Fire in babylon ! ! ! !

  I wanted to update last Friday but i was too shaken to make any sense of the words that blurted out. I don't know just how much information i am allowed to disclose about what is going on.. but its family related stuff and its pretty serious. When I drove to work I had

The big switch : A different view in teaching Linux.

The big switch : A different view at teaching Linux.


The first time I saw Linux was about five years ago, I believe it was a version 6.1 of Suse Linux. I remember being curious about the computer that was running it, and chatting up a colleague of mine (known as one of the company's uber-geeks) about what Linux was and how it worked and stuff. The story he told me dazzled me and for a while i really thought he was pulling my leg. He told me about a safe, secure and speedy operating system, that could run on machines varying from a “386” to a bigg-ass server. When I asked him what it could do , I knew he was kidding me, because he basically answered one word : EVERYTHING. My disbelief in an operating system that could be used for that enormous kind of diversity in purpose, gave him reason to explain to me just exactly how Linux was built, what the concept behind it was and how it was used. I sat down with him every lunch break for the next few days listening to his experiences with Linux and the things one could to with a “tux under the hood”. When the GNU license was explained to me, pointing out that the whole damn thing was free, I was ready to call the loony bin and have my friend planted in the funny farm. To those of you who come from a Win-world where Gates ( now Balmer ) is king and the only blue you see are the BSOD's on your computer, Linux DOES sound like an impossible utopia. And quite frankly , IT IS. There is one big big catch ! In order to protect its nest from predators, some birds make their nests high up in the trees. Natural predators do not have the ability to climb up so high without having to 1) Evolve some serious climbing skills 2) Overcome their fear of heights. And to those who are ready to make the switch to Linux , or are so fed up with the alternative there are some bounds to be broken. The big ass catch in switching from a “house of windows”' to “Torvalds Utopia” is having to drop the mouse. This trusty sidekick I have been using in my Windows based life for over ten years now (and that should be considered part of the human anatomy as an extension of the right hand) has been my palm-rest for almost half my life (i had an Amiga once, that one had a mouse too) To control an entire operating system via keyboard alone is too much to bare for some. They soon become 'ghosts in the shell'. And that shell is the other biggest scare of windows users. I started out with windows 95 where Dos was becoming a rapidly fading black-and-white-character-based memory. When i needed something i would just point and click. So when my Linux-geek-friend told me that i would have to unlearn everything i learned in a GUI enviroment, that i would have to drop my mouse and step into the dark void of bash.. I thought : I can do this ! Two weeks later, after hopelessly trying to understand the complex unix commands, getting trapped in VI once an hour and having to call for help to get me out, and basically getting NOWHERE.. I gave up. All the promises my friend had made, about what you could do with Linux , how fast it was , the great software you had etc etc seemed to reside on another planet. No way I could ever learn THAT. So I gave up and walked down the path of shame to my Windows workstation. Since then I have repeatedly tried to pick up Linux again. From downloading various versions to see which one i liked best, to actually BUYING three versions of Suse Linux, a lot of Linux books and taking classes about Linux in my local educational center.

And no matter where you go, or what you do : There are some things that are the same everywhere. Things you encounter when trying to work with Linux, and ways Linux is taught to students. I will some them up for they are the underlying fundamentals for this 'different approach' to Linux.

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