After reading John Vivirito’s blog post HERE and HERE about Automatix and support, I got a flash back. I got a flash back of the Linux of old, the RTFM Linux days. Up until recently, I thought Automatix was pretty decent for the person who was brand new to Linux and didn’t know their way around it all that wall. It was cool for people who are constantly on the go, and need everything now. At the same time I believe that people should go out, find the applications they want or need, and learn to install them themselves. In the long run, learning to how compile, make, install, configure, whatever is a great knowledge to have. So I was close to 50/50 on the whole idea, or maybe closer to 75% doing it yourself, and 25% the Automatix way. Until today…
If someone on #Ubuntu told you that Automatix caused a certain problem don’t believe him/her. Its a known fact that the #Ubuntu channel spreads misinformation about Automatix. If you ask us for help and you mention that your were told by someone on #Ubuntu that Automatix caused the problem, your request for help will be ignored.
Wow! Here you are providing an application, a decent one at that, to a lot of users who just so happen to use the most popular Linux distribution today, and you won’t provide them support when someone says, “hey check out #automatix, maybe they can help you as this seems to be an issue directly related to that.” I have sat through countless hours helping people who tried to upgrade to Edgy, but upon booting noticed they had no X-Windows. I actually sat there, pulled many into #ubuntu-classroom, and helped them through their woes. Myself, I spend countless hours on IRC, Instant Messaging, and E-mail helping any and everyone possible. Why? Because I believe in and love this awesome movement built around the greatest operating system ever, Linux. And then I get a user who says they won’t get support from you because I said it was caused by your application and maybe you have a quick fix for it, and not only are they upset at you, but they tend to be annoyed at me for sending them your way. Sounds more like a gaming clan than an Open Source solution to me. Granted, not everyone can troubleshoot every question down to the true source, but you need to listen to people who have a borked system that someone in #ubuntu or the like send your way. If it isn’t your issue, then good for you, let them know, and hey, maybe you can still help them fix it continuing your contribution to the Linux community.
So how do we fix a problem like this? Simple. Scour the Ubuntu Wiki, the Community Documentation, the Ubuntu Forums, the Kubuntu Forums, and even check out the Ubuntu Documentation Storage Facility. Learn how to install these applications you really want installed. Maybe you can even spend some time and learn how to package an application for your use, and possibly get it sponsored and uploaded into an Official Ubuntu Repository. Many of you made a switch to Linux to learn something new, to gain a greater knowledge, or stability and security were you plan. If these were your intentions, then I say don’t bother with Automatix and the like, learn to install everything on your own, ask questions in #ubuntu on chat.freenode.net (port 8001), or maybe send an email to ubuntu-users(at)lists(dot)ubuntu(dot)com. Since I am a part of the Ubuntu Documentation Project, and I can proudly say, RTFM. Read The Fantastic Manuals, and if you find a part that isn’t so fantastic, file a bug. That will be your contribution brownie points for the day! And remember, the Ubuntu community will always help you when they can.
- Restricted Formats for Ubuntu (I highly suggest you use the Free stuff if possible. Remember, MP3s can be ripped and so can your CDs into the OGG-Vorbis format)
- NVidia and ATI Binary Drivers (Don’t expect to use these and have successful kernel upgrades, or even upgrades to Xorg or from one release to the next)
NOTE: I do not condone the use of binary drivers, restricted formats, or other non-free applications. I know that not everyone can follow this, and I would be a hypocrite if I said I do all of the time. Oh wait, Java is GPL now, however Flash isn’t 🙁 All of my MP3s, oh wait, I don’t have any, only OGG now. And my iPod, ya it came with DRM enabled, but Rockbox quickly fixed that issue. Do as you wish with YOUR computer, but do it on your own and learn it the right way.