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1.2. The user interface

1.2.1. Is Linux difficult?

Whether Linux is difficult to learn depends on the person you're asking. Experienced UNIX users will say no, because Linux is an ideal operating system for power-users and programmers, because it has been and is being developed by such people.

Everything a good programmer can wish for is available: compilers, libraries, development and debugging tools. These packages come with every standard Linux distribution. The C-compiler is included for free - as opposed to many UNIX distributions demanding licensing fees for this tool. All the documentation and manuals are there, and examples are often included to help you get started in no time. It feels like UNIX and switching between UNIX and Linux is a natural thing.

In the early days of Linux, being an expert was kind of required to start using the system. Those who mastered Linux felt better than the rest of the "lusers" who hadn't seen the light yet. It was common practice to tell a beginning user to "RTFM" (read the manuals). While the manuals were on every system, it was difficult to find the documentation, and even if someone did, explanations were in such technical terms that the new user became easily discouraged from learning the system.

The Linux-using community started to realize that if Linux was ever to be an important player on the operating system market, there had to be some serious changes in the accessibility of the system.

Introducing Linux
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