Re: Linux and WLAN Internet access

From: David Wright (
Date: 10/12/04

Date: Tue, 12 Oct 2004 10:03:24 +0200

Alfred Molon wrote:

> Assuming I manage to get Wifi to work, why is the formatting of the
> browsers (Konqueror and Mozilla 1.73) not correct ? Apparently these two
> browsers do not completely support CSS - or is it perhaps that some
> fonts are missing in Linux ?
> More specifically, this page
> should look so:
> but it does not under Linux. Any idea ?

No idea, what version of Konquerer are you using? With Konq 3.2.1, Mozilla
1.6.1 and Firefox 1.0, the page looks identical to your JPG in layout.

> As for the other questions, the answer is that I found the Suse 9.1 CD
> in the magazine, played with it, and was wondering if it would make
> sense to switch to Linux. I agree that the installation procedure of
> Suse 9.1 is very simple now, but I would switch only if Linux was
> (almost) as easy to use as XP and offered some advantage (perhaps more
> speed, better performance - I process sometimes very large images).
> By the way, despite the now very easy installation process, there is
> still a considerable learning curve before you can use Linux. If Linux
> is to get a "mass market" OS, this learning curve has to get less steep.

It depends, as a user, there is very little learning curve (some of the
icons look a bit different, and some menu options within applications like
OO.o are in slightly different places to say, MS-Office under Windows, but
any user should quickly pick up those differences.

Systems administration is slightly different, yes you do things slightly
differently, and sometimes need to resort to a text editor for some config
files. But there again, editing plain English text files is easier than
hacking the registry under Windows...

As an example, I put my mother in front of my Linux PC and she was away and
surfing the web and writing documents in OO.o within seconds. She really
didn't notice any difference to Windows - apart from it was faster than her
machine (well, it would be, mine is an Athlon XP2000+ and hers just a
Pentium II 400 ;-) ).

But if something goes wrong with either Windows or Linux, she would be
equally stumped and call in somebody to fix the problem (usually me over
the phone).

Personally, I think average users (those that wouldn't go anywhere near the
control panel or install apps on their own; the ones who know how to start
the applications they want and how to use them) have little or no problem
switching to Linux. Likewise, a user, Systems Administrator or developer
who has grown up around computers and learnt how they work and worked on
multiple platforms shouldn't have any problems switching to Linux, in fact
it is usually a breath of fresh air to get some of their flexibility in
working back. It is the power user, Windows Administrator or Windows
Developer who have problems.

They know all the tricks and tips for Windows, but have never experienced
anything outside Windows. They can get scared about learning something new,
because it places them lower down the rung for a while, they have to learn
something new and are suddenly not the guru that everybody turns to, that
they used to be. They have to learn to do things again, and they have a lot
of bad habits to unlearn.

I come from a multi-platform background, but had been bogged down just using
Windows for about 8 years when started using Linux. Therefore I was
starting to fall into the last category. I was both excited and happy to
use Linux, it rekindled a spark in me I thought I had lost, the adventure
of learning new things, but a part of me was so used to hacking the
registry in my sleep and knowing the OS inside-out that I was also a little
apprehensive about switching to Linux. After quickly recognising my Ego was
getting in the way of me learning, I quickly kicked him out the door and
locked it behind him and got down to learning what I needed. And it didn't
take long to get proficient, I am still learning new things, but I had
picked up enough in an hour or so to edit the smb.conf file and get my
network shares in place

Self confidence, Ego and pre-conceived knowledge are the biggest problems
with learning something new. One has to ignore their ego, have the
confidence they can learn something new and to forget their preconceptions
about how things are done, treat everything as a suprise, and once you
understand it, you can "remember" how you do things similarly in other
fields. This doesn't apply just to Linux but to life in general.

Over the years, I've probably learnt a new OS, programming language,
methodology, management technique or whatever about every year to 18
months, so I have had a lot of practice in learning. Other people I know
have become so stale in their knowledge, they are reticent to change
because they can do their current tasks in their sleep without thinking
about it, that newness, that having to switch on the "learning" brain cells
scares them and they get defensive and start to ridicule the new, not
because it is bad, but because they are scared of "loosing" their position
of knowledge.