Wow... I didn't expect this kind of response, to say the least... Happy Holidays, everyone.
Ok -- I think maybe my points/issues/etc are cluttered by my own point of view on things clashing with what the Linux community deals with on a daily basis -- interacting with new folks to the platform/OS and having to filter responses as the distros get more and more popular.
I realize that my original response up top was a bit hyperbolic -- I'm not literally running through each window in Synaptic and installing EVERYTHING. I'd agree that's going a bit far.
I certainly didn't mean to start any sort of CLI vs. GUI or Windows vs. Linux argument. Don't get me wrong, I love Linux so far, and plan to stick with it. It's on 2 of 4 computers in the house right now... I plan on learning... I was just being honest in my assessment of how tempting Synaptic can be, and how dangerous any sort of wreckless abandon can be.
That said, it's HARD to know what is dependant on what within Synaptic. I prefer to run machines as clean as possible, but when I need, say, Brasero and it goes and installs a bunch of other libraries with it, if I uninstall one of those libraries, will I break Brasero? (And yes, I know you can burn from the CLI, if you really want to, but I'd prefer not to...)
Let me try to filter through all of this:
Okay... I'm glad you're not a pharmacist.
Me too. I think I would find that line of work a bit too stressful.
Synaptic is akin to the software aisle at Best Buy. The only difference is that it would cost you several thousand dollars to try out all the software available at Best Buy. And, trying to install all that software in Windows would screw it up too. A better way is to ask yourself what do you want your computer to do, (not what can my computer do) and then go about installing a suite of software applications that will provide those functions.
I appreciate the analogy of Synaptic vs. Best Buy -- now THAT makes sense to me and was a constructive way of illustrating the point. I hadn't stopped to think about it that way. And yes, I agree, that sort of wanton installing would clutter/pollute a Windows PC as well.
Rather than install them all, do some research first.
This is harder, I feel, than you might think. It's hard to find a centralized voice to trust when it comes to open source software. I tend to read many PC magazines, for instance, to get solid, in-depth reviews of software. I browsed the equivalents list you mentioned before this original post, in fact, but find the options there just as much of a crapshoot... sure, it gives me the things to search for within synaptic, but it's hard to look at these huge lists and know that what I am installing is either best of breed, or stable.
However, when I purchase software, there's an implied accountability to it working properly, or providing me justification to get proper support if necessary. I don't mean to suggest that the community at large isn't willing to help, to the contrary, they're almost ALWAYS willing to help. Browse these forums for other posts by me and check out my total lack of knowledge and the patience folks show to new users. I commend that about the community.
There are almost TOO many options within Linux to prevent anyone from being awash with indecision when they are new to the OS. Hell, finding the right distribution took me weeks. I think I installed most of the popular ones to settle on Mint.
Dive into the power of the command line. Break free from the "Everything must be in GUI form" philosophy that every Windows/Mac user has been so accustomed too.
I certainly love the options
of the command line. I grew up with DOS and remember being a bit "I'm more punk than you" to new Windows users (this was prior to the PC explosion/internet boom) who couldn't optimize their memory manually, or had no idea how to change directories at the DOS prompt. Then again, what's the point of keeping that view? I was protecting some arcane knowledge I had... and that knowledge has no real value any longer.
Hell, I use ROBOCOPY in Vista's shell when I have to do mass copies within Vista... but that's because the GUI is actively SLOWER than the command line, at least on my PC, not because I love the CLI.
I think if Linux is really going to take off, and this was my original point, the community needs to be concerned with a user's first
contact with the operating system. Sure, it could keep kept complex, arcane and foreign to folks, but what's the point? If you poll most normal computer users, they're going to tell you that they VASTLY prefer an interface rather than a bunch of commands at a CLI. If the linux community WANTS linux to stay niche based, then don't change a thing... that said, when users are migrating to Ubuntu, which is built on the philosophy that linux doesn't need to be complicated, then a message is being sent. I spent the holidays trying to convince my 60 year old father to ditch windows and move to linux, as it's vastly cheaper, and in my opinion (outside of gaming - which admittedly, I have no experience with yet), vastly superior as an OS thus far.
It's that 20% phenomenon I was trying to point out earlier... 20% of this OS is just too hard to comprehend/understand/etc, at first contact. I fully embrace the command line, but I don't prefer to use it if I don't have to -- simply because there is an operating grammar with PCs that, at this point (like it or not) is GUI based.
Would hate to scare off the kiddies.
*runs off into hiding*
guess that made me and chowanec the same kind of guy, hehe..but i learned my lesson.
Yay! I'm not alone!
Whoa, maybe those responses could be toned down a little next time... I'm sensing a little condescension.
Heh. I think I might have started the condescension though -- apologies to all. But that's for pointing it out.
(No sarcasm there).
And sure, Linux could take a look at the command line's place in OS X... a power tool for power users, but something rarely (if ever) needed by the those among us who don't want to spend a second extra in front of a computer. In all fairness, I'd say there's been immense improvements in this regard over the last 2 years or so, and I expect it will continue to move in that direction.
So, thanks for the warning, it's fairly true for new users and good to have out there. As for what you can do, stay out of synaptic as much as possible...
Agreed, agreed, agreed. I would NEVER suggest gimping powerusers... XP did this by gutting the DOS shell, for no good reason, from what I can tell. Leave the CLI there, let anyone who wants to use it, use it.