Thursday, May 13, 1999 by Dave Winer.
A couple of days ago I officially gave up my Linux virginity.
I installed Red Hat 6.0 on a 200Mhz Dell machine. It was strange but refreshing. It took a couple of tries for it to take. But now I'm running Gnome and Netscape and KDE and lots of strange things I have no idea what they do.
My newbie impression is that it could be just like Windows or a Mac. There are too many choices, now the challenge is to further narrow the choices, provide a one-one mapping of functionality that a Windows or Mac user would expect. And then, like Windows, have a single entry point to the command line, where it becomes classic character-based Unix. I think they'll get there, from my Newbie point of view.
I love Linux because it's new and old. On the surface it's a loopy klunky thing, but below it is Unix, an OS that I learned over twenty years ago! It takes me back to good old days in Madison, I had a great time there as a grad student, and part of the wonder of those years were the clean lines and wide open spaces of Unix.
But Linux is new. It's rapidly becoming the serverside of the worldwide web, my middle-aged love. I believe Linux is key to building network apps that can scale to millions of users. So there's a new wonder with my new love! Why not? It's always a good time to fall in love, right?? Can't teach an old dog new tricks? Yeah sure!
So Unix holds a special place in my heart, and it's nice after all these years to loop back around; like a simple old song, it calls up my memories and erases years of experience, I'm young again with Unix. I like it!
A couple of years ago when I was making the transition from Mac to Windows we started a mail list for Windows newbies. A bunch of Windows experts, some from Microsoft, signed up. We had a safe place where we could ask questions, no matter how dumb or basic. We were already computer users but the world of Windows was strange.
The list worked. It brought a bunch of people up the Windows learning curve.The Windows-Newbies list is still there for others to use, I am not a Newbie anymore, maybe I'll know the answer to your question. Maybe someone else will.
Now we're learning another OS, so it's time for a new list, the Linux-Newbies list.
If you're just getting started with Linux, and have some experience using another operating system; or if you're a Linux pro who wants to help out the Class of 1999, please join the list.
The subscription information is here:
Let's learn together!