This post was originally published on October 2, 2009. The original can be found here.
In a nod to Dave’s classic top ten segment I will now share with you the top 10 things I have learned since starting this experiment one month ago.
10: IRC is not dead
Who knew? I’m joking of course but I had no idea that so many people still actively participated in IRC chats. As for the characters who hang out in these channels… well some are very helpful and some… answer questions like this:
Tyler: Hey everyone. I’m looking for some help with Gnome’s Empathy IM client. I can’t seem to get it to connect to MSN.
Some asshat: Tyler, if I wanted a pidgin clone, I would just use pidgin
It’s this kind of ‘you’re doing it wrong because that’s not how I would do it’ attitude can be very damaging to new Linux users. There is nothing more frustrating than trying to get help and someone throwing BS like that back in your face.
9: Jokes about Linux for nerds can actually be funny
Stolen from Sasha’s post.
8. Buy hardware for your Linux install, not the other way around
Believe me, if you know that your hardware is going to be 100% compatible ahead of time you will have a much more enjoyable experience. At the start of this experiment Jon pointed out this useful website. Many similar sites also exist and you should really take advantage of them if you want the optimal Linux experience.
7. When it works, it’s unparalleled
6. Linux seems to fail for random or trivial reasons
If you need proof of these just go take a look back on the last couple of posts on here. There are times when I really think Linux could be used by everyone… and then there are moments when I don’t see how anyone outside of the most hardcore computer users could ever even attempt it. A brand new user should not have to know about xorg.conf or how to edit their DNS resolver.
5. Linux might actually have a better game selection than the Mac!
4. A Linux distribution defines a lot of your user experience
This can be especially frustrating when the exact same hardware performs so differently. I know there are a number of technical reasons why this is the case but things seem so utterly inconsistent that a new Linux user paired with the wrong distribution might be easily turned off.
3. Just because its open source doesn’t mean it will support everything
Even though it should damn it! The best example I have for this happens to be MSN clients. Pidgin is by far my favourite as it seems to work well and even supports a plethora of useful plugins! However, unlike many other clients, it doesn’t support a lot of MSN features such as voice/video chat, reliable file transfers, and those god awful winks and nudges that have appeared in the most recent version of the official client. Is there really that good of a reason holding the Pidgin developers back from just making use of the other open source libraries that already support these features?
2. I love the terminal
I can’t believe I actually just said that but it’s true. On a Windows machine I would never touch the command line because it is awful. However on Linux I feel empowered by using the terminal. It lets me quickly perform tasks that might take a lot of mouse clicks through a cumbersome UI to otherwise perform.
And the #1 thing I have learned since the start of this experiment? Drum roll please…
1. Linux might actually be ready to replace Windows for me
But I guess in order to find out if that statement ends up being true you’ll have to keep following along 😉