Since getting laid off from his IT job, my partner finally had the motivation to “learn Linux.” I was extremely happy of course, and figured Linux Mint would be a great starting point for him.
It hasn’t turned out the way I thought it would. After some initial frustrations, he became familiar with the general environment (he has worked in IT for 12 years, he knows how to figure things out). However, when it came to anything command line oriented, or needing my help (as 99% of my solutions are probably through command line/text editing methods) he always seemed to have trouble. He was learning the commands and syntax and problem solving skills, but it didn’t seem to be sinking in as quickly or as deeply as I hoped.
I tried to think how I had gotten to that point where I do most things on the command line, the first thing I thought of was reading/referencing a sparse guide on common utilities and commands. I found and sent him a [better] guide. This didn’t seem to help much.
Finally, this weekend I realized why I was using that guide when I started. My first [real] Linux distro was Slackware, and I had to manually setup my graphical environment. I had to learn by doing, and there was no easy way around it. I realized that while Linux Mint got him going, it made the learning curve gradual, but also made it long.
So, I finally sent him a message from work. “Forget Linux Mint. Try Slackware, Debian, Arch or FreeBSD (I can help out with the last two, been too long for slack or debian).”
Because he isn’t as excited about the BSDs as I am, but wanted my help, he went with Arch. That’s when I remembered the move to pacman 4, and how he’d be setting up package signing manually before he could install anything… hooray for immersion.