456: Cautionary

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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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.
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.

[edit] Explanation

Many people who use Linux start out not really knowing anything about other than that it's free. So, they find someone who knows about it to help them set it up.

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).

Linux has many versions, called "distributions". Each distribution, or "distro", has a different look and feel, and different features. Ubuntu is a "beginner" version of Linux, designed to just "work" and be friendly toward people used to Windows. Debian is a somewhat more advanced distro that requires more knowledge of Linux (and sometimes programming), and Gentoo is a very advanced distro. Because she is fed up with Ubuntu trading functionality for ease-of-use, she switches to Gentoo.

Some advanced users of Linux decide to compile their kernel from source. This basically means that instead of downloading Linux and installing it, they download the source code, change something, build the source code into a runnable version of the OS, and then use it. To many advanced users, their installation of Linux is like a house might be to a homeowner: A never-ending project, improved slightly every day, but modified more often than it's actually used.

In the final panel, she has become addicted to Linux, and as a heroin addict might take another dose, or a homeowner might paint something or move a picture, she might change a setting or two and recompile the kernel for her Linux OS.

The title text jokes about the bad Wi-Fi support of many then-common cards on Linux back in 2008.

[edit] Transcript

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.
Comment.png add a comment!


Isn't 'Talk to your kids about...' from a famous Unilever ad? 09:47, 2 June 2013 (UTC)

Is this Megan? Her hair seems awfully curly and it says she's his cousin. Is there an official transcript? Theo (talk) 20:46, 14 August 2013 (UTC)

Official transcripts, if they do exist, do not contain names in general. These names are just an invention by some communities like this wiki. So, if you have a better stick figure which would match her, talk about this.--Dgbrt (talk) 21:16, 14 August 2013 (UTC)
She is clearly not Megan. I propose to call her cousin. Xhfz (talk) 22:20, 13 October 2013 (UTC)
There exists an official transcript for each comic, available to see in the page's source code. According to a comment in 1037:_Umwelt, Randall does apparently not type those, but is seemingly done by Davean, his friend maintaining the server. (Note: this is just a guess) Vgr (talk) 11:22, 22 October 2013 (UTC)
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