It's all the little things that matter
Dec 22, 2004
7:05 PM EDT
|Paul, Paul, Paul -- if that is your real name:
It's hard to argue with you as far as you go, but you miss a few important details. Not surprising -- you wear the same blinders I do: desktop linux has been our reality for years. In fact, we've recently acquired our first Windows machine in the last 5 years, and only because some mortgage loan software requires it.
We don't live in the world most people do.
It's why it's good for me to talk to my mother now and then.
Most important reality first: The desktop is MUCH HARDER to conquer than the server room. We geeky types tend to reverse the degree of difficulty because we know that servers are the real studmuffins of the network,
Truth is, servers have it easy. They have people to take care of them, people for whom computing is important stuff, not just the means to do other important stuff. They also tend to do a relatively small number of things, like handle e-mail or serve up web pages. They might serve up a bazillion pages, do dynamic rendering, log til your momma cries, etc, but they're probably not going to play halo or do any video editing or print up nice calendars with your kids' pictures on them.
The people who run desktop pcs are more likely to curse them than love them, see them as merely the means to an end, and expect them to do just about anything they've ever seen anybody do with any computer anywhere at any time.
There are SO many desktop programs! WIth OpenOffice 2.0 around the corner, desktop productivity is about to be covered very nicely. But if aunt Ida can't run her geneology program (with all of her collected data) it won't matter!
Even if aunt Ida could make the switch, if she doesn't somebody like you or me, she ain't likely to do it.
Why not, you say?
Because the freakin' computer is absolute mystery meat to her. She knows how to do what she knows how to do and that's absolutely fine.
Here's the kicker:
When something goes wrong, she probably knows at least two or three people who give her the impression that they can help her out with her "computer" problems.
That, by the way, is where we come in.
As more and more people use desktop linux, there are more and more desktop linux users (Duh!). That means more places to turn when the ?%#! box acts flaky (and it will).
It's happening as we speak. Is it happening quickly? No. But it's happening.
The desktop is hard, and hard things tend to take time.
Dec 23, 2004
4:34 AM EDT
|>>The people who run desktop pcs are more likely to curse them than love them, see them as merely the means to an end, and expect them to do just about anything they've ever seen anybody do with any computer anywhere at any time.|
Dec 23, 2004
6:33 PM EDT
|> We don't live in the world most people do.
Actually, I've had to live with a steenking windows laptop now for over 3 years. It sucks like rotten eggs, but I'm extremely familiar (work has required it). I relegate windows to a layer of an operating system, in this case a base for Cygwin to run.
> Most important reality first: The desktop is MUCH HARDER to conquer > than the server room. We geeky types tend to reverse the degree of > difficulty because we know that servers are the real studmuffins of the > network,
Yeah, yeah. I know what you mean here o Trac'd one -- but who said _anything_ about domination of the desktop? Not I -- this is about warfare -- try this simple experiment. Ask your windows friends with broadband connected computers if they've had a virus/spyware/security incident in the past year. See if you can find one who hasn't. I've been doing an ad-hoc poll, very unscientific. I haven't scored yet. Without exception, everyone has had something nasty.
Even dial-up people are being infected -- and it's not getting better, it's getting unmanageable. That's my main point here -- not to replace their desktop -- simply get them using Linux so they can somehow safely surf the web and check their email.
> The people who run desktop pcs are more likely to curse them than love > them, see them as merely the means to an end, and expect them to do > just about anything they've ever seen anybody do with any computer > anywhere at any time.
And yet, somehow, they're not able to do these things a good portion of the time because they're busy cleaning spyware and viruses off the things...
> There are SO many desktop programs! > WIth OpenOffice 2.0 around the corner, desktop productivity is about to > be covered very nicely. But if aunt Ida can't run her geneology program > (with all of her collected data) it won't matter!
Odd, that seems to be the big hold-up now. Last year it was word processing... But my point about surfing and email still stands.
> Even if aunt Ida could make the switch, if she doesn't somebody like you > or me, she ain't likely to do it.
This isn't true today. I'd agree with you two years ago -- maybe. But I just gave a neighbor a stock Red-Hat install (replaced Millenium Edition). He had zero questions about how to run it. Surfed the web and checked his email. I went over to make sure he was using it. I know he is because not only was FireFox up and focused on a web page, but the entire desktop was customized.
What's he do for a living -- he repairs farm equipment. Granted, the guys not a total moron, but he's a self-admitted non-tech kinda guy. One of my user group members converted his mom over a couple of years ago -- no problems. The desktop thing isn't as far fetched as you think, IMHO.
> When something goes wrong, she probably knows at least two or three > people who give her the impression that they can help her out with her > "computer" problems.
