Why so confusing?

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Maynard
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Why so confusing?

Post by Maynard »

i just dont understand why everything has to be so confusing. with windows you just have a few choices depending on home, office or whatever. But with linux you have a bunch of distributions, then each distribution has a bunch of versions and each version has a bunch of different editions.

i start looking into linux about a month ago. I see unity, mint, ubuntu, debian, and about 10 other names i cant remember. So i look to mint for no other reason than its called mint and its a cool green color. it was the newest and most popular version so i started looking into that. i installed it but have not played with it yet. I like to know what options i have and what options will be best for me.

i see the gnome version and the kde version...and i am now starting to feel interest in checking out ubuntu. in order for me to know which system is best i have to learn about all of them. the problem is that there isnt any info on what is different. i cant even find out the difference between gnome and kde....i dont even know what that means. and what is Mate? why would someone pick mint over ubuntu?

i gotta say that to me linux seems like the cool kids club. linux promotes itself as this free open source OS thats so great and people who use it love it....and i am sure thats all true....but linux also acts like anyone who comes to look at linux as there OS already knows everything they need to know...and that just is not the case. u gotta be a part of the club to know anything. most windows user trying linux for the first time has come from windows and has no understanding of linux and its offerings. I really wanted to check this out and become a linux user because i like the concept and dont like the corp MS BS. But i am at a point where i am about to give up. its just not worth the hassle.....i am so frustrated to where i needed to vent in this forum.

linux may be free, but i dont need free...i need info that is user friendly. I want to learn but dont want to pull my hair out to do it. Maybe my thoughts are off base and maybe linux isnt designed for people who arent developers....idk. what i do know is that the niche community for linux will always be a niche community unless you come up with a way to make things easier for new potential users.

It would be nice to understand the difference between the various distro and the difference between each edition a distro offers. nobody wants to sift through 9 million choices with no info....sorry about the ranting

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Aging Technogeek
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Re: Why so confusing?

Post by Aging Technogeek »

Your frustration is understandable. Many of us felt the same when we first looked at Linux. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your point off view) Linux, being open source, has fragmented and will continue to do so in future.

When all of the code is available for the kernel and the rest of the OS, anyone who thinks (s)he can build a better distribution is free to do so and offer the creation to the public. The users determine which distros are developed further and which die young.

Also, with no central controlling entity such as Microsoft, there is no overall Linux documentation. You are at the mercy of the Distro developers and the application writers as to what quantity and quality of documentation is offered so most of us learned by doing. One of the nicest things about Linux' freedom and free software is it does not cost anything to reinstall or change distros. Play with it until it breaks, repair or replace it, and do it again - that is one of the best ways to learn how Linux works.

Freedom of choice and availability of differing distributions are seen by most Linux users as positives, not negatives. You are free to find a distro that suits you perfectly or, if you can't find one, you can build one(if you have the skills), or help someone else build one by doing whatever you can.

You must commit to the Linux world view and embrace diversity or you will never be happy with Linux. Decide exactly what you want from your Operating System (and do not be shackled by what Microsoft says an OS should be), find a Linux distro that meets your needs, and commit to learning how to use it properly.

There is a learning curve to Linux use, but it can be short and shallow if you choose distros wisely. Browse this and other forums, chat with users on the chat lines most distros maintain, talk to people you may know who use Linux. Information will dispel much of the fog you now perceive around Linux.

If, after investigating further, you are still uncomfortable with the amount of freedom Linux allows, by all means return to Windows - where Microsoft decides for you what your computing experience should and will be.
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Maynard
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Re: Why so confusing?

Post by Maynard »

i appreciate the reply. your perspective kind of makes a person rethink their way of thinking when it comes to an OS. i have the wrong frame of mind and had the wrong expectations. your post put things into the proper perspective....thank you

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Re: Why so confusing?

Post by AlbertP »

@ Maynard: Actually I agree that it would be a good idea to have a clear page describing the different Mint editions out there. I don't need it myself, but the situation right now is indeed confusing for people new to Linux.
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Lumikki
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Re: Why so confusing?

Post by Lumikki »

I started begin of this year 2012 use Linux. Basicly I did it this way.

