The right mindset.
A few months back, I received an e-mail from what I’d call an “internet friend.” This would be the category that I put people in when I’ll most probably never meet them face-to-face, but due to working together or simply speaking via e-mail or on mailing lists, I’ve gotten to know a good deal about them.
For the sake of discussion, Manuel “GekkoP”, sent me an email regarding something I’d written on a Linux forum about building and using cwm on Debian Sid. It was a simple “thanks for the write up” kind of email, and due to his ventures into building a system from source code I thought he might enjoy some of the projects that I currently play with.
To make the long story short, he’s gone from using Ubuntu and Linux Mint to building LFS, and most currently, installing and configuring killx. I saw a post that he had made today about the issues with getting a broadcom wireless driver working on killx, that he was making progress and was detailing attempts. It was another simple “tried this, didn’t work, tried this too, also didn’t work, tried this, and….well, finally, I have it working.” Then he detailed the step-by-step instructions so that anyone else attempting the same thing might learn from his experiences. After a comment regarding how positive he was about this whole experience, he said something that I think is worth repeating.
“No frustration whatsoever. With killX and LFS I’m learning so much, I’m already happy. This wireless thing is just another reason to learn something new.” – gekkop
This is something that gets overlooked in many places, but I’d consider this the perfect mindset to hang on the outer-rims of Unix-like operating systems. Building all of your software without dependency checking, and often from tarballs and git repos, can be highly frustrating. Often it spirals into dependency chasing purgatory. Coming at the task with a “I’m happy to be learning from this experience” attitude cannot be overstated. Rather than looking at it as a pain, when viewed as an interesting adventure, it can be a very immersing experience that can teach you a lot about the contents of the system you’re running.
Too often, I believe that there is a level of self-imposed ignorance about the environment that we work in. By taking the approach of constructing each piece of the system, you have a much better grasp of how it all fits together, which in turn gives you greater control over things when they don’t work out exactly as you expected. By taking Gekko’s attitude, it’s not only personally enriching, but enjoyable. We could all use to be “happy already” about difficulties.