I was a computer and GNU/Linux newbie once. Alas, it was such a relatively long time ago that I don’t remember the associated feeling anymore. Of course, I do see the difference between a user-friendly desktop environment or GNU/Linux distribution and one that is geared towards experienced users or even veterans. Especially, when I’m dead tired after a 12-hour working day! That was one of the reasons I embraced the GNOME3 experience as part of my Fedora 23 and openSUSE Leap/Tumbleweed escapade. Gladly, habits die hard and I’m back with the lean and simple Manjaro Linux.
While helping out some fledgeling GNU/Linux users, I noticed that there is a drastic correlation between the number of competent computer users and the user-friendliness of a GNU/Linux distribution. No rocket science here. The real catch is that in a user-friendly GNU/Linux distribution much more manpower is needed to maintain the expected array of functionalities. However, there are less technically-inclined users to provide the requisite manpower. Tricky business, right? People come to take, because a distribution advertizes itself as there for the taking. Also, it’s much easier to take than to give.
I can empathize with newbie computer and GNU/Linux users, though I don’t always understand them. To me helping someone and giving advice is a two-sided coin. It’s not only about them receiving the answer, but also about them digesting it. To my complete dismay, the latter is often lacking and I am left with a response which will never be understood by my recipient. One of the rules governing our beautiful universe is that there are no simple answers. They can be simplified or generalized, sure. Who do they do justice, though?
I think this is not a problem of modern computing, but of modern society. Taking is easy and talking is cheap. People should learn and we GNU/Linux users should teach them that in order to take, one should also give something in return. That’s the only way intellectual barter can work.