Linux is Hard!

Or is it just different?

People used to walk everywhere, which is pretty easy, right? Unless of course you can’t walk, but let’s not be too pedantic here. Eventually, most of us learned to drive or ride a motorbike. Is that inherently easy? Could ease ever be described as something that needs contrast to be so?

I’ve always said that Linux has a steep learning curve, or something to that effect. I appreciate that about Linux now. Yes, it can be a tough nut to crack, particularly when compared to the likes of Windows and Mac. I know it sucks when things don’t work, but guess what, they can get it wrong too.

It took me a while to realise this myself, but a heck of a lot of people go into Linux with Windows firmly in mind, expecting it to be Windows, however, it’s a totally different operating system; an entirely different platform! That’s like stepping into a car and expecting it to drive like a motorbike.

I watched a video recently of a guy raging because he couldn’t deal with Linux not working as he expected. I’m not going to spout nonsense about how Linux always works or something, because the truth is it can be a major PITA. That said, this comes to mind:

“You are like this cup; you are full of ideas. You come and ask for teaching, but your cup is full; I can’t put anything in. Before I can teach you, you’ll have to empty your cup.” – Master Ryutan.

Granted, you can’t really get a fair chance to mess with your cup if the thing doesn’t even work at all, which is why it took a while to get to the point at which I could learn all this stuff and get so involved with GNU/Linux, as some people insist on calling it.

Don’t get me wrong, I fully accept and understand that it’s not everyone’s idea of fun to fill your screen with virtual terminals and type out command after command. I know many people feel typing jargon is like going back to the days of MS-DOS, when such apparent gibberish meant you got something done.

Well, you still can get things done, and far more efficiently — why do you think the Linux command line has survived all this time, even in the age of such excessive hand-holding like the so-called “free” Windows 10? Your games and programs were created from lines and lines of code, or a program with a UI made from yet more lines and lines of code.

I loved Windows for years, but Windows 10 was the final straw. Ultimately, Micro$oft and Mac lock you down, but, provided it works on your hardware, then Linux will set you free. Is that always a good thing? No, as there are many opportunities to screw up if you overlook something, especially for a “power user” like me who loves to tinker and tweak.

I hope Linux will continue to mature and rise up to the challenge of appealing more to those whom refuse to use a terminal and want a more “user-friendly” environment. I want those things too — I’d love not to need the terminal for anything, and that’s coming from someone who loves it! I want the option not the necessity to use it.

Linux has achieved a lot, but there’s still quite the journey ahead for desktop users.

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How I Learn German

Let’s face it, language learning typically leads to so much terminology it’s ridiculous. Practically need a dictionary at hand just to know what the damn words are, in order to learn what the damn words are. When someone gives you an explanation as to how to say something it’s often met with a ton of gibberish with which not everyone is so familiar. While I do partake in some of the aforementioned gibberish, I also enjoy somewhat of an abstract way of understanding, or just… similar to how a kid understands a language. When we’re young, we don’t have people shoving fancy grammatical terminology down our throats, we just endeavor to understand that something is, rather than why it is. As adults, we get somewhat obsessed with the why, because I guess we’re creatures of contrast and sometimes we need to know why something is different to accept it, or maybe that’s just me.

Do you learn best when you quit trying to shovel those words down your throat along with the already-extensive vocabulary that a language learner typically learns? Or do those fancy words become a necessity in order for you to properly learn?

With German, there are some things that no amount of terminology seems to teach me, and that I only understand after countless times of seeing it used in different contexts, because that’s how we learned as a kid, right?! When mom ‘n’ pops say “No!” to you grabbing that bigass slice of cake, you sort of ascertain that it means the yummy cake is a no-go. Perhaps not at first, perhaps it just becomes a scary sound mixed with obvious unamused body language, but after a while, there’s a link between the situation and that word; an association.

I sometimes find I learn better when I ‘wing it’, rather than constantly ramming my head so far into a book I end up recreating the Never Ending Story, only it’s the Never Ending Book of German! Why? You might ask. Because, I may answer, I’m often creating associations between words which typically have some sort of meaning to me, be it someone giving me some sad and memorable news, or something funny happening in a game that has a link to a certain new word I might come across. This, at least for me, has far more of an impact than simply rattling off words from a dictionary that have no real meaning at that given moment. When you have touch, smell, sight, taste, and hearing linked to words, it, as far as I know, has been proven to improve the chances of you remembering things; this is why it’s common for people with amnesia to use these senses as much as possible in order to hopefully once again remember that which was forgotten.

Just some things for you to chew over.

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