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A Year of Linux Desktop At Westcliff High School

Unknown Lamer posted about 8 months ago | from the freedom-for-all dept.

Education 283

jrepin writes "Around a year ago, a school in the southeast of England, Westcliff High School for Girls Academy (WHSG), began switching its student-facing computers to Linux, with KDE providing the desktop software. The school's Network Manager, Malcolm Moore, contacted us at the time. Now, a year on, he got in touch again to let us know how he and the students find life in a world without Windows." And they didn't even meet much resistance: "Younger students accept it as normal. Older students can be a little less flexible. There are still a few that are of the view that I can get rid of Microsoft Word when I can pry it from them. Staff are the same (although it is surprisingly not age-related). Some are OK and some hate it. Having said that, an equal number hate Windows 7 and nobody liked Windows 8. I think the basic problem is that Windows XP is a victim of its own success. It works fairly well from a user point of view, it's been around practically forever, and people don't like change, even some students, oddly."

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283 comments

High School for Girls Academy (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44437243)

Nice to see a focus group that represents a typical cross-section of a normal user base.

Re:High School for Girls Academy (3, Insightful)

X0563511 (793323) | about 8 months ago | (#44437273)

Nobody said this was a focus group.

Re:High School for Girls Academy (1)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | about 8 months ago | (#44437705)

Nobody said this was a focus group.

Exactly. Purely anecdotal which, when corroborated with other anecdotal evidence, still says Windows 8 sucks, Windows 7 is "meh" and XP is what everyone is still wanting to run.

You can pay for as many "Independent 3rd party studies" as you want. I'll take random anecdotal samples over that anyday.

Are high school girls not normal users? (5, Interesting)

crashcy (2839507) | about 8 months ago | (#44437289)

Is there any reason to think this user base would be any more or less likely to adapt to Linux than a "normal user base"?

Re:Are high school girls not normal users? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44437425)

You're right. When it comes to rationality and practicality, high school girls jump right to the top of the list.

Re:Are high school girls not normal users? (4, Insightful)

crashcy (2839507) | about 8 months ago | (#44437493)

Why would you assume the normal user is rational and practical? If you've ever worked desktop support, you wouldn't. So the point of this article is that a group of students, in this case high school age females, had no trouble with the transition. There is no reason I can think of to assume they would be more likely to adapt then another sample.

Re:Are high school girls not normal users? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44437701)

Can you provide a counter example of a stage in adult development more associated with poor decision making, lack of taste and ease of influence based upon group mentality? For reference please research the terms Twilight, Bielieber, rainbow party, sexting and vodka tampon.

Re:Are high school girls not normal users? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44437899)

Can you provide a counter example of a stage in adult development more associated with poor decision making, lack of taste and ease of influence based upon group mentality? For reference please research the terms Twilight, Bielieber, rainbow party, sexting and vodka tampon.

More associated with? no.

Equally prone to: basicly the entirety of adult life is like that. The difference is once you get old enough to make the rules you get to call the younger generation's choices the bad ones and your choices the good ones.

Re:Are high school girls not normal users? (4, Insightful)

crashcy (2839507) | about 8 months ago | (#44437909)

Let me understand this: high school girls have no trouble using Linux, and high school girls like Twilight and Bieber, hence, Linux must suck? Am I understanding your logic ok here?
My take from this story is that a group of people with no general predisposition toward using an OS that is commonly seen as difficult to learn and just for geek hobbyists picked up on it without trouble.

Re:Are high school girls not normal users? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44438131)

More along the lines of a group people with no general predisposition towards what a desktop OS is used for by the majority of people who make decisions about buying and installing software. In this case being used as a proxy for the ease of adopting an OS. The reasons for their acceptance/hesitance are more than likely superficial and immaterial in the scope of why said OS has struggled to acheive market penetration relative to its merits.

Re:Are high school girls not normal users? (4, Insightful)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 8 months ago | (#44437679)

There's a valid point that your sarcasm hides: high school girls are often stubborn, irrational, and value popularity of a product more than the product itself. Aside from microsoft employees and apple fanatics, high school girls are the group I'd most expect to be resistant to changing OS. Yet they seem to have no problem with it.

