(My) Linux User-Friendliness Report for MDL.

Discussion in 'Linux' started by smallhagrid, Jan 1, 2020.

  1. ktgrrl

    ktgrrl MDL Novice

    Feb 18, 2013
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    Love it!! I noticed that by accident just the other day with a PDF I'd just downloaded in Firefox. This might be a USEFUL update to Firefox, for a change -- a built-in OCR function! (or maybe it's just a new way to spy on us...) If they'll also add PDF EDITING to Firefox I might not dump it after all. But FF is slow & crashy & generally annoying, so whatever new features they add better be really good!
     
  2. Kim100

    Kim100 MDL Senior Member

    Jun 17, 2009
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    With regard to distro choice I would always point a newcomer to Mint. If Mint did not have the required drivers or choice of software only then look at other options. Debian/MX are rock solid with more software and drivers available but if you dont need those extras why bother? Especially in the early days, Mint is just so easy, the ideal first step into Linux.
     
  3. Tiger-1

    Tiger-1 MDL Guru

    Oct 18, 2014
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  4. ipx

    ipx MDL Addicted

    May 24, 2017
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    nothing about anarchy linux neither on distrowatch nor on wikipedia, that makes me a bit skeptical.
     
  5. smallhagrid

    smallhagrid MDL Addicted

    Sep 14, 2013
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    If I were an eternal hobbyist into playing endlessly within the guts of Linux, I might find Arch attractive - but as it is, I'm not that hobbyist & have never seen any great value for myself or for those whom I assist via spreading any variant of Arch around.

    As I've always said regarding any/all OS choices:

    The OS is (to me) like the foundation of the house, sturdy, solid & ONLY requiring attention very seldom for maintenance or if some serious calamity befalls it.

    I and those whom I assist prefer the old fashioned, plain 'classic style' in all things PC-wise.
    This is easily attained via Ubuntu Mate or even via one of the lighter DEs, so I say here=>
    We don't fix it if it ain't broke !!
     
  6. ktgrrl

    ktgrrl MDL Novice

    Feb 18, 2013
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    Well, I kinda meant Anarchy Linux as a joke in response to your cartoon re. Linux user-friendliness of Arch for Linux newcomers. Guess I missed the mark.
    Anarchy is an Arch installer, not a distro (but wants to become one?) so you won't see it on Distrowatch. It's touted as an easy way to install & set up Arch, in light of how difficult (or at least tedious) Arch installation is reputed to be. I'm agnostic about it. It's been around for maybe 4 or 5 years under the name Arch Anywhere, but IIRC they changed their name about a year ago due to a copyright dispute over the name. If you're interested, there are a few reviews online under one or the other name.
     
  7. ktgrrl

    ktgrrl MDL Novice

    Feb 18, 2013
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    Agree entirely, on all points!
    I shouldn't have mentioned Arch in this "user-friendliness" thread, even in jest, lest someone take it as a serious suggestion. I played with Arch for a summer while stuck at home recovering from reconstructive spine surgery (guess I didn't have enough pain already) and decided I'm just not into it. Life is short and so was my patience with Arch. And I don't like spin-offs unless they have something special that I need, not just eye candy. I'm with rock-solid grand-daddy Debian all the way but I don't scoff (not out loud anyway ;)) at others' choices, and I don't mind helping a Linux newbie get started with Mint. They gotta start somewhere, and if we want to help them stay with it why make it more difficult than it has to be!
     
  8. Tiger-1

    Tiger-1 MDL Guru

    Oct 18, 2014
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    ^
    very good post I agree :)
     
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  9. ipx

    ipx MDL Addicted

    May 24, 2017
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    likewise, i do not mind helping a linux newbie get started with ubuntu (the greatest linux distro) ;)

    off-topic : played with the focal fossa beta / daily build all through yesterday & i am not at all disappointed.
     
