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

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2005
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    US
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    Ubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin

    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

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