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Journal Journal: Learning to Program

So I'm a busy student seeking pre-med while also trying to keep-up with hobbies and things important to me. Since I've never written a slashdot journal here is my basic info: My major is biology, with bio-medical sciences and spanish as minors, which is why I find a lot of the slashdot-users' comments on biology and the state of it amusing: on that note, I'll defend just about anyone who is being unfairly attacked-mainstream or not, or whether or not I agree with them. Please, slashdotters, this gets to be a real bore: I'm VERY tired of people trying flapping their mouths in debates such as the Evolution vs. ID one in America when their exposure is the aweful textbooks and to fanciful literature by the likes of Richard Dawkins the "evangelist", (i.e. the most religious atheist I know of these days, and who attacked on of the most respected thinkers and philosophers of biology in the world for a differing opinion, relegating the guy to a "former" great thinker: something totally abhorrent and inconceivable of deserving any respect). Stephen Gould, however, is very well-known, Carl Sagan was a brutally honest intellectual, and for balance try Michael Behe (formerly an atheist but became and ID-proponent), though Behe's worthwhile writing can be quite technical and in my opinion requires a background in cellular biology to appreciate: not *necessarily* to "understand", mind you, but to "appreciate". I won't advocate anyone here, for now, just throw some names. Other than that, I'm a Windows user, mainly, though I'd like to switch to linux full-time. Last year I managed to wipe-away my boot record and had to use a knoppix CD till I could find some documentation on how to use one of its programs to restore said record and it was great, no crashes, no glitches: and using Ubuntu it was the same! But it always seems that the progress in OSS is never satisfactory. Hype gets built-up and then...dissapointment. Features proposed in the likes of Ubuntu which should be top priority get defferred. Meanwhile a bunch of people tit-for-tatting like little kids fight over Gnome vs. KDE, to which I might add, from a purely business and technological perspective, KDE appears, upon examining features and technical merits, policies, and history, to be far superior: I was a business major for a while till it got boring. It is precisely for those dumb fights that, when I asked (visitors who gave lectures), CEOs said they avoided OSS, especially because of the rebellious punkishness at-heart which just destroys any facade of teamwork: similarly I've read many complaints that Gnome rarely accepts advice or submissions by anyone! So those are some very incomplete rants, but with that background information: I'm REALLY tired of waiting-around for projects to move-forward, for KDE on the likes of Ubuntu to catch-up, and etc. A programmer friend of mine has a linux shell-programming books she said I can have, but since I'm going into the medical field (which is using more and more Unix/Linux systems) I'm wondering, how do I learn to program and troubleshoot for these platforms? Where do I start? I'm not interested in slow progress, either: I took Java back in High School and I'd started to understand it, barely (the teaching wasn't great) but was interrupted by cancer. I'm interested in comprehensive stuff so that I can jump wherever I want/need and get things done. The OSS programmer-types are the guys encouraging people to jump-in and contribute, so fine, though I ask, once someone learns this stuff, how are they supposed to do anything with the poor documentation? OSS is miserable in this regard: professional businesses usually require tons of docs, as far as I know, for everything a programmer does--at least, according to some of the computer-guys around my university, but Linux and OSS seems void: not always, but at the least it seems its philosophy is "code first, explain later", though it makes it near-impossible to enter. I'd like to look at something and be able to see what it is, what it does, etc, then look-up the appropriated sources on "why" so that I can figure-out this whole programming game. You'd think linux would have a low barrier to entry, considering cost, but time and effort are another thing: not docs means little progress. Like I said, I'm tired of sitting-around, and I don't wonder at why people flee Linux and such: as useful as something might be it still creates a lot of painful headaches. Microsoft has the likes of MSDN, linux? So advice!? What, how, suggestions, and what experience do you guys have? Nothing childish, please, but if anyone can please think it through carefully, I want resonably helpful advice here. If I sound condescending it's not to you guys, I'm just frustrated here: Windows can't do the simple things I want without a lot of hassle or a chunk of change for software that only exposing feature built-into my OS already, while Linux is always dragging its feet and focusing on crap that's useless for anyone needing to do professional work. Forgive me that this thing is so long. Anyone else similarly put-off or frustrated with similar developments, and how do you deal? Thank you very much for your time, and good day. inLiNk

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I think there's a world market for about five computers. -- attr. Thomas J. Watson (Chairman of the Board, IBM), 1943