I surfed in internet and tryed to learn what are the most popular distrubutions what people use. Like maybe 10 of them. Then I read information about everyone of them and desided what could be best for my use. Then I just tryed few of them, how they feeled and looked.

http://distrowatch.com/dwres.php?resource=major
http://www.makeuseof.com/pages/best-linux-distributions

if you are interested about Linux Mint. There is three main distributions as far I know.

Linux Mint 12 (gnome) : http://www.linuxmint.com/pictures/scree ... _light.png
Linux Mint 12 KDE : http://www.linuxmint.com/pictures/scree ... e/lisa.png
Linux Mint Debian Edition: http://www.linuxmint.com/img/screenshot ... debian.png

I my self ended using Linux Mint 12 (gnome) where I installed Mint's new Cinnamon desktop. Because I liked Cinnamon desktop more than the gnome desktop.
http://cinnamon.linuxmint.com/
Last edited by Lumikki on Wed Feb 08, 2012 3:32 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Why so confusing?

Post by rdonnelly »

Maynard wrote:i appreciate the reply. your perspective kind of makes a person rethink their way of thinking when it comes to an OS. i have the wrong frame of mind and had the wrong expectations. your post put things into the proper perspective....thank you
You should give Mint 11 a try, it has the older Gnome 2 GUI, and it is pretty easy to install and get set up. Stick with it for a couple of years, then venture out. I ventured out, and I came back to Linux Mint Debian, although the Debian version may be more of a challenge for a newb, that is why I recommend Mint 11.
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germanix
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Re: Why so confusing?

Post by germanix »

Hi Maynard and welcome to Linux. All of these Distro`s (various versions of linux) can be somewhat confusing. Here is the short version which may help you somewhat:
Most of the distro`s have as "mother" (are based on) either "RedHat" or "Debian". Debian is very good but in its standard form not really all that user friendly for new comers. Then "Ubuntu" came on the scene. Ubuntu is based on Debian but it is more user friendly. Ubuntu used the gnome desktop but lately changed to "Unity" which caused a lot of unrest as many users prefer to use gnome 2. The problem is that gnome also developed further and the latest version, gnome 3, is also not very popular with a lot of users.
Now Mint is based on Ubuntu and the main edition currently uses gnome 3. Mint is very user friendly, and to make it even more so, the developers have now brought in a new desktop called "cinnamon" and another called "Mate". Both are still in development but cinnamon is already very stable and there is already a big fan club for this desktop. Other desktops are KDE, Xfce and a few others. Most users have until lately used either gnome or Kde depending on taste.
Coming from "Windows" my advice to you would be to use the Mint Main Edition and to install the Cinnamon desktop on top of Gnome 3 Shell. At boot you can then either boot into the gnome shell or into cinnamon. This way you can experience both and choose the one of your liking. Cinnamon you will find is similar to windows whereas the gnome shell is more like the typical desktops you find on smart phones and tablets now days.
Hope this helps somewhat.
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Daboo
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Re: Why so confusing?

Post by Daboo »

When I was searching around a few months ago, I stumbled upon a Wikipedia article that gave some background on the various distributions. They gave some good info on things like which ones were for experienced users, which were trying out the cutting edge code, etc. Here are two pages that might help. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linux_distributions and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison ... tributions

I started out with Ubuntu a year ago. After a few weeks, I stumbled upon Linux Mint 10 KDE and stayed with that till LM12 came along. I had been trying to get my video camera and sound to work in Skype, so I was willing to explore a little. Well, LM12 didn't help. And I found the Gnome 3 interface to be frustrating with how I couldn't even edit the menu. I installed KDE 4.7 over all of that, and had a good working OS...till I got to tinkering and uninstalling a couple Gnome apps...and it wouldn't reboot into LM. At that point, knowing that I would probably not resist the lure of tinkering with LM12 and it's underlying Gnome interface later if I reinstalled LM12, I went looking for another KDE version of linux. I found openSUSE 12.1 KDE and I like it.

