Are you qualified to bash GNU/Linux?
By libervisco on 16 Aug 2006
When reading these complaints and arguments I am usually left considering those who say this as simply misinformed. The usual sources of this (mis)information are things other people said about GNU/Linux (i.e. heresay), Microsoft propaganda or a personal experience. Well the last one can be valid, but not in the context I am talking about, not when this personal experience is based on ignorance or is just too old to be a valid measure to draw conclusions from.
One thing people should know about GNU/Linux and Free Software in general is that it is rapidly evolving. It is actually evolving more rapidly than anything in the world of computing. If you tried GNU/Linux only few months ago and were disappointed there is an awesome chance that if you try it now things will be different.
Many people who say that GNU/Linux is a geeks OS that is a nightmare to install and maintain have either heard this false rumor from someone else as misinformed as they are now or are basing this conclusion on an experience that, quite frankly, holds no weight today. If you tried it a year ago you have experienced far past of GNU/Linux, not the present. You simply cannot base your conclusions on that past experience anymore when talking about GNU/Linux today.
This said, I am not suggesting that everyone should go try GNU/Linux every month, but I do suggest not to go spread false conclusions you based on an outdated experience you may have had with it. If you didn't try GNU/Linux today or very recently, you pretty much don't have a lot to say about its present state. If you do want to talk about it then make it clear you are talking about GNU/Linux *then*, not today. This way you are acknowledging the source of your conclusions and the fact that they don't apply to the present state.
Another way people can draw false conclusions about present GNU/Linux is, quite simply, by trying a wrong distribution. If you never used GNU/Linux before and then just jump straight into Slackware, for example, on your first try, and get burned by the difficulty you might have installing and using it, you just can't go around saying that GNU/Linux sucks because the distribution of your choice didn't work for you. It would be better if you get informed a bit. Just as well as you found out about Slackware you can find out about easier to use GNU/Linux distributions such as Ubuntu. Ask anyone on any GNU/Linux forums what distro would they recommend for someone just getting started and you'll get the right answers, and you'll be on your way to the GNU/Linux experience tailored for *you*.
In summary, the two major points I am trying to make are (1) that GNU/Linux is rapidly evolving and getting better and (2) it has a lot of flavors to choose from of which not all are suited for beginners. Failure to acknowledge both of these two points will lead you to absorbing and spreading false conclusions about GNU/Linux.
So in the end, you may ask, why the heck do I care? Why is that any of my business? Well, for one I am, admittedly, a GNU/Linux and more broadly a Free Software advocate. I believe Free Software is a way for computer users that we are to finally take control over our computing life in our own hands instead of being constantly dependent on the ones controlling the software we run on our own computers. The latter has multiple kinds of consequences, the lack of control and freedom of users over their own computer software and practical flaws that proprietary software frequently exhibits.
And spreading false information ultimately leaves none in the better.