Okay, I know this has been done a million times before. But I’ve recently come to a realization about my own experience that I think may be illustrative of the situation. I plead for calm in a topic which generally becomes an overheated shitstorm in a hurry.
So, I’m an expert-level user of Windows. I have used Mac (for about a year about 8 years ago), and Linux (even less than that). Assuming things work right, I can do just about whatever I need to do with any of those systems. If things get hairy, though, I’m mostly at a loss how to get under the hood and fix things in anything other than Windows.
At work, I’m a computer tech. I’ve got a lot of down-time which is essentially waiting for something to break. So, I decided to finally learn how to use Linux. I set up an old box we had lying around with the express intention of installing at least one distro of Linux, and hopefully setting up a file server with it.
Well, this damned thing fights me at every turn.
Many Linux distros install really easily. Some cough and hiccup and ask me questions I plain do not know the answer to.
Okay, assuming that I get the thing up and running, my problems are not over. Some of them automatically detect my wheel-mouse without any problem. A few don’t, and I needed to look up a couple of lines of configuration information I need to copy into a file in order to get it to work.
Setting the clock has been an unmitigated nightmare. The distros tell me that the standard setup is to set the computer clock to UTC, and the OS will make the translation from that to my time zone. It never works that way, though. If I set the clock to local time, it seems to be expecting UTC. If I set it to UTC, all of the sudden, it’s expecting local time.
Adding a hard drive to an existing system was a huge learning experience for me. I had no idea that you needed to create a directory at the mount-point you want to use. I didn’t really know what “mount” even meant in this context. With the help of a few great web sites, I think I understand it and got it up and running.
I have successfully installed precisely one piece of software which did not come in the distro–and I’m not really sure what I did to make it work. It didn’t seem to work immediately after I installed the package, but a couple of reboots, it worked fine.
Now, the point I’m coming to: I am perfectly willing to admit that the reason I’m having all these problems is that my paradigm is different than the one Linux operates under. I am used to the way things work under Windows, and anything that doesn’t work that way sends me to the MAN files or the internet to try to figure out how to do what I want to do.
I know that as I continue to play around in Linux, I’ll get better at understanding how things work…but I’ll likely never be as proficient in it as I am in Windows.
Where we stand right now, it’s an enormous pain in the ass for me to do anything more advanced than word processing or browsing the web in Linux. In comparison, Windows seems to “just work.”
It is my contention that some people are just constitutionally suited for one OS. Why that is, I don’t know. I suspect that early exposure to concepts important to the OS is important. I am willing to concede that Mac OS may be more “naturalistic” in this way, offering a wider array of people this feeling of it “just working.” I have, however, had largely positive experiences with Windows, and so I feel no great need to expend the cash and time necessary to learn a new OS and purchase new hardware.
Are there any Mac users who are willing to consider this an apt anaolgy for their relationship with Windows? If this is absolutely not true, why do you feel this way?
I look forward to reading your thoughts. And I hope it doesn’t devolve into yet another “Windoze is teh suxx0rz” pissing match.