[oclug] Newbie Question
rbrockway at opentrend.net
Tue Apr 5 10:27:47 EDT 2005
On Tue, 5 Apr 2005, Frederick Emrich, Editor, info-commons.org wrote:
> I am a strong supporter of the *idea* of OS, but although I am not afraid of
Hi Frederick. Just to start it is better to start a new thread rather
than reply to someone elses. Many of us use threaded news readers these
days and it is more likely a thread will be missed if it is connected to
the end of another unrelated thread. It also annoys some people. Thus a
response may be less likely.
Also regarding the term OS, this means "operating system". An operating
system is a collection of software tools used to manage a computers
resources. Thus Microsoft Windows 2000 is an operating system, and so is
Linux (to which this list is devoted, and I believe you are asking about).
> technology or of computer tinkering, neither am I by any means completely
> comfortable with it either. I'm tired of the deficiencies of MS products and
> very interested in trying OS in my personal computer, but I also need to be
> sure that my computer lets me get my work done--long learning curves would
> be a big problem.
Of course - ultimately a computer is a tool. If you can't achieve what
you need to achieve then it would not be useful.
Fortunately you can setup your computer to boot with Linux and Microsoft
Windows alternatively (there is also software to allow you to run both but
we won't go there yet). This allows you to dip your toes in the water
without committing fully. Many people continue to use both Linux and
Microsoft Windows on the same computer over the long term. I use Linux
virtually exclusively (I only touch Microsoft Windows when I need to to
fix a client system).
> So I am considering a move to OS and looking for information that is aimed
> at a user like myself (no experience with software coding, but able to use a
> book to learn to do things like HTML, etc) that will describe:
> 1) Whys and why nots of OS software
Here's the big question :) Many articles online cover this sort of thing
so I'll just cover this briefly.
1. It is free. This is more than about money. It means freedom is many
difference senses of the word. This doesn't preclude people selling it
though (this is a big topic).
2. It is flexible. The main reason I dumped Microsoft on my computers 11
years ago was that the operating system seems to have so many implicit
assumptions built into it about how I wanted to use a computers. They got
many of the assumptions wrong (for me).
IMHO, the longevity of Unix (a family of operating systems that work the
same way, that includes Linux) is that they avoid making assumptions about
how to use a computers. Sure there are some assumptions but they are kept
to a minimum.
> 2) How to install
Normally you download or buy a distrobution of Linux and install it off
CDs as you would Microsoft Windows. In the old days installing any
operating system presumed significant knowledge of computer hardware - now
little or no knowledge of this is required.
> 3) What to do when things don't work
The first thing to do is to look at online resources. You'd be amazed at
how many documents have been written to help you sort out Linux related
problems. Others can give their favourite sites. http://www.linuxdoc.org
is a great place to start.
If you try to figure out the problem but can't, then come to the list.
Sometime new users need to virtually start at a list like this as they
don't yet know which information to look up to solve their problem.
> I have been poking around for a while and found material that claims to do
> these things, but none of it has seemed to me to succeed effectively enough
> to get me to take the OS plunge. Can anyone direct me to sources (books,
> websites, articles--hey! I'd even take a course) they recommend for someone
> in my position?
I'd recommend visiting OCLUG talks. Meeting face to face is a great way
to get answers to questions about distributions, etc.
I've only really skimmed the serface here and covered a number of topics
that are each huge.
I'd add more but I need to leave for a business meeting soon :)
Robert Brockway B.Sc.
Senior Technical Consultant, OpenTrend Solutions Ltd.
Phone: +1-416-669-3073 Email: rbrockway at opentrend.net http://www.opentrend.net
OpenTrend Solutions: Reliable, secure solutions to real world problems.
Contributing Member of Software in the Public Interest (http://www.spi-inc.org)
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