I'm in the process of retooling my personal net to Linux. Microsoft will have no home in any device I own when I am done. And here's why I'm frustrated and pissed.
The first of the new hardware: Two Dell desktops with Ubuntu 7.10.
Get'em out of the box and plug'em in. The hardware works. I expect nothing less from Dell, having used their products before.
The only docs I get with the boxen are legal disclaimers and 'plug A into socket B' assembly instructs. Also expected; Dell has been dragged kicking and screaming into the Linux market, and is still pouting like a two-year-old in providing non-Microsoft solutions.
Dell's attitude towards Linux has been approximately the same as the RIAA's attitude towards P2P software, although Dell tries to conceal their disdain with market double-speak. Note any Dell droid reading this: You ain't fooling NObody.
The *ONLY* reason I bought Dell was cuz I wanted the hardware to work without me having to do any thinking or research. Right now, I want to focus my efforts on Linux itself. When I build mythTV and the rest of a home entertainment network, I'll be more discerning about getting open products and vendors who are willing to support me.
I poke a stick at my new jellyfish, discover 'synaptic' is how software packages are installed. "Package" is not defined; I'm assuming it means binaries (all of them) needed to run an application. Shared libraries are a question mark: Does the package for 'frozen bubble' include the graphics libraries as well as the game executable itself?
I also see a menu item 'Software Sources': Not clicked cuz I'm not interested in source code yet (More on this later). Ultimately on this first day, I am unable to get anything installed, even from the DVDs that came with the boxen. All network devices seem to be turned off or not installed. USB thumb drive doesn't work, but Ubuntu says something about it being defective. Maybe so; I only have one to try with.
End of Day one: Not ticked off yet.
Day two: Trying to get gcc to work. Various Linux help guides online are good for educational purposes, but useless when setting up the compiler/ linker/ header files / libraries, etc.
gcc can't find the headers in /usr/include cuz they ain't there (even tho the Dell person I talked to on phone said they were). Are they in a different place than on Unix systems? Do I need to set environment variables or paths, or use gcc command line args to get'em? So far as I can find, there ARE NO DOCS OF ANY KIND online or in the ubuntu distro that tell me how to get these headers.
OK, skip it for now. Find Wesnoth.org for me and the scootrpup. Which binaries? the site says it varies, check with your distro's package. I have ubuntu 7.10, which wesnoth download page says Wesnoth Version 1.2.6 is in the 'Gutsy (7.10) universe repository'. This is the first time I've heard 7.10 called 'Gutsy Gibbon'. Lucky for me, Wesnoth page equated these terms. Wesnoth.org links me to ubuntuguide.org, the "Ubuntu Starter Guide".
What's the 'universe repository'? I've seen it mentioned in msgs in my box as I poked around trying to install stuff without blowing everything up. ubuntuguide.org uses 'universe' without ever defining it, and in fact, most places I encounter the term also leave it undefined. BTW- ubuntuguide.org seems to be a single page only. It's not very helpful and soon I leave it behind. Found a link to ubuntugeek.com, search for 'universe' top link is 'how to add universe and multiverse...', still no definition. It says 'edit file X and uncomment everything you need'. THAT'S A HOWTO? This was obviously written by an idiot and proofread by a prawn-brained goob. What's a comment and what's not? How do I know what I 'need'? What are the things in file 'X'? What can I put there that isn't already there? How does this website KNOW that what I need is already in the file but commented out? I think you can see what other kinds of info are missing from this 'how to' guide.
Somewhere on ugeek, I find a link to an ubuntu wiki which actually defines the term (somewhat) as being one of 4 parts of the "ubuntu s/w repository",
but again, leaves more unsaid than it says.
Something of a side note: Again and again, I see notes like "This describes how to X in versions Y thru Z with application A. To do the same damn thing in M, versions N thru Q, or with B, go here: *link*". Peepl, get yer s..t together.
Day two will be continued in next journal entry.