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Can Ordinary PC Users Ditch Windows for Linux?

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the do-or-do-not-there-is-no-try dept.

1483

Carl Bialik from WSJ writes "Mark Golden, a reporter for Dow Jones Newswires, tried to switch from Windows to Linux, and found it too complex for his liking. He writes: 'For me, though, using the Linux systems didn't make sense. I often send documents and spreadsheets between my home PC and the one at work, which uses Microsoft Office. And the files are sometimes complex. Meanwhile, for both personal and professional computer use, I want access to all multimedia functions. While solutions may exist to almost every problem I encountered, I was willing to invest only a limited amount of time as a system administrator. Claims by some Linux publishers that anybody can easily switch to Linux from Windows seem totally oversold.'"

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Oh well... (5, Funny)

RebelScum (48833) | more than 8 years ago | (#15333520)

Oh well, maybe in "another five years..."

He's right (1, Funny)

linvir (970218) | more than 8 years ago | (#15333523)

But we're getting there.

He's sorta right, but mostly off target (5, Insightful)

Ritz_Just_Ritz (883997) | more than 8 years ago | (#15333568)

With the exception of there being more "off the shelf software available" I've found that Windows users also flounder if you stick them in front of OSX. Does that mean OSX is difficult to use or immature? Of course not, but it is definitely different than windows and there's a non-trivial learning curve before you start to feel comfortable.

Cheers,

Re:He's sorta right, but mostly off target (4, Insightful)

stuntpope (19736) | more than 8 years ago | (#15333695)

I've seen professional Windows users (that is, programmers, administrators) flounder when stuck in front of WINDOWS! Double-clicking every hyperlink on web pages, hunting all over a menu for something like notepad instead of winkey-R notepad, general confused look while I sit back feeling like Nick Burns. "Move!"

Re:He's right (1)

miro f (944325) | more than 8 years ago | (#15333668)

a lot of his problems seem to stem from poor driver support, licensing issues, closed standards, etc.

Unfortunately, this won't be improved until we see widespread adoption of linux. And that won't happen until the problems are solved...

FP (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15333524)

First Post! Woot!

Re:FP (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15333602)

It's 'w00t', not 'woot'.
Do you call yourself a nerd? Sheesh.

And it wasn't even the first post, either :p

We need to get hardware going autmagically (5, Insightful)

Bromskloss (750445) | more than 8 years ago | (#15333528)

I just ran the Ubuntu live CD which didn't want to give me a higher screen resolution than 1024 by 768 and didn't get the network running. :-( Such things really need to be resolved, because even if _I_, in discussion with others, would be able to resolve all problems, my grandparents surely wouldn't.

Re:We need to get hardware going autmagically (3, Insightful)

Imsdal (930595) | more than 8 years ago | (#15333548)

True, but the main problem is that Excel doesn't run on Linux.

Yes, there are clones that emulate part of the functionality. Unfortunately, in the real world that is not close enough.

Build a better Excel and the people with money (and, accordingly, influence) will stampede to Linux.

Re:We need to get hardware going autmagically (1)

SiliconJesus (1407) | more than 8 years ago | (#15333563)

But it does, just not out of the box. Get one of the commercial wine distributions (I've used many) and Excel, Word, Outlook and Powerpoint all work relatively well.

Re:We need to get hardware going autmagically (1)

j0nkatz (315168) | more than 8 years ago | (#15333612)

Using MS Office under Wine is getting back to the complexity that the story was talking about in the first place.

I was actually gonna troll you but I like your sig too much.

Re:We need to get hardware going autmagically (1)

Ginger Unicorn (952287) | more than 8 years ago | (#15333650)

Perhaps someone should make a linux app that sets up MSOffice under wine automatically with a wizard like the regular installer has. Or any other major windows apps.

That would be really handy actually. It could run as a daemon and watch for binaries of certain windows app installers being run and interject on their behalf to set it up properly.

Re:We need to get hardware going autmagically (1)

SiliconJesus (1407) | more than 8 years ago | (#15333683)

I have to agree. The problem is mixing GPL and non-GPL code is a legal nightmare. Non-commercial wine, to the extent that I've seen it, is not YET capable of running Microsoft Office bits, and commercial wine is not totally open source.

Re:We need to get hardware going autmagically (2, Insightful)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 8 years ago | (#15333669)

I love WINE (and wine), and I actually like fiddling with WINE (with wine) to run my programs...Expecting this, however, of a non-technical user is like expecting them to perform brainsurgery. They're not going to be able to do it, the instructions we post on how to do it will be too complex for them to follow (anything where skipping a step will break the process will be to complex for them), and they will become embittered and write articles for the WSJ about how over-complex Linux is, when, in reality, the issue is they can't run Excel.

Until WINE is to the point where you don't have to fiddle with it to get it to load Office and run Office flawlessly, we're going to be getting these whiny criticisms.

Crossover Office (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 8 years ago | (#15333579)

the main problem is that Excel doesn't run on Linux.

O rly [google.com] ?

Yes, there are clones that emulate part of the functionality. Unfortunately, in the real world that is not close enough.

Would "close enough" require the ability to run VBScript macros, even those that reference ActiveX controls, which are designed exclusively for Microsoft Windows?

Re:We need to get hardware going autmagically (4, Interesting)

l3v1 (787564) | more than 8 years ago | (#15333580)

Note: it's not my intention to flame.

My problem with what you say here - and similar other arguments - is that for example plenty of hardware exist that do not work out of the box and automagically under Windows, be that hdd/raid controller, nic, cameras/tuners and I could just go on. And while it's true that very often we need to compile and/or load some modules in most linux distros for these to work, at least they will work. Just think, in 2006 tell me an easy way to install a currently available windows version on a system with sata raid controller, no fdd, and then making e.g. nvidia network and audio components work without installing some stuff. While I agree for most people installing these drivers is easier under Windows, that is not because the install procedure is easier or faster, but simply because they are accostumed to doing things this way. For me, loading some modules is a much easier and faster process than making the same hw components work under windows (yes, I use them both very frequently). But based on this, I don't think we can say that Linux is not suitable. It just needs some learning, and being open to do things some other way than usual, which is unbelievably difficult for most non-tech people.

Re:We need to get hardware going autmagically (1)

Bromskloss (750445) | more than 8 years ago | (#15333656)

plenty of hardware exist that do not work out of the box and automagically under Windows
You are right. However, no matter how it works on Windows or any other OS, we should make it run as smoothly as possible on Linux. Both to facilitate switches for others and to enjoy an easy setup ourselves, of course.

He's using his computer wrong! (-1, Troll)

Imsdal (930595) | more than 8 years ago | (#15333529)

As everyone knows, people should only use their computers to update them so that they are completely unvulnerable against any kind of attack. They should definitely not be used for work! Never! Work is boring. Besides, Linux doesn't support it, so it can't be important, either, can it?

