In the course of an informative account of his efforts to install MythTV (open-source TiVo), David Weinberger perfectly describes what Unix feels like to many people:
I am a slightly competent Unix user who can grep his way out of a paper bag, so long as no regular expressions are required, but that’s about my limit. So getting Linux-based MythTV installed feels like it requires me to issue complex magical incantations. Get one syllable wrong, and instead of the mouse turning into a white charger, you’ve given your sister boils for seven years.
Indeed. I’ve had days like that…and I first used Unix circa 1984.