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Thread: What's better than whining on the forums? Making a difference.

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  1. #1
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    What's better than whining on the forums? Making a difference.

    I think it rather makes sense that new forum members assume that the Ubuntu Forums (they are the official forums, after all) would be a channel for talking to the people responsible for Ubuntu. This is not the case, though, at all--the forums are separate from Canonical, and they're run entirely by volunteers (other Ubuntu users).

    So if you have the least bit inkling to complain that Ubuntu doesn't work or should do this or should do that, please keep in mind that all you're doing is blowing off steam--ranting, as it were... which is a perfectly fine thing, if that's all you want to do. We all get frustrated from time to time (a co-worker of mine, just today, said she wanted to throw her Windows computer out the window because Excel kept crashing on her), but we should recognize ranting for what it is--ranting. Ranting doesn't change things. Ranting just helps us let out a little stress, express ourselves.

    If you really want to make a difference (for yourself and/or others), when you encounter a problem, do one of the following:

    1. File a bug report: You can file a bug report to let the actual developers (not just random forum members like myself) know what's going wrong with Ubuntu. If you truly believe something in Ubuntu is malfunctioning (not just a bad installation, not just your own incompetence at setting things up), this is the best channel for such problems.

    2. Figure out the problem: most likely, especially if you're new to Linux in general and Ubuntu specifically, the "problem" is really just you screwing things up. I'd say (as a six-month newbie myself) that 99% of the problems I've had in Linux have been my fault--I just had no clue what I was doing, and I screwed something up.

    Luckily, there's help. Ask around on the forums. Search Google. I've found searches like site:ubuntuforums.org howto nameoftheproblem are good ones to do in Google. And if you're experiencing a problem, likely someone else has too. Searching for errors can be a good way to find the solution to fixing those errors.

    3. Find another distro: I happen to think Ubuntu is the kitten's meow, but that could be just me. Ubuntu is not for everyone, believe it or not (for more on this idea, please read Is Ubuntu for You? and What does "for human beings" mean?), and maybe it's not for you. That doesn't mean Linux isn't for you. In fact, one of Linux's strong points is its variety. If you're pretty certain Ubuntu's not for you, but you'd like to try other Linux distros, The Linux Distro Chooser Quiz may be a good place to start. One of the common complaints about Ubuntu is that it lacks (nonfree) multimedia codecs, for example, and several Linux distributions actually include these codecs by default (Ubuntu by definition--being free--cannot include these codecs, but you can install them yourself).

    Linux Mint, PCLinuxOS, and Sabayon are all Linux distros that include popular proprietary codecs by default.

    And if you want new versions of software as they appear and not every six months, PCLinuxOS and Arch Linux are both "rolling release" distros.

    4. Stick with Windows: just as Ubuntu isn't for everyone, Linux is also not for everyone. It's entirely possible that someone may have coaxed you into Linux, telling you lies about how it's panacea for the world's computing problems and works on every piece of hardware with little to no effort. Sorry if that happened. However, just because you don't like Windows doesn't mean you'll necessarily like Linux. Windows may be the best option for you.

    5. Post an idea to Brainstorm: Ubuntu's developers have created an easy way for you to make suggestions to them: http://brainstorm.ubuntu.com

    Just be sure to be specific and post one idea at a time. Don't post anything with the word better or easier in it. A well-formulated idea would be Include a point-and-click utility for configuring the /etc/fstab file. A badly-formulated idea would be Make Ubuntu's interface better. The former, as you can see, offers a specific suggestion that can be implemented. The latter is a vague "suggestion" that is highly subjective and not very practical.

    If you're truly interested in development, in addition to filing bug reports, you can donate money or contribute code or write up some documentation for new users.

    Those are the only helpful suggestions I can give. Anyone else?
    Last edited by aysiu; July 5th, 2009 at 07:05 PM. Reason: Updated links

  2. #2
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    Re: What's better than whining on the forums? Making a difference.

    You haven't failed to be enlighening yet in any of these posts like this. I love it.

  3. #3
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    Re: What's better than whining on the forums? Making a difference.

    Amen to that bro. Not all newcomers will be reading this post, but I would like to suggest that whenever someone who wants to join the forum (be it one time poster, or a curious user who just want to jump in) read something like this on the registration window (in big bold letters) : THIS FORUM IS THE HELP COMMUNITY OF THE UBUNTU DISTRO (something to that effect) and all the info you've listed above is on it so they'll know that the forum is being run free of charge by volunteers and they should not whine nor weep.

    K
    "When I'm right no one remembers....When I'm wrong no one forgets.."
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  4. #4
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    Re: What's better than whining on the forums? Making a difference.

    That's not really my call, even though I'm on staff. I'll settle for linking people to this thread every time I run into a whining session.

  5. #5
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    Re: What's better than whining on the forums? Making a difference.

    I. Love. You.

    I have to refer people to this bug:https://launchpad.net/products/ubuntu/+bug/1


  6. #6
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    Re: What's better than whining on the forums? Making a difference.

    Ohh, cool, I just noticed the Bugzilla thing for the first time. I've always wondered what the heck it was.

    Thanks for yet another enlightening post!
    My System | Ubuntu Feisty Fawn (7.04) | AMD Athlon 1700+ | 1.3Gb RAM | 160 Gb HD | nVidia GeForce4 64 Mb
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    Proud to be Canadian, eh?

  7. #7
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    Re: What's better than whining on the forums? Making a difference.

    aysui is like Confucius... ... our wisened, old philosopher.

    The only problem with aysiu's excellent posts are that the trolls and whiners generally don't know where the 'search' button is, or the 'HowTos', or why the Linux world doesn't revolve around their unique hardware/software configuration, so they are never going to read this.

    It's too bad... it should be included in the ReadMe... or better yet, the new Boot Splash!

    -Dave

  8. #8
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    Re: What's better than whining on the forums? Making a difference.

    Quote Originally Posted by aysiu View Post
    That's not really my call, even though I'm on staff. I'll settle for linking people to this thread every time I run into a whining session.
    You don't seem to run into the whining sessions *about* noobs that I see all the time, though more often on IRC than on forums.

    When I get a minute I'll write a similar admonition to those whiners.

  9. #9
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    Re: What's better than whining on the forums? Making a difference.

    Quote Originally Posted by aysiu
    2. Figure out the problem: most likely, especially if you're new to Linux in general and Ubuntu specifically, the "problem" is really just you screwing things up. I'd say (as a six-month newbie myself) that 99% of the problems I've had in Linux have been my fault--I just had no clue what I was doing, and I screwed something up.
    i agree completely, especially with having absolutely no clue what i was doing part
    i almost totally killed my system by messing with the visudoers (i think that was what it was called) file. it turns out that since the last time i had used the command line editing program it had been majorly updated , changing the commands. meaning that since i when i went to save and exit, it wouldn't work for me , luckily i knew someone who did know how to fix so i didn't have to do anything drastic to fix the problem.

    my point. most of the problems you will encounter in linux, or any OS for that matter can be chalked up to user error, (or in my case sometimes just plain stupidity ) so hang in there youll get it eventually.

  10. #10
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    Re: What's better than whining on the forums? Making a difference.

    Yeah, but complaining takes less time and effort and who wants to do all that?
    Hang in there. It gets better...

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