Re:He's using his computer wrong! (1)

linvir (970218) | more than 8 years ago | (#15333570)

Trying hard not to be a prick about this reply...

Update them? Most day to day Linux users update quite infrequently. Even the more frequent updaters are only on a similar rhythm to those who follow Windows Update. And there are people like me on Slackware who only upgrade every 6 - 9 months.

And as for Linux not being for work... loads of us spend huge amounts of time programming. Sure, inital setup can be difficult, but don't overlook the motivation.

Re:He's using his computer wrong! (1)

baadger (764884) | more than 8 years ago | (#15333654)

Unless you're a gentoo junkie and emerge sync and build every day...

Re:He's using his computer wrong! (1)

KingOfGod (884633) | more than 8 years ago | (#15333626)

It's funny because as I read your post I was thinking "Haha, this guy hates Windows", just untill the last point where you blame everything on Linux.

Newbie Woes (5, Informative)

s73v3r (963317) | more than 8 years ago | (#15333530)

As a guy who is doing the same thing he is, trying to drop Windows from my everyday computing, I feel his pain. While editing config files itself isn't too hard, knowing what config file to edit and when, and how to edit it is very difficult for a newbie.

Re:Newbie Woes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15333569)

Betta-Getta-Mac!

Re:Newbie Woes (1)

WhiteWolf666 (145211) | more than 8 years ago | (#15333600)

Install SuSE, and use The Smart Package Manager [labix.org] .

On SuSE, the only thing you cannot install via Smart is support for encrypted DVD playback. That's the one time you'll have to use the commandline, to run this [links2linux.org] shell script, which automagically downloads/compiles it for you.

Everything else, included the ATI/NVIDIA drivers, can be install via GUI, and configured via GUI.

10.1 just came out. It's super slick. Give it a try.

May I ask... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15333621)

...why you are doing it the geek way and editing conf files manually, instead of changing the settings through the GUI?

Would you use regedit or control panel to change the same settings on Windows?

Ok, lousy comparison, I know, most settings on Windows don't have a control panel checkbox, but can ONLY be changed with regedit. Although TweakUI does help with a few of them, but it still doesn't get near the number of settings directly available under Linux.

hm... if they could (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15333531)

... I guess they would, cause people still like free stuff.

Anyone CAN easily switch from Windows to Linux (0, Redundant)

Musteval (817324) | more than 8 years ago | (#15333532)

...as long as somebody else sets it up.

Re:Anyone CAN easily switch from Windows to Linux (0)

Ginger Unicorn (952287) | more than 8 years ago | (#15333617)

I totally agree - I set up Win2K on an old PC for my sister and she got used to that. Then i got into Ubuntu and suggested her trying it, but she wasnt interested.

then i got an old laptop and put Ubuntu on it, which she then proceeded to hog for months, and now her Win2k PC is complaining that "no operating system is present" she wants to buy a laptop and get me to put Ubuntu on it.

The point is i have constantly been tinkering with Ubuntu and even as a techie person there has been a learning curve for administration of linux rather than windows, but for someone who just wants to browse the web and chat on messenger Gnome is no different to windows, it has no viruses and it looks nicer.

The Applications Are Out There (2, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 8 years ago | (#15333535)

After the tests, representatives of Fedora, Linspire and Novell told me that Sony Vaios are known to have compatibility problems with Linux.
Yeah, I'm not impressed with Sony Vaios. It seems like they were designed to run Windows and be really small and light. They happen to be very good at those qualities so they appear attractive to most consumers with deep pockets?

Did this man do any searches for Linux on Vaios? A lot of laptops have special sites out there that aim to make the transition easy for users ... the Vaio is no different [linux-on-laptops.com] .

Frankly, I'm surprised he didn't try Mandrake/Mandriva for his laptop. I found that one to be the most friendly for my Dell back in college but perhaps things have changed?
The Linux systems could make sense for users who just want to send and receive email and surf the Web without the need for multimedia programs, or to perform home-office tasks without a lot of interaction with Microsoft systems.
I think the users just have to have the patience to go out there and find the multimedia programs. They do [linux.org] exist [linux-sound.org] , you [exploits.org] know.
Claims by some Linux publishers that anybody can easily switch to Linux from Windows seem totally oversold.
I don't think that these claims have been made. I've seen publishers encourage it but I haven't seen a marketing push to claim anyone can do it. Some people don't want to climb more than one learning curve in their life. Those are the people that can't make the switch.

Re:The Applications Are Out There (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15333679)

eldavojohn writes:
"Did this man do any searches for..."
"...I'm surprised he didn't try..."
"...users just have to have the patience to..."

and completely misses the point. The man isn't interested in spending much time setting up his computer or administering it or tweaking it to get it just right. Of course there are solutions to all his problems "somewhere out there", but to him, its not worth it. His is just a tool to do his real work. He gave Linux a fair try, and decided it wasn't worth the trouble.

As much as I like Linux, I'd never recommend it to my dad.

Another example of lazy user syndrome (1, Insightful)

pasamio (737659) | more than 8 years ago | (#15333537)

The person couldn't be bothered learning how to use another system after investing a large amount of time in Windows. I see it all the time. But perhaps what most gets me down is the fact that I go to my local Uni and see overseas students who have had little experience with a computer who say that they struggled harder with Windows than they did with learning Linux and both systems took the same amount of time to learn.

This only proves that those who can't make the switch perhaps can't be bothered or just plain can't do it. And if I had an employee in either camp, I'd send them packing. Not being bothered isn't a legit excuse and not being able to do something just means more training or they are incapable of doing their job - which really isn't the problem for the majority of people, which leaves us with the fact they can't be bothered.

Lazy user syndrome.

Re:Another example of lazy user syndrome (2, Insightful)

Threni (635302) | more than 8 years ago | (#15333595)

> This only proves that those who can't make the switch perhaps can't be bothered
> or just plain can't do it.

Well, it's got to be one of those, doesn't it!

People always complained that Linux was too hard to install - well, now the installers are easy to use and it's getting stuff like networking, printing, modern graphics cards working that's the issue. Yes, many people can't do it. It doesn't make them lazy - it makes Linux not up to the task of detecting hardware invisibly and just getting it working. It knows what USB modem I have - it's plugged in and can be interrogated, just like Windows manages to.

Lazy operating system - expecting the user to fit around it, and not vice versa - syndrome.

Re:Another example of lazy user syndrome (3, Insightful)

Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) | more than 8 years ago | (#15333607)

The person couldn't be bothered learning how to use another system after investing a large amount of time in Windows.

The author of the article fairly clearly lays out his problems, word interoperability & multimedia.

They're both 'problems' with linux, although as they're both of a legal or social (rather then technical) challenge, its hard to know what the linux community can do about them.

Re:Another example of lazy user syndrome (1)

DrSkwid (118965) | more than 8 years ago | (#15333613)

> This only proves that those who can't

A one person sample does not extrapolate.

