[nSLUG] New User Advise

Donald Teed donald.teed at gmail.com
Tue May 10 13:00:57 ADT 2005

On 5/10/05, robert <ashley at chebucto.ca> wrote:
> One of the challenges for the new learner of Linux, as I see it, is that
> there is no established pedagogical practice. Experts thus approach
> passing along their knowledge from multivarious, highly idiosyncratic or
> localized angles. It's dizzying to a new user. Contrast this with the
> study of, say, classical piano. This art cannot be less complex or less
> difficult than the challenge of learning Linux, but there's a
> well-established, historically rooted community of pedagogs and theories
> of learning music. Generally it's effective and efficient. This pedagogy
> is impressive to the extent that it can, and has, carried many a musical
> dorkwad to a status of semi-competent musicianship.

But when one learns music, they specialize in something.
Then once they have a handle on it, they move on to other
styles of music and/or other instruments.  You don't start off assuming
that you are going to learn Harp, thumb piano, Juju music
flamenco guitar, classical piano and improvisational jazz
in the first month.

The same could be said of learning ship building, or aircraft
design, especially in their early years.  The difference is that
a Norwegian in 1000 AD was not aware of how ships were
built in China and so therefore he didn't have to consider 
the differences.  He learned one design, one method, and
applied it.

Coming back to Linux, there has probably been little else like
this evolve so quickly and with crossover tools to offer
the greatest flexibility.  If it were done from a purist style,
there would be no DOS emulation available in Linux, and
alien would not be available for installing RPM packages
on a Debian system.  This is probably one of the reasons
Linux has grown in popularity - it is the swiss army knife of
operating systems.  If you see the advantage of that, then
you'll just need some patience to learn.  If you really only
wanted a single blade in your tool, then perhaps something
like Mac OS would be an alternative to Windows that
would suit you better.

The best reading I've seen for learning this stuff with
purpose, are the O'Reilly texts.  They won't waste
your time with tons o' screenshots, and they will present
the information in a more logical and consise format
than many publishers.


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