I could swear that a couple of years ago (has it been that long already?), when I started visiting the Ubuntu Forums, dissatisfied rants against the general state of Linux were shuttled off to jail, never to be seen or heard from again.
For the past year or so, while I have been moderating (off and on, of course), hypercritical anti-Linux rants were glommed onto a giant megathread called The Linux Desktop Readiness Thread. It was — and still is — The Mother of All Anti-Linux Threads.
Now it seems the dissatisfied have a little room to vent, with their opinions taking up space in the Ubuntu Testimonials and Experiences forum. It’s a good rule: We have to take the good with the bad. So dissatisfaction is available alongside satisfaction. You are allowed to dislike.
But before you blabber endlessly about how badly Linux SUXXORz and then bolt, let me give you a little advice.
- Do not type in all capital letters. It makes people think you’re yelling, and no one will take your criticism seriously if they think you’re yelling. Yelling actually makes your complaints less credible, because if you can’t find the caps lock key, then it’s no surprise that you can’t handle Ubuntu. And for god’s sake, don’t type in 1337.
- Don’t tell us Ubuntu is ugly. If it was impossible change the colors or the wallpaper or the fonts or the theme or the window manager or the desktop environment, then your complaint would be valid. But saying it’s ugly is like complaining because your shirt is orange. If you don’t like orange, why in the heck didn’t you wear a different shirt?
- Don’t tell us it doesn’t work. If it didn’t work, no one would use it. It seems to work fine for about 29 million times as many people as you. And that goes for installing too. Don’t tell us it won’t install because by golly, it installs for me. And don’t bicker about a text-based installer. Guess what, genius: When you reinstall XP, it’s going to greet you with a text-based installer. You bonehead.
- Don’t tell us it’s not Windows. Of course it’s not Windows. If Linux were Windows, no one would need Linux. Better yet, if Windows was Linux, no one would need Windows.
- Don’t tell us you tried to install it for an hour and a half, and it didn’t work, so it’s no good. If you want to really tout your efforts installing Ubuntu, tell us you worked on something for a week. Or two weeks. People fight for months just to get their wireless working in Linux — and they succeed. So do that before you leave: Tell us you had no mouse for two weeks — that will impress us. Tell us you had to work without the left side of your keyboard for the better part of a year — we will worship you. But ranting about how Ubuntu doesn’t work because it wouldn’t install during your lunch hour is lame, lame, lame.
But most important of all, don’t commit the logical error of extrapolating your unfortunate experience into a generalization about the rest of the world. I know it’s tempting to believe it, but you are not the center of the universe (I am, actually). The entire Prime Material Plane does not revolve around you (it revolves around me, actually). Just because you couldn’t figure it out doesn’t mean the entire project is doomed to failure.
What that does mean is that you are doomed to failure. Linux did not fail you. You failed Linux. There is a direct relationship between the effort you expend in understanding Linux, and the degree of success you will achieve. And the unfortunate corollary is that you will only expend as much effort as you have interest. And without at least a smidgin of interest, the entire experiment is a waste of time — your time and ours.
So please. Pretty please. With sugar on top. Try Ubuntu, but don’t do it on a whim. Don’t do it because it sounds like fun. Don’t do it because all the cool kids are doing it.
Do it because you want to, and you want to very badly. Then see if you like it. If you don’t, tell us why. You’re free to join our community, and you’re free to leave. We will be here to help you when you come back.
And yes, you will be back. …