Re:Another example of lazy user syndrome (1, Insightful)

1000101 (584896) | more than 8 years ago | (#15333619)

"I go to my local Uni and see overseas students who have had little experience with a computer who say that they struggled harder with Windows than they did with learning Linux"

I have seen similar claims on /. before but have seen no hard evidence for this. I have found nothing on Windows machines that is inherently more difficult to do than on Linux. Being a 'casual' Linux user, I'm not familiar with all of the buzz words but Windows has 'DLL Hell' and I'm sure there is a term for Linux 'Package Hell'. This and hardware configuration are the two biggest complaints I have against Linux. The only common installation prerequisite warnings I see in Windows are either 'This OS is not supported' or 'You need the .NET framwork installed'. In Linux, you will receive a 'package not installed' error then go install that package only to find that it needs another package that you don't have. It's a mess. Add to that the fact that I've never had a piece of hardware that didn't have Windows drivers but have had multiple instances of hardware lacking Linux drivers and things can get quite tricky.

Re:Another example of lazy user syndrome (1)

dr_dank (472072) | more than 8 years ago | (#15333630)

The simple fact is that most people view their computers as fancy appliances. Hell, they even buy them at places like Best Buy and Circuit City that also sell appliances. They expect to turn it on, use it for its intended purpose of email and pornography, and thats that. They don't have any interest in learning a system, when it should be as simple as the other appliances in the house (yes, I know as well as anybody here that computers are complex machines not unlike cars, but lets look at it from the everyday Joe perspective).

Things like this make me think that the "internet appliances" like the i-opener died a premature death. A device that could surf the web, play music, work with cameras, and have the admin stuff be invisible to the user behind a clean interface could sell like gangbusters.

Re:Another example of lazy user syndrome (5, Insightful)

Jasin Natael (14968) | more than 8 years ago | (#15333647)

Consider, however, that the foreign students are working with something, well, foreign to them. This isn't to say that computers aren't foreign to those of us in the US, but we expect to understand the metaphor. If you approach Linux from the standpoint of rules to be followed, with an expected and logical result, it's easy. Here's the current state of affairs, as I see it:

  • Windows has a broken metaphor. Its usage patterns have exceptions out the wazoo, unintuitive things to be done, and an inconsistenly applied set of rules underneath. It works fine for most people, but once you've conditioned yourself to its quirks, it does something that conditions the user away from using intuition and inductive or logical reasoning to solve computer-related problems.
  • Linux, for lack of a more in-depth explanation, has no metaphor at all. It has underlying rules and abstractions. These are consistently applied, but fail to bridge that 'last mile' to the user in many cases. Patent regulations and other crappy IP-related issues make distributing software, and therefore obtaining decent software, difficult.
  • Mac OS has good, underlying metaphors and a lot of the same logical underpinnings as Linux. I'd say that, even though the hardware requirements border on obscene and they are far from problem-free, for what this guy and 90% of the public want to do (productivity apps, web, email, multimedia), it's the right choice.

The computer is only as good as the software you can obtain for it. Until it's easy for users to obtain quality packages and simple apps with a slick, consistent interface, the article should be pretty indicative of the user experience switching to Linux.

Jasin Natael

Re:Another example of lazy user syndrome (5, Insightful)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 8 years ago | (#15333663)

The person couldn't be bothered learning how to use another system after investing a large amount of time in Windows. I see it all the time... Lazy user syndrome.

The person couldn't be bothered to comprehend some people derive more entertainment and results from an OS when they use it and not when they spend most of their time learning it. The person who forgot that stuff is easy once you know it, but before he knew it, it was hard for him too. The person who can't comprehend not everyone is interested in tuning config files, and hacking sources just for the pure fun of it. The person who still doesn't realize the computer is a tool like any tool, and just like with a car or a TV screen, you have to be able to use it without being an expert mechanic.... Smug Linux user syndrome.

Re:Another example of lazy user syndrome (2, Informative)

doctor_nation (924358) | more than 8 years ago | (#15333665)

I hope you're talking in a purely user-based sense, because being a Linux admin is not remotely simple. Learning how to use a nice stable Linux system that has been set up for you is pretty easy. Learning how to go through the agony of setting up a new system is much, much harder. I'm a programmer and I'm not afraid of poking around in config files, but in my recent setup of my first Linux system (an Ubuntu/MythTV box) I had many points where I was ready to break my keyboard in two over my knee. And I still do whenever I try to get the thing to do what I want. As soon as I leave it alone and accept it as-is, there are no problems. But if I want to fix an annoyance or add a feature, it's no end of trouble. And believe it or not, but there are a lot of people in the world who would rather be doing things other than searching the web for the magic script to fix their problem or fiddling with config files to get something working.

Re:Another example of lazy user syndrome (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15333681)

Sorry, a person who went out, bought a book and tried 6 different distributions is a "lazy user"? A person who contacted support where available, chased down the low-hanging fruit for fixes for his problems, who actually tried many different pieces of software on the Linux distributions and generally liked them is a "lazy user"?

How you didn't get marked "Troll" is beyond me.

horses for courses (-1, Flamebait)

hotdiggitydawg (881316) | more than 8 years ago | (#15333541)

And I bet he runs WinXP under an admin account too.

I wonder how much more time he will be willing to spend admining his box once it is rooted by malware and his bank accounts are periodically cleaned out?

Some people pay mechanics to fix their cars, others do it for free themselves. Choice is a beautiful thing. But one of these groups will spot problems much earlier than the other.

The real reason Mark Golden can't use linux. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15333542)

Mark Golden is too stupid to even exist let alone use a computer.

Why did he have to replace win2k? (3, Insightful)

Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) | more than 8 years ago | (#15333544)

The question came up when I decided that my six-year-old version of Microsoft Corp.'s Windows operating system had to be replaced.

Stupid. Why did it have to be replaced? Hmmmn, I guess his story needed a setup!

Anyway, the review was reasonable - summary: linux is fine if you just want to surf & email, but no good if you need to interoperate with Microsoft Office users (particularly complicated documents) or use a good deal of multimedia.

The second issue is somewhere that the linux community really need to be paying attention to at the moment.

There is no technical problem here, the problem is software patents. Everyone needs to:

1) Attempt to revoke (or prevent coming into existance) patent laws, through writing to your lawmakers / voting / grassroots activism.

2) Write to companies with software patent portfolios that you're going to boycott their products & agitate for your community to do the same.

Multimedia support is a huge gaping hole in the linux desktop - we need non-technical action to fix it (and this is something all the non-programmers who want to help out can do.)

Re:Why did he have to replace win2k? (0, Flamebait)

DrSkwid (118965) | more than 8 years ago | (#15333625)

> use a good deal of multimedia.

Locked in multimedia is locked in, and making DVDs play ended up being an international incident.