  10. crayolaeater

    crayolaeater MDL Novice

    Jan 2, 2020
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    #34 crayolaeater, Feb 10, 2020
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2020
    You seem to forget how much time and effort that you have put into learning Windows over the years. From DOS to Windows 3.1 to Windows 7 (where I draw the line - no further if I can help it.), the learning curve was also steep, but you/we did it and now it seems so easy. Same goes with Linux, and soon it becomes second nature. Not going to say that you will not hit a brick wall trying to accomplish something, but as I have hit those same walls in DOS/Windows through the years also, I have hopefully developed the thinking patterns that either get me through it, or to smile when I just boot the issue off the road and head off on to the next item.
    My hardest thing now is when I do boot Windows to accompolish some annoying but simple task, I find that I have to re-teach myself how to use it again. Can't win.

    And since when is choice a bad thing? Confusing maybe, but have you no sense of adventure? Do you require someone to hold your hand in everything that you do, or are you self-reliant? I spent a lot of time over the last decade or so hopping from distro to distro, without hitting the sweet spot, but I did find a lot of cool programs that I had never encountered before, Where I ended up was with a very minimal distro, and then I added all those cool programs that I found to make my personal nirvana of a system. And I keep learning as I go. Otherwise, you are just standing still.
    And I thank the stars that I no longer have to fiddle with IRQs when I want to add hardware, or juggle my config.sys and autoexec.bat so I have enough memory to run the programs I want. Talk about lack of user friendliness.
     
  11. ktgrrl

    ktgrrl MDL Novice

    Feb 18, 2013
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    Yes, becoming proficient in DOS and later Win was not a cake walk, as I recall, but we should keep in mind that MANY users of PCs just learn how to do what's necessary to get on with their work, browse the web & do email & Facebook. For some (certainly not all) folks their work PC isn't used for much more than a typewriter with a screen and access to a text editor, spreadsheet, and email. Back in the day I had to help new college students and staff learn how to turn the thing on, why they needed a password, how to start MS Word and and type their first document, then save & retrieve it again. Email was another adventure, also sharing schedules for meetings! So much for MS being intuitive for new users. It never was, and perhaps never will be, but it's been sold to us for decades as the only viable OS around, and that upstart Apple was just for highbrow artsy types (or so the advertisements suggested).

    My now 85 year old friend is smart and enjoys learning just about anything that interests him, but I remember his frustration after getting his first PC with Win 95. Eventually he became sufficiently skilled that he only needed my help for out-of-the-ordinary tweaks and fixes involving the registry or a driver or recovering from a bad update (many Win users can relate to that!). Things got easier with XP and 7, he never had 8, and then came the Win 10 debacle. It presented an annoying & time-wasting experience with no clear advantage. So he let me "try" him on Ubuntu with its large repository and user base, and a month later he's doing fine with it, learning to use the terminal because he can (not because he has to), and trying out new programs from Ubuntu's big repository. If he messes something up he knows how to recover. He and I both reject the claim that Linux is too hard or unfriendly for new users! Which distro? maybe Arch. And what user? maybe my neighbor who's quite smart some ways but doesn't like to try anything new, has only minimal ability using any version of Windows, and wouldn't even try Mint for a week on her PC when Win 10 happened to it. She still complains about 10 but uses it anyway. For her, Linux is unfriendly, but I think that's because she has heard that it's too hard for non-geeks to use and won't run her favorite GUI programs (although I showed her that it does!) and so she's unfriendly toward Linux and won't give it a chance. Can't blame Linux for that. "If you want to have a friend you have to be one!"

    A couple of decades ago, adventure & self-reliance USED to be the name of the game for Linux users, along with sketchy hardware support, not many programs to choose from, the need to use arcane terminal commands to install & run them, and little to no cross-compatabilty with MS files. But that's just not the case these days! And if needed we can run Win in a dual-boot or virtual drive for programs for which we can't find a worthy alternative. I did that today with a graphical organizer made for both Debian and Win 7, but the Win 7 version has some extra functions that I want. I did like Win 7 when it was my daily driver, but now I find it slow and clunky on the same hardware as Linux, and the .deb download & installation in Linux was just as easy & faster than the .exe in WIndows. I'm not much interested in honing my Win skills again for these very infrequent occasions.

