+ C.O.L.A. Newcomer FAQ and Primer
+ Edition: 24 - 01/05/2011
+ Group: comp.os.linux.advocacy
+ Copyright (c) 2002-2011 Linux Reality Team
Welcome to comp.os.linux.advocacy, otherwise known as cola.
This FAQ will try to address most of the issues regarding Linux and
this group. Unlike the other FAQs, this one will try to be as
realistic as possible. If you want the straight information from
real people, continue reading. If you would like to be told what
you want to hear, or read a bunch of misinformation that you will
regret later as you find things don't work as they should, feel free
to read one of the other "FAQS" in here.
OK, on to the info! ADDED NEW SECTION BELOW!
Here's a list of some frequently asked and answered question here
and elsewhere that you may find useful in your quest to try linux.
Read these carefully before you decide to invest time in Linux, you
may find that you have better things you can do instead.
SECTION ONE - INSTALLATION
1.1 Q: I heard linux was easy to install, is it?
A: That depends on what distro you try. Most of them will have
trouble detecting all your hardware. Most new hardware devices
are not supported. If your lucky you might be able to find
something that someone threw together on the net. But that's
after spending a couple hours searching and probably won't take
advantage of your hardware to it's fullest capability.
1.2 Q: Once I get it installed, then what?
A: Then you get the joy of making sure everything is configured
right. Plan on a minimum of two hours per device to get it to
work. That's if the device is even supported.
1.3 Q: What happens if I'm in the middle of an install and the
installation freezes or just stops?
A: You get to reboot and start all over again. This happens
every so often with Linux. It seems like it's buggy install
routines or something. Ain't Linux grand?
1.4 Q: What's the deal?! I installed Linux and it took up almost 3GB
hard drive space!
A: The Linux distros usually install a LOT of never-used programs
on the default install. You can pick and choose what you want,
but good luck figuring out what programs are needed and what is
useless, obscure tools. Linux usually installs stuff like 10
different editors, 12 different mail clients, and so on.
SECTION TWO - CONFIGURATION
2.1 Q: What's with all these cryptic files?
A: All of Linux is configured with cryptic text files. Some of
the more user-friendly distros have configuration utilities
that claim to do it for you, but success with these works
sometimes and other times don't, so sometimes you have to
edit them by hand. With Linux's spotty reliability in UI
programming, you might as well get used to it.
2.2 Q: What is killall, HUP, ls, cat, rm, which, etc and why are
these programs telling me to do them? Aaaaarggg!!
A: These are command line programs that do things within the
system. It's what makes Linux a powerful OS for those that
are experienced with it. But it's also what makes it a pain
in the arse to use and inefficient as a desktop system. Who
wants to type all the time when t