If you have crippled media, too bad, bad choice, you lose.
Enjoy buying the Windows Licences to play your .wmv files.

Investment of time (3, Funny)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 8 years ago | (#15333550)

I could see how it'd be difficult for him to invest the time it takes to set up, since I'd bet the clock on his VCR has been blinking "12:00" for 20 years.

Re:Investment of time (1)

Laz10 (708792) | more than 8 years ago | (#15333646)

Seriously though ..

How much time does it take to from a fresh windows install to the level of usability that, say Ubuntu (plus Easy Ubuntu) gives you out of the box?

Having done it many times I can testify that it takes a surprising amount of time to get a fresh windows install to be something that you can actually work with.

I still keep windows around for games though.

Re:Investment of time (3, Interesting)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 8 years ago | (#15333677)

That's probably accurate, I prefer a spin on the Henry Ford quote:
There are two kinds of people: those who think they can install Linux, and those who think they can't, and they're both right.
Which one are you?

reminds me... (1)

fusto99 (939313) | more than 8 years ago | (#15333557)

I would have to agree with him. I've used Linux before but there are just some things that you can't do with it compared to Windows. It reminds me of a joke that I'm sure most of you heard: "Macintosh would make a car that was powered by the sun, was twice as fast, twice as easy to drive-but would only run on 5 percent of the roads."

Re:reminds me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15333614)

"Macintosh would make"

Who are Macintosh? Do they make computers?

It's all about preloads (1)

QuietLagoon (813062) | more than 8 years ago | (#15333558)

So long as Microsoft maintains its lock on the OEMs preloading Windows, "ordinary PC users" will never be able to switch to Linux.

Looking at this another way, could an "ordinary PC user" install Windows on a PC, having never used Windows before?

Re:It's all about preloads (1)

djmurdoch (306849) | more than 8 years ago | (#15333652)

Looking at this another way, could an "ordinary PC user" install Windows on a PC, having never used Windows before?

It's not at all hard. Put in the CDROM, reboot, answer a few questions. It's pretty much the same as using a machine that has a preload on it, just a bit slower.

Re:It's all about preloads (1)

QuietLagoon (813062) | more than 8 years ago | (#15333697)

It's pretty much the same as using a machine that has a preload on it

Any install of an OS is more difficult than using a preload. The sooner that is realized, the sooner the root problem here will be resolved.

Apple Complaints (1)

nbannerman (974715) | more than 8 years ago | (#15333560)

He mentions Apple problems, specifically Quicktime and iTunes / iPod. I don't think it is fair to lay the blame for these problems at door of Linux.

Given half a chance, I'm sure there are countless people waiting to get to work on making the iPod work 'straight out of the box' with Linux.

But Apple won't allow that, and thus we're talking about the DMCA before we can even start making things work. I know there are a lot of self-confessed OSS and Apple fans out there, so you tell me, why won't Apple support Linux?

Linux is different, not harder (3, Insightful)

mlwmohawk (801821) | more than 8 years ago | (#15333561)

While it is true that some multi-media content is a PITA on Linux, this is hardly the fault of open source but more a symptom of a lack of usable standards in the industry.

I have been using Linux exclusively as my desktop, and when I have to use Windows I feel I am in a prison cell. Things that are easy in Linux are painfully difficult in Windows, and things that are easy in Windows, can often be difficult on Linux.

However, articles never focus on the difficulties of Windows, only the problems with the easy things on Windows being difficult on Linux. Why not take all the time users spend updating McAffee and other anti-virus software and learn Linux? Why not take the time users have to reboot, and learn Linux. And so on.

Re:Linux is different, not harder (1)

djmurdoch (306849) | more than 8 years ago | (#15333636)

While it is true that some multi-media content is a PITA on Linux, this is hardly the fault of open source but more a symptom of a lack of usable standards in the industry.

Blame isn't the issue. The issue is that some things that people want to do are easier in Windows than in Linux. Many things are easier in Linux than in out-of-the-box Windows, but more options (Cygwin, etc.) exist to make Windows do those than to make Linux to the things Windows is good at.

Linux is getting pretty close: most of the applications I use on Windows now are available there too. But there's no reason to switch, so far, because nothing that I want to do is *only* available there.

Multimedia content is not difficult at all. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15333674)

There are a plethora of programs for handling various types of media on Linux, as well as the BSDs and even Solaris.

VLC has proven itself to be a true challenger to Media Player. Under Linux, it can play virtually any audio or video file. This is without having to search endlessly for codecs, as is often the case with Windows. All the necessary codecs are included when it comes to VLC.

When it comes to editing, there are again many, many suitable programs available. A simple search at Freshmeat will give a very complete list of such softwares.

bah.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15333565)

A reporter reports that Linux is *too complex* to use.
Sounds like the same story from the paid off *survey houses*.

Move on, nothing to see here.....

I had been using SimplyMEPIS for nearly a year now, and installed it on several other peoples machines who were tired of the getting a DWI [Daily Windows Issues]. But I still have to switch to 'dohze to do some specific GIS mapping work and that is all, no office, no DRM, and I'm very productive and happy

--WAP3

He's right about one thing... (3, Insightful)

Kaellenn (540133) | more than 8 years ago | (#15333566)

From TFA:

"Meanwhile, for both personal and professional computer use, I want access to all multimedia functions. While solutions may exist to almost every problem I encountered, I was willing to invest only a limited amount of time as a system administrator."

And therein lies the real problem. Its not that you can't get these things working--and its not that they aren't fairly easy to get working (My Ubuntu desktop took about 5 minutes to get all multimedia enabled to play on it with very little knowledge of Ubuntu, Synaptic, or the apt system)--to be 100% fair, this is a whole lot easier than scouring the internet for random, obscure codecs that people like to use. So how is it "too difficult?"

Simply put, the issue is not one of how much administration time people are willing to put in; its about the fact that under windows, they've forgotten about the administration tasks they've either a) already done or b) done so many times on new machines that they just don't notice it and its just become part of the routine for them. It's about not wanting to learn how to do it differently when they already know how to make it work one way. It's back to the original premise as to WHY users don't want to switch from windows to *nix--its not that the system is harder; its just different.

Linux is user friendly... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15333573)

Its just more selective about who its friends are..

Simple Answer - No (1)

repruhsent (672799) | more than 8 years ago | (#15333577)

The switch in droves that so many Linux fanboys want to occur never will.

Take Joe Blow for example, your average PC user from the street. He got his computer from Dell and it had everything set up for him and configured in a semi-acceptable way. He might have done a few things differently but he doesn't know how and it works the way it is, so he's happy. A lot of his music he has was ripped with Windows Media Player but when he got an iPod, iTunes converted it so he could sink it with his iPod (AAC probably). Linux by default doesn't come with AAC support (legal purposes and a lot of evangelists bitch that it's not "free") so if he were to put Ubuntu on his machine he would lose that functionality. If he stuck with Windows (or even got a Mac) he'd be fine.

