Books & being a second-class Linux user

Well, I'm writing this on my own system after going about 20 hours without being able to make the darn thing boot... My install has a bug in which the system stops responding, but still lets the cursor move around the screen, in which case I have to reboot -- last night, instead of booting right back into Ubuntu, Grub hung. I have a theory as to what "fixed" it (and that it's not fixed, actually) but I'll have to test it out.

At least today I had a nice time out at Borders... I picked up a newer, larger copy of DWJ's Tough Guide To Fantasyland, both pocket & desktop Roget's Thesaurus, Look Me In The Eye: My Life With Asperger's, plus the 2600 Hacker Quarterly: Spring 2010 & Arabian Horse World: Special Edition Winter 2010 magazines. (I was going to also get a nifty medical dictionary that was in the discount shelves out front, but forgot it. Darn!) The clerk looked at my eclectic choice of reading material, and asked me if I needed any of it gift-wrapped. I usually turn a bit red with embarrassment and say no, but since I had to take a full prednisone to control my asthma today, I replied cheerily "nope, it's all for me!"

(I haven't managed to quite make that pronouncement when buying model horses; clerks get weird if I don't somehow indicate that it's supposedly for a kid. Better than the one at the drugstore that, upon learning I refuse to wear dresses and don't care for weddings -- hey, he asked -- gave me a very strange look.  I seem to be "unexpected" in most facets of my life!)

I also briefly visited Toys R Us to see if they had any Breyers (yes, but the paintjobs were so hideous I didn't get any). They had signs all over asking for donations to "cure autism" at the cash register...fuck that, I'll write them a note refusing to spend my money there. Between that and Borders moving all positive autistic autobiographies out of the hateful autism section -- I am seriously considering going back 'out of the closet' and wearing some kind of autistic pride shirt. (I went back "in the closet" years ago because of all the vicious bashing from curebies -- I was afraid that if I wore a shirt, their nastiness would start appearing in my real life, too. Last thing I need is some unglued parent screaming that I'm a fake in the middle of CVS...)

Anyway, while wandering through my newsreader, I found a link to a blog post agreeing with a troubling attitude that's hardly new, but seems to be growing in popularity... Namely, that anybody that isn't comfortable with a particular aspect of Linux -- ranging from Ubuntu's new button position to (in this case) advanced security procedures -- should just use another OS. My response:

"This reminds me quite a bit of a discussion that was going on a long time ago when I first tried Linux… Users that weren’t comfortable handling dependencies or compiling were often being told to use another OS — that is, until package managers were designed, refined, and integrated as a core aspect of how the system handled installation.

I think that a parallel approach would be the smartest one now… Find ways to integrate solutions into the system where reasonable, once the primary problems are identified. For the remaining issues, create a “security manager” that makes the fixes a normal non-threatening aspect of using Linux — just like package managers are today.

Taking that approach would also make life a bit easier for users at all levels of expertise… More importantly, non-technical users often have connections or talents that our community visibly needs more of. If they’re busy doing & learning admin tasks, it means they’re *not* using their abilities to improve Linux; if they’re treated as second-class users or made to feel unwanted, they’re less likely to offer their skills or explore projects that might need them."
Now, I really need to get to bed... Or rather, I have to go wash-out my cecostomy for an hour (ah well, at least it's decent reading/writing time), give a couple of cats their fluid treatments, take my meds, and then I can go to bed. Well, assuming nothing happens between now and then, I can.

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