Linux Community: Are we really helping it grow?
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Linux is known to be one of the most robust, complete and customizable operating system. It is a matter of fact that you'll find more articles on Linux HOW-TO's than for any other operating system! Have you tried to figure out the reason behind this? Is it that most Linux users are dumb and they need a lot of HOW-TO articles? Or is it that Linux is magically tough and you need a lot of lectureship?
The answer for both the question is probably NO! I would rather justify cause by deriving a conclusion from a lot of Linux articles that I've come across lately. What has been found more often than not is a strange urge amongst the Linux evangelists to make things complex, or to make them appear so! I could never understand this paradigm ever since I realized what Linux and open source technology is all about. I pity on such writers who write a 1000 word article explaining how to use Linux as an alternative to some other operating system and finally leave you with a lot of jargons to refer to a dictionary or Wikipedia, at least 10 times before you're done with reading the article!
One shall understand the fact that any language/technology/service can never be made to reach the common by advocating it to be a rocket science! I'm not sure about other things, but Linux is certainly not even close to rocket science. For a noob to get on with Linux, the most important thing is to understand that more than 50% of the people who talk about Linux do not know what they're talking about, or are themselves confused for that matter! This phenomenon is however common to a lot of technology blogs you'll find in the blog-o-sphere. Linux is no different.
Few things which is pretty ubiquitous amongst people who do not know Linux but are proud users of it is to have the following characteristics:
* They call it wisdom if someone's making his Windows look like a Linux distro with themes and eye candies. However, if by chance you end up working on your Linux distro to make it look alike Windows vista, you happen to be a fool! Strange.
* They try to make sure everyone around them call it GNU/Linux and not just Linux without knowing the reason for it.
* They advocate that propriety software are always no better than open source software! As if they have tried and tested all of them, if not developed them! Remember, there is no point being biased about a particular technology. All of them have their own pros and cons.
* If you are an Ubuntu user, you're a noob. Switch to Gentoo if you are a geek. Huh!
* KDE looks like another windows, you better use windows then!
I just pity on such Linux users. The Linux community is growing pretty slow due to such people. Please do not be one. Try and make things look simple and sweet. Stay away for complexity and help people in staying away from it.
For a newbie to learn things - Linux and Open Source, remember the following aspects:
* Have faith in you and before you start, be prepared that you're going to master it. You may not be a perfectionist but you can learn Linux as good as you know some other operating system, already.
* Before you start getting into the technical aspect, you need to build an acquaintance with Linux. Just as you need to know a person before you befriend him!
* Try reading a few essays, visualizing ppt presentations & graphical interpretations, etc. which make you familiar to the subject and provide you the right amount of enthusiasm to learn Linux.
* Try and read the history of Linux, people who have been there and seen it all - Sir Eric S. Raymond and Sir Richard Stallman, etc. These people and writings help you learn better.
* Try and hang around more in the IRCs than on social community chat rooms/web-applications. You'll find a far more dedicated group of people in a #suse channel than on twitter or facebook! That's a fact.
* Finally, practice and implement most of what you read or learn. Don't be scared of trying out things. This shall make you perfect and comfortable with a new operating system.
Remember, Linux is different, but it's not difficult!
Praval, the author of this article is available as a freelance writer and technology blogger. He writes reviews and stuffs related to Wordpress, Linux, Information marketing, Open Source Software, Life hacks and technology in general. He also provides information marketing solutions to his clients. You may reach him at Praval.com