Next up, video drivers. His Dell comes with a nice system restore CD that he can pop in after a crash and bring everything back up the way it was. This includes hardware accelerated video. Do Linux installations do something like this? Usually not; they whine that the drivers aren't "free" and "open source," which he doesn't care about since he's not a programmer. If he sticks with Windows (or got a Mac, again) he'd be fine. There's another strike against Linux.

I could go on and on, but I won't. The only way Linux is going to start attracting users in droves is if it drops this whole superiority thing about free software and open source. Otherwise, lots of luck to you gentlemen, but Microsoft and Apple are going to be kicking your ass forever.

Switching to a Mac (1)

programmer-x (457719) | more than 8 years ago | (#15333586)

I would be interested to see just how easy the 'average' finds the switch to a Mac from Windows and how long it took to achieve the same level of productivity.

You are never going to get people to switch when they don't want to spend time learing how to do things diferently.

Impatient Inbred (-1, Troll)

BladeMelbourne (518866) | more than 8 years ago | (#15333588)

Mark is an idiot.

If he spent half of the time he spent learning Windows, he would pickup Linux in a few weeks of full time use. Rather than give Linux the same treatment as Windows, he took a shortcut and just "expected" to know how to do it. He doesn't have the mental capacity.

Message above toliet role:
> wipe for free journalism degree.

Probably the biggest cause of the problem... (1)

Circlotron (764156) | more than 8 years ago | (#15333589)

...is that the total of all the efforts put into GNU/Linux is spread so thinly over several hundred distro's. If there were say half a dozen big ones then it would really move ahead. Doing anything in Linux is easy, but only after you have forgotten how hard it was to get to the point that it felt easy.

Problems (1, Informative)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | more than 8 years ago | (#15333590)

  • I should NEVER need to open a console (How often do Windows Users need cmd.exe?)
  • The user doesn't care about the neat things they can get from /proc /dev and the likes. Hide these.
  • Coming from Windows all of my libraries are in windows\system32 or in the directory of the actual application. Linux could put them in /lib, /usr/lib, /usr/local/lib, /usr/share/lib/, etc, and my application is almost certainly not going to have its own directory.
  • Permissions... In windows, if I want to give someone permissions, all I have to do is right click, go to the Permissions tab and add a user, tweak their access. In Linux, it suffers from the Owner/Group paradigm. I shouldn't have to change the user account (add a group to it) to access files.

Re:Problems (1, Insightful)

A beautiful mind (821714) | more than 8 years ago | (#15333628)

Linux is not windows.

These "problems" are our _features_.

The problem is user mentality expecting things to work like on windows. The hard thing is getting rid of that mentality.

Re:Problems (1)

slashflood (697891) | more than 8 years ago | (#15333691)

The user doesn't care about the neat things they can get from /proc /dev and the likes. Hide these.

Already hidden.

Coming from Windows all of my libraries are in windows\system32 or in the directory of the actual application. Linux could put them in /lib, /usr/lib, /usr/local/lib, /usr/share/lib/, etc, and my application is almost certainly not going to have its own directory.

That's the reason, why we have a package management.

Permissions... In windows, if I want to give someone permissions, all I have to do is right click, go to the Permissions tab and add a user, tweak their access. In Linux, it suffers from the Owner/Group paradigm. I shouldn't have to change the user account (add a group to it) to access files.

Already there. It is integrated in KDE 3.5 and also available as a KDE add-on [kde-apps.org] .

Anyone else find this odd (1)

Blinocac200sx (955087) | more than 8 years ago | (#15333592)

Linux was started in 1991 by a Finnish student, Linus Torvalds, who wanted to modify the Unix operating system to work on his PC. (Unix was a text-driven operating system running on big mainframe computers that could handle various tasks and users simultaneously.) The task proved too much for one person, so Mr. Torvalds asked for help from programmers around the world in a posting on a Web bulletin board -- and the Linux movement was born. As if to say Open Source programming started with Linux.

Re:Anyone else find this odd (1)

JTorres176 (842422) | more than 8 years ago | (#15333664)

What I found odd was that Linux is a modified version of Minix which was based on Unix. Heh, a few paragraphs in and he's already mis-stated facts.

Naturally it didn't meet his expectations (2, Insightful)

A beautiful mind (821714) | more than 8 years ago | (#15333593)

Linux is not a drop-in windows replacement. It is not supposed to work like windows.

It is not supposed to route around basic, essential knowledge required to operate a computer like windows does.

Also the claim that anybody can switch from Linux to windows is true. But I don't think it means what you think it means. It doesn't mean that you don't have to "unlearn" the windows way of doing things or that you're not required to learn how to operate Linux properly.

"While solutions may exist to almost every problem I encountered, I was willing to invest only a limited amount of time as a system administrator."

Dear journalist, please continue using your tricicle then on your way to work, because obviously a car requires more expertise and attention. Obviously it is not ready for most people.

P.S.: I talk about Linux, where I obviously mean some distribution of Linux. Also the car analogy is flawed as I spend much less time administrating my debian desktop I'm writing this post from as I'd spend with fighting windows to do what I want. This installation is over 4 years old and absolutely tweaked for my needs.

My take... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15333596)

If you use software and applications that only run on one OS, switching may be a little rough. This applies when switching from one OS to another regardless of the source and destination or even switching applications on the same OS. If I used Corel Draw/Photo for years and suddenly I have to switch to Adobe Photoshop, I am going to have problems. The quality or capabilities of Photoshop itself is not the problem, the fact that it is not quite the same as Corel and it has problems opening some of my complex documents is the issue.

When switching to Linux, the applications and the OS are not the problem, the quality is outstanding and the system os just as capable. The fact they are not exactly what you used in the past is.

Windows isn't that bad (3, Insightful)

EBFoxbat (897297) | more than 8 years ago | (#15333597)

"I wonder how much more time he will be willing to spend admining his box once it is rooted by malware and his bank accounts are periodically cleaned out?" The funny thing is, as an intelligent Windows user, I've never had that happen. I tried Ubuntu, Mandriva and Knoppix (install from live CD) and none of them wanted to get my Dell XPS 400's network working right. Also, none of them configured x properly for my PCIe 6800. For reason's like that, I gave up on Linux. I had ubuntu working fine on my 1 Ghz Compaq Armada. However it took ~5 minutes to boot. My Dell boots in 30 seconds and returns from hibernate in 10 seconds. I know that has a lot to do with hardware (7200 rpm sata hdd vs 4200 rpm laptop drive) however it also has a lot to do with the OSes respectivly. I can't have 5 minute booting times on a laptop which is turned on and off 10 times a day. The desktop isn't such a problem as I leave it on for weeks on end. But it's the Dell desktop that I couldn't get working right. On a side note: I guess that's what I get for buying a Dell.

