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administering Linux was: [SLUG] Debian
- To: Stephen Mills <smills@xxxxxxxxxxx>
- Subject: administering Linux was: [SLUG] Debian
- From: Anand Kumria <wildfire@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Tue Sep 19 18:59:25 2000
- Cc: "'slug@xxxxxxxxxxx'" <slug@xxxxxxxxxxx>
- Reply-to: slug@xxxxxxxxxxx
- User-agent: Mutt/1.2i
On Tue, Sep 19, 2000 at 03:00:49PM +1000, Stephen Mills wrote:
> Why should Linux be hard to use ?
You are confusing `hard to use' and `hard to administer'.
Linux isn't hard to use; I've successfully sat down people with no
computing exposure and after a few pointers (mouse moves this, button
does this) they can successfully navigate around. Yup, and even do
useful stuff (browsing, writing, etc.)
> If Linux was difficult to install, manage, administer I hardly doubt you
> would see the Linux craze come about or the "slug-fests" be as popular.
Linux *is* hard to administer! That is precisely why installfests are so
popular. Is is also (partly) why the list itself is popular. Configuration
and maintaince of a Linux box is difficult. Don't underestimate the
> I'm hoping for the most users that use Windows, should be able to make the
> transition over to Linux without too much trouble. They should be able to
> add a ppp0 interface without fiddling with chat scripts.
They can do that already (without editing chat scripts). But they have to read
documentation (e.g. pppconfig). Even Windows users need to read documentation
to `get online'. Or they get someone to do it for them.
> Sure, leave the administrators to the backend, fiddling with scripts, its
> what I like doing also, because I'm *interested* in it, but for users that
> just want the job done, they should be able to do that also. If it wasn't
> for some of the front end work happening I think you'll find most people
> will stick to Windows on the desktop.
Very few Windows users actually administer their own desktops. Probably
the only ones who do are those very few `home users' who like to tinker
themselves. A lot of home users just get others to help them out. Most
corporates put down a standard box which is preconfigured for various
tasks. The (little) customisation possible is merely details regarding
> I think the reason why front ends get a rough deal is that they are usually
> trying to calcuate what is happening at the core of the programme, this can
I think front-ends get a rough deal because they tend to insist that you
use them, and only them, to forever more configure your files. That is a
real problem when you attempt to administer something in a group.
Either everyone uses the tool, or none do. If you are administrating
by yourself it tends to make you ignorant of what to do in case of
I'll admit that I don't know how to go about configuring a printer under
Linux (paper? what's that) when I did need to do it I found that the
front-end I used didn't explain what it was doing. It is a black box.
So I still don't know how to configure a printer. I could (now) easily
check the HOW-TO. But a good tool should (attempt) to teach me. Then
I can make the choice to do it manually or use the (presumably simpler)
> fail miserably, would you run linuxconf over your mailhub of 50,000 users ?
> I certainly wouldn't. But for the most part its an important step to get the
You should tell the author then - as I'm sure the author would want you to.
I'm guessing that you'll feel constrained by the program with that many
users or perhaps just wondering how it does things. Things like author
interest/support will no doubt have some bearing upon things. Whereas if
you knew how to do it you wouldn't be reliant on someone else.
This is almost a Free Software versus Properitary Software argument. For
vast periods of time I never look at the actual source code of a program:
I normally don't care. But when I do care, I want to know how it does what
it does. Most GUI admin tools give you the `comfort blanket' of a
Properitary Software -- and when they fail you have very little recourse.
> numbers of users. As far as I'm concerned, if the OS is successful,
> companies will start supporting it, commerically, and supply their own
> drivers. Its already happening in a big way and is only going to better. I'm
> certainly looking forward to the future of Linux !
I hope you mean `source to drivers' instead of drivers. I'd hate there to
be an explosion of `binary-only' kernel/video card/modem drivers.
I think that can only make Linux go backwards.