    I certainly appreciate the freedom of choices available to us, and also the "free-as-in-beer" programs. Many of them (to me) aren't particularly interesting or useful, but that's mainly due to the things I want & need to do. I'm retired and have fewer responsibilities now, so I have more time to play and learn. I no longer need to collaborate with Windows users on work or academic projects. Win 7 was my last bout with MS, so I can't help friends & family if they choose to stay with Win 10. To me that's sweet freedom!
     
  12. crayolaeater

    crayolaeater MDL Novice

    Jan 2, 2020
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    On one hand I consider myself lucky - for the last decade or so, I only had to really keep up with Windows so I could be the telephone support guy for my dad. Luckily, he never wanted to move beyond XP. By the time Win 7 was forced down his throat, he was far enough into dementia but still sane enough to just close the laptop lid and move on.
    Have you ever seen the ads for the WOW computer aimed at seniors. The lady across the street got one (her first computer at age 68!) and loved it. I did have to go visit once for a semi-tech call, and found that it runs Linux. I was a bit surprised, but then on further thought, I realized that it was best. No update snafus like Windows, just a stable machine that hummed along. She's had it over 6 years now, with no calls for me to come help, unlike the other neighbor running Windows 7 that has her kids over about every month to fix something.

    Thankfully Linux has gotten so mature that it truly does start to rival Windows. It will through no fault of it's own always lag when it comes to hardware support, but usability and stability are to me akin to fantastic these days. When I first dipped my toes into the pond, it probably took me close to a week to get X running reliably on Slackware 1. But I did, thanks to the HowTo documents. Then got it connected to via modem to my UNIX shell account and the net, and then I found that there, as you point out, were few programs to work with (when they actually worked). After that, OS2Warp was a breeze.
     
  13. ktgrrl

    ktgrrl MDL Novice

    Feb 18, 2013
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    Amen to that! I'm a member of the 'senior tech' class, too, and it drives me nuts to see what's offered at exorbitant prices to make tech "easy" for us just because we have a few years on us. We're not nit-wits (at least not the ones I know, except maybe my not-too-near neighbor...) and we don't need hand-holding or dumbed-down "senior's guides". We have the advantage of experience and hindsight, and plenty of practice learning how to learn & do.

    That said, some accessibility features are truly helpful as we age. I do appreciate the lever handles on my doors, a no-frills cell phone I can see to make & receive a call and maybe listen to music or a podcast when I'm not home (but I have no desire to watch videos on a tiny screen, nor waste my life away on Facebook. Twitter, etc), and I'm thankful for the portability of a light-weight laptop -- but with arthritic hands and presbyopic eyes I also like a full-size keyboard and a bigger screen, so I'm glad my lappie has ports for those when I'm home to plug them in. I don't need a 'senior' computer for that. And these days installing a Linux distro like Mint is practically a no-brainer if the hardware is compliant. After that it's no harder IMO than learning to use a PC with any other OS. Intimidated by the command line? There are lots of GUI apps to do just about anything most tech-disinclined people will ever need. Point and click and be happy!

