Why do you use Linux? expanded from Converting text to mp3

Linux for blind general discussion blinux-list at redhat.com
Thu Jan 27 03:53:07 UTC 2022

Okay  then,
> This illustrates another point which got touched  on in a different 
> thread as well.
> The, you must be prepared to do programming if you are going to use 
> Linux fluidly, if at all.

Very incorrect. I use Linux every day, exclusively ... I will use 
absolutely nothing else on a full computer, and I'm even trying to get 
Google out of my life, even on my phones, in as much as it is possible, 
and I'm not really what you would call a programmer. I have built and 
configured distributions, but that's really not so necessary these days, 
as things just work out of the box. For example, I put Fedora Linux 34 
MATE spin on a USB disk, clicked a few buttons, and wow it just started 
installing, and then I was able to reboot, hit alt+f2, enter the word 
"orca" and wouldn't you know, it just started speaking. Yes, there is a 
bug where the alt+super+s shortcut is disabled by default in MATE, and 
needs to be updated from the graphical desktop keyboard shortcuts 
window, but that is easy as pie, although I admit I've been using Linux 
since before there ever was such a thing as a talking graphical desktop, 
and did have to learn a lot that looked quite a bit like DOS on steroids 
in order to get it working initially. Still, the steps I have to go 
through to get Linux on someone's computer that they can just sit down 
at and get started working are much easier these days than ever before, 
and far preferable to having to hand over my personal information to the 
likes of Microsoft, Apple or Google just to even use my computer, or God 
forbid, to have to tell someone else to give over their private personal 
information in such a way.

> On an entirely different list I am on, folks were complaining about 
> windows 10 and windows 11, because of the changes.
> Computers are increasingly such critical parts of our lives, banking 
> shopping, even voting, that many on the list spoke of just wanting to 
> sit down at their computer and have things work...so they still use 
> older editions of things like Windows  XP?  and Windows  7.

Of course, which is another reason why I recommend Linux. Because the 
more things change, the more they stay the same. I am perfectly able to 
use something that looks, feels and acts very much like GNOME2 from 
around 2008, and it all works quite reliably. Everything just works, and 
i haven't had any serious problems where I couldn't just sit down at my 
computer and just get things done in a simple, easy and productive way. 
And these days, it becomes less and less necessary to even have to open 
a terminal for anything at all, unless it's desired by the user. At the 
same time, none of this terminal or text mode stuff has ever gone away. 
In other operating systems, when things change beyond what we already 
knew and got accustomed to, we have two options: either relearn the 
whole thing or stay with the older less secure version. On Linux, if I 
wanted to continue with the DOS on steroids experience, that could have 
been my choice, since as much as things do evolve and change, the old 
ways we all learned don't go away.

Just an example of what I mention above: I was on yucky Microsoft 
Windows ME just over 20 years ago. Yes, it was very yucky ... very crash 
prone, the blue screen of death hit me sometimes as many as 3 to 4 times 
a day. But I could run something that looked and acted very much like a 
DOS shell, which is what I was used to at that time, and type something 
as simple as

move c:\test1.txt c:\tests

and the file would move. Imagine the horror I experienced when I got a 
taste of XP, and although it didn't crash as often, the whole look and 
feel of the system changed, and then I found that I no longer could move 
a file in the same way I had done it for years. Now imagine my delight 
when I stumbled across Linux, and found that not only was move still 
there, and I could do it just the way I had done it all that time, but 
now move became mv, and copy became cp, and I could even type tes <tab> 
and get test1.txt if that file was the only one that started with tes. 
That alone changed my life, although I did still want to learn the 
desktop way of doing things, which eventually became much more 
productive for even me. Now that I know the desktop way, if I want to 
move every file except 3, I don't have to learn a whole complicated 
command structure or regular expressions or any of that programming 
stuff. Now I just open the folder I want to move from in one workspace, 
open the folder where I want the files to be moved in the next workspace 
over, then in the first workspace, hit control+a to select every file, 
then hold down the control key and use the arrows to find each file I 
want excluded, hitting space with the control key stil down to deselect 
each file as I've navigated to it, then hit control+x to cut the files, 
move to the next workspace and then paste the files that I just cut. 
Yeah, it's a rather verbose set of instructions that looks daunting, but 
it's much easier than it sounds when reading it. But the best part is 
that I still can open up a terminal and mv to my heart's content if that 
is what I would rather do. The way things are done has changed for those 
who want to change, but for anyone who doesn't want to evolve their 
methods of doing things that have worked for them for many years, it is 
still possible to stay in the place that is most familiar. This is 
exactly why I use MATE, since although GNOME keeps changing and 
evolving, MATE, which is the continuation of GNOME 2.x, still remains a 
viable option, and it is improving over time as well. The interface 
isn't changing all that much, but the experience continues to improve.

> I admit that is part of why the out of the box concept discussed here 
> where Access is concerned seems a bit, speaking personally, like a 
> misconception.

