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Linux and Main: Olden Days

Apr 15, 2003, 01:00 (7 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Dennis E. Powell)

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"Is it the same kind of mistrust that leads some of us to think that computer use ought to require some knowledge, that there is danger in making everything too easy? That's a tough one.

"Today, just about anyone who cares to use Linux may do so. There is little or no prior knowledge involved. It has probably been a couple of years since the majority of Linux users had burned a kernel. We're probably past the point where the majority of users has compiled anything at all. Users can configure everything on the machine without ever opening a configuration file in a text editor. Linux is still a great platform for hackers, but you no longer need to be a hacker to use and enjoy Linux (though to get the most out of it, hacking skills are still a plus). Is this a good thing?

"Certainly, if gaining users is the goal, it is. But there is a risk, that such an overwhelming percentage of users is drawn from inexperienced computer owners that it will come to pass that Linux is aimed only at them, as is the case with Windows today. What happens then is that the pool of people who have the skills to dig out of a problem becomes smaller. As, frankly, does the pool of people who know how to get the most out of Linux..."

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