It drives home the point that the only reason people don't switch to linux is inertia. It's not that people reject linux, even very stubborn, crazy groups of people.

(Disclaimer: I may still be a little bitter at high school girls from when they wouldn't talk to me when I was in high school.)

Re:Are high school girls not normal users? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44437769)

There's a valid point that your sarcasm hides: high school girls are often stubborn, irrational, and value popularity of a product more than the product itself.

Sounds like Slashdot.

This is Slashdot . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44437453)

Supposedly, the only "normal" users are big, fat, somewhat conservative nerds sitting in their parents' basement. Everyone else is supposedly a "hipster" and doesn't matter.

Re:High School for Girls Academy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44437337)

Nice to see them using KDE. It's a nice DE, version 4.10 has come a long way...

Re:High School for Girls Academy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44437395)

As long as it's for girls that is all that matters in the new crazy USA.

Re:High School for Girls Academy (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about 8 months ago | (#44437935)

So - they moved Westcliff to the USA while no one was watching? A lot of people in England are going to miss it! Or, maybe you read a different summary than I did, and your post was mysteriously moved to THIS discussion.

Re:High School for Girls Academy (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44437461)

yes i agree it is nice

the rest of you in here shut your noisy fuck traps and just agree already.

Why not more than a clone of Windows and Office? (4, Interesting)

WillAdams (45638) | about 8 months ago | (#44437275)

I'd really like to see a desktop suite of alternatives which do away w/ the shackles of backwards compatibility and instead try to do things right:

  - LyX for documents
  - Flexisheet for spreadsheets

Wish there was something other than Asymptote or METAPOST to suggest for vector graphics (I'd like to see a successor to Altsys Virtuoso and Aldus IntelliDraw and FutureWave SmartSketch).

Other alternatives which aren't ``just'' clones?

Re:Why not more than a clone of Windows and Office (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44437341)

Then write one yourself, bum.

Re:Why not more than a clone of Windows and Office (3, Informative)

DutchUncle (826473) | about 8 months ago | (#44437731)

Easy to say discard compatibility; except that means EVERYTHING has to become compatible with this NEW system. All you're doing is trading one compatibility for another. Plus people already have older PCs with an installed ecosystem of programs.

Re:Why not more than a clone of Windows and Office (2)

WillAdams (45638) | about 8 months ago | (#44437751)

All one needs is a reasonable set of import / export tools.

Re:Why not more than a clone of Windows and Office (1)

Desler (1608317) | about 8 months ago | (#44437861)

Because such tools pop out of thin air? How would writing those tools be any less work than what is required now to support those formats in existing tools?

Re:Why not more than a clone of Windows and Office (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44437923)

It's a good question, why didn't they use Alpha software for the transition? I can't figure it out myself.

Re:Why not more than a clone of Windows and Office (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44438121)

I'd really like to see a desktop suite of alternatives which do away w/ the shackles of backwards compatibility and instead try to do things right:

  - LyX for documents

  - Flexisheet for spreadsheets

Wish there was something other than Asymptote or METAPOST to suggest for vector graphics (I'd like to see a successor to Altsys Virtuoso and Aldus IntelliDraw and FutureWave SmartSketch).

Other alternatives which aren't ``just'' clones?

For vector graphics there is Ipe.
Click and draw shapes, no need to learn Asymptote or Metapost to draw.

I understand, it is Very hard to leave Windows XP (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44437277)

I just can't tear my way past it to Win 7, and just the screen shots of Win 8 annoy me. I have played with Linux and shortly, when MS drops the Win XP support I will load some flavor of Linux on the machine. It is just so difficult to abandon something I feel so comfortable with.

Re:I understand, it is Very hard to leave Windows (4, Interesting)

KernelMuncher (989766) | about 8 months ago | (#44437371)

I have to wonder about the Microsoft corporate strategy to keep changing the interfaces to their OS with each release.

Imagine if all changes were on the back end (security, improved networking, etc) and only a handful of changes were made with the front end. Windows would have millions of content and loyal users. And nobody would ever want to change.

