste into the console. Just like that, my problem was fixed! Walking someone through adding a scanner in Windows or any Linux GUI driven tool would have taken several paragraphs of "click here, then select this, then click there, then right click on the little icon next to the...".

  5. #5
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    I completely agree with you, and this is also my personal opinion, Linux is a very bad choice as a desktop operating system for regular users. Its an operating system for computer enthusiasts that picked this as their hobby and have the will and time to go ahead and learn little by little. Its simply not practical if you are working a full time job that is not computer related and have a social life and/or family.

    Windows is easy. Providers more to the user as a Desktop operating system.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Slip
    Its simply not practical if you are working a full time job that is not computer related and have a social life and/or family.
    In my own experience I haven't found this to be the case, but I think this would vary greatly depending on what you wanted to do with your PC and which distro you try.

    I switched from Windows XP to Suse 9.1 in November of last year, because I was spending way too much time trying to administer a windows box on the web. Between anti spyware, anti virus, firewalls, etc I was constantly working on the machine. Once I switched to Suse, I found I didn't really have to do anything but periodically install security patches using the automated tool (easier than the one in Windows).

    I like to tinker with computers in my spare time, and linux offers plenty of opportunity to do so. However, now it is strictly optional. To just keep a basic system connected to the web for browsing, email, writing the odd letter, playing a few games, and offloading pictures from my digital camera, Mandrake and Suse are 10x less work to maintain (even as a noob to linux with 10 years Windows experience).

    On a side note, my wife started using the PC much more within weeks of my making the switch. As a user (vs administrator) she found the switch even easier than I did. It also made her feel less afraid to use the PC because she didn't have to worry about messing something up (only has user privileges) or getting infected w/ spyware or a virus.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by redbeard
    Quote Originally Posted by Slip
    Its simply not practical if you are working a full time job that is not computer related and have a social life and/or family.
    In my own experience I haven't found this to be the case, but I think this would vary greatly depending on what you wanted to do with your PC and which distro you try.

    I switched from Windows XP to Suse 9.1 in November of last year, because I was spending way too much time trying to administer a windows box on the web. Between anti spyware, anti virus, firewalls, etc I was constantly working on the machine. Once I switched to Suse, I found I didn't really have to do anything but periodically install security patches using the automated tool (easier than the one in Windows).

    I like to tinker with computers in my spare time, and linux offers plenty of opportunity to do so. However, now it is strictly optional. To just keep a basic system connected to the web for browsing, email, and writing the odd letter, playing a few games, and offloading pictures from my digital camera, Mandrake and Suse are 10x less work to maintain (even as a noob to linux with 10 years Windows experience).

    On a side note, my wife started using the PC much more within weeks of my making the switch. As a user (vs administrator) she found the switch even easier than I did. It also made her feel less afraid to use the PC because she didn't have to worry about messing something up (only has user privileges) or getting infected w/ spyware or a virus.
    Many things people say about viruses and spyware are simply not true. Example being a small network that I setup for my parents. (With a few clicks too.)
    Internet > Cable Modem > XP Box > XP Laptop
    The cable modem provided by the ISP blocks all the popular trojans by default. I have installed Microsoft Spyware scanner, Adaware, and Norton AntiVirus. I have set the three programs and Windows Upgrades to check for updates every midnight, install updates, and scan. I did not have a problem with this setup for a few years now. And that is besides the point that if they would like to plug in the printer, camera, mp3 player, or anything else they can think of Linux would simply stand there without them having a clue what to do.

    Second thing is, basic applications that they need and use Linux simply does not have. AutoCAD (father is an architect and engineer), IM webcam support, and then some basic stuff like auto photo editing with Photoshop (yes Photoshop has that feature). I can name a number of other things that Linux is not capable of on a Desktop, and then a whole bunch of other things both Linux and Windows are capable of but in Windows those things work with a click where Linux you would have to research and edit god knows what.

    You can set user Limits on XP as well, thus not allowing the user to mess things up or install any software.

  8. #8
    Linux Enthusiast flipjargendy's Avatar
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    One of the reasons i started using Linux is because most distros are pretty dependant on the command line. Being able to use the command line allows you more options it seems like, with most programs. It was pretty tough figuring out the UNIX command line, it took me about a year to figure it out and be comfortable with most things. i did have some time in there that i didn't use linux because i didn't have a computer. i grew up using dos commands when i was five years old, so maybe it's just stuck in me to use the command line. i agree though, i will still consider myself a Linux Newb. It would be nice if you could use the GUI as much as the command line. i'd probably stick to the command line for most things though, just because you can see everything going on instead of watching a gui with no readout or anything.

  9. #9
    Linux Guru Vergil83's Avatar
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    I think one thing that we must remember is that most people do not install windows on their computers, they purchase it that way. The hardware is tested to work, the drivers are ready to go, etc.

    I think getting linux pre-installed is just as big as challenge as making a more user friendly distro.
    Brilliant Mediocrity - Making Failure Look Good

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    As I indicated in my post, I'm only going on my own experience.

    Many things people say about viruses and spyware are simply not true.
    My first sets of viruses and spyware came from admittedly being clueless and not patching the system and not knowing to turn off Active X in IE. I did have the original XP firewall on though, and still was hit by the Blaster trojan. After that I started taking better precautions (patching, installed AV and Anti Spyware software, turned off Active X), but a year later ended up getting a trojan from a site that had it's IIS services hacked and my system was infected via an unpatched IE flaw. My AV and anti spyware software didn't recognize the trojan but fortunately my SW firewall (was on dial up) caught it trying to phone home. I did a lookup on the IP address it was trying to transmit to and found it was a server in St Petersberg, Russia. The admin's email address ended with "@sovintel.ru". I read on the news sites a few days later that there had been an attack by the russian mafia looking to steal financial information. After this, security became very important to me.

    You can set user Limits on XP as well
    This was one of the things I did to try to make XP more secure. Unfortunately quite a bit of software won't run in windows without full rights. It just isn't intended to be consistently used that way. The two software apps I recall which wouldn't work were Spysweeper and my ISPs dial up accelerator application.

    Second thing is, basic applications that they need and use Linux simply does not have.
    I wouldn't call Autocad or even Photo Shop "basic applications", but I would agree that if someone needs specialized software then Linux can quickly get tougher than Windows. It sounds like Windows really is the right choice for your folks. At the same time, they are very fortunate to have someone like you administer their system for them. If you hadn't set them up with an automated security configuration, they would be at high risk of becoming another in the millions of zombie windows PC owners.

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