    For total PC novices there are short courses at many community centers and public libraries, no matter what your age. Yes, they're Windows-centric, but that will wash off if somebody happens along and shows you how you can use Linux to do the very same things on your own inexpensive home computer. maybe a tested refurb from your friendly local tech repair shop or a thrift if you take a tech-savvy friend to help you choose & test one with a Live usb. And most Linux distros now have very easy install & set-up menus just about anybody can point & click and be running in a few mnutes (not including the distro updates). After that it's mostly just a matter of trying out the pre-installed apps and getting the eye-candy the way you like it. Then log on to your local library and set up OverDrive so you can borrow library e-books,music, videos and never have to worry about late return charges. My 94-year-old friend is mostly home-bound now, and she downloads library media all the time. She still prefers real books, though she transfers library ebooks to a Kindle for easier reading than on her PC. Her first and current PC is a gently used HP I gave her a few years ago for her 90th birthday. For the 40 years I knew her before that she vigorously expressed having absolutely no desire to use a computer for any reason whatsoever, but she softened up a bit not too long after her husband died and she found herself with a lot of empty time on her hands and admiration for her 10 year old great-grand-daughter who could look up in a flash anything she was curious about. I installed Mint on that PC, set it up to her liking, showed her the basics, and aside from some occasional swearing she has stayed at it with a little how-to assistance as needed. Her browser searching skills are phenomenal! I had to move away, so I set up Team Viewer on her PC and mine so I can still assist with Linux issues and maintenance from a distance, and she has that smart & helpful great-grand-daughter not far away. If she gets interested in using the CLI she'll be teaching me new Linux tricks before long. To which I say, Live long and prosper, my friend!

    I never have understood the reason for hard-to-remove laptop batteries. On my older, bigger laptop the battery when fully charged is now only about 40% capacity and 30 minutes if used online. It's no big deal to keep it plugged in all the time but I've read that's not good for the battery (which I should replace soon anyway) so I removed it (easy-peasy) and use the laptop plugged in as a mini-desktop PC in my little art-craft-sewing room where I don't have room or need for a full sized one. It's a bit heavy & big to use as a convenient portable, anyway, and it has a big screen and decent KB, and it's good for music, podcasts, & how-to videos, so that works for me. I can't remove the battery in my much smaller Dell unless I remove a bunch of tiny screws and pull off the entire back, which risks breaking all the little plastic clips that hold it on. Been there, done that to replace the motherboard that failed not too long ago after a big storm and power outages before I could unplug it. Also took out my router. Grrr.

    Sometimes it;s amusing to reminisce about what I did with all my "free" time before I got my first computer!!! Aside from gardening, playing my flute & guitar, playing with my cats & bunnies, making artsy clothes and home deco items, long distance bicycling trips, and mountain hiking/camping, that is. Writing letters with a pen, and sending them in an envelope with a stamp, then waiting a week or two for a reply! Times certainly have changed. I've enjoyed my past life for the most part, still do some of those things, and now I'm enjoying the current times with new skills and challenges. For me, Linux is more than another hobby; learning its inner secrets while using it daily for my own research, education, communication, and entertainment continues to make my life more enjoyable and interesting. I guess that makes me Linux-friendly as well as the other way around!
     
  14. crayolaeater

    crayolaeater MDL Novice

    Jan 2, 2020
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    Don't get me wrong - I was not intending to try and get anyone to buy a WOW, I just wanted to point out that they wanted a stable computer for the 'old folks' and wisely chose Linux. Maybe the sales price makes up for the fact that they don't make much for tech support ;-)

    I still get amazed at how many folks, young and old, seemed to be scared of "Linux", like it is from an alien planet or something. Or with the, but I just have to have Internet Explorer, or AOL (yes still - took me years to get my brother off that), or MSOffice. Yet if you get a chance to sit them down in front of a linux box, they tend to be surprised at how 'normal' it all is. Yet they just don't want to leave the old familiar.

    Though at my last workplace, they were at least looking at linux software for their servers and clients, down to the accounting and inventory software. Not sure what they ended up with (I retired as they were looking), but my nickel is they stayed with Windows, and spent gads upgrading hardware to support newer versions of the existing software suites.

    And so it goes.
     
  15. ipx

    ipx MDL Addicted

    May 24, 2017
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    besides the tedious installation process of arch another reason why i gave up on it was the need to be online during installation.

    since windows xp which was my 1st os installation i have never done a clean install online & i totally refuse to do so.

    for the same reason i have refrained from intel's clear linux which looks like a damn good os built primarily for intel hardware. anyone tried clear linux?