Re:I understand, it is Very hard to leave Windows (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44437431)

Windows would have millions of content and loyal users. And nobody would ever want to change. Microsofts corporate strategy is dependent on people buying new versions of their software. If something doesn't 'look' like it changed, then nothing 'was' changed to most people. If you are still on xp at this point, microsoft doesn't really care a whole lot about you, unless it can get you to buy a newer version of its os.

Re:I understand, it is Very hard to leave Windows (1)

ackthpt (218170) | about 8 months ago | (#44437805)

Windows would have millions of content and loyal users. And nobody would ever want to change. Microsofts corporate strategy is dependent on people buying new versions of their software. If something doesn't 'look' like it changed, then nothing 'was' changed to most people. If you are still on xp at this point, microsoft doesn't really care a whole lot about you, unless it can get you to buy a newer version of its os.

Microsoft's Windows strategy is not just selling their OS on new computers from OEMs, but to convince all users that they are really missing out on something great if they don't ditch the old version and upgrade to the new version.

The core problem is the way Microsoft does things within the OS, the constrain the user on how and where they store things. Savvy users can figure ways to put stuff where they like, but are often still stuck when it comes to inflexible software installs.

From the get-go I was a massive fan of *nix systems because I did my own configuration and installs and put stuff on logical drives where I wanted things. The OS was left on its own logical drive (usually a separate physical drive) in the event it died or was upgraded/rebuilt. Changes on the OS drive had minimal impact on software installed or where it was installed. Try that with Windows, from version to version.

Microsoft's "all the eggs in one basket" strategy may be fine if you don't buy a lot of software or run for 10 years on the same boot drive. But when you've got a considerable investment in software and the way you have things organized, the last thing you want is a load of change forced upon you. You can only upgrade so much with Windows (which often results in some sort of Frankenstein system, not quite as nice as a clean install.)

If the old mainframe manufactures, programmers and support had a wealth of experience in system configuration, security and deployment, Microsoft completely ignored as much as possible and their users all suffer in the end. Microsoft really have got very successful and rich off a succession of terrible strategies. They've counted so much on the "Microsoft Tax" as a revenue stream they had little incentive to make migration and consistency of the user experience a focal point. Now with Windows 8 it's the most obvious it has ever been. Steve Ballmer has been piloting his Titanic into the iceberg for so long he can't see the open seas around him and just keeps focusing on heading for that showdown in the North Atlantic.

Re:I understand, it is Very hard to leave Windows (3, Interesting)

masterofthumbs (2881445) | about 8 months ago | (#44437435)

To be fair, the difference between XP and Vista/7 wasn't that drastic. Sure the colors changed but if anything, it was still XP underneath with an updated look (and some cool new tools). Windows 8 is where they went off on a tangent and put a little too much tablet UI in a desktop OS.

Re:I understand, it is Very hard to leave Windows (2)

iggymanz (596061) | about 8 months ago | (#44437569)

to be fair, we'd also have to consider DOS -> Windows 3.11 -> windows 95/98 -> (junk no one bought) -> Windows 2000 -> XP which were pretty drastic

Re:I understand, it is Very hard to leave Windows (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44437601)

Yeah but outside of that tablet UI that no one seems to be able to get their head around there is much more happening at the core of Windows 8 that makes it much better, at least by a Windows based metric. I'd say 8 has a ton going for it and letting yourself get hung up on a small work around to get past the tablet interface is a discredit both as a user and a supposed geek. 8 is worth the pains if you're going to use Windows.

Re:I understand, it is Very hard to leave Windows (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about 8 months ago | (#44438075)

WTF paid you to say that? And, WTF is a "Windows based metric"? If 8 has a lot going for it, then we're all hoping that it keeps on going, for a very long walk off of a short pier. Windows users seem to agree that IF you ARE a Windows user, it's best to stay with Win7, and hope to hell that Win9 is a usable system.

Frigging shills . . .

Re:I understand, it is Very hard to leave Windows (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44438045)

I really don't see Vista -> 7 as a color change at all. Note, I think 7 taskbar is the best taskbar designed.