It's true. (3, Insightful)

old_skul (566766) | more than 8 years ago | (#15333598)

For readers of Slashdot, using Linux probably seems a trivial task. But for the millions of PC users out there who have been using Windows for years, switching to Linux is a serious investment in time and learning. Put simply, in Windows, everything works out of the box in 99.999% of the cases. In the case of Linux, there is *always* some modicum of configuration needed. There's no distro of Linux I know of that plays DVDs and MP3s out of the box, simply due to the licensing issues that Windows has covered. And *everyone* listens to music on their PC, right? (I know, I know, Windows doesn't play DVDs either. But it's a lot easier to set that up in Windows.)

Once a company steps up and licenses some software, and puts together a commercial distro of Linux that works out of the box in the same ballpark as Windows, then it will have a fighting chance at winning people over. Then the only problems will be the cost - because it won't be Free Software - and convincing people that they need to learn a completely new GUI.

Best of luck.

All these articles (-1, Troll)

KaizerWill (240074) | more than 8 years ago | (#15333599)

seem to miss the point. The 'ordinary user' synonymous with the 'average person' which is to say, stupid. Dumb people are never going to (a) recognize the need for a change like linux, (b) be capable of making the switch, or (c) care in the first place. Thats why it will never happen. Theres nothing the developers and designers can do about that.

The answer is... yes! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15333610)

Yes, ordinary users can ditch Windows for Linux with ease. An "ordinary" user can just browse the web, use email, write documents, edit photographs and play multi-media. There are no problems doing all of these things on Linux, and you get the extra bonus of not having to worry about spyware, trojans, adware, viruses, etc, etc...

What's An "Ordinary User"? (1)

carpeweb (949895) | more than 8 years ago | (#15333620)

Ordinary covers a wide range, but I'll bet lots of /.ers will equate ordinary with their own level of technical expertise. (So we'll see a lot of Nick Barnes comments.) That's too deep for a lot of people.

The reality is that Linux has to be as easy as Windows, maybe easier to overcome the natural barriers to switching. (OK, maybe MS Monopoly isn't a "natural" barrier; I meant the natural resistance in most people's minds to change of any kind.)

Re:What's An "Ordinary User"? (1)

linvir (970218) | more than 8 years ago | (#15333659)

Linux has to be as easy as Windows
It already is, in the form of Linspire.

Unfortunately, to be easy to use, Linux has to coexist with proprietary codecs and closed source drivers. There are a lot of GNU zealots out there who fail to grasp the symbiotism between free and proprietary software, and so the Linux community literally won't tolerate that level of ease of use.

Let's be honest (5, Insightful)

muellerr1 (868578) | more than 8 years ago | (#15333624)

Most ordinary PC users might be able to install some Linux distro or another. That's not even the issue. Why should they? More than that, I believe that ordinary PC users don't know anything about Linux other than it exists. Sure, it's great, it can do anything a PC can do only free, but there's no really good reason to switch if their computers are working right now.

A non-geek friend of mine just bought a new laptop. We (me and another geek) were sitting around helping her install the latest windows updates, and talking about how she should try Linux, since both of us used it regularly on our personal computers. Finally she asked us, "Do I need Linux?" and both of us realized that neither of us wanted to be Linux admins for her so we said no. There was no real benefit to her switching, and quite a few drawbacks since she likes to keep current on Flash cartoons and movies.

So she knew about Linux before we talked to her, but she didn't really know why she'd need it. There was no motivating factor to switch. If a person isn't motivated to do it themself, few people will really want to do it for them. It would get annoying pretty fast, all those phone calls when wifi or email stops working mysteriously, or they can't watch some movie clip.

Not for grandma, but great for others (1)

ylikone (589264) | more than 8 years ago | (#15333629)

Even though I've got grandma running Linspire, it does still not quite work intuitively enough for some applications, like printing proof sheets of photos, scanning or managing her photo albums. BUT she can install software in a snap using Linspires "Click and Run" system, which makes it really easy and puts an icon for you on the desktop... all in 1 click. I would not let her use distros like Ubuntu or Mepis, as those are great for beginners, they are still not for the "ultra newbie" and "forever a newbie" like grandma. But anybody with any sense of doing a bit of their own troubleshooting should have no problems.

If you're serious, don't be lazy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15333631)

If you are serious about ditching Microsoft -as I hope most people are these days- then you should be willing to invest at least a little bit of time into learning the new OS. It may seem more complicated at first, but really it isn't - things are just done differently... and mostly in a way that makes a lot more sense. Many things are actually far easier in Linux than in Windows, you just have to be willing to take the time to find that command you need.

With distros such as Ubuntu (http://www.ubuntu.com/) whose primary goal is to push Linux into the mainstream, what used to be complicated tasks such as loading new packages or even installing the OS have become very simple (and if you can't figure out Synaptic package manager, then sorry but you must also be very simple).

The community for Linux is excellent - it has to be because the whole thing is built and supported by the community, not some corporate fat cat who only think they know what you want (or at least know how to get all your money for things that should be free). With such an amazing community supporting it, whenever you come across something you don't know how to do, usually all it takes is a quick search and you've got full out step-by-step instructions on the one command it's going to take you to resize all those images you just transferred off your digital camera. Even with the extra time of looking up how to do it, you're still saving yourself the hours it could take to open them in Photoshop and manually resize and save each image individually and next time all you have to do is run the one command and all your photos are ready to be e-mailed! Feel the power of the command line and batch processing run through your fingers and onto your keyboard.

Really, as long as you can put in the time to learn the new (and often better) way of performing your tasks there is no reason not to switch to Linux (unless you do a lot of gaming or have proprietary Windows apps that there is no alternative for). Please do what's right and make the switch!

More articles like this! (1)

the_tsi (19767) | more than 8 years ago | (#15333633)

The more (lazy) reporters come up with FUD articles about Linux, the longer my job will be justified. The more "linux is hard" articles that come out, the lower the chance of my job being shipped to India. Every time I see one of these on Slashdot, I'm excited because my PHB might see it, too, and remember how hard computers are next time I come up for a performance review.

Windows would be any different? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15333634)

It would have taken a similar amount of time and energy to learn windows for the first time too.

Some Points Worth Considering (2, Insightful)

Otter Escaping North (945051) | more than 8 years ago | (#15333635)

The guy clearly is not a computer whiz - and it might be fashionable to trash his conclusions on the basis that he doesn't know what he's doing, but it's worth remembering that he probably does represent a fairly large pool of users; business people who are power users with certain applications, but without a good understanding of the computer system as a whole (ie. he starts "testing" the OS by visiting some websites).

Please don't get me wrong; I really like Linux - and had some years of working with unix systems before I tried it, but I too was surprised how much trouble I had getting some things set up; considering the marketing I was being given on its ease.

