Installing Linux Distros Should be More Newbie-friendly

My first venture into Linux was Ubuntu, specifically version 8.04. My laptop with Windows in it was running slow and it was frustrating me no end. Then, one day, I read an article in the newspaper about Ubuntu. I liked what I read and immediately without even trying the live CD, I installed it. Since then I have come to love Linux.

If you have been following my posts, you would have learned that my netbook now runs with Linux Mint Debian Edition.

Just recently a friend of mine gave me an old PC that he was no longer using. It had a 30 gb hard drive with 1 gb of RAM. It was running on Windows XP Pro. But I decided to install a Linux distro that uses the least amount of resources. In my search I came upon Linux Puppy Racy, which promised the use of very little resources for the PC.

So I booted the PC with a bootable flash drive. And immediately I like the Linux Puppy Racy desktop, which was what they call, Enlightenment. I immediately opted to install the OS into my hard drive. But, for the love of me, I simply was unable to do it.

I am not a Linux expert, but I am no novice either. You see, at the end of the installation process, the system flashes a note that mentions GRUB. All I know about GRUB is that it boots the system. And it asked me where I wanted to place GRUB. I answered the question with /dev/sda1, but when I booted my PC it couldn’t find GRUB. So I had to boot my machine with the flash drive again. This time I went to my netbook to find a step-by-step tutorial. I found a video and followed it to a tee. It turned out I actually did it right the first time. Still, my machine couldn’t find GRUB when I rebooted it. I tried installing it again for the third time, but to no avail.

I gave up. At least for the meantime. Maybe I’ll try again some time later.

This is unfortunate because I really liked Linux Puppy Racy. And I would have recommended it to others. However, if a newbie would try to install it, I imagine it would be a hair-pulling experience. And this is what the developers should address. The distro should not be difficult to install. The other distros that I’ve tried –Ubuntu, LMDE and PCLinuxOS– installed automatically, which included GRUB. There were no codes to mess around with.

Ubuntu uses the catchphrase, “Linux for humans.” It’s a good catchphrase because Linux used to be seen as software limited only to geeks. But more and more people are now switching to Linux and the various distros that are being made available out there is refreshing. So I believe that developers should make it a point to make installations newbie-friendly.

Otherwise, what’s the point in developing a distro if it’s not for public consumption?

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