What I've seen as a newbie in these different linux distributions, is that there isn't much difference. The underlying OS is linux. The kernel version isn't usually all that important as the variance from one distribution to the other is just a minor change. You then get a choice of what desktop interface you want to use. Just as your choice of keyboard and mouse affects your enjoyment of computing, so does your choice of desktop interface. Some like Gnome. I don't. The latest version seemed like it put things in just the opposite places of Windows, probably just to be different. KDE is polished now, and seems to be a better version of Win7 than Win7 is. I like it because it makes the transition from the work computer to the home computer more seamless.

Then you get the individual distribution's customization. IMHO, that isn't much. The log-on screens change, but you can change that with a simple option selection in system settings...and that's part of the KDE desktop, not LM. The distributions seem to have a different interface for making changes to some environment variables and to installing applications. But they do the same thing. In Linux Mint, there were two or three apps for this. In openSUSE, there's YAST. Once you get used to them, you find most of everything else to be the same.

Forum support for a newbie is important. When I was debating which distribution to go to, I had a problem with sound. I put the same question up on the two forums. In LM, the moderator moved it, but didn't help any. In openSUSE's forum, I got several answers within hours.

The last consideration I would offer to you to think about as you go through these choices, is what is the primary desktop interface of the distribution you're thinking about? Linux Mint has Gnome, KDE, LMDE, LXDE and probably a few others. :) But really this is primarily a Gnome distribution with support for the other desktops a secondary effort when time is available. openSUSE is primarily a KDE distribution with Gnome a secondary effort. Redhat and all the others are the same way with their primary support being for one desktop over the others. None of that is bad, it is just reality. You'll find better support for the desktop environment you chose, if that distribution has it as their primary offering.

So as another newbie trying to figure this out, I would recommend trying some different "live" CD/DVDs to see what feels good between Gnome, KDE, etc. Browse the forums to see how many of the threads are on people with questions like you would have, and how many are complaining because something doesn't work in the distribution itself. And if you have data you want to save, set up your partitions so you can change your mind later, reinstall and not lose all your data. Then you can change from one to the other in a short amount of time.

Chris

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DrHu
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Re: Why so confusing?

Post by DrHu »

Maynard wrote:linux may be free, but i dont need free..i need info that is user friendly. I want to learn but dont want to pull my hair out to do it. Maybe my thoughts are off base and maybe linux isnt designed for people who arent developers....
maybe linux isnt designed for people who arent developers....
That's an older argument
--that doesn't really hold up well. Linux can be made to seem easy enough (just like windows), and just like windows OS, if you want to know or have problems with that version, you just have to troll the Microsoft of other windows forums to find some help
  • The fact is, despite what some vendors promote: an OS (operating System) for a computer is not a toaster, and just as older cars have become obsolete, and newer cars don't hold onto features no longer desirable (lack of seatbelts, ashtrays, for example)
    --learning about an OS or any technical material takes effort and time, whether you pay for that OS or not: there is little if any difference
I don't understand the confusion at all, unless you were a windows OS fan
--now how many versions of windows OS exist, and which one should you use
  • Home
  • Office/business
  • Academic
  • Server
If you were an Apple fan, you have an easier time of it, they have many fewer versions, even though they also have a server version: not promoted as much as their desktop or mobile (Tablet) styles..

Clearing confusion only need a little research
  • Linux desktop OS
  • Types, Gnome, Kde, Xfce, Lxde,
    Distributor versions
  • Mepis, Mint, Ubuntu, Fedora, Debian, Suse etc etc
    --look in distrowatch.com if you wanted to track them
Now what after looking at some screen-shots and reading some reviews, do you need to know!
--apart from the distributor's forums and any documentation, reviews, guides or walkthroughs/tutorials available
  • You can use any internet search eg linux for beginners and get enough of an overview to orient yourself well.
That exact query, "Linux for beginners? "
http://www.ee.surrey.ac.uk/Teaching/Unix/
http://linuxreviews.org/beginner/
  • The only item of concern, is how much detail do you want
    -only remember that you need enough to understand it, but not so much as to overwhelm you with minutiae
If you want a video, the youtube has enough available..
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nEUt88LtnKM
Maynard wrote:what i do know is that the niche community for linux will always be a niche community unless you come up with a way to make things easier for new potential users.
..with a way to make things easier for new potential users.
Some Linux distributors try for that, but it is a fools game
--we (Linux users and distributors) will always have to adapt to Microsoft zigs and zags, whether they are rational for their OS business or not
  • Although this is tending to change as more people understand the benefits of cutting the apron strings that bind to to one OS and its associated vendor/partners
    By the way, I do appreciate that as a mass marketer Microsoft has driven down the cost of computing for us all!
    --just like WallMart..
That's unlikely to change as long as Microsoft owns 90+ % of the computer market (consumer or professional)
--and Apple has the rest
Then Linux has the 2-5% niche
--Linux user's aren't complaining much about that, we know what works and we like what we now have..

