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+                                                         +
+             C.O.L.A. Newcomer FAQ and Primer            +
+                  Edition: 21 - 9/24/06                  +
+              Group: comp.os.linux.advocacy              +
+                                                         +
+        Copyright (c) 2002-2006 Linux Reality Team       +

Welcome to comp.os.linux.advocacy, otherwise known as cola.  This
FAQ will try to address most of the issues regarding Linux and
this group.  Unlike the other FAQs, this one will try to be as
realistic as possible.  If you want the straight information from
real people, continue reading.  If you would like to be told what
you want to hear, or read a bunch of misinformation that you will
regret later as you find things don't work as they should, feel free
to read one of the other "FAQS" in here.

OK, on to the info!  ADDED NEW SECTION BELOW!

Here's a list of some frequently asked and answered question here
and elsewhere that you may find useful in your quest to try linux.
Read these carefully before you decide to invest time in Linux, you
may find that you have better things you can do instead.


1.1 Q: I heard linux was easy to install, is it?
    A: That depends on what distro you try.  Most of them will have
       trouble detecting all your hardware.  Most new hardware devices
       are not supported.  If your lucky you might be able to find
       something that someone threw together on the net.  But that's
       after spending a couple hours searching and probably won't take
       advantage of your hardware to it's fullest capability.

1.2 Q: Once I get it installed, then what?
    A: Then you get the joy of making sure everything is configured
       right.  Plan on a minimum of two hours per device to get it to
       work.  That's if the device is even supported.

1.3 Q: What happens if I'm in the middle of an install and the
       installation freezes or just stops?
    A: You get to reboot and start all over again. :)  This happens
       every so often with Linux.  It seems like it's buggy install
       routines or something.  Ain't Linux grand? :)

1.4 Q: What's the deal?!  I installed Linux and it took up almost 2GB
       hard drive space!
    A: The Linux distros usually install a LOT of never-used programs
       on the default install.  You can pick and choose what you want,
       but good luck figuring out what programs are needed and what is
       useless, obscure tools.  Linux usually installs stuff like 10
       different editors, 12 different mail clients, and so on.

    (more to come...)


2.1 Q: What's with all these cryptic files?
    A: All of Linux is configured with cryptic text files.  Some of
       the more user-friendly distros have configuration utilities
       that claim to do it for you, but success with these works
       sometimes and other times don't, so sometimes you have to
       edit them by hand.  With Linux's spotty reliability in UI
       programming, you might as well get used to it.

2.2 Q: What is killall, HUP, ls, cat, rm, which, etc and why are
       these programs telling me to do them?  Arggg!!
    A: These are command line programs that do things within the
       system.  It's what makes Linux a powerful OS for those that
       are experienced with it.  But it's also what makes it a pain
       in the arse to use and inefficient as a desktop system.  Who
       wants to type all the time when they can just click?!

       (more to come...)


3.1 Q: Where can I get some programs to run on linux?
    A: Good question.  Because Linux doesn't have a large user base
       on the desktop,(I think it's about 0.24%, less than 1%)
       companies that make software won't write their programs for
       Linux.  There's a lot of community created programs out there,
       and some are fairly good, but those are few and far between.
       Most of the Linux software that tries to mimic it's windows
       counterpart is substandard. It's usually slow and buggy and
       early in development.

3.2 Q: I tried to install an RPM but I got 'failed dependencies', what
       is that?
    A: That's Linux's version of DLL hell.  Different versions and
       distros use different libraries.  So unlike windows where
       programs will run on many different versions, Linux programs
       will fail if they're not made for your specific version.

3.3 Q: What is compiling and configure, make and make install? And
       what is a makefile?
    A: This is a way to build the programs from the source code
       under Linux.  When the question above fails, you can always
       build it yourself.  The advantage is that it works most of
       the time.  The disadvantage is that it takes forever to build
       large programs, you need to know some cryptic commands and
       you have to do all this on a command line.  Unlike Windows
       where you just double click and you are done.

