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Linux.com: Culture Clash

May 01, 2000, 11:42 (2 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Tom Dominico)

"As Linux slowly moves into the mainstream, several distinct classes of Linux users are emerging. At the top of the spectrum, we have the "die hard" users, those who have been using some Unix variant for years. At the low end, we have those who have picked up a copy of Linux at the local CompUSA, and probably plan on dual-booting between it and Windows. There is a vast gap between these two ends of the spectrum, and when they meet, there's sure to be a 'culture clash.'"

"I think that the community is of two minds when it comes to the future of Linux. Some of the 'die hard' users would prefer that it remain a hacker's OS, to be used only by those with the time and inclination to poke about in the guts of their system. On the other side of the fence, many people are hoping that Linux will soon become a viable desktop alternative for 'Joe User.' This is what companies such as Corel are betting on, with offerings specifically tailored for new users."

"Personally, I hope they're right. I believe everyone deserves a free, stable OS, not just hard-core hackers. However, the truth is that Linux is not yet to the point where all necessary configuration can be done via point-and-click. Sooner or later, a new user is going to have to edit some configuration files, and that means venturing into the world of HOWTOs, man pages, and so on. These sort of documents are geared towards more skilled users. New users may venture onto IRC in search of assistance, only to be pointed to a HOWTO or man page. Why? Because that's part of the existing Linux culture."

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