Feeds

The Netbook Newbie's Guide to Linux

'F/X'

Remote control for virtualized desktops

Help with Help

When things go wrong - with any operating system - we panic. A healthy response: operating systems are complex machines that take a lot more understanding than we typically have time for. Linux, together with its associated applications and utilities, has the advantage of having been put together by extremely clueful people, many of whom are available on the Web, on forums, newsgroups or directly approachable by email.

That 'About Xfce' dialogue box we mentioned last time, for example, lists Xfce creator Olivier Fourdan's email address, along with the email addresses of the leading members of the Xfce development team. So you can drop a line to the man himself about any Xfce problems you encounter. In fact, in the early days of Xfce I did just that, and you can too.

About XFCE

But don't. At least not until you've read How to Ask Questions the Smart Way, which will urge you to exhaust other channels of information first. To quote Smart Way, Linux cognoscenti "have a reputation for meeting simple questions with what looks like hostility or arrogance. It sometimes looks like we're reflexively rude to newbies and the ignorant. But this isn't really true".

Smart Way is written by a couple of dyed-in-the-wool old Open Source hackers, so they would say that, wouldn't they? But hear them out: "What we are, unapologetically, is hostile to people who seem to be unwilling to think or to do their own homework before asking questions. People like that are time sinks - they take without giving back, and they waste time we could have spent on another question more interesting and another person more worthy of an answer. We call people like this 'losers' (and for historical reasons we sometimes spell it 'lusers')."

Smart Way is a lengthy read - hackers tend to be very thorough - but definitely worth it if you're a newbie questing into hacker territory in search of answers. Where, by the way, you'll be more than welcome, as long as you observe the mores. A good rule of thumb is to spend at least as much time thinking about and putting together your question as you would reasonably expect your responding hacker(s) to spend putting together an answer.

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Be real, Apple: In-app goodie grab games AREN'T FREE – EU
Cupertino stands down after Euro legal threats
Download alert: Nearly ALL top 100 Android, iOS paid apps hacked
Attack of the Clones? Yeah, but much, much scarier – report
You stupid BRICK! PCs running Avast AV can't handle Windows fixes
Fix issued, fingers pointed, forums in flames
Microsoft: Your Linux Docker containers are now OURS to command
New tool lets admins wrangle Linux apps from Windows
Bada-Bing! Mozilla flips Firefox to YAHOO! for search
Microsoft system will be the default for browser in US until 2020
Facebook, working on Facebook at Work, works on Facebook. At Work
You don't want your cat or drunk pics at the office
Soz, web devs: Google snatches its Wallet off the table
Killing off web service in 3 months... but app-happy bonkers are fine
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
How to determine if cloud backup is right for your servers
Two key factors, technical feasibility and TCO economics, that backup and IT operations managers should consider when assessing cloud backup.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Getting ahead of the compliance curve
Learn about new services that make it easy to discover and manage certificates across the enterprise and how to get ahead of the compliance curve.