Re:I understand, it is Very hard to leave Windows (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44437439)

Windows would have millions of content and loyal users.

As opposed to the hundreds of millions they have now?

Re: I understand, it is Very hard to leave Windows (2)

KermitJunior (674269) | about 8 months ago | (#44437579)

Um, I think he was talking about "loyal" users... not simply users or defaults.

Re:I understand, it is Very hard to leave Windows (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44437719)

I have to wonder about the Microsoft corporate strategy to keep changing the interfaces to their OS with each release.

That's one of my biggest gripes about MS products (other vendors are just as bad... Adobe, for example. The version on my new computer is completely different than the old one). Another gripe is when they replace something that works well, like XP's file manager, with a defective, buggy piece of shit like W7's file manager. When I upgrade my home tower (kde) there's little visible change, just new features and the computer works better and faster. A Windows "upgrade" usually requires a whole new computer.

That, and Windows' lack of features that Apple and Linux have had for years.

Re:I understand, it is Very hard to leave Windows (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44437809)

When I upgrade my home tower (kde) there's little visible change, just new features and the computer works better and faster.

You seem to be comparing major Windows releases to only minor releases of KDE. Major KDE releases have all had rather noticeable UI changes. Same with Gnone 2 to 3 and Canonical introducing Unity.

Re:I understand, it is Very hard to leave Windows (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | about 8 months ago | (#44437537)

Did you really need that much of a time to adjust from Windows 95/98 to XP?

If you must run MS and win32 software give Windows 7 a try?

MS will let you run it for 3 days before an activation. Some hated the fisher price colors of XP back in 2001, but could disable them (myself included.) after 48 hours I was set for the next stagnant decade.

Windows 7 aero is gorgeous and it is so nice to have jump lists and aero previews. You can move Windows side by side so much easier by draging them when you want to have 2 documents opened. Wifi, printers, and everything is easier to setup and drivers are automatically downloaded. It is much more secure, the wizards in the troubleshooter actually fix things rather than take screen shots, etc.

I could go on and on. It really is not that radically different from XP and it has no Windows rot which is a god send! Of course there is always linux and if your cpu supports virtualization you can use virtualbox to run a copy of XP if you wish if you want to go that route too.

Re:I understand, it is Very hard to leave Windows (1)

Lulfas (1140109) | about 8 months ago | (#44437547)

Getting used to Win 7 is a little tough at first, but after you make the transition, it is amazing how much nicer it is to work with than XP. The single most obvious user facing thing is drivers. You plug something in, it works. No user interaction required at all.

Re:I understand, it is Very hard to leave Windows (2)

Brett Buck (811747) | about 8 months ago | (#44437903)

Really? I plugged a headphone into the headphone jack yesterday and some dialog box popped up asking me if I wanted to use headphones. That never happened before Windows 7.

People hate change (1, Interesting)

Billly Gates (198444) | about 8 months ago | (#44437309)

News at 11!

When do not want to leave XP or IE 8 and even when I show them the benefits after the upgrade most start coming around to acceptance that is was time to change rather than be happy. Some were of course.

For grown ups I would be furious if I had to use LibreOffce too over MS office. Outside of slashdot it most certainly is not equal unless you are doing simple things. I tried to print something on another computer with it and all the margins were messed up. I could not change title's and preview changes before selecting them. Everything was hidden in a menu and after 4 minutes I wanted to pull my hair out before just downloading Word viewer instead.

LibraOffice has years to play catchup unfortunately just like the Gimp is no Adobe PS. But again fine for kids typing a paper in middle school or highschool.

Re:People hate change (1, Insightful)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | about 8 months ago | (#44437429)

If you can't figure out LIbre Office you shouldn't have your job. Hating any change is just being an evolutionary inferior waste on society.

Re:People hate change (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44437605)

Figure out this: Loading very large documents, which are fairly common in professional settings, is instanteous with Word because it loads them asynchronously and doesn't parse the entire document when it is loaded, LibreOffice and its predecessor on the other hand try to parse the entire document, which can take upward to seveal minutes. It is them that need to change some of the architecture of their program, not the users who "must adapt to change".

