About the Linux Community

I’ve always sort of compared the Linux community to the Ham Radio community of a previous generation.  I can say this both as a dedicated Linux user and as a ham.  The Linux community is as diverse as any.  There are going to jerks and snobs.  There are going to be people who demand that everyone compiles everything from source or use an archaic distribution, and there are those who are happy just installing everything from a Knoppix CD.  The people and the support are there, and since we are living in an online world, it doesn’t really matter a whole lot where the help physically comes from.  Quite frankly, I’ve come to embrace the Linux community more than any other online, because there are so many of newbies who want to learn and who want to help each other out.  Open Source is a new frontier, and many of us just want to help each other out.

I was a Mac user for around 6 months.  I had a 500mhz G3 iMAC.  It ran OSX 10.2 well, though slowly.  I experienced more putdowns and snide remarks about my ancient hardward from the Mac community than from anyone in the Windows or Linux community.  Maybe, I just happened to run into a few jerks, and everybody else is cool, but I really got the feeling that Mac users just used their computers to do the basics, and very few really questioned how things worked.  “It just works” is (or was) an Apple motto.  Those who got everything to work, never questioned it.  If your scanner doesn’t work with OSX, don’t worry, Apple will gladly sell you an overpriced one that will do everything you need and you will never have to configure anything manually.

In the Linux community, a lot of things don’t work right.  We come into Linux expecting that fact, and so we are there to help each other.

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A New Linux

I changes Linux distributions like I change blog templates. I’m always looking for something new. I’m currently trying Zenwalk linux. It is my first Slackware distro. and I am having a lot of fun with it. It is a clean, simple distribution without a lot of bells and whistles. The developers are using the KISS principle which I appreciate. I’ve had to install a few packages that do not come with the distro., but that’s not much of a problem. It’s just a something that you have to deal with. I think I even like this better than Ubuntu, and I would not be afraid of sitting a Linux newbie in front of it, especially if they just want internet, email, and chat. The XFCE interface is one of my favorites. It is simple, sleek, fast, and it will remind you of Windows. It even comes with Java 1.5 preinstalled, so that’s one less worry.
There are three software packages that I can not live without, and I’ve had some trouble finding them, but they are here or at LinuxPackages.net. They are amaroK, Lyx, and Scribus. Amarok is my iTunes, Scribus is my Microsoft Publisher/Adobe Illustrator, and Lyx is a program that will make any written piece of tripe look like a professional publisher put it together. It is a godsend for writing college papers.
I will eventually go back to Ubuntu, but I want to stay here for a bit. Maybe until the next Ubuntu version comes out. The problem with Slackware packages is something called Dependency hell. This is something that I have seen little of in Ubuntu. Dependancy Hell is not a problem for the novice who is content with a few pieces of software that work well, but for the Linux adventurer, it can drive you insane.

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So far, my journey to increase my knowledge of electronics has been going pretty slowly. Thanks to Pete Millett's Technical Books Online site, I have learn a lot about the basics of electronics, and I am beginning to really see how oscillators work. This is something that isn't really explained in most resources that are online or otherwise.

To those who put electronics tutorials and the like online: Why must you assume that the reader is either a math whiz or already intimately understands the workings of electronics. You don't explain how things work without tons of math, you assume that we just need to know that they work. Maybe I'm dumb, but I learn best by being able to picture what is going on and then applying math to it. The ARRL Handbook is guilty of this as well! The only books that really take time to explain most of this stuff is the older books and books like "Now you're talking!"

Anyway, I'm going back to the old books and the books for true amateurs. I really need to enroll in an online algebra/geometry/trig class.

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