I've got a Linux network at home, and I have no plans to dump it; but I know several people who have computers and are considering an upgrade. As much as I'd love to recommend Linux, for reasons of principle as well as practicality (they don't have a lot of money to throw around), I simply can't. They're not up to the job of handling the OS.

That may not be the market that Linux is after; I don't know, but I agree with the author's conclusion (whose emphasis was removed in the summary): "Claims by some Linux publishers that anybody can easily switch to Linux from Windows seem totally oversold.:

To all those saying he's stupid... (0)

Professr3 (670356) | more than 8 years ago | (#15333637)

I like Linux. I think it's a wonderful project, and I've run it myself before. However, with Windows, you install it and go. There's no "oh, well you have to recompile the kernel with these minor changes, and find special driver fixes for your particular hardware" that comes along with most distributions. Linux just requires a high initial config/setup time, and saying that a standard Windows user is stupid or lazy because they don't automagically know that a gnarly 50-character shell command could solve their problems, or don't want to spend hours trying to find a solution online, is just usual fanboy/fanatic talk. I'm a fairly experienced programmer/computer geek, and my opinion is that, while much better than Windows from almost every standpoint, Linux fights me every step of the way. What am I going to use, an operating system that fights me and randomly eats my boot sector (apparently, guess what, a hardware compatibility issue), or a throwaway system with plug-and-play Windows? For those of you that would say "You probably use XP and are a loser," I prefer 2k.

He makes a valid point. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15333638)

Many linux advocates I've met often say to me that there is no need to continue using windows because there are open source alternatives to nearly everything that exists as Windows software.

TFA hits the nail right on the head by saying that many people are not willing to invest time into looking for these open source alternatives. While sites like sourceforge makes the search for these alternatives much easier, many of the projects listed seem to be in a beta/alpha stage. Usually these projects are difficult to setup and get working if you do not already have a technical background.

As stated many times before, if Linux wants to cater to the average joe out there, there needs to be more user-friendly solutions. In reply to an earlier post about the lazy user syndrome, we cannot expect to change many of these user's viewpoints and attitudes about technology. They don't want something that 'just works' - in fact I'd say that they'd rather have something that's idiot proof and easy to setup than something that just works. Just look at Windows.

Usually I hear of those people who help their family members or friends to get used to Linux. This is perfectly fine and all, but I imagine that without this kind of 'mentorship', it would be hard to get started on your own feet if you do not have experience with computers. (I.E normal joes who use Windows occasionally.)

Linux needs to get away from the geeky side - Gentoo, Slackware etc - and have more user-friendly distros - maybe Fedora Core or Mandriva, I didn't use them before so I can't comment.

Re:He makes a valid point. (1)

teh loon (974951) | more than 8 years ago | (#15333661)

That was posted by me - forgot to login.

I don't give a crap (1)

Eudial (590661) | more than 8 years ago | (#15333641)

If they want to use Linux, great for them. I'm not going to force them to do it, if and when Linux gets ready for the Desktop users, they will migrate. Otherwise, I'm fine with linux being the hobby developer / server os it is.

To pull a christian metaphor, you really can't force salvation upon them.

Distros and expectations (1)

Tx (96709) | more than 8 years ago | (#15333642)

I'm kind of surprised that some hasn't managed to come up with a distro that does the vast majority of what guys like this expect out-of-the-box. Since we know almost all that stuff is possible with some effort, it should be possible to comeup with a distro that does it, no? Take the distro with the best hardware support, install whatever is needed to play DVDs etc regardless of whether it pisses some people off, etc.

Then there's the expectations part, where I was going to explain that peoples expectations need to be managed when it comes to what to expect when switching. But actually, this guy had pretty reasonable expectations - wanting the OS to work with his graphics and sound hardware is certainly reasonable. Wanting to play common multimedia formats found all over the net is perfectly reasonable. Being able to deal with complex MSOffice documents is something that will have to be possible to make switching practical for a lot of people. The iTunes business is not quite so reasonable - if Apple don't say it's compatible with Linux, then there's no reason to expect to be able to use it, although it's reasonable to want to, if you have an ipod.

Reasonable article, even if we've seen the like often enough.

I did... Just need one more to answer it! (1)

Falcon040 (915278) | more than 8 years ago | (#15333649)

I'm an Ordinary PC User. I Ditched Windows for Linux.

Now only at least one more person is necessary to bring an answer to the title: "Can Ordinary PC Users Ditch Windows for Linux?"

Its all in the plurality!

The author definitely (1)

guysmilee (720583) | more than 8 years ago | (#15333653)

The author definitely has a limited amount of time ... he's definitely in line for 'the slacker' award.

Not yet (1)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 8 years ago | (#15333655)

Things change too much and break too often. A computer is just a tool for most people. It needs to just work out of the box, and Linux is very far behind in that respect for a lot of people.

I keep hearing how hard it is to get things working out of the box with Windows and it leaves me wondering how long it's been since most Linux users have used Windows on a good home PC. It still sucks in some respects, but Windows XP is very good about "just working" for most hardware and software that average people want.

It's really quite depressing to see how sluggish the mainstream distros can be today. I have a PC that I just had to bring up to 768MB of RAM that can run XP, BeOS Dev Edition and HaikuOS (yep, I boot into HaikuOS from time to time) and Linux is the only slow OS it's run before. SuSE is a beast. XP multitasks just fine with Folding@Home, Firefox, iTunes and a few other apps open.

Its all in the software! (1)

a_greer2005 (863926) | more than 8 years ago | (#15333666)

With a default install of RH or suse; can you play a DVD? can you use the that copy of Photoshop, Office apps like Visio that you have hundreds or thousands of dollars invested in?

People say "just use the gimp" to you I say that The Gimp SUCKS so hard that it isnt funny! OOo is a great alternative, except for the fact that if you eant to share docs with the most popular suit' MS office, you have to lock the files into a propriatery format!

Several Linux distros on their own make great enviornments, but without the support of huge vendors like Adobe and a massive teardown of MS Office lock-in, there is no way that this can take off.

As much as the GNU folks are pained by the thought, without propriatery tools like Quickbooks, Adobe CS and acrobat product lines, apps like iTunes to use the content that windows users already have, DVD playback, and so on, few are willing to make the transition.

A tutorial for installing programs (1)

kanweg (771128) | more than 8 years ago | (#15333667)

This weekend I came across a tutorial for installing programs on Ubuntu. I was appalled that it involved more than dragging an icon from one place to another. In fact, the tutorial went on for several (screen)pages. When I have software developed I keep my options open, should I ever want/need to ditch Apple for Linux in my company, but for the time being I'm only all too happy with the former.

Bert

Linux not for beginners? (1)

webmouse (744581) | more than 8 years ago | (#15333670)

I use Vector Linux for every day tasks on a Dell laptop. Easy install, one CD, 15-20 min., hardware automagically recognized, network and internet available and I have a full KDE system running with Firefox (flash plugin, multimedia readt), Sylpheed (mail) and OpenOffice.org etc. Extra apps are easy to install via GSlapt. USB-hotplug works like a charm (usb-harddisk, camera, stick). Try that with Windows.

