Resolutions and Mean People.

I am going to follow this guy’s saga on switching to Ubuntu for a week. I like his writing style and sarcastic sense of humor. However I found the responses to his problems to be all too common these days. The guy had some problems with his installation but in the end triumphed, despite our cryptic error messages. What does he get for his perseverance? People acting like they’re 6 years old typical Linux “evangelists”. Let’s go through these comments, here’s one:

Most users will not try to install to an external drive. I think that “installing Ubuntu was hell” is you fault. My mom (computer illiterate) is using Ubuntu with no prior instructions and doing fine.

Translation: The author tried to install Ubuntu on an external drive and it just sat there and told him “Error 23” - somehow the commenter feels that this is the user’s fault. Ummm, ok. Next time I visit my mom I will try to replicate error 23 to see how far she gets along. Here’s another one.

You’re taking a Mac-user mentality and applying it to Linux, which is a recipe for failure before you even start.

Ok, I don’t really get what the commenter is trying to say here, except maybe “You expected your computer to work when you installed Ubuntu which is a recipe for failure.” Arguing about OSX’s usability aside (I don’t think it’s any easier to use than anything else, but that’s a story for another day) the commenter goes on to say:

There is no reason to try and do an install of ANY operating system in the way you have just described. Installing to an external drive and expecting the boot loader contained on ANOTHER drive to boot to it without being overwritten is just daft.

I would expect if I had an external drive and wanted to install an operating system on it that it would just work like I wanted it to. Actually I think that’s a kickass idea, having your boot drive on external disk to try another OS; I might try to do that (without being daft of course!) Then another guy tries to give the guy some actual help and so on. By day two he has it working. Turns out that it’s pretty decent for the guy:

In the short time I’ve used it today I’ve found that Ubuntu is easy to use and has lots of neat features. It even told me that my battery might have been recalled and that I might need to replace it, instead of just letting it explode in my face like that jerk Windows would.

For those of you at home, he’s referring to this feature in gnome power manager. (Which is pretty sweet). So despite all this he at least found out he had a bum battery. He goes on to say:

To put it softly, installing Ubuntu was hell. I ran into more problems than I ever imagined I would, and for a moment I thought my computer was reduced to a pretty silicon and plastic paperweight. The simplicity I was looking for was not there, and I’m not exactly planning to recommend that my parents replace their Mac OS with Ubuntu any time soon, given that they would probably have given up when they couldn’t figure out what an .iso was.

Nonetheless, I’m willing to give Linux the benefit of the doubt; I imagine that the majority of users don’t encounter the sort of problems I have, and I’m willing to concede that my hardware is likely to blame for all the peculiar issues. And while it wasn’t an easy process, the Ubuntu forum staff were very helpful and I was able to solve all my problems fairly quickly. Thumbs up for the support!

I like reading articles like this because they remind me why we do what we do. It reminds me not only about the technical challenges that we still need to overcome, but the social aspects as well. Too often people are pointing fingers at “stupid users” who just want to get their computers to work (the horror). Remember kids, it’s always the user’s fault! (Ok, that is a topic for another day)

Kudos to the people on the Ubuntu Forums for helping this guy out. Who knows, the next user might expect working suspend and resume, that would be ridiculous!