Before I get into this article I would like to thank the people who made comments on my Kubuntu 6.06 Dapper Drake Review. A couple of the readers got back to me and told me how to fix my resolution problem I was having with Kubuntu so that was good.
Another reader mentioned to me that I should have mentioned in my Kubuntu Review why the distribution comes with no codec support for things like mp3.
The reason why I didn't mention why the codecs were missing is because I feel any windows user who ran into the missing codecs in Kubuntu wouldn't care why they are not there. The user knows they can't play mp3's and to them thats a problem regardless of the why the codecs are not there. However I do agree that I should have mentioned that the codecs for mp3 were proprietary and there fore they were not included just so some users would have known.
Now onto this new article....
I think one of the most interesting times I have had using Kubuntu is watching in the Kubuntu chat channel how people respond to new users using Kubuntu. Countless times I have seen new users come into the chat room and ask why they can't play media files, and usually the first thing I see is someone telling them to go into console and type up loads of commands in order to get the required codecs installed.
Often times when I have seen someone ask about the codec issue I tell them to use Easy Ubuntu and that will sort out most of the codec issues. What surprises me then is someone in the chat room will have a spaz attack and tell the user to use the console instead because he would learn more that way.
It amazes to no end that the more experienced Kubuntu users don't seem to grasp the concept of testing something out before you buy it or in the case of Kubuntu install it. I think a lot of new Kubuntu/Ubuntu users coming from windows just want to see if this new operating system they heard about will do what they think are the basics such as dealing with media files.
I wonder how many times a new user has simply given up on Kubuntu because the answers they got in chat were too time consuming or complicated for them to deal with. I agree that knowing how to do things using the console can be of a lot of use and some things can be done faster then using the GUI but I think getting new users to dive into the console maybe a mistake if all they want to do is check Kubuntu out.
I think for the amount of effort a lot of people put into making Kubuntu easier to use they get undermined by some of the people in the chat rooms. Some of these users I think would rather not have any windows users switching to their secrete called Kubuntu.
I have seen people complain in the chat room of too many new windows users coming in and asking the same question 50 times. The part that makes me laugh is why are you sitting in a support channel with new users in the first place if it bugs you so much.
The other problem I see is some of these Kubuntu users had to learn to use Linux on distributions that were no where near as friendly and so they had to put their time in with the console. The problem now is they think everyone should do things the way they did because thats the best way. The reality of the situation is Linux/Kubuntu have come a long way and now there are better/faster ways to do things if your a new user.
If all this was just confined to the chat rooms then it wouldn't be all that bad, but recently I have seen rather long articles on how these newer Linux distributions are getting to easy and the distribution makers have to get back to the old ways and ditch the GUI and get back to the console.
What really annoys me to no end is everyone bitches that Linux in general regardless of the distribution needs better hardware support yet the old guard it would seem don't want any more window converts. The problem of course with this idea is if you keep your user base small the hardware companies will continue to see Linux/Kubuntu as a hobby operating system and not a real operating system, this in turn will only make sure you don't get any hardware support.
You can't have things both ways, you can't on one hand say you want better support and then on the other hand you want to make sure no one else takes up your distribution because it might make you less l33t then you already are.
The good side to all of this is, despite people like this in the chat rooms and doing articles on the web you still have people out there that don't care what operating system you come from, and they will take the time to help you out regardless of how many times the question has been asked in the chat room.
I think some of these Linux/Kubuntu users need to wake up and realize that the more people using Linux/Kubuntu the better it will be for everyone including them selfs. At the end of the day if you don't like the noob questions then goto another chat room where all the l33t people hang.