If something doesn't work as you have expected it to,
there is a reason for it. Computers are too dim to be malevolent. Calm down,
take a deep breath and think about what you have done, what you expected
the computer to do and what the computer actually did.
If it's possible and the problem seems very complicated,
turn off the computer and go for walk, have a coffee or something else. I
know too many people who get a kind of mental spasm when they are confronted
with a problem. Trying to solve the problem in such a state of mind usually
Look for the obvious first!
Given the mind-boggling dimness of computers, chances
are that your electronic counterpart just didn't get it. Look for typos in
the command's name, in the path name, in the file name. Computers take everything
literally, that is letter by letter. Take into account that GNU/Linux distinguishes
between capital letters and small letters. If it's a hardware matter, check
connections, cables etc.
Check the available documentation.
Maybe you are using the wrong tool for the job? Maybe you don't handle it
correctly? Check online resources, too.
Listen to your computer!
Although he is very dim, he is clever enough to find
out for you what's going wrong. Error messages
are the single most important thing when it comes to troubleshooting. Often
they will give you quite good hints where to look.
Always write down error messages or pipe them to files.
If you can't figure it out on your own, these messages will be of vital importance
for anyone who wants to help you.
You are not alone!
Nowadays there are millions of GNU/Linux users all around
the world. And only a minority of them are semi-gods ;). And even they weren't
born as such. Your problem has already occurred and been solved. If you don't
find out, somebody else has done or will do so. So, ask.
Keep in mind that no one - apart from the official support
staff, that is ;-) - is obliged to answer your questions. But there are things
you can do to help raise your chances of getting answers.
Don't reinstall - fix it!
Some operating systems hide their internal structure
from their users. So if something goes fundamentally wrong, they often leave
you with only one 'choice': to reinstall them and hope that this will solve
your problem. If not, well, tough luck.
We don't do that. All configuration files are meant
to be understandable and changeable by a savvy user. Furthermore GNU/Linux
is highly modularized and scalable. A working GNU/Linux system fits on a
single 3,5'' floppy disk. Add another, and you can even use X. If you can't
be bothered with editing files by hand, there are graphical tools and suites
like the Mandrake Control Center, Webmin or Linuxconf which are provided
to help you.
If you have to reinstall, reinstall components, not
the whole system!
You can compile everything yourself, change the source code, apply fixes easily,
use RPMs from other distributions etc. Of course this requires quite some
knowledge but there ain't no such thing as a free lunch and there are people
out there willing to help you...
If you don't like it...
...leave it. It's no use getting evangelical about which
operating system or distribution is the 'best', especially it doesn't make
one a better or worse person. You may also perfectly well use different operating
systems for different tasks (I am still using MS-Windows as my playstation).
With programs like VMWare you may even
use themwithin other systems.
Likewise 'distribution wars' are quite silly. It's GNU/Linux. If you know
how to handle it, you'll get along with every distribution.
However you can do (almost) everything within
GNU/Linux, and you can do everything that's possible in GNU/Linux with Mandrake
Linux, it may just take some more effort, though judging from my experience
it often takes less ...
section index top