3.4 Q: Can I go to my local store to buy any Linux applications?
    A: Not really.  You can buy Linux itself at various stores. But
       not too many commercial companies make applications for Linux,
       there's no profit in it with 0.24% of the desktop market.

       (more to come...)


4.1 Q: Why is Linux so slow?
    A: Linux is built on the technology of the old UNIX OS's.  Even
       the graphical user interface of Linux is a separate program that
       is the same type they used back in the older UNIX days.  So
       working with old technology will give you the old technology
       responsiveness. Also, a lot of the GUI's, although nice to look
       at, are still not mature. Using them is slow and sluggish
       compared to, say, Windows.

       (more to come...)


5.1 Q: Why are the windows different looking?
    A: Since Linux isn't built by one company, group or have any
       governing body, programs and interfaces can vary dramatically.
       You can have everything from the nice look of KDE, to something
       as ugly as TK and everything in between. You'll usually see some
       varying UI stile in Linux.

5.2 Q: Should I buy Suse Linux?
    A: No.  They make it difficult to get it for free.  All the other
       distros provide free ISO's to download.  Suse is the only one
       that doesn't provide them but instead has a FTP install that's
       hard to get to work.  Why should they make it easy?  The more
       people that can't get the download to work have to spend $80
       or more for the boxed set.  And on top of all that although
       it might have a few more user friendly tools, it's still the
       same base Linux system that's in development and that all the
       other distros are using.  In other words, they're all on about
       the same level of struggling to catch up to Windows, so you're
       not going to find any earth-shattering features in one compared
       to another.

       (more to come...)


6.1 Q: What is RTFM?!
    A: This is an acronym for Read The Fuc*ing Manual.  This is a
       answer you'll get when asking for help in the Linux community.
       It's meant to make you feel inadequate while boating the Linux
       persons ego at the same time.  See, Linux enthusiasts consider
       themselves to be guru like and above helping out the simple
       newbie.  You have to earn your respect by spending countless
       hours becoming a kernel hacker before you're worthy of getting
       any help.

6.2 Q: Why does everyone think they are better than you when using
    A: Same as above.  When people use Linux they believe since it
       a little more knowledge to use Linux, they are technically
       and see themselves as an elite group that doesn't have time for
       pathetic little Windows people.

       (more to come...)


7.1 Q: Everyone in here says linux is perfect, why would they say that
       if it isn't?
    A: We really don't know.  Maybe they've used Linux so long that
       they've gotten used to it.  Some of these people haven't used
       Windows in years so they are comparing Linux to the last windows
       they used, maybe Windows 3.1 or 95.

7.2 Q: Why does everyone call you a troll when you ask something that
       questions linux?
    A: Most of the people here in C.O.L.A. think of Linux more like a
       religion than an OS.  They mostly are MS haters and feel that
       Linux is the greatest thing to ever hit computing.  So when
       someone questions Linux it's like questioning their belief
       system.  Instead of looking at it with some logic and reasonable
       judgment, they will lash out at you can't claim your are a troll
       or a paid MS supporter.

7.3 Q: Why does everyone <PLONK> you if you question Linux?
    A: Fairly similar to above, Linux advocates can not argue their
       point rationally.  So to make it look like you are under them or
       you are not worth it, and at the same time find an easy way out
       of having to prove themselves, they will <PLONK> you.

       (more to come...)

8.1 Q: There are some people that call this FAQ lies and seem to treat
it like it's a conspiracy against them, and post all sorts of links
to anti-microsoft articles.  Why are they reacting so strongly?
    A: The people that are reacting so strongly are most likely the
Linux extremists that believe everything negitive that is said about
Linux comes from Microsoft.  Like many cult-like groups, the people
that belong to them don't have the ability to see things rationally
or outside of their view.  If someone replies to the FAQ, or
anything questioning a non-favorable view on Linux, that seems a little
"over the edge", do a google search on the person
( /) and look at his/her posting history
then decide for yourself if the person is credible or not.

       (more to come...)

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