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Re: Why so confusing?

Post by JayKay3OOO »

The same could be said about any product.

Why are there 100 different HD tvs that all look the same with different names?

Why is there not simply one tin opener and why do some have different things on them.

Finding a linux distro is like finding shoes. You just have to try a few before you find the pair you like.

Same with Linux. Search top 20 linux distro in google and most come up with comparisons so then you pick a couple and go to their websites and then you narrow it down. If you search KDE or Gnome in google you will find images. Check youtube to see how the distro you have found looks as most distros have people who have reviewed them.

It simply takes patience just like anything. I've loved and hated the Linux OS in euqal measure and it would be nice to see fewer versions. The chromebook could be considered a Linux distro.

It's only easy to buy a windows computer because it comes on it and you have to use what is supplied.

If you had to choose the OS yourself it takes time. I brought windows 7 a while ago and it took me a day or so to compare each version before parting with my cash. You may not be parting with cash for Linux, but you still don't want to waste time on an OS you are going to hate.

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Re: Why so confusing?

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wiugrad2010
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Re: Why so confusing?

Post by wiugrad2010 »

@Maynard If you really want to learn more about Mint and the Desktop Environments (DE) is to read the forum. Once you think you have read enough, READ some more. For the past 2 years I have been experimenting with linux myself and have tried numerous versions. I continue to find myself coming back to Mint. The forums have been very helpful. Also, you can try the Mint Community website. There is a PDF explaining Mint in great detail. I suggest you experiment with an old computer and not your primary computer just yet, until you get comfortable with linux. I still use an old computer to experiment with knowing that I can alway reinstall if something breaks. The best advice I can give you as a fellow noob is: "1. be patient and 2. read the forums and ask questions."

Maynard
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Re: Why so confusing?

Post by Maynard »

thanks for all the replies. i am just seriously irritated at how much of a pain this OS is. the simplest of tasks are just difficult. i wanted to install chrome but rather than just downloading and installing i had to go through numerous trial and error to finally get it installed. something that should have taken 30 seconds took 30 minutes...seriously

then i was looking at cinnamon and thought this could be cool. so i goto download it and it says its available in linux mint repository...ok, well what is that? so i google it and it redirects me right back to the mint website. i click to install it and the installer tells me to download 3 more files then goes to install only to tell me there is a break error...really?

is everything this much of a hassle? this banshee media player is another one. for some reason it doesnt have a stop button and also when you close the app, it still runs in the background....i dont see the app or anything, but i hear the sound. I expected to learn a new peice of software but not to learn how to deal with all the issues the software it has. the OS seems to be pretty simple to use and interact with, but getting things running is turning out to be a headache

i still dont have cinnamon installed and have no idea what the problem is

claudecat
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Re: Why so confusing?

Post by claudecat »

@Maynard:
In linux you don't install software by clicking on links on websites... you use your package manager. Open Software Center or Software Manager or whatever name it's using on your machine and search there for chromium or whatever you want to install. That will automatically install it and anything else it needs to work. Seriously... you need to do some reading.

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dwasifar
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Re: Why so confusing?

