I’ve convinced a few people to use Linux and most of them don’t hate me, but most of them were masochistic geeks who were probably going to use Linux anyway. But there are three people who are pretty important to me who are now using Linux because of me, but who otherwise would not likely have ever used Linux, and who are not masochistic geeks. The whole idea of Linux being “grandmother ready” now takes on new meaning for me. I could be in serious trouble.
So, I’ve started a new project.
There are now three people in my life who hold the following things in common:
1) Regular computer user, doing word processing, work with spreadsheets, presentations, using a browser, email, all the usual stuff, and with a fair amount of experience and savvy in day to day end user type tasks and a few specialized applications.
2) Totally uninterested in messing with computers from the geek/hobbyist perspective, does not really care about operating systems per se.
3) Is a geek anyway, as evidenced by having fearlessly used the command line and having enjoyed the crisply, powerful results of so doing. I.e., not married to the mouse, and smart enough to know a good thing when she sees it.
4) For one reason or another, committed to using a Linux computer for the foreseeable future.
5) Holds me personally responsible for this travesty, and will blame whatever goes wrong on me.
For this reason I shall now endeavor to write a short series of blog posts that include the information one needs to be comfortable using the Linux operating system (in particular, a recent distribution of Ubuntu) for day to day use.
The first necessary task will be to define what should be covered, and the purpose of the present post is to lay that out and hopefully elicit some suggestions. So, without further ado, here is my very preliminary list of topics that a savvy non-techie yet still geekie desktop/laptop Linux user should know:
1) The file system, with a focus on home, but including useful information like dot-files.
2) Users, permissions, sudo.
4) How to install packages.
5) Linux/OSS equivalents to commonly used apps. (An overview only. I assume my ‘clients’ will figure out any given app as necessary.)
6) Three or four really cool command line procedures for doing cool stuff, probably including Imagemagick and at least one example of text processing.
7) Suggestions for OSS/Linux based alternatives to the usual Windozey/Macey ways of doing things. For instance, doing some/much of your text-based activities with a text editor rather than a full blow word processor.
8) Using emacs and compiling C++ programs.
I’m only kidding about item 8.
- OS, Distribution, Kernel, Windows Manager, Desktop
- The file system, with a focus on home, but including useful information like dot-files.
- The Gnome Desktop
- What is on the hard drive?
- Backing Up
- Users, permissions, sudo.
- Making WiFi work and the problems of freedom and drivers
- Firefox, Flash, DVD’s and ISOs
- Linux/OSS equivalents to commonly used apps (OpenOffice, The Gimp, Xara Xtreme, and Gnumeric)
- File based and command line processing of photos/graphics.
- Old fashioned text processing: Gedit
- Old fashioned text processing: Emacs outline mode, LaTeX, RegEx, and Sed
What am I missing? Is any of this dumb? Are there specific points that should not be missed? That should be avoided?