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

Bryan Kilgallin bryan at netspeed.com.au
Tue Oct 28 05:57:42 MDT 2014

Yes, Scott:

>>> 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

A Pommy doctor complained to me that most people there hadn't completed 
middle-school biology.

I have qualified in adult learning. And so I reflected on some horrible 
training examples by people untrained in that. Such as a lawyer who 
slapped a photocopied page of text onto an overhead projector--oblivious 
to the fact that it was unreadable from the back of the room!

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

I have read of--but not tried--Mint.

> e.g. Debian provides well over 20000 packages, a *large* number of
> "desktop environments" - with which an almost infinite number of
> combinations are possible.

More is not necessarily better. I have no idea how to compare twenty 
thousand options! And I'm almost as clueless about the range of desktop 
environments. Is there a Choice review of Linux packages and environments?

> And they will also run on every architecture
> you've ever heard of - plus several you may not of (8).

This is a plus; I have mentioned that I have a Linux phone.

{Openmoko Linux uses the Linux kernel 
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linux_kernel>, GNU libc 
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GNU_libc>, the X.Org Server 
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/X.Org_Server> plus their own graphical 
user environment 
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Graphical_user_environment> built using 
the EFL toolkit 
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enlightenment_Foundation_Libraries>, GTK+ 
toolkit <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GTK%2B>, Qt toolkit 
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qt_%28toolkit%29> and the illume window 
(previously Matchbox window manager 
The OpenEmbedded <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OpenEmbedded> build 
framework and opkg <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opkg> package 
management system, are used to create and maintain software packages 


> Additionally it
> provides other "kernels" other than the Linux kernel (Hurd, and
> KFreeBSD).

I am ignorant of this subject.

> FOSS is developed to "scratch an itch" - not to win a battle.

Oriented to production, not marketing?

> 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).

So how does a user configure this beast--without dying of constipation? :-(

> Users don't drive development compel != impel (tail not wave dog).

Last Sunday at a graduates' party, I sat next to a user analyst. Who 
gave the exact opposite view!

>> But I have been asking for study guidance.
> Noted.
> It's ("Linux") a large body of knowledge that *no one* has ever managed
> to master.

Adults learn based on comparison with their vast prior experience.

> 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.

With Linux, I find this particularly distressing. So that I could use 
two monitors, one being for reference.

My old PC has one monitor port. Though it also has serial, parallel and 
USB ports. And I have extra monitors. Both of which have old-fashioned 
ports. And one of which also has a more modern port. Is there some 
device that could enable me to run an extra monitor, given this list?

> 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.

Your analogy reminds me of school trigonometry.

> 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.

Perhaps I could ask a print shop to make a large poster of it. Whereas 
unfortunately I haven't got my printer to do landscape, which is the 
chart's orientation!

> 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.

I knew the first two.

> 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.

Thanks for reminding me. I have a very basic Logitech mouse. It was 
specified as being OK with Linux. I thought that meant "plain vanilla"!


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