Post by dwasifar »

Maynard wrote:thanks for all the replies. i am just seriously irritated at how much of a pain this OS is. the simplest of tasks are just difficult. i wanted to install chrome but rather than just downloading and installing i had to go through numerous trial and error to finally get it installed. something that should have taken 30 seconds took 30 minutes.
Part of your problem here is that you're approaching software installation from a Windows perspective: Download a file and run it to install. Although occasionally there are reasons to do that, it's usually better to install from the repos or the Software Manager. That's what they're for; they're there to make it easy by not doing it the Windows way. For example, the open-source version of Chrome is in the repos, and if you'd just picked chromium-browser in Software Manager you'd have had your 30 second install, no separate download step needed.
Maynard wrote:is everything this much of a hassle? this banshee media player is another one. for some reason it doesnt have a stop button and also when you close the app, it still runs in the background....i dont see the app or anything, but i hear the sound.
That's not a bug, it's a feature. Music player apps often minimize to the panel notification area (what a Windows user would call the System Tray) instead of exiting, so that you can keep playing music without cluttering your screen with an app window. Some IM clients and torrent clients do that too. To actually exit the app, you pull down the menu from the minimized icon. This is usually configurable behavior within the app preferences, and you can change it if you want. Typically I do; like you, I prefer my apps to actually exit when I click the close button, so in Clementine (my music player of choice) I set the preferences to behave that way.
Maynard wrote:I expected to learn a new peice of software but not to learn how to deal with all the issues the software it has. the OS seems to be pretty simple to use and interact with, but getting things running is turning out to be a headache.
For what it's worth, your adjustment difficulties are pretty normal. Trying to do things the Windows way usually winds up taking you the long way around. These aren't issues with the software, they're just expectation gaps; it's not wrong, it's just different.

Maynard
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Re: Why so confusing?

Post by Maynard »

that software manager was right there too. i just didnt see it. its right there in the menu. i searched cinnamon and in about 2 seconds it said it was installed.

how do i get it to load up now? i thought there was supposed to be an option to choose cinnamon when you start up the PC. i dont have any options and cant figure out how to get it running

does clementine or any other media player work with the 360 or ps3? i like WMP because it allows me to stream video and music to my gaming consoles.

also, do you know if there is a way to disable the infinity symbol in the upper left corner of the desktop? i find myself hitting that all the time and it changes to what i think is the gnome 2 shell or something

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Re: Why so confusing?

Post by conslie »

When you log in to LM 12 Gnome, there is a gear looking symbol at the top right or the login box. Clicking that gives several alternatives, incuding cinnamon. That top right corner rthing will not be active when running cinnamon. As you are discovering, Linux is not Windows, and as you become more familiar with uwsing it, I think you will more and more begin seeing that as "a good thing."

Have fun playing around and exploring!

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Re: Why so confusing?

Post by dwasifar »

Maynard wrote:that software manager was right there too. i just didnt see it. its right there in the menu. i searched cinnamon and in about 2 seconds it said it was installed.
Excellent! Now you're getting somewhere.
Maynard wrote:how do i get it to load up now? i thought there was supposed to be an option to choose cinnamon when you start up the PC. i dont have any options and cant figure out how to get it running
This may help you: http://www.ihaveapc.com/2012/01/how-to- ... x-mint-12/ You've already installed it, so start with step 2.
Maynard wrote:does clementine or any other media player work with the 360 or ps3? i like WMP because it allows me to stream video and music to my gaming consoles.
If I remember correctly, the consoles are uPNP and/or DLNA devices. There are separate server packages to support that. You might find something that works for you in here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_UP ... nd_clients

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Re: Why so confusing?

Post by everready »

I agree with rdonnelly..

You should give Mint 11 a try, it has the older Gnome 2 GUI, and it is pretty easy to install and get set up. Stick with it for a couple of years, then venture out. I ventured out, and I came back to Linux Mint Debian, although the Debian version may be more of a challenge for a newb, that is why I recommend Mint 11.

Once you start using it "stick with it" you won't learn much by going from one model to the next, not model "distro"

Have fun don't get discouraged its just a machine.. :D
everready

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Re: Why so confusing?

Post by AlbertP »

(I think it hasn't yet been mentioned in this topic)
You can see reviews of a lot of Linux distros at www.desktoplinuxreviews.com, in case you ever want to switch to another distro.
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