Masochistic usage of Operating Systems

Man, some Linux Users (or lusers as some like to call them) really like pain and suffering.

These days, user-friendly distributions like Ubuntu make it easy for even a novice to get a desktop installation up and running smoothly. However, try to get an unusual piece of hardware working, or use a less stable distribution or piece of software, and you’ll probably face a few “challenges”. Now, someone who just want to do some word processing might refer to these as “problems” or “reasons to go back to Windows”, however, I personally find them one of the most exciting features of the operating system. Every time I have a problem, it takes some work and liberal use of everyone’s best friend Google to get over it, but each time I learn a little more about the software I’m using.

(from: 8 Reasons Why Every Computing Student Will Love Linux)


14 thoughts on “Masochistic usage of Operating Systems

  1. A computer that you plug in and it just works? C’mon, where’s the fun in that! I want to compile kernel modules, nay, *patch* kernel modules every time I buy a new gadget. Even Stephen Fry said that’s what we’re supposed to do ;).

  2. Definitely! I enjoy having to hack away my machine to get it just working fine… I don’t know if I’m crazy or just curious, but I take it as part of the “user experience” :P (just a peculiar type of user).

  3. I’d rather fix up my OS than use Windows, just like I’d rather learn to drive than ride a bus.

    I’m just waiting for the release which will set rabbit squirells loose and set off a deafening alarm every time there is a problem until I fix it. That will be even more challenging.

  4. I remember meeting this young Brazilian at a castle in Austria, he was very excited to show me that he was running Linux on his iBook, and was showing me the ratpoison window manager, which he liked a lot. He had set up his own custom keybindings and said he was very productive.

    I liked that guy a lot. What happened, Sidnei? :)

  5. See, that was on an iBook. Linux Just Works ™ most of the time on Apple hardware. Tinkering with strange hardware just for the sake of feeling pain is insane.

    As for ratpoison, I actually got pretty much the same setup on Windows Vista right now, using GridMove. :)

  6. No doubt it’s exciting, but it shouldn’t be all.

    I’m feeling the pain myself, after using Linux pretty much all through graduation. Now I find myself expert in using ‘apt-get’, ‘gcc’ and ‘gdb’ but can’t answer 15% of a sample exam for entering masters.

    Personally, my opinion is that using Linux might be good for your career but is a really bad choice during school because it will steal your focus.

  7. i’m also one of those guys who runs linux on ibook, gentoo to be exact … so compiling every program you would say its a waste of time … maybe, but hell yeah its fun … my girl likes it – imagine what all you can do while waiting firefox to compile :)

    and yes i agree with that “brasilian guy” … custom keyboard roks. and i always repeat “real men use keyboard only” (

  8. I agree, but must say that is where I am at right now with Plone. (Especially the Googling problems part.) And it feels a bit masochistic because we could have stayed with the safe CMS we had. But we aren’t masochists. Just hopeful for a time when we will know what is going on and causing the problems.

  9. Sidnei,

    I find it infinitely better to just use my computer and to be able to fix it if need arises than being totally unable to do even peek under its hood.

    I am running Windows right now (current employment conditions) and I can really tell you it´s a painful transition back to a less civilized (and plain ugly) environment.

    I think the pain you describe is mostly related to ill-behaved hardware and poorly thought out software I have decided to avoid long ago. Much like that iBook of yours, everything works like charm for me. Unless one enjoys pain (and some people do – you run Vista, after all), Linux is pretty painless these days.

    And Anthony, Plone is not painful. It´s just very, very complicated. You can´t approach an alien spacecraft and expect to figure out how it violates every law of Physics without some effort. Still, it flies great once you grok it.

  10. I often complain, tongue in cheek, about how bad linux is. When I got a scanner, my computer recognised it, and asked me to install the correct software. Wheres the tinking and fun in that?

    On a serious side, I’m finding I don’t need to tinker, which turns the computer into a tool, as opposed to a chore! Now I can spend more time looking at the interesting things on the net, like this blog! :)

  11. since I’ve got my macbook I don’t look back to those linux days. It was fun for me to fix my system and to google for solutions but I recommend every user to try running a nearly user friendly OS like OS-X. Its a completely new experience not to think about how to make things work. Instead of it, having fun using the things that the OS offers you.
    The reason why I had so much fun in fixing things was that there was a lack of fun in using it. Now things have changed for me. Even if it sometimes sucks like every other OS out there.

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