[clug] Why do we do what we do in Linux? [was Re: Text editor]

Scott Ferguson scott.ferguson.clug at gmail.com
Tue Oct 28 05:01:13 MDT 2014

On 28/10/14 21:11, Bryan Kilgallin wrote:
> As you say Steve:
>>> It also was considered impossible, maddening, frustrating,
>>> technical, nerdy....

The same can be said of medicine, teaching, etc. Beware of "this is the
only way to do things, I've never done anything else" "doctors make
medicine seem overly difficult, that's why I've never bothered to study
medicine) ;p

>> Not for people who were prepared to study.
> Not being self-evident/obvious/apparent, 

With the greatest respect - that's a statement made by someone
unencumbered by the knowledge of what's required. It's easy to say "it
should be simple" - a statement that can be applied to anything outside
of one's field of knowledge (and "IT", at 7 degrees of difficulty, is
outside almost everyone's field of knowledge).

> has constrained Linux'
> desktop market share!

While commercial Linux distributions/releases do consider market share
important - that's not true of all Linux distributions (though it may
puzzle some).

Consider also that "Desktop" (a fuzzy definition) is not the only thing
that "Linux" does, and even then it does "it" differently to the
benchmarks that might be set "intuitively" by the casual observer.

e.g. Debian provides well over 20000 packages, a *large* number of
"desktop environments" - with which an almost infinite number of
combinations are possible. And they will also run on every architecture
you've ever heard of - plus several you may not of (8). Additionally it
provides other "kernels" other than the Linux kernel (Hurd, and
KFreeBSD). Then there are embedded and server "markets" (and that "war"
has decisively been won, if only quietly). Note: that Debian is *not* a
commercial distribution (fortunately).

Perhaps it'd be easier to understand why developers don't "get" the
whole "Desktop war" thing if you look at it from the FOSS point of view.
FOSS is developed to "scratch an itch" - not to win a battle. Commercial
input (i.e. IBM, Google, RedHat, Sony, etc, etc) *does* have commercial
aspiration - diverse and competitive (which is how it should be).

That "Linux" exists is testimony to diverse needs not satisfied with a
single offering - and it follows that "Linux" does not aim to provide a
single offering (especially one that seeks to replace a single flavour
offering which caters to the lowest common denominator).

No one solution solves all problems.
Users don't drive development compel != impel (tail not wave dog).

> But I have been asking for study guidance.

It's ("Linux") a large body of knowledge that *no one* has ever managed
to master. The nature of learning is that you "don't know what you don't
know" - especially, what you need to know to do what you don't know.
(Rarely do any two people want exactly the same thing in practise).

Even "I just want to use my phone" covers a wide range of possibilities...

Many perceived problems are xy problems - which is why it's often
recommended when asking for assistance to clearly state "what you want
to do" and "why you want to do it" - just in case the desired outcome
can be achieved in an alternative manner.

The previously recommended vi cheat sheet is a good guide, and you'll
find like other tools (respective of the OS) that there are some you'll
use (and memomorize) and some you'll rarely or never use. How often you
use them will be the determining factor.
Apropos of which - did you know that Windoof has "hotkeys" (disabled by
default from showing on the menus)?  If you use the functions a lot
you'll probably memorize them as they are much quicker. e.g. Ctrl+c to
copy, Ctrl+v to paste, Alt+F4 to close the top-most window. Additionally
hotkeys can be "stacked" - whereas with a mouse you need to wait until
the program responds before you can send another mouse click. On the
subject of mice - Linux has a middle-key function, highlight some text
and it will be copied to the buffer (xclip?) - then click on the middle
button and it will be pasted.

Kind regards

"It's not the destination - it's the journey"
"I have not failed. I've just found 10000 ways that won't work"

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