I confess to getting impatient at times and ranting about how
stupid some PC users are. But that's more about me being old and
crotchety. It's a good thing I'm not a grandmother because I'd be
the kind who sends the kids out to weed the nettles or organize the
In my younger days I was nicer and even had an official motto:
"You're never too old to try something new; computers are a heck of
a lot of fun; and anyone can learn to do anything." I still believe
that, and most of the time it's true. The only people I've ever met
who had serious problems with learning how to use a PC were the
ones who didn't believe they could learn anything, and wouldn't
Some of the grumpiness comes from the endless torrents of
anti-Linux FUD, propaganda, misinformation, astroturfing, and just
plain whining that keep pounding on the same theme: that Windows is
easy, Linux is hard, and expecting computer users to spend more
than eight or fifteen seconds in study is a sin. It has never been
true that learning to use a personal computer is easy; that is a
plain lie. Conversely, it's not that hard.
System Administration, Applications User
There are two different categories of skills needed for running a
desktop PC: knowing how to use your applications, and knowing how
to do system administration. It is perfectly OK with me for a user
to never be clueful with system administration. They'll need help
on occasion, but that's all right. On a well-configured Linux PC
with good hardware, system administration skills are not going to
be called on very often, and users can concentrate on learning
their applications. For anyone who wants to learn basic system
administration there are all kinds of great howtos and help.
Nothing mysterious, just a bit of effort and time.
My first introduction to personal computers was in 1994. Back in
those days there was no automatic hardware detection and
configuration; it had to be done manually. Gamers were always
pushing the bleeding edge of hardware, and if you wanted to know
how to get sound working, or accelerated video, or CPU
overclocking, you hung out on gaming forums. They didn't sit around
wailing how it was too hard, and why didn't someone else fix
everything for them.
In these here modern times gamers don't need to work so hard to
get their PCs tuned just right, but there is new frontier of PC
performance, and that is audio and video editing. On both Linux and
Windows you need to care a lot about drivers, system tuning, and
selecting the right hardware. Should that be something to complain
about? I guess it's everyone's right to gripe, but it's more
effective to dig in and learn what to do. And that is exactly what
thousands of A/V enthusiasts do.
It's a Command Line. Get Over It
User A asks for help. User B offers "Run this command: $ foo do
something". User A has a nervous breakdown. What the heck is that
about? Hello, has it been THAT long since Windows 3.1 and MS-DOS?
Is the entire United States growing senile, or is this yet another
astroturf/FUD tactic? I know that with the people I support, which
includes some friends and family members, copy-and-pasting commands
from an IRC session doesn't bother them at all. The impatient ones
love Alt+F2 for quick-launching applications. It is not a big deal,
even though certain elements in the industry are working very hard
to make it a big deal.
Sure, Linux has some growing up to do. So what? Buy some books,
read some howtos, and get on with life. The whole PC industry is in
its infancy, and unlike Windows, Linux is advancing and improving
constantly. It may not always be easy, but it is always
Some of the products that appear on this site are from companies from which QuinStreet receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site including, for example, the order in which they appear. QuinStreet does not include all companies or all types of products available in the marketplace.