I was reading the long string of comments at Linux in the long run and noticed a few folks mentioning Linux installation problems. I can sympathize, though I do have to say that most of my Linux installs have been smooth and uneventful.
I can't tell you how many Linux installs I've done. It probably isn't thousands yet, but it's certainly in the hundreds. The distros run all over the map: plenty of RedHat and Suse, a few Ubuntus, some Debian, a couple of Slackwares.. and those are the ones that were on real hardware for a real purpose: there have been many others installed on Virtual Machines just to take a look-see.
As I said, most of these were easy, successful and left no scars. A few here and there were painful and difficult: unsupported hardware preventing a nic card or the gui from working can be annoying. An unsupported card just makes you run out to buy something that will work, but of course that's not always easy (notebooks) and sometimes it's a specific piece of hardware that you really need - Fedora Core 2 caused me some grief over an Iomega REV drive a few years back. There's not always a way around an incompatibility, but there usually is.
You can find plenty of Linux install horror stories on the net. Some of these are exaggerated complaints written by people with a vested interest in Windows, and a few are people so technically challenged that you have to wonder how they use any computer, but some do have more than a kernel of truth: the person ran into real problems and experienced real frustration.
But most problems are easily solved by a little Googling or a little experimentation. I do understand that some folks don't want to have to Google or experiment: that's exactly why I bought a Mac for my notebook machine. I didn't want to expend any effort (and I was also just plain curious about Macs), so I wimped out.. I've posted here that I carry some "Linux guilt" because of that, but it's definitely true that Linux on laptops can be challenging.
However: things only get better in Linux-land. What was unsupported yesterday might be supported today. I have a retired X86 laptop sitting idle right now; it resisted Linux a few years ago but I bet if I try it now it might just all fall together and work. And if not.. well, it might be the particular distro, so I could try something else..
We may get some negative comments here in the "Linux sucks" vein. If you had a bad experience and need to vent a little, that's OK, but please try to keep it intelligent and useful. A comment that warns about a bad driver for a FooBar Model 78 rev 6 Widget is potentially useful, a pointless "Linux Losers bite me!" comment will just get deleted.
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More Articles by Anthony Lawrence © 2012-07-07 Anthony Lawrence