[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: Round two mPlayer -- 0% to do with learning, 100% to do with expectations

Ken Keefe <kjkeefe@gmail.com> wrote:
> Brian: You really should consider writing your emails,
> letting them sit over night, and then rereading them before
> you send them off.

Likewise.  If some wishes to charge UNIX/Linux approaches as
being buggy, instead of learning them, then they're only
going to run into the same issues with not only another Linux
distro, but even another UNIX version.

They just reaping what they sow.

> Some of the emails I have read of yours have had defensive
> and sometimes downright inflammatory tones to them.

There are two extremes people can approach Linux.  When they
stop asking why UNIX/Linux does something different and start
saying its buggy, they have flipped over to one extreme.

I know you are referring to one other list member who took
the same attitude.  But I was _not_ the only person
responding to him in what you call "defensive" and "downright
inflammatory tones" even if you want to attribute all those
responses to only myself.

If there is one lesson I can impress upon people, it is that
one should always strive to understand why something is
different.  It is not different because it is buggy, wrong or
otherwise.  This is so they will avoid making the same
mistakes over and over again.

Trust me, I've seen people do it for 5+ years to the point
where the group wanted to have nothing to do with him.  Not
because he didn't learn, but every inquiry was a long-winded
commentary on how buggy something was.

And just like him, when I said things like Windows lets you
do stupid things from the standpoint of an OS that
buffers/caches filesystem operations, he "demonized" what I
said into "stupid users."  That's just argumentative and it
shows someone does _not_ care to listen to what I actually
said, but to demonize it into what they wanted.

Again, people reap what you sow.

> I love this list because it is a bastion for getting some
> information from some really smart folks about a superior
> operating system.

I don't think Linux is a "superior OS."

In fact, I think it's the "manic one second, depressive the
next" that drives many people to not want to stop and
recognize how UNIX/Linux and Windows differ, and what the
pitfalls and benefits of each are.  That results in people
complaining about differences as superior one second, then
bugs the next.

And if history repeats itself, 1/3rd of the lurkers of the
list will dip into "distro marketing" as a result. 
Ironically, people think I'm a Fedora-only guy.  Truth is
that I've been a formal maintainer of other distros, and I'm
currently running other distros more right now.

> I think you have been reading the posts on Fark and
> Slashdot too much.

Please.  I haven't read /. in years.  I stopped posting about
5 years ago after a thread on semiconductors got moderated
down -- yet I was probably the most experienced in the topic.
 "Majority rule" does not often result in good technical
discussions.  I've literally been involved with LUGs where
the overwhelming majority of people aren't using Linux, yet
profess to be experts of it.

I don't claim to be an expert.  And it is rare I _only_
respond on what I have first-hand, corporate-deployment
experience on.  I avoid many discussions because I don't have
it.  But I'm not a fan of these meta-discussions.  I actually
interjected some technical facts and recommendations and now
people have taken the meta-discussion into a mode well beyond
anything remotely technical.

Anytime people want to return to learning Linux, I'm all for
it.  Until then, you can't blame me for the meta-discussion
that has resulted -- it was already in-progress before my
post.  I'm just the first one that decided to respond.

> Try not to start a flame fest.

And some people should not try to assert what are bugs in
Linux with an initial, long-winded post on how they think
Linux should act, and why anything less is a bug.  It's that
type of non-sense that quickly results in people _not_
wanting to help them and just _ignore_ them.

> They get old, fast.

And so do the "newbie high horses."

We want to help him, but he're quickly showing us that he
doesn't want to understand anything that is different from
what he knows.  He should try to infer what Linux does or
does do, what Linux needs to do to change, until he takes the
time to understand why.

It's _no_different_ than a MacOS X user moving to Windows or

Even Microsoft does things for a logical reason.  Linux is no
different, and even less influenced by marketshare and
business factors.

> Send a concise email asking for the information you want
> and leave out the stories,

I'm sorry, _he_ made the story here:  

And he had many statements and other commentary in other
dozen or so posts.  At one point I was going to help, but I
decided that it wasn't worth it given what I saw.

> complaints, and lessons...

Sorry, here was my response:  

Now he might complain about the verbage, but there is a _lot_
of "technical meat" in there.  If people want to snub their
nose and say ... "oh, this wasn't written with ... blah,
blah, blah" that's their choice.  But don't ecture me on how
to answer questions properly when you're asking many with a
lot of things ESR says kill many good technical threads.

> Bryan: You are always inflammatory. It makes me laugh.

Anytime someone stoops to the level of "always" it means they
have already decided to label someone for the point of an
argument they wish to make.  I am sincerely sorry you didn't
see the "technical meat" in my post above.  Maybe it was a
bit of a "just learn dammit" slap, but look at the way you
approached your questions and commentary not only in that
post, but prior.

