[kwlug-disc] "What Linux Distro Should I Use?"

William Park opengeometry at yahoo.ca
Fri May 7 12:52:49 EDT 2010

On Tue, May 04, 2010 at 12:12:33AM -0400, Paul Nijjar wrote:
> Over the past few meetings I have been getting a bit of feedback from
> new KWLUGgers. They have been telling me that while the meetings have
> been interesting, the content has been way over their heads. 
> That got me thinking about another question I have been running into:
> what linux distro people should start with. 
> One direction this takes me is to suggest that we make an explicit
> attempt to schedule some more newbie-friendly meetings, and label them
> as such on the website. 
> Another horrible direction is that I have been pondering whether to
> give a presentation on this topic. However, I don't know whether this
> is a terrible idea or just a really bad one. (Also, the next available
> KWLUG slot is November, assuming Khalid, Andrew, Brad or somebody else
> has not snapped it up already. I would present sooner if I spoke at
> Software Freedom Day or Ontario Linux Fest.) 
> Recently I heard Richard give this talk in five minutes. It was pretty
> excellent. That leads me to believe that this might be a good final
> talk for the June meeting, if Richard or somebody was willing to risk
> his or her life by giving it. 
> Thoughts? 

"Newbies" are difficult to problem to address...

    - If person is coming from Windows, then they are not interested any
      typing.  I think most of you will agree that if you're not going
      to type, then there is no difference between Windows Desktop and
      Linux Desktop.  You basically end up showing which menu/button to
      click on Gnome, KDE, or Windows7.

    - Expecting newbies to ask question is not very realistic.  They
      wouldn't know what to ask.  That's why they are newbies.

    - Showing what to do on Fedora-12, whouldn't necessarily work on
      Fedora-15, let alone on Ubuntu-12.10.

    - "Install Fest" is no longer needed.  You can get CD/DVD anywhere.
      And, most Linux distros boot and install without problem.

    - They need more "hands-on" experience.  Just giving a presentation
      is not enough.

If you think back to before you took Engineering, Science, or Accounting
courses... Before taking the courses, you didn't know what is important.
While taking them, you thought they are useless.  After finishing, you
knew for a fact that they are useless.  Now, in retrospect, you realize
that it was very useful after all that you were exposed to those useless

We can schedule "Linux 101", and cover basics of
    - command-line tools,
    - network tools,
    - kvm, virtualbox, ...
For some things, all you need is manpage.  For other things, it's more
spread out in space and time.  But, I don't know.  If they are asking
these kind of "question", then they are not "newbies".

Do we have time for 30min "tutorial", say beginning of meeting or
at the end?  We can say to the newbies, "Bring your laptop to the
class." :-)


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