Where is the misconception? As I said, I just put in a mainstream Linux 
distribution on my computer that I figured out how to boot from USB, 
booted up the live image, which is a fully accessible desktop on its own 
right out of the box, and immediately I could run my work website and 
even my web phone on it. It took me just 10 minutes to get the system 
fully installed to my internal hard disk, and the installed system was 
just as easy to get up and talking, although it had the added benefit of 
saving my cookies, at least for my web phone, so that I wouldn't even 
have to login every time I booted up the computer in order to start 
work. OK well, I did have a little problem, and still do, where plugging 
in my call center style headphones switches the output from the computer 
speakers to the headphones automatically, but I have to manually switch 
the mic. But fixing this is easier even than logging into my web phone 
and my job's website, and I have successfully transitioned to the 
Advanced MATE Menu as made popular in Linux Mint, so I can just arrow up 
a couple of times to the sound preferences, tab to the sound effects tab 
that is open by default, arrow to the right to the input tab, tab over a 
couple of times and then hit down arrow once to change the input from 
the internal mics to the headset mic. Then I hit the escape key and I'm 
right back on my browser again. The only other modification I made was 
to change my audio mute key so that instead of muting the headphones, it 
became a mute button for the mic, so that I could cough, sneeze, even 
curse the person on the line, all muted if I needed to vent that badly, 
and I generally keep the mic muted between calls in any case, unmuting 
when I get a call. It is not a critical modification, it just helps me 
be more productive on the job.

> Few on the list I referenced above are using adaptive tools, and some 
> of them are scientists, with many not wanting configuring to be a part 
> of their computer lives.

Especially scientist types should be using Linux or something else, 
anything at all, that would keep their personal information out of the 
hands of the likes of Microsoft, Apple or Google. That's a matter of 
privacy and security more than anything else, but it is just as 
important. And they don't have to do any extensive configuration to get 
things done here either. Only if they want to do programming would they 
find it necessary, and those people would actually find programming more 
enjoyable here on Linux than it is anywhere else, since the tools are 
all freely available, and are included already on most Linux 
distributions. And if not included, they are very easy to find and 
install, as they are nearly all packaged everywhere.

>  So, why do you use Linux?
> what makes it worth the time the training and the trial  / error?

I think I covered all this above, but I'll sum it up with the fact that 
I use it because it's more secure, it's free both as in speech and as in 
beer, for me it just works and relearning is optional, and maybe I'm 
just an oddball, but I find myself to be much more productive in this 
environment that focuses on better productivity rather than change for 
the sake of change itself. And as for the trial and error, I haven't 
experienced that unless I wanted to dig deeper into the sysstem. Well, 
my job told me they require a Chrome-based browser, but I find that even 
Firefox works, and it's actually working better than using a 
Chrome-based browser, even Brave, which tends to crash rather frequently 
on my job's website, but is also a bit slower, so maybe that's the small 
bit of trial and error of things. I also find myself more productive 
with the introduction of workspaces nearly 15 years ago by my estimate 
of my ability to use the desktop with speech, which just took those 
virtual text console tty things to a whole new level of organization and 
productivity. So for me, it's not about putting in more time than I had, 
and it's not about trial and error. Rather it's about putting in some 
initial time to learn new things when I have the time for them 
initially, and then I'm good for years, and don't have to change unless 
I specifically want to try something new. Believe it or not, the 
concepts I have learned over time on Linux are not that different from 
what Microsoft was forcing me to learn without allowing me to keep the 
knowledge I already had. Linux simply allowed me to take that learning 
of the same new concepts at my own pace, even if that took years, all 
the while allowing me to do things as I had always done them, but making 
it even easier to do those things. And then when I felt comfortable 
moving forward with learning something new, Linux allowed me to keep 
doing the same things in the same ways I had always done them while I 
made that transition in my own time and at my own pace.

> Oh, and is it your only operating system?
> Want to ask the latter because I know someone who indeed uses Linux 
> exclusively, vowing never to touch windows again.
> Please feel free to express in detail, never mind my personal 
> situation, because the journalist in me is interested as well.

Well, yes, and no. I use Linux exclusively on computers. Sure I did once 
want to play with a BSD, and I did actually get around to trying 
GhostBSD at one point, but a conflict arose where Orca was too new and 
Python was too old, so the system didn't speak, and I never went back to 
it. On the other hand, I do use more than just desktop and laptop 
computers, as I use cell phones also. I did dabble in ChromeOS on those 
Google Chromebook thingies, but I found that although they were Gentoo 
at the back end, they hid it a bit too well, and I couldn't even get a 
full desktop installed on one; it just wouldn't do anything but that 
Chrome browser thing. You still can't read and write email in 
Thunderbird for example, although now you can run FairEmail, which is a 
fully accessible Android app. So Linux all the way for me on desktop, 
laptop and single-board computers, which also could be called 
minidesktops or microdesktops, and Android on phones, because touch 
screens are a necessary evil that I hate with a passion, but the at-spi 
devs must hate them even more than I do, since Orca doesn't work with 
them because the at-spi a11y libraries don't work well with them. The 
good news is that although some Google components are still required in 
order to use the Android operating system, I have figured out how to get 
full use of a phone rather easily without having to even create a Google 
account or give them any of my personal information, so I am now working 
toward divorcing Google even on my phones.


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