Go re-read past flamewars that have happened on this list and
others that I wasn't involved with.  He wasn't the first
person to assert what was wrong with Linux, and he won't be
the last.  And you'll note many people on SILUG, as well as
LUCI and SLUUG, besides myself who responded in such ways.

> Chill out a little.

Likewise.  People don't have to "get on your soapbox" about
how "Linux is superior ... *BUT*" or "Linux needs to win ...
*BUT*" just use it and learn why things are problematic for
whatever reasons.

No one is forcing anyone to use Linux.  In fact, there is
something to be said for not forcing a change on people who
don't want to learn.

Many people have said what he's said before.
And most have learned to regret it later when they learn.

From the legal issues of codecs to the IP minefield and
resulting lack of video support, etc... down to the OS
protections offered and why they are just a "PITA" and not a

> I don't think that Brian came across the way he wanted to.
> Sorry if Brian seemed like he was attacking you, I am 99%
> sure that he wasn't.

I don't take offense and I don't hold gruges.  My "primary
driver" here is to not see him adopt yet another distro and
find out that he's still stuck with the "mount bug."  ;->

> The information you did provide was helpful, however.
> for your patience.
> To everybody: Brian is my retired father who I have done my
> best to bring into the Linux fold. I suggested he join this

> list because he had some serious issues with his linux
> laptop that I didn't know how to resolve, such as his ATI
> card and his mplayer.

And maybe you should reconsider the Linux recommendation.
Consider Freedomware on Windows instead.

I have no problem paying Microsoft $150 for an OS that works
the way I want it to, especially to ensure the lack of legal
and other IP issues with regards to multimedia, 3D, etc...
that can be legally bundled when it comes to others.

That's a minimal cost, especially when Freedomware can be
loaded atop of the OS -- keeping the data in an open format
and outside of "Hostageware" reach like MS Office and

> He really doesn't do much computing besides what the
> average user does (surf the web, listen to music, watch
> videos...).

In all honesty, he's a fairly good learner and did show some
patience at first.  But one line became two and then two
lines became four and before we knew it, the "meta-discussion
post" happened.

That's just a great way to get people to stop helping him.

> He is still used to the windows world of whiping your ass
> for you. I can't tell you how many times I have heard
> something like this come out of his mouth, "I just don't
> understand how linux thinks it is going to gain any
> sort of serious market share if a user has to do all this
> arcane tinkering in config files and compiling of kernel
> modules.

Again, that's a sure sign that he's probably _not_ a good

But at the same time, he seems like a good enough learner
that if he's not overwhelmed with video and codec issues, he
can learn new applicatons.

So maybe he should learn OpenOffice.org, GIMP, Firefox,
Thunderbird, etc... on an OS he's already familiar with,
without having to deal with the video and codec issues that
Linux will _never_solve_ because of legal/IP constraints.

> How is an average user supposed to know how to do this??"

Actually, he seems like he _can_ learn if he's not tackling
video and codec issues -- which are not an issue with Linux,
but the IP world.  Microsoft solves that nicely with its
licensing and control.

> It is easy to get frustrated by all the little problems
> that comes with a standard installation of Linux.

It depends on what those problems are.

If they are trying to install things left out of a distro
because they have legal/IP baggage, then hell yes.  I can't
honestly recommend Linux as a video/multimedia platform
_unless_ you are _very_ experienced.

It has nothing to do with Linux.  In fact, one constant seems
to be that there will _never_ be a "free redistributable"
piece of software that will.  Hence the result.

> If you don't know what I am talking about, try installing
> Linux on your parent's or spouse's machine without making 
> any modifications. Let them live on it for a while and see
> how pissed off they get when they can't watch a news video
> on CNN.com and can't figure out how to fix it.

But this has what to do with Linux?
Or better yet, how can Linux "fix the problem"?


Linux cannot as a Freedomware platform.
Legal issues and IP control will always result.

Don't fool people with "Linux will get there anyday now."
It will _not_ because the problem is _not_ technical.

It cannot be solved with code, only with legal agreements.

> They aren't going to want to read a 200 page
> manual on mplayer, they just want it to work.

A great way to get MPlayer to work is to bundle it with the
OS.  And it's also a great way to get yourself sued.  Same
deal with the ATI or nVidia drivers -- assuming you have a
fully supported product.

Now who's to blame for all that?
Certainly not Linux.

But when people just want "the OS to work dammit."  That's a
pretty good sign that you should go with an OS that solves
the legal/IP issues.  ;->

> Anyway, I hope we all chill out and remember what it was
> like to go through this painful part of the learning curve
> for Linux.

It has *0* to do with learning.
It has 100% to do with expectations.

And that, my friends, is the root cause.  ;->

Bryan J. Smith                | Sent from Yahoo Mail
mailto:b.j.smith@ieee.org     |  (please excuse any
http://thebs413.blogspot.com/ |   missing headers)

To unsubscribe, send email to majordomo@silug.org with
"unsubscribe silug-discuss" in the body.