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Hi, I'm sorry in advance if this sounds like a Linux bashing thread, it's definitely not meant to be...What follows is meant to be constructive criticism fwiw, with a little ...
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- 05-01-2006 #1
- Join Date
- Apr 2006
Incredibly frustrated noob :-(
I'm sorry in advance if this sounds like a Linux bashing thread, it's definitely not meant to be...What follows is meant to be constructive criticism fwiw, with a little (ok a lot) of frustration thrown in...
After working in IT for more years than I care to remember and using (and hating) Windoze almost exclusively, I've spent the past month trying various Linux distros. This isn't my first time dabbling, but is the longest I've lasted. After a lot of downloading of several different versions (Kubuntu, Mandriva, PCLinuxOS, Suse etc. etc.), I finally have Suse 10.0 running on my laptop c/w all the updates (but not the RC updates) through yast. Wonderful. It works well (or so I thought), and is (was) generally a nice environment in which to work and play. Until......
I do like Linux very much and would dearly love to ditch Windows on my main PC at home, but so far it's got to be the most frustrating and time consuming nightmare to get it running correctly or to find out how to do the simplest things. I fear the ridiculously steep learning curve is going to continue putting off Windows users like me for some time to come if my experience of the past two days is anything to go by. It's ok making the gui look and feel like Windows (in order to make us MS haters feel at home?) to entice us to migrate, but the eye candy just isn't enough. I cannot figure out how to do soooo many things in Linux that are simple and immediate in Windows that I just cannot face booting up the laptop this evening. Even the documentation is a nightmare. Here are some examples of problems I have right now that I can't solve..
I've spent over 6hrs on twice as many websites looking for instructions/docs on how I can get my Suse install to play mp3's. Easy? Nope!!! Oh, I've found lots of suggestions, and even had one of them work, but it took me 5hrs to find an rpm that seemed to have the codecs I needed. Having said that, this only actually worked on one of the mp3 players I've got installed (which I just can't get on with), so I've given up on the idea of playing music.
Then there's DVD's. Same/similar problem. Novell have (understandably I guess) removed the useful decoding software for DVD playback, so it's up to the user to find it. Again, I can find dozens of answers and helpful sites, but only for people with a degree in *nix syntax. I have no desire (as a Linux noob) to learn how to use anything other than rpm's (maybe when I'm more comfortable with the OS). Ok, that's probably lazy to you guru's out there, but to a beginner anything else is scary and may as well be written in Martian for how much sense it makes. So, I've decided to sack the idea of playing commercial DVD's on my laptop too as the install instructions are just too much like hard work. You have to download a file, then find another website that tells you what you're supposed to do with this particular file type. Then find another 4 websites where you can download the dependancies (all needed to get the original file to work), then you have to navigate the incredibly complex Linux directory structure in shell and type some weird commnds in to get everything installed. When something goes wrong, doesn't work or doesn't make sense? Back to Google, rinse and repeat. Over and over again.
So after sacking that idea, I then plugged in my Icy Box (external HDD enclosure) today. It was set up for Windows, already contains many files and directories and I've had it working with Linux yesterday with no problems. Anyway, I plugged it in this afternoon and tried to create a directory (using Konqueror) in order to save some rpm downloads to it. No chance. Linux flatly refuses to let me create a folder. Apparently, the drive is read only (how that happened is beyond me) and I cannot change the permissions to anything else. Great. I'm the owner of this device, but cannot write enable it. Hmmm. I'm sure someone here will be able to tell me in baby language how to solve this one or what stupid noob thing I've missed, but that's still after hours of trying and failing to utilise my years of IT knowledge to change some folder permissions. I *know* this is almost certainly a very easy one to solve, but the old adage is true: the answer is only easy if you know it!!!! If I right click on the folder (/media/usbdisk), I can see that I am the owner of it, yet I cannot change permissions. Now to me, that makes no sense at all and just serves to create frustration and confusion. I've even added myself to the root and several other groups to try and up my security levels, but that didn't work either. I realise I'm trying to employ my Windows Server logic to this problem, but it doesn't seem to make any difference either way. In a nutshell: I cannot create a folder on a drive that my logged in user is the owner of, a drive that already contains folders and that yesterday (on a previous install of Suse) I could create folders on!!!!! Aaaarrrrggghhhh! Put like that, can you understand why I'm so p**sed off with Linux right now? I even tried using a command posted in a thread here from someone who has almost the exact same problem as me. The solution posted was this: sudo chmod 0777 /media/ChuckNorris – I tried exactly this command but with “ChuckNorris” substituted with “usbdisk”. Did it work? No, and I'm past caring why to be honest.