What's gonna go wrong! Listen, those guys are going to be busy trying to fix their _own_ windows boxes -- they're not going to have the time to help her.
> That, by the way, is where we come in.
Speak for yourself. I'm planning on renting umbrellas on the beach! This computer crap is for the birds!!
> As more and more people use desktop linux, there are more and more > desktop linux users (Duh!). That means more places to turn when the > ?%#! box acts flaky (and it will).
You pessimistic hackers are all alike! I'm not even going to mention how you crouch in the dust of your basements, nothing but the glow of the TV set and the smell of rotting tomatoes to guide your way... No sirree, not at all!
> It's happening as we speak. Is it happening quickly? No. But it's happening.
Jan 03, 2005
4:30 PM EDT
|I recently became curious about what my favorite ranting friend (Ferris) had been doing, and then stumbled here after entering his name in a search engine. I never knew of this site before, but I have mostly been absent of the community since the sinking of that titanic known as LinuxToday. Then I spotted Dean and thought: wow... what is going on over here? I do not know Dean as well, but this is much more a matter of coincidence than of my will. Has a new base been found for the rebel forces?
What follows is some analysis about history, Linux, the community, and most importantly, my friend Paul. There are lessons to be learned, so read attentively. The core message is too complex to be stated simply and without some background information. It is meant to be useful for everyone, despite its heavy concentration upon Paul.
About Warfare, Illusions, Desires, and Service
Paul, your father's religious influence upon you has left you with some gifts which you can never fully repay. It is the same for me, despite my father's ironic flaws. Your sometimes apparent obsessions with the concept of truth, and your desire for justice are exceedingly uncommon. These principals are so diminished in society in fact, that I correctly used "apparent obsessions" to describe them -- for it is exactly how many less fortunate souls would mistakenly describe your morality. These are the people who have chanted "zealot" at you. Your unwillingness to compromise your principals despite strong temptations is why I admire you. Years ago, we spoke at length about a possible compromise during a time of difficult choices. I argued that compromise in the short term is sometimes acceptable if it might serve the greater good -- leading eventually to the lesser of two evils. As an old martial arts saying portrayed: it is the trees which bend from the weight of snow that survive the winter to return in spring stronger. Those trees maintain hope of growing higher. Their flexibility allows them to endure and continue. Which of us was right? I don't know. Perhaps you too will never confidently know all the "what if" answers. Regardless of your strategies; I do know that as long as you follow the guidance of your conscience, then you will receive my respect for it, and possibly the respect of many others. So, my only disappointment concerned the opportunities lost. Like so many qualities, idealism can cut both ways. It is your strength that resonates influence throughout the community; but this same zeal is prone to being misunderstood by those outside the community like a prophet speaking in tongues. I understand, and you understand -- but the problem is partly that you have failed to understand how little the outsiders understand. While I have never taken sides in such a discussion before, I make my first exception now. Paul, my friend, you are absolutely in error in disputing Dean. What he stated echoed with fidelity my overall experience with "users". We're far from alone too. While in many areas your knowledge vastly overshadows mine, there is one area which you cannot compete. As a field technician, I was constantly giving aid to average people: technically ignorant people. You're not even using their language. You can't preach security improvements to people for which security is only "something banks need to stop 'hackers' ", and who only feel a need for the security of having a corporation providing "support" -- which mostly is actually supportive marketing designed to distract them from the fine print. How can you market a virtue, when the audience does not comprehend why it should be a desired quality? You, like most people, have a tendency to project some of your qualities upon others -- for instance, the distrustful attitudes of thieves who cannot perceive what they do not have in other people: consciences. I'm sorry to say that the idealism and intellectual drive that you see in other people is often the illusion of your own projected qualities. You have overestimated them even more than you underestimated Dean in this instance. We're better than the vast majority; but you can still follow your dream of aiding them to elevate themselves with an effective strategy. To inspire them as you and other leaders have done for us, you must learn their language, educate them, and only then can you hope to spread the word. They will not allow you to help them up if they never realize they are on the ground. My advise is your (our) only chance. From what I know of humanity, my hopefulness is low however.
Jan 03, 2005
6:15 PM EDT
Great to see you here!
I hear you on the humanity thing -- but I too spend quite a bit of time with my friends and neighbors -- and I've never seen things quite as bad as they are now.
I'll answer all of these concerns, if you don't mind, in a new article...
In any case, I note your opinion as valid, as usual.
But please don't side with DinoTrac -- it only stokes the fire...
Jan 04, 2005
4:43 AM EDT
|> But please don't side with DinoTrac --
> it only stokes the fire...
Yeah... we'll keep an eye on that guy.
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