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.


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.

XORG (officially X.Org) is an implementation of the X window manager, a program used on Linux. It often has configuration problems, and can be difficult and/or painful 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 version. 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 somethings, 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 (OS).


Linux: A True Story:
[Cueball talks on a cell phone]
Week One:
Megan [via phone]: 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 [via phone]: 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 [via phone] Uh.
Megan: Or Gentoo.
Cueball [via phone]: 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.

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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)
I don't think that this is Megan either. I propose to call her Alice, though, in reference to cryptography. Official.xian (talk) 19:46, 10 July 2014 (UTC)

I think we're all forgetting something very important here: It's a true story, therefore she has a real name. If we really wanted her correct name, we'd be pestering Randall for it. Anonymous 23:26, 18 August 2014 (UTC)
And since it's a true story Cueball here's probably meant to be Randall himself. Elektrizikekswerk (talk) 08:57, 14 November 2014 (UTC)
And the hair not reminiscent of Megan. 17:26, 18 March 2015 (UTC)
Then why has nobody fixed it to say Cousin instead of Megan?... 19:42, 3 April 2015 (UTC)
Done. I'm not sure abiut the hyperlinks though, if they're supposed to be on every reference to curball then someone shoulf add those. Bbruzzo (talk) 15:28, 26 August 2015 (UTC)

The last paragraph is taking quite a leap. While she has obviously learned over the 3 months, we have no idea if she is actually building her kernel in a critical and meaningful way. Does not fit with actual comic. flewk (talk) 19:28, 28 December 2015 (UTC)

The part where it says man pages use simple unambiguous language made me laughThaledison (talk) 17:59, 26 January 2016 (UTC)