To add to my woes, I've had to reinstall Suse today because when I booted this aft, I had no USB mouse or sound any more. I couldn't work out why (as they both worked perfectly last night) and I have no clue where the event log equivalents are in Linux and if I'm being honest, no patience left to go searching online for a pointer to them. So, after a couple of hours wasted, I gave up and reinstalled the whole thing from scratch. This is after spending the whole of yesterday setting up Suse and downloading all the updates. <sigh>
The whole idea was for me to have a nice shiny Linux install ready to go away with next weekend to see if I could live with it as a production/leisure environment for a few days with a view to replace Windows completely. So far, I've got no mp3's, no DVD's and no useable external storage. I'm at the point where I'm wondering if it's worth the effort. When I'm away, I won't have Internet access, so will be screwed if I run into problems like this. I have spent a total of just over 12hrs getting this installation up and running and I'm still not even close to being there. The trouble is, I just don't have 12hrs to spare on this sort of thing. As much as I hate to admit it, I could have had XP and all the associated extra software installed on the laptop in less than an hour and I know it would work with no messing or having to figure out some arcane and confusing installation procedure (try installing a source file as a Linux novice if you dare!). I'm just left feeling disappointed and sad that this has been such a waste of time and effort.
I've tried so hard to get Linux to work. I've spent a lot of time I don't have (as a father and full time worker) setting it up and reading up on things, but have decided to throw in the towel. I admit defeat. The sad part of this is that I absolutely detest MS Windows and would give my right arm to get rid once and for all, but I can't for all the reasons above. It looks like I'm going to be reinstalling XP tomorrow. Damn.
- 05-01-2006 #2
All this is so much more difficult for you because of your IT background in Windows. I've seen this several times before. As you admit, you are trying to solve Linux problems with your Windows procedures and experiences. Intuitively you know this simply will not work. I will admit that Linux can be very frustrating at times after first switching over, but honestly I can't say I had any more frustration changing to Linux than I had while trying to learn Windows initially. You CAN listen to mp3's, watch commercial DVD's and use an external storage device in Linux as many users here do. Most here would have been happy to provide you with assistance had you only asked. You would have received helpful and easy to follow directions. The reason there is no native mp3 or DVD support with Linux is because of software patents but you can get these things running. On your external storage device, it sounds like you are trying to create a folder as regular user and not root user which is a security measure to protect your files. Initiate the konqueror file browser in your "media" directory as root by opening a terminal. "Konsole" from your menu will do. Then type:
kdesu konqueror /media
If you want assistance with these problems, I and many other here will gladly assist you in getting things going and it won't take fifteen hours of your time. You CAN learn Linux if you want, but of course the choice is yours.
- 05-01-2006 #3
- Join Date
- Dec 2004
Dapper Dan hit the nail on the head. Up to about a year ago, I was also very frustrated with Linux. Coming from years of Windows networking I can share your frustrations; however, after some independent research and routine reinstallation of the OS I finally learned what I needed to know about Linux.
My first suggestion, try installing Linux on a desktop as compared to a laptop. Laptop configurations are the hardest to configure in Linux due to the hardware and especially, wireless networking.
Over the years I've tried Fedora Core, Mandrake/Mandriva, CentOS, Debian, and SuSE - finally settling on SuSE as my distro of choice. Like all things, it takes time and patience. It is hard to comprehend the fact that you are a novice with so many years of experience. Believe me, I've been there and done that. As Dapper Dan pointed out, a lot of your issues can be worked out by asking some questions.
As for SuSE, do a Google with the search criteria "hacking suse 10" and this will bring you to the Jem Reports. Here, you can find what what packages are needed to run Java, play MP3's and DVD movies. MPlayer and Kaffeine do a nice job with multimedia and I have yet to find a file type at which Kaffeine cannot play.
On a final note, I am not trying to persuade you to stay with Linux; however, don't be so quick to give up. I'm sure you didn't learn Active Directory, DFS, and Exchange overnight, did you? Be patient and you may just learn somthing that will assist you down the road. Linux is up and coming and will be in the mainstream before you know it. At least you will not be totally frustrated when you employer decides to implement Samba, Apache, or MySQL into your environment as a cost savings measure.
- 05-01-2006 #4
- Join Date
- Sep 2005
- Augustana College
Learning Linux was not a major problem for me - installing it was, on the first distro I tried, but about a week's worth of free time was all it took to get a pretty good handle on the os. I think this was largely because I didn't learn computers on Windows. I learned to use a computer on an Apple IIe back in the day, and then graduated to MS-DOS with (for when I wanted gaming) Win3.1 (WOW!!!). I'd used the cli from the time I was in grade school.
The more you get used to the Windows way of doing things, the stranger Linux will seem. And you just have to realize, also, that there is no perfect operating system. Linux is mighty nice, but it has its quirks, too.
