On Successes In Linux

Something which I have been thinking about recently is the rate of successes for individual users in



Linux.  For Linux as a whole, there have been numerous successes ranging from it’s growth into the mainstream (though there is still far to go) in the server world through to the desktop take up in the last few years.  One thing that I would suggest has slowed is the individual users that can report their own successes.

Let me elaborate.  Today I went out and bought an HP Deskjet F4280 all-in-one printer – it was on sale and I have needed a multifunction device for work and home for a long time.  I went with HP because I have long been a fan of their printers and I know that their Linux support is excellent.  I went with this model because I saw in the catalogue that it had Linux support (though it stated “web only”, I knew that it would work).  I plugged it in, ran the command sudo hp-setup and Kubuntu did the rest.  I now have the printer working as well (or even better) as it would in Windows.  I opened the HP toolbox and the scanner worked first time without errors.  It was an absolutely pain-free experience and was much much quicker than the whole thing will be on Monday when I install it to my work laptop running XP.

On the one hand, that is a clear success – HP now supports Linux to the point that I can put a new printer on my system and have it work, literally, out-of-the-box.  Enormous thanks to HP, to the coders who make this possible and to the community who have pushed hard over the years.  All we need now is for other manufacturers to do the same.  But, and this may sound ungrateful, where’s my success?  I remember the days when, with massive amounts of Googling and help from communities, I was able to install and run fairly commonplace hardware and software.  Instead, now, it’s all really easy.  I am positive that I’m not alone in having things work really easily with no problems, but wonder if I am the only left with an empty feeling when I realise that all the work is now done for me?


Posted on 6 December, 2008, in Computer Stuff, Idiot's Journey, Open Source and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 24 Comments.

  1. My friend, Devin, has felt that way for quite some time. So much, that he tried going to Gentoo for a rush. He did that just after 2007.0 was out, so he had a lot of challenges, which gave him the “rush” he was looking for. Now, he just wants to play games. 🙂

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    • Yeah, I did that too. To be honest, I find it no quicker to use Gentoo (once it’s set up) than to use Slackware. I’d much rather hand compile packages than have a package manager compile them. In the end, this is why I jumped to Kubuntu – the whole rush of hand compiling (did I forget a dependency?, will it compile?, did I forget a switch? and so on) just isn’t there any more and I don’t play around in Linux so much.

  2. I’ve lost my interest in tweaking the box long ago. Linux to me is no longer a toy but the main OS of choice.

    I use Linux because of the huge variety of software availability and in a sense, that’s why I am a fan of Debian with its large official package repository, rather than say, Slackware.

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  3. Hi Ray,

    I thought I would check back to see what was going on and you are talking about my problem (kind of) how weird is that?

    I have a XP Pc and need to upgrade. The problem is I have heard bad things about Vista. Mac is no good for a lot of the work I do and I am worried going down other routes (Linux) will mean replacing all my software.

    Is this the case or am I too much of a technaphobe?

    All The Best


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    • There is no real need to upgrade from XP to Vista. If XP currently meets all of your needs, there are still updates coming out for it (I think SP3 is either out now or coming soon) and Vista really doesn’t offer anything special over XP in terms of programs or productivity.

      Jumping to Linux would be a good thing, but you have to look at it in terms of what you want to do. For me, the main uses are internet, chat, email, some office work and very occasional gaming. It fits all of my needs perfectly (and appeals to my inner geek). If you have specialist programs or hardware, or particular Office macros, you need to research whether they are supported under Linux. Some will work and some won’t – the Wine Project may be of help here. Other options are to dual boot or to run Windows inside a virtual machine (if you only need it for a small number of apps).

      I would suggest that you at least experiment – whether via a live CD or via a dual boot (or even resurrecting an unused machine) – so that you will have an informed view on whether it’s right for you or not. It could be that some of the programs you use can be disposed of as they don’t really get used that much or there are good alternatives or even that there is a Linux version.

      Best of luck with whichever option you choose.

      Ray´s last blog post..On Successes In Linux

  4. HP is great, and I have to agree. It takes the fun out of troubleshooting and working towards your goal. There are 2 sides to every coin, though. For end-users who can hardly turn on a computer, it sure makes things easier on them.

  5. That’s awesome. Printers have always been my biggest bane when experimenting with Linux. Well except for the time I wiped the Windows 98 install on my girlfriends Compaq 8-10 years ago when I was first learning about computers. Oh, and we were on dialup (with a winmodem), so I couldn’t even get online to figure out how to fix it.

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  6. I was once eager to learn linux before I got a job on a manufacturing firm, but due to hectic schedule never had a time to even touch it. Even on testing side, we mostly use Windows machine to test electronics product

  7. There is a guy at work who has been trying to get me to go Linux for a few years. It was mentioned in the comments that a person could experiment with Linux using a dual boot. Could you tell me where to go to get more information on this.
    Thank You.

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  8. I have always been hesitant to use Linux. I have always never really known how to use it or it seems to have some compatibility issues.

    • Grab a live CD and try it again – it’s far more user friendly and most hardware is auto-detected and installed.

  9. As for me, I’m using Linux (Debian earlier and Gentoo now) exclusively on my desktop for 5 years now, and I must say it is getting better and better. But I’ve always been a command line guy so that’s probably the reason 🙂 Although my wife also uses Linux and is happy with it so everyone should give it a try.

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    • The CLI is far more powerful and versatile than the GUI and everyone should be at least aware of that. In the end, all distros are Linux, although some hide the CLI more than others.

  10. Ha ha, I've never seen people upset because they aren't having any problems. I can understand your perspective, though. It was fun having to do the work to be successful, but now that's been taken away. I personally would be happy it was fixed for me, but that is my opinion.

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  11. I’d used Fedora in between but for each and every application you need to search for it and many a times you don’t get it that easily like how it does for Windows, so I’ve stopped with Linux for sometime; but planning to explore it soon. Think once you really get hooked to it, you wouldn’t mind going the extra mile.

  12. Well I don’t know if you are the only one but I am certainly not missing those days. I use Ubuntu and I like them making it all work nicely for me without me having to go find some $#S% driver.

  13. Stay away from linux if you’e an average joe, its more headache that its worth. However, if you want to go into sys admin role, linux for starter is an absolute must. Good luck!

    • I absolutely have to disagree with that opinion. The desktop side of Linux has come along in leaps and bounds over the last few years – more devices are supported out of the box, there is far more software with a desktop focus and the user interface is continually being developed to make it easier for the user.

  14. I'm thinking of going with an HP next time. I have a Dell and the copying feature is not been working right for some time.

  15. You can always spend your time fixing the machines that do everything for you!

  16. Local ads I would go with the HPI am not that fond of dell equipment.

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