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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Windows 10 and the Privacy Concern

I’m so tired of people like myself being attacked and/or ridiculed for giving a crap about privacy and security. Yes, I have the common sense to actually care what happens to my personal information and data. How could that be anything other than simply looking out for number one?

If you don’t yet know, there are countless articles out there that go into a far deeper detail than I can quite honestly be bothered, as it’s almost two o’clock in the morning and tiredness is hitting me hard. The general gist, is that Windows 10, since the days of the Technical Preview, has had a growing issue of privacy as a result of questionable wording in their EULA and a few other privacy-related issues in the OS itself.

There are a few typical responses I see floating around the interwebs:

“You use Google, Facebook, and who knows what other services; surely they collect your data, too? Why are you then so bothered about Windows 10?”

Simply put, the reason this is not a fair comparison to make is, at least with Facebook, because it’s completely different; this service is optional. The information shared on Facebook is chosen by the user. I don’t like Google and have pretty much despised and avoided most of it since it got its grubby mitts on YouTube, and so I do not have a Google account and if I did, I would restrict its access as much as I could.

I don’t get why so many people don’t seem to understand why choice is so damn important, especially it being such a data-heavy age in which data can so easily be shared.

Microsoft burying very important so-called options for them to have the ability to rummage through my private bits and bobs, which, by the way, are on by default, is not acceptable. Microsoft claiming their new operating system is “free” to those with Windows 7 and 8.1 when it clearly isn’t—it’s merely an eventually-permanent trade-in for the current operating system you own—and shoveling adverts at me while damn-near giving them the keys to the house is not OK.

“Windows 7 and 8.1 already collect your personal information, so why are you bothered now?”

As I understand it, Windows 10 has additional concerns that the previous operating systems didn’t have, but yes, there are definitely similarities. The difference, at least to me, is mainly that Windows 10 doesn’t allow you to disable all these features, and there is apparently data sent to Microsoft regardless of disabling features such as Cortana.

Honestly, Windows 8.1 pissed me right off to begin with, and I’m still unimpressed with what Microsoft did to it, but I still use it, and will probably continue to use it for a long period of time. I found Windows 8.1 to not be too bad of an OS, once I got past the Microsoft Account, the charms bar, revived the start menu they stupidly removed, fiddled like mad to get some decent visuals back, and did various other tweaks to help it feel less jarring and obnoxious.

I had hoped Microsoft would learn from the mess that was Windows 8 before they fixed it up, but they seem to have just made certain things worse. Eventually, Microsoft will be ejected from the face of the Earth, and nobody will give a fying shit, because we’ll all be fed up of their ignorant, almost-oppressive decisions—sure we all wanted you to completely take away that start menu, eejit!

“You’re just paranoid.”

I’m sick of hearing this. When Bob the caveman was about ready to go out and hunt for a snack, do you think he just hopped out of his stone bed and strolled out of his cave, grabbed the nearest stick, and went off into the unknown for some Doritos? Of course not! He was cautious, looked around, and made sure that he wasn’t the snack. Would it totally have been OK for little Bob to just wonder out without a care in the world only to go get himself killed?

Granted, most of us don’t fret much about tigers jumping out of bushes to munch on our bodies, but we do focus our concerns on other things, such as privacy and security, especially when these things are linked to our families, our friendships, our finances, and our work; we’re not paranoid for being cautious and concerned; we’re simply being human.

I could have perhaps given a better example, but I’m right about ready to pass out and thinking up fancy analogies isn’t really my forté, anyway.

“If you don’t like it, don’t use it!”

How the hell has this come to be an argument for just about everything that is put into question? Do people actually think this is clever or justified? Hey, I don’t like paying bills, so I’m not going to eat, leave my home, cancel my Internet contract, never wash, stop drinking clean water, and, … you get the idea. The silliest example I could quickly draw up, but it sure as balls puts the point across, as far as I’m concerned.

For many, Windows is essential, be it for managing finances, playing games, compatibility with their hardware and data, or whether it’s a requirement of their school or work. Simply telling people it’s Microsoft’s way or the highway gets nothing solved and I can’t help but to think this argument—if you can even call it that—is simply a cop-out. At the very crux of it all, it’s stupid of Microsoft to focus on what they want rather than what the customer wants! I hate to sound self-centered, but it’s about us and not them; at some point they seem to have forgotten that.

Mac is often (or always) unnecessarily expensive, Linux can be unnecessarily complicated, and I can’t imagine any other operating system is worth going near for a lot of people, at least currently. Windows is often the choice for a reason.

I apologise for this being a bit ranty—I’ll surely battle this another time when I’m not so tired, but my view on this matter will likely hold true.

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Humble Bundle Incorporates Questionable Business Practice

I’m a bit annoyed with Humble Bundle’s latest endeavor. They’re charging $12 on a monthly subscription for completely random games. They state on their website “a highly curated bundle of our favorite games at one fixed price. Includes everything from recent hits to hidden gems to timeless classics – every month.”

Note the last two categories, which they state are “hidden gems” and “timeless classics”; scrub away the persuasive language and this clearly translates to “ancient games and budget indie games most people probably won’t know or care about.”

They state the games are “suitable” for Windows and “sometimes more!” so, pray tell, what good is that for people without Windows, those who prefer to game on Linux, or even people who, for whatever reason, use Mac for games? Incidentally, what good are Linux or Mac games to Windows users who, for the most part, aren’t going to bother with other operating systems?

What happens if I already have the games? This is a likely issue when you follow a service like Humble Bundle which frequently recycle the same games—after all, there’s only so many games out there that actually grab people’s attention.

I consider this a middle finger up at gamers. It’s clearly driven by greed and it’s a disgusting practice that I thought was non-existent in Humble Bundle. Oh, but it’s OK because some money goes to charities!

5%.

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