- 05-01-2006 #5
- Join Date
- Apr 2006
Thanks for the replies and the encouragement! I have much to learn and should post questions before throwing the computer through the nearest window
I've been messing around with Suse again today and am a little less confused than yesterday on certain points thanks to your replies. The external drive was formatted as NTFS, but until Dan posted I had no idea this would be an issue, especially considering it worked yesterday. I made an assumption that as I could browse the directories on the drive and was able to write to it that there'd be no problem. I've since reformatted as FAT32 and things are now working as I'd expect. Phew.
It's true that I've been looking at this through the eyes of a long term Windows user and realise I shouldn't. It's obviously going to be a case of forgetting some of what I've learnt as the Linux way is so radically different in many respects. That's neither good nor bad, just different. Had I begun with this frame of mind, perhaps I'd have had a less frustrating experience.
I still think Linux is wonderful in comparison to Windows in a lot of ways, yet is completely alien and seemingly illogical in others. I'm going to persevere and have resisted the temptation to reinstall XP today. I really did not want to go back to it. Strangely, the installation of Linux has never been an issue for me, even on the laptop. I suppose I'm lucky in that the hardware I use has always been detected and configured without a hitch. My main problems are all relating to directory structure differences, configuration issues and what to do when things go wrong.
No doubt I'll be posting lots more questions and pleas for help in the forums over the next few weeks and months. I'm off now to install Mandriva on my spare PC to see what sort of mess I can make of it
- 05-01-2006 #6Originally Posted by lealoc
here is my suggestion and how i got into linux full time (i do EVERYTHING is linux and do not have windows on my mechine)
Do you have two computers? If so keep windows on one (i know i know) and put linux on the other.. if you can't do something like play MP3's look it up try some stuff out if you brake it oh well because you can do everything importen on your windows box
BTW novell like redhat removes mp3 suport because MP3 decoders are not free so the MP3 thing isn't your fault
- 05-01-2006 #7
If you want to test Mandriva, these links will be very, very helpful for you:
http://easylinux.info/wiki/Mandriva ( an Unofficial Mandriva Linux 2006 Starter Guide )
http://www.brunolinux.com/ (advanced tips for Mandriva and some other Linuxes)
and this forum with its Howtos:
http://www.mandrivausers.org (the best Mandriva support forum I ever visited)Windows free since 2002 | computing since 1984
- 05-01-2006 #8
- Join Date
- Apr 2006
Ahem, I've just read the article "Linux is Not Windows" (http://linux.oneandoneis2.org/LNW.htm). One word to you all..sorry
A word of advice to all Windows users who are thinking of coming in here armed with something similar to my original post. Read the article mentioned above first. I wish I had!
- 05-01-2006 #9... then you have to navigate the incredibly complex Linux directory structure in shell and type some weird commnds in to get everything installed.
When something goes wrong, doesn't work or doesn't make sense? Back to Google, rinse and repeat. Over and over again.
I'm the owner of this device, but cannot write enable it.
Soon enough, you will discover why this is a perfectly legitimate possibility within a Linux environment. (And it will make perfect sense.)
... trying and failing to utilise my years of IT knowledge ...
the answer is only easy if you know it!!!!
Now to me, that makes no sense at all and just serves to create frustration and confusion.
I realise I'm trying to employ my Windows Server logic to this problem, ...
The sad part of this is that I absolutely detest MS Windows and would give my right arm to get rid once and for all, but I can't for all the reasons above.
It is not my intent to speak negatively in any way about your Windows training, but if you will stick with UNIX/Linux - as you dig deeper into it, you will discover a whole new world of computer knowledge and understanding that is hidden by Microsoft/Windows but opened up wide by Linux -- giving you far more options and control over your computer/resources...
I encourage you to "stick with it" and learn it (remember that many of the members of this forum are also fathers with full-time jobs - and they love it - and they have decided that it is well worth their time to learn it...). Your IT training is still of value. However, you must learn to separate the "Windows" part of it from the "[real] computer" part of it. The more you know about hardware, the easier this will be. If by chance you do not know or understand where this separation is -- then, "I'm sorry, but - you have never seen the [real] computer part of it..." - you have only seen the "windows" part of it - the [real] computer part has been hidden from you by Microsoft/Windows...
I know some of my comments are somewhat direct - coming from someone you do not know very well - please resist the temptation to get angry -- I am only trying to encourage you to now "get" what you have been missing out on all these years...
"Just wait... You only thought you hated Microsoft/Windows..."
(This statement is not intended to encourage anyone to hate Microsoft/Windows, but rather to simply illustrate that "there is so much more out there" that most people who have only been exposed to Windows realize or know about.)
EDIT: Quote fix.
- 05-01-2006 #10Originally Posted by lealoc