Title text: This really is a true story, and she doesn't know I put it in my comic because her wifi hasn't worked for weeks.
Many people who use Linux start out not really knowing anything about it other than that it's free. So, they find someone who knows about it to help them set it up. Megan decides to install Linux on her new PC, and calls her cousin Cueball whom she views as her personal Linux expert.
Xorg (officially X.Org) is an implementation of the X window manager, a program responsible for the graphical display used on Linux. If it had configuration problems, which was quite common with some video card drivers back in 2008 (especially the one for ATI Radeons), it is often difficult, painful or completely impossible to fix (see 963: X11). Man pages are (usually online) manual pages for Unix-based operating systems and software, explaining in simple unambiguous language what certain things are, how they work, and providing clear illustrations of their use.
Linux has many versions, called "distributions". Each distribution, or "distro", has a different look and feel, and different feature sets and design philosophies. Ubuntu is a very popular "beginner" version of Linux, designed to "just work" and be familiar/usable to people fresh out of Windows. Debian is a popular but somewhat more "advanced" distro, more traditionally "Unix-like" than Ubuntu, with a huge and diverse base of supported software that requires more Linux know-how to configure and use, or at least more eagerness to learn (generally including learning to code, at least in some capacity). Gentoo is a very advanced distro allowing for extreme customization and optimization but requiring extensive install and setup time. Because Megan is fed up with Ubuntu trading functionality for ease-of-use, she decides to switch to Debian or maybe Gentoo, both of these successive options prompting Cueball to fear that she may just be getting in deeper and deeper. ("Autoconfig issues" refers to 416: Zealous Autoconfig)
Some advanced users of Linux choose to compile their kernel from source; Gentoo requires this, and is customarily compiled locally. Basically this means that instead of downloading Linux, installing it, then running it, users download the source code, configure and customize it to their own needs, then compile the code into a runnable version of the OS, all before they can begin to use the system. To many such advanced users, their installation of Linux is like a hobby sportscar: A never-ending project, constantly tweaked and cleaned and adjusted to improve performance, but which spends far more time sitting around with its hood open than actually being used for its ostensible purpose.
The title text jokes about the bad support for many then-common Wi-Fi cards within Linux back in 2008.
- Linux: A True Story:
- [Cueball talks on a cell phone.]
- Week One:
- Megan: Hey, it's your cousin. I got a new computer but don't want Windows. Can you help me install "Linux"?
- Cueball: Sure.
- [Megan sits in an office chair with her laptop on her lap. She is on the phone.]
- Week Two:
- Megan: It says my XORG is broken. What's an "XORG"? Where can I look that up?
- Cueball: Hmm, lemme show you man pages.
- [Megan crouches on the floor with the laptop on her lap. She is still on the phone.]
- Week Six:
- Megan: Due to auto-config issues, I'm leaving Ubuntu for Debian.
- Cueball: Uh.
- Megan: Or Gentoo.
- Cueball: Uh oh.
- [Megan lies on her stomach with the laptop on the floor. On the floor are several pieces of paper and a book. Cueball stands to her left.]
- Week Twelve:
- Cueball: You haven't answered your phone in days.
- Megan: Can't sleep. Must compile kernel.
- Cueball: I'm too late.
- [Box with text:]
- Parents: talk to your kids about Linux... Before somebody else does.