Lies, damn lies, and feedback on Arch Linux
Cue statistics on distro watch
Many geeks and nerds believe they are more intellectual than emotional. I beg to differ. They are very much driven by their emotions, and one of the consequences of this is how much they lie about how easy things are.
Once you know this, you can start reading forums and blogs and tone it down.
The geeky blind spot
It's always been so funny to me that the sub-group of the population we belong (I assume, dear reader, you fall in the same category as me), the geeks and nerds, think they are more intellectual than emotional.
It's been my experience that our crowd is not just composed of individuals that are often more thinking oriented, they are also emotionally disabled.
By this I don't mean they are not driven by their emotions, as they tend to believe. I mean that they are quite bad at dealing with them: recognizing them, embracing them, using them or not getting used by them.
As a result, a lot of us are in the illusion that they are somehow more objective because "logical". My opinion is that it's the absolute opposite: they are dominated by their emotions, like most, and don't realize how much.
Oh, this in no way implies we are not thinking a lot, usually more than the Gaussian middle.
It does imply, however, that ironically, we are responsible for erratic behaviors we regularly blame normies for committing, as if they were the only responsible for what's going bad in this world.
If only they would think...
Yet we are sensitive to advertising, we boast, we are jealous, we are biased, we propagate tribalism and spread intolerance just like the rest of the human beings.
But on top of that we are bad at it.
And of course...
Picture yourself reading comments on the last Arch Linux release. Suddenly, thread after thread, commenters post how wonderful this distribution is.
The more you read, the more it appears not a single user had any problem with it. Installation was seamless. All the hardware was supported. Nothing broke. And it was fast!
So you give it a try.
However - you must be so unlucky! - for you it doesn't go that way. It's hard. You install it once, and it fails because of secure boot, your secondary window partition or the fact only one USB port can be booted from. You try again, but you mess the partitioning because of some bad UI. You are persistent, and give it a new run. You do have to enter a few esoteric commands your found on an obscure phpbb forum, but eventually it works.
Sure, your bluetooth headphones don't seem to connect, your secondary screen is a bit blurry, and waking from sleep is hit or miss, but it will be ok for your daily driver.
Is it because Arch is a bad product?
No. It's a perfectly fine distribution, that serves its purpose. The Steam Deck is the proof of it.
The problem was your expectation, driven by the feedback you had about it before.
You have been lied to.
You were not unlucky, and those people didn't all have a seamless experience. They lied. To their teeth.
Y u no tell the truth?
Because we are human.
Behind that very general statement hide a myriad of causes: the ego, the blue vs. red effect, the passion, the enthusiasm, the desire to spread an ideal, the need for justifying the efforts you put in something, being part of something bigger, because you are delusional, because you really believe it's true, and so many other reasons.
Attaching evil onto human behavior is rarely the answer. Homo sapiens is much more often afraid, angry, proud, greedy, horny, envious, hungry or tired than evil. Not denying that evil exist, just putting things in perspective.
It will not change.
No matter how many articles say you should not use "just" or "simply" in tutorials.
There will always be people that will lie to tell you that what they do is attractive.
What to do about it
Just re-calibrate your expectations.
My brother calls that "the law of exaggeration".
If somebody tells you they worked 80 hours this week, it may be true, but more likely not. It will be more like 60. It's already a lot, it's a hard week. But readjust in your read.
If a restaurant was "the best one ever", assume it was good. That's it. It's very cultural, though. If the guy is German, you can up the needle, if he is American, assume they served regular fries. The US is the land of superlatives. That's why they are so good at selling things.
And for tech, keep in mind the usual wisdom. You know. There is no silver bullet. Nothing comes without cost. Engineering is all about compromises and using the right tools for the right job in the context and constraints of the problem. The usual stuff.
If someone tells you that they tried something and they "never had a problem with it", you can translate that in your head with "this person likes it very much and it matches her current needs and perception of the world". With this point of view, it's easier to decide if you want to give it a try. And less disappointing when something doesn't work as announced.
Everybody sells something. Even geeks and nerds.
At the very least, they sell themselves, or their opinion.
"Trust, but verify" is good advice, but it doesn't scale to the immensity of abundance our modern world generously puts at our disposal.
You need to filter out more. Way more.
Hum, that was maybe a bit too negative. Don't stop trying new things because of this either.
I use Linux as my daily driver, and I enjoy it very much.
How did I first try Linux?
on the internet in a magazine told me he tried Mandrake, and it worked perfectly.
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