Just try the opposite (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15333672)

I used Linux for about a six months, then tried running Windows XP. It was a total disaster. Nothing worked right in Windows. Nothing was easy to install or safe. I had to run anti-spyware and AV software all the time, and it never really worked right. Ultimately, I kept my computer as safe as could be but still ended up with a unidentified rootkit anyway.

It wasn't worth the bother. I switched right back to Linux and I've never even thought about going back.

Wireless? DVD's? MP3's for crying out loud? (5, Insightful)

SsShane (754647) | more than 8 years ago | (#15333673)

Joe Normal User tries to get on his wireless LAN with this cool new Fedora Core system he found and wanted to try. Sure it loaded up fine onto his system; the installer was intuitive and straight-forward. However, he has no internet. He plugs in his CAT5 and the problem fixed. But that sucks. He bought the wireless router so he could do away with that ugly red cable that snakes across the living room and pisses off his wife. Oh well, he'll keep going, he's curious.

What is this about no mp3's without setting up yum and grabbing the needed stuff? Okay, Joe Normal User has read up on yum and yum.conf and struggled through getting it setup after searching the forums and jumping on IRC (Joe is happy about an IRC client coming standard). He finds the repository he needed (and writes down the steps he went through for later reference) and types "yum install blehbleh". He thinks the typing is quaint and makes him feel like a hacker. Cool, mp3s are working now. Joe is getting a sense of power from bending the computer to his will.

He excitedly tries to play a DVD. Nothing. Okay, hit the forums again. Damn...no DVD support. Something about media cartels and general nefariousness seem to be getting in his way but there seems to be a solution. He uses his newfound hacking skills and fires up yum again. He downloads some libraries with cool hacker-sounding names like 'libdethdvd3' and VLC, as well as MPlayer just in case. Cool! Now his test DVD title screen comes up....but DAMN, it freezes when play is pressed. MPlayer does nothing. He hits the forums again reads something about certain DVD's that don't play nice and something about evil media cartels again.

He decides he doesn't have time for this so he slicks the drive and re-installs Windows, then goes and makes love to his wife after apologizing about all the cables and how he is spending too much time in front of the computer.

Out the Box. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15333676)

I've been using linux for sometime now. Yes it can be tricky to set up. I tried Ubuntu and it worked out the Box, even with Chinese/Japanese/Korean support, changing between language profiles and language input methods is easy too.

Granted it does not have Office, etc, but clones thereof.

My mothers computer died and we do not know what has happned to her windows CD. We got a new HDD and I suggested we try Ubuntu. I let my mother install it. The only two things I needed to give her was the Wifi points access code and then enabling universal sources. I told her any programs she wanted she could add from the package manager.

Maybe my mom is just smart that she can follow two simple steps. Everything works now. Using hotmail and gmail she has not set up any mail programs.

Linux is ready, people are not (1)

The_Isle_of_Mark (713212) | more than 8 years ago | (#15333680)

People talk about Linux being complex, it is. People talk about Windows/Mac being easy, they are for the most part. When this discussion comes up I ask a question: How complex/easy are the tasks *you* wish to perform on a computer? Generally I find most people do not do much more than surf/email/office stuff/IM/multimedia creation and playback. All of these are about as easy on a good Linux distro as any other OS.

My wife's grandmother uses a computer all the time-- she's ninety. She does just fine with anything I put in front of her so long as the icons are the same and found easily. The problem for most people is not how difficult it is, but rather how different it is.

As for the complex parts of Linux, I believe a lot of savvy people sit down to learn Linux and get drawn into apache/Cups/Samba/etc by the books they pickup that profess to be "Linux Bibles." Very indepth knowledge about the intricate nuances of Apache aren't needed for daily usage. How many people setup a webserver on their windows/mac machines? BTW, have you ever read the Bible? Way too much info, so why would I want a Bible? Sheesh.

Finally, when people talk about their Grandmother/Grandfather using a machine, I have to ask if that age group is really the demographic to design computers or operating systems for?

depends on the person (1)

AchiestDragon (971685) | more than 8 years ago | (#15333682)

i doubt that any windows user would just switch without problems

not because it is hard but they expect it to work the same and not have to learn
new things

if you ask the same user how long it took them to understand windows properly
then i guess most would say months or years

then in the same breath they expect that switching to linux could be accomplished
in a few days

its not over sold it is the fact that it takes time to understand ,
and you have to remember that you will need to learn the diferences
not just load it and wonder why things are totaly diferent

just diving into linux and trying to do the same things they would do in linux
is going to cause problems. as they do not understand the fundimental
diferences between the two , and then can not be bothered to understand why

its not a failure of linux its a failure of the user to take the time to understand

one of the things that used to happen before the pc , dos / windows was any machine
that came out had its own operating system
people that grew up in that environment got used to diferent ways that they operated
now because of the monoculture of windows people don't expect anything to be any
diferent from it and seem unwilling to take the time to relearn
it would be diferent for someone who did not have the option of reverting to windows and had to relearn
but its all to easy to say stuff it and revert to windows for meany of these attempted switches to linux

from those that i do know of that have made the change and taken the time to learn
they are very happy with linux and prefer it in a lot of ways , i should also add
that now need less tec support than when using windows because they have found out
how to find solutions to there problems there selves

SUSE 10 and Sony (1)

canuck57 (662392) | more than 8 years ago | (#15333685)

After the tests, representatives of Fedora, Linspire and Novell told me that Sony Vaios are known to have compatibility problems with Linux.

I loaded SUSE 10 on my Sony VAIO laptop and my desktop and it worked right off, even with a 54g wireless card. Mind you, I chose the specific D-Link card I used because Linux drivers were reputed to exist for it. But seems fully functional to me. Added VMWare so I could also run OpenBSD and Solaris x86, which worked.

He's not trying to switch (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15333690)

He's just trying to keep running Windows by using Linux, which is crazy really and obviously why we still in 2006 are having problems, and will continue to have problems, people aren't trying to switch, he was, by his own admission, just looking to cheap out.. That's the main problem outside the hardware issues, userland apps that are designed for Windows, he's trying to stay stuck on them. Yes, it is a real world test, but turn it around, try to get that XP machine to open and run a linux only app,and see what happens. I have virtually no problems using linux, because I don't try to run Windows or Macintosh programs with it.

That's it! I really "switched", he didn't, and most people who "tried" linux and had issues also didn't "switch", they still tried to run WINDOWS applications with it. That isn't switching, that is being lame and illogical. If you are going to just insist on running windows applications, then just stay there and don't waste your time.

  You could devise any "test" you want along those lines (square peg /round hole) and it will be a *guaranteed failure*, every single time, there will always be something that doesn't work.
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