Re: Ubuntu is still too complicated
Methinks responders are missing the OP's point. Or rather, missing the deeper point that underlies his expressed concerns, which is this: When push comes to shove, the problem with all Linux distros is that they are perversely and offensively technical. You can paint as pretty a face on these distros as you like. You can wrap them up in Compiz, dancing icons, translucent spinning cubes, and even include the freakin' codecs and problematic drivers as Mint does, but to get anything really solved on any of them, you need the mindset of a geek. Note: we're not talking about the knowledge of the geek, which is possible with effort and education... we're talking about the mindset, which is a very different thing.
It is impossible... not "difficult", not "obscure", not "convoluted", but simply and starkly impossible... to install the driver for the broadcom WIFI chipset without jumping through arcane command line hoops. For those who haven't had to deal it, it requires you to:
1. Figure out that the chipset is the problem in the first place.
2. Locate obscure instructions.
3. Download the necessary apps.
4. Use one of those apps to extract from the chipset itself a firmware blob.
5. Compile the blob into the driver module.
6. Install the module.
I can already hear the howls of protest, the standard objections, the defensive explanations:
1. it's Broadcom's fault for not releasing the firmware as open-source,
2. Broadcom changed their firmware with each release,
3. Broadcom should have provided comprehensive proprietary drivers,
4. Linux can't automate this process because it pollutes the kernel,
...yada-yada-yada. I'm not going to even argue with any of these responses. In fact, in a narrow mechanistic sort of way, I even concede their validity. But despite the frustration, the anger, the "I-give-up... am-going-back-to-Windows" consequences, it's not the Broadcom process that is my real example; it's these responses.
I'm going to be blunt. Anyone who cannot see that the process for installing Broadcom drivers is utter Cr@p, with a capital "C", is either in wilful denial or is so blindly defensive about Linux as to be intellectually neutered. And yet, the Broadcom case is only one instance out of dozens of similar cases. One only has to sample the support threads on this very forum to see that. Point being that to dismiss the OP's specific concerns is to miss the forest for the trees. And this tendency, ladies and gents--this penchant for dismissing the trials and tribulations of "newbies", to pooh-poohing their frustrations, to condescending at their clumsy efforts at solutions, even to the well-intentioned effort of addressing their technical issues while ignoring the bigger issue that's bugging them--this, ladies and gents, is the "geek mindset".
I succumb to the geek mindset myself and with more frequency than I care to acknowledge. After all, I worked hard for my expertise. I spent years wrestling with this cussed thing, lurking in forums, blowing my system up, reinstalling, hammering at it, fussing over it, learning it, sweating it, until I could find my way around it without tripping over my own two feet. It was hard won, I'm proud of what I did, and now, some newbie is trying to tap all of that knowledge without even the effort of first doing a cursory Google search? Yeah, it may be understandable why veterans indulge in the geek mindset. But it's a pernicious mindset all the same.
1. It diminishes our empathy. Sometimes to the point where we start resembling this OS that we love more so than the human race.
2. Without empathy, we lose the ability to walk in others' shoes.
3. This leads to a narrow-mindedness of the "if it works for me, it's good enough for everybody" sort.
4. Which leads to poor, stunted, ugly, constrained, overly-technical design.
5. And also, an environment revelling in geek-speak, acronyms, technobabble and portmanteaus not-so-subtly intended to separate, and yes, elevate, "us" from the unwashed masses.
6. Result: Ubuntu/Distros/the-whole-Linux-Sphere loses.
<Sigh> Now I'm the one venting.
Newb: How far must I jump to clear the ledge halfway down?
Guru: It's bad to jump off cliffs. Let's look at better options.
Newb: Stop harping about "best practices" and just let me jump.