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Linux Beginner: Why Is Everyone Mean?

Saturday, October 31st, 2015 by | Filed Under: File & Disk Management

I heard this from a reader. “I took your advice about switching to Linux because XP wasn’t safe to use. Your advice said Ubuntu was good for beginners, so I followed instructions to put it on my machine.  I don’t understand how some things work on here and you say the best place to go is a web page for Ubuntu users to post for help. I can’t understand what they are saying most of the time and when you ask what things mean, they use more words I don’t get or they say mean things about how dumb you are.  I bought a book called Ubuntu Unleashed and it was all way over my head. Do I just give up?”


I’m not a fan of giving up, but I’m not opposed to switching if something isn’t working out for you. I will suggest to make sure you’re asking questions in areas designated for beginners. That being said, tech-minded people can often be not-so-nice to people who don’t get their jargon. Plus, the Internet can bring out the worst in people when it comes to name-calling.


You don’t find a huge amount of reference material published for Linux-based home systems because only a little over 1% of users have it on their PC. Linux is much more popular in the business world. When looking for reference material, you’ll want basic guides designed for home users. And there aren’t many of them – because as I said, only a little over 1% of home users have Linux-based systems and Ubuntu accounts for just a portion of that.


Because the percentage of folks who use it at home is so small, sometimes you’ll find almost a hobby-like attitude towards flavors of Linux like Ubuntu. People are very protective of it and any criticism of the operating system. They know a whole lot about it and can sometimes roll their eyes at people who don’t.

If you aren’t a person that enjoys playing around with a computer and customizing it to your needs, this may not be a good system for you. Your best bet may be to find a friend who a local tech-expert who uses and likes Ubuntu and is willing to give you advice.

Also, I’m going ask our readers who enjoy Ubuntu to suggest some resources. After all – Ubuntu is a free, community-based OS. Where’s the best place for an absolute beginner to go for judgement-free help understanding Ubuntu? Let us know in the comments.

~ Cynthia


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8 Responses to “Linux Beginner: Why Is Everyone Mean?”

  1. Michael P Reed Sr says:

    I have been a window person all the way. I have talked with Linux people, but they are of the IT/Server variety and are snobs when it comes to Linux. Point is, when I was in school myself to become an IT tech I had to learn Linux from the command lines forward. The instructors said a tech isn’t worth their salt if they could not work in the command line area. I hated that when I worked in DOS. Windows made it so much easier to work with most things in Microsoft, the same as GUI does for Linux. The problem is that if you are not into techno-babble, you can get very lost, very quickly, and the techies can be very scornful of you for it. I found that out be cause I am more of a mechanic the a techie. Put pride aside and get a book called Linux for Dummies. It helped me to get started, and once started I began to understand the techno-babble.

  2. M.L.Litano says:

    I understand your frustration— been there. I am 84 years young and took on setting up Linux on a laptop and a pc because XP was not safe. I had to turn to the Linux forums for help also. Make sure to use the Beginner’s forum and explain that you are not familiar with the Linux system. I received some really snobby replies to my questions and got answers I did not understand but I kept apologizing for my stupidity and finally received some very easy to follow instructions from some kind Linux forum users. When I set up my printer I must have gone back and forth with questions 10 times but the persons helping me on the forum stayed with me and finally got me thru the set up. I am indebted to them forever. Do not give up and be sure to thank everyone and persist with your questions– you will get help from a fellow user. I still do not understand most of the tech babble. This operating system is uniquely its own and not like Microsoft XP and I will never quite savvy it but I do like it.

  3. M.L.Litano says:

    In my previous post I forgot to mention that I installed Linux Precise Puppy 5.0 — did not install Ubuntu as I did not have enough ram. I went to and purchased a live cd . They are inexspensive and the site lists every distro . You can look at all the different distros and choose the one you think is best for you. When the cd arrives you just pop it in and follow the instructions on screen. You can boot from the live cd or a USB stick– your choice. You will have to previously go into your BIOS and select which to boot from — cd or USB. I also googled “How to install Linux Precise Puppy to a Dell Laptop” and found a complete list of instructions that helped me also— especially setting up my printer. Also had to google “How to get into BIOS “. I just was not really savvy regarding any of this so just had to keep googling questions etc. until I got the answers to help me

  4. Kyle Janz says:

    People who are used to Windows will likely be confused when trying Ubuntu. The layout is more OS X – like, not Windows. If a beginner wants to try linux, and would like a distribution that resembles windows (not to mention, includes the latest and most common drivers for their hardware), they should be looking at an easier flavour based on Debian and/or Ubuntu. I recommend one like Elementary (this one is from the U.S.) and has good backup support.

  5. K.R. Franklin says:

    I would suggest LINUX MINT 17.2 Mate version. I have installed it on my Niece’s Laptops and PCs. They took to it right away. I also installed it for 2 Ladies at work. One hasn’t really used it yet, the other says she has never seen her old laptop so fast. The user community is very friendly. A different crowd from the Ubuntu people.

    Linux Mint is the 3rd most popular OS in the World after Windows and MAC OS X. Mate looks very similar to XP so it should make the transition easier. Also, You can set Favorite programs like Email and your favorite browser in the Start Menu. Firefox and Chrome (Stable and Beta) all run on it, as well as others. Sorry, Internet Explorer is not allowed. It also comes with Office preinstalled. It are ready to go right after install.

    (Thank You Dublin for starting it all!)

    Give it a try…

  6. Robert Davis says:

    I fix pc/Mac so I know t,email frustrating feeling of learning something new.. But at the rare instance that I need to install or do a dual boot, I have used Zorin it. It is almost Windows 7. People are very pleased with the learning curve. Good luck to all!

  7. lvbrown says:

    Linux 17.3 works great.Do not care for Ubuntu.

  8. Roxy says:

    I feel for this person, because this is exactly what I found when trying to learn/understand Ubuntu. I was brought up with the understanding that there were “No Dumb Questions”. When I was installing Ubuntu as a dual boot on my XP machine, I downloaded a Guide from the Ubuntu site and followed it, step by step. Except, as it turned out there were a couple of things that happened that were no where in the guide. I tried 4 or 5 different Ubuntu forums and got the same kind of response – “What, are you some kind of idiot?”. My questions may have been very simple/basic, but they were things that I did not understand but wanted to. About 1 out of 5 answers did not explain my question, and only made me more confused. So, I quit asking questions, and tried to figure things out for myself. And now, my XP machine will continue to just be an offline, XP machine. I don’t have time to put up with such “we don’t want to share” attitudes, and the Linux community has lost another Windows user that wanted to try Linux. I have taught many people how to use Windows – many of whom did not even have typing skills. And I have never left them with a question – dumb or otherwise – unanswered! Shame on you Linux smart alecs.

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