Arman's stuff
Linux Is Not Windows

(Thu Jul 1 11:36:41 2010)

And OpenOffice isn't Linux

All right, that's it, I've had it! I love Linux; not in a "Linux is for everyone, you NEED Linux!" kind of way; more along the lines of "Unless you have a good reason not to, give Linux a try" kind of way. I try to be helpful, understanding, and more than a little bit patient. I will point you towards replacement software or try to get your programs working in Wine. I will recommend Fire Fox or Chrome if you're running IE, even though I like Opera.

So why, why, WHY can't you meet me half way?

When I hear (well, read) rants about how terrible Linux is as compared to Windows, all I can see is your stupid showing. Yes, I know, OpenOffice is slow, and isn't exactly like Microsoft Office. It just isn't a perfect replacement for Power Point. And yes, unlike Windows, you can't play MP3s out-of-the-box if you install Ubuntu (or a lot of other distros). And yes, I completely understand when you say that your hardware just doesn't work in Linux (and/or it is difficult to get working). I know; I get it. I understand.

You are an idiot.

Now, see, now you're all upset. "I am NOT an idiot!" you cry. "I've been in IT for 20 years! I have certificates! CERTIFICATES! I can do all that with ease in Windows!" But this is the great divide, isn't it? You are "Windows Smart." I won't argue it; you're a genius at Windows. I mean, you even know the command prompt commands. You are a Windows XP God. But that doesn't help you in Linux, does it? Not a bit. No more than being a stunt/test driver qualifies you to fly helicopters.

Ubuntu (I'll single this one out, because it's what I recommend to people that want to try Linux) is not Windows. It's not trying to be Windows; it's not even trying to be Mac (hush, you). If you can't play MP3s, or you don't know why your hardware doesn't work, or you want XYZ program that you just can't find, chances are, you actually need to ask for help. Do so, and you'll be told "copy and paste this string of letters into your console." You, of course, will go ballistic, as copying and pasting is clearly outside the realm of possibility. "Give me the Windows Way!" you cry. "Five paragraphs of careful commands that include the words 'double click' and 'otherwise go back to step 3!' None of this COMMAND LINE stuff!"
Sure, we could give you those instructions, but why? For the love of Mike, WHY? I gave you a single line of text; you just select it, press "Ctrl" and "C" on your keyboard, open a console, select "Paste" from the menu, and press enter! Is this hard? NO! Not using the command line in Linux is like not touching the steering wheel in your car with your hands. You can get places, but they are probably not where you want to go!

And furthermore. Since when was OpenOffice Linux? Sure, you can get OOo ( for Linux, just like you can get Fire Fox or VLC - but that doesn't make it an integral part of the operating system. I, for instance, don't use OpenOffice. I use the Linux equivalent of notepad (it's called Leafpad). If I really, really, really need to make a power point slide, I will actually use Impress (the OpenOffice powerpoint maker). If I really, really, really needed to use Power Point all the time, I'd use Wine (or CrossOver) and install MS Office in Linux. Yes, you can do that. No, it's not hard. Yes, it will cost a little money - but not much. Less than you paid for Microsoft Office, anyway. You did pay for that, right?

I know that Linux doesn't offer amazing functionality right out of the box; you actually have to install stuff to be able to play MP3s and such. Then again, have you looked at a fresh install of XP, Vista, or Windows 7? While you might be able to play MP3s, there aren't any other codecs installed - there isn't even an office program! You have to install that yourself. And you can't install it all at once, either - you have to install each by itself, one mind-bendingly boring install wizard screen at a time.

Linux isn't Windows. Linux isn't Mac. Linux isn't even KDE or Gnome or XFCE; Linux is a wee little blob of stuff you'll never see, working in the background to make sure everything runs straight. KDE (or Gnome or XFCE or...) give you all that pretty graphic stuff. And on the flip side, OpenOffice isn't Linux, either; it's a program, just like it is in Windows.

Usually, the most foul criticisms of Linux come from people who really just haven't worked with it much. If you've used Windows for 20 years (or even just 5), you know how to change the background image, the mouse icon, and even make shortcuts. You might even know how to mount hard drives in more than one place, or straight into the directory structure. What you have is a huge hint file, stored in your brain. But just like a hint file for Star Craft won't work for Final Fantasy XII, your hint for for Windows won't work in Linux. And just like how the Final Fantasy forums would laugh at your for complaining that you can't buy any Zerglings in the store, Linux forums will generally laugh at you for trying to do Windows-type things in Linux.

You can't switch in a day. Just like it took you ages to get all that Windows knowledge, it's going to take you a while to adjust to Linux. If you can't get your MP3s to play, don't try to download a codec and install it, especially if you're in Ubuntu. Instead, google for "Ubuntu play mp3". The entire page will help you; click one of those links. Seriously. And if that's too much, here's how to do it: run "sudo /usr/share/doc/libdvdread4/". Yeah, that's it; copy and paste a line of text into a console, and hit enter. It's that easy. In fact, they even detail three other ways to do it in the Ubuntu help pages.

I'm sorry I called you an idiot - you aren't really. You're just fed up that you spent all this time learning Windows, and it turns out it only helps you in Windows. I know the feeling. All I'm asking is that, instead of coming up with lame excuses like "I can't make a decent Power Point slide" (who can, anyway?), that you try it out. Install it, use the live CD, use Wubi, whatever; I'm sure you can do it.

Oh, and hey, you've made it to the end of my rant; good job!

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This blag is tagged: Linux, Openoffice, Rant, Ubuntu, Windows, All