Re:People hate change (1)

walshy007 (906710) | about 8 months ago | (#44438133)

Are there any freely available documents large enough that you can link to that demonstrate this problem?

Not saying it doesn't exist, just have not encountered it and like to test things, tend to use LaTeX myself only using LibreOffice for opening other peoples stuff.

Re:People hate change (5, Interesting)

Animats (122034) | about 8 months ago | (#44437631)

If you can't figure out LIbre Office you shouldn't have your job.

LibreOffice just isn't very good. I've used StarOffice, then OpenOffice, then LibreOffice. I haven't used Microsoft Word since Word 97. And I still think LibreOffice sucks. It's usable, but amateurish.

Open source just can't get user interfaces right. LibreOffice has subtle problems, such as spelling correction that insists on making a change even after you've undone the change. Microsoft Word will yield to the user in that situation. The command-line crowd will never get fine details like that. I have Windows 7 and Ubuntu machines side by side on my desk, but the Ubuntu machine is used only for robotics software development.

I've watched Linux blow it on the desktop for fifteen years. There was an opportunity when XP was late. Linux blew it. There was an opportunity when everybody hated Vista. Linux blew it. There's an opportunity now when nobody wants to go to Windows 8. Linux is blowing it.

For a good laugh, look at what it takes to create a shortcut to a program in Ubuntu. [askubuntu.com]

Re:People hate change (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44437905)

Whats your point?

from article:

Navigate to your application in Nautilus.

Right-click, select "Make Link".

Then drag shortcut to your desktop.

---

The only difference is that Windows assumes that you will want your shortcut on your 'desktop' so gives you that option as well.

Re:People hate change (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44437913)

It's ok. Linux is winning the long game because the importance of the desktop and desktop applications is diminishing.

All of the most popular things to do with computers. (Twitface, mytubes, yougram, whatever) are all just as easy to use on linux as they are windows. Or macintosh. Or a tablet. Or a smartphone.

Microsoft may have a lock on the desktop, but the desktop is no longer the king in the consumer's mind.

Re:People hate change (1)

Velex (120469) | about 8 months ago | (#44437977)

All very good points. Imo, the best office suite I've ever used, even including Microsoft Office, was KOffice back in the 3.5 days. Figured it might be relevant to say that since they're using KDE. I loved how the styles were more well-defined in particular.

That being said, I've never done much "advanced" stuff in any WYSIWYG word processor. Well, the closest I've come is Word 2010's SmartArt feature, and I'd bet that neither LibreOffice or KOffice have something like that, but I haven't given KOffice a spin since 4.0 lost me as a KDE user. It makes it a breeze to do things like simple hierarchy charts and snazzed-up lists. I have no talent for graphic design, so that feature has made my (simpler) documents a whole lot more visually appealing.

However, I've found that if I need to do anything moderately complex, I turn to LaTeX even at work. Microsoft Word can be downright frustrating at times. Even though I spend time Googleing how to do things and staring at the LaTeX Wikibook [wikibooks.org], it seems I always spend less time doing that than fighting with Word.

In a longer document I honestly don't want to think about font sizes or which typeface I'm using or whether I've got a style that's being overridden by something else I don't want. I just want to type in what I have to write and let the formatting figure itself out. LaTeX, while not perfect, is the best solution I've seen yet.

I suppose it's just a shame that with the advent of the WYSIWYG word processor, people are more concerned with indenting things with spaces rather than using tabstops and obsessing over whether Comic Sans MS or Tahoma is more appropriate for this paragraph and how neat it looks if the next paragraph is in a completely different font or color! It would be nice if the focus were more on the structure of the document. I feel LaTeX does that for me, but I suppose the overarching problem is that people in general are not structural thinkers. They understand indenting the first line of a paragraph by hitting the space bar a few times; they don't understand telling the computer that it's a paragraph in an article or in a letter and letting the computer worry about the details.

Re:People hate change (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44438119)

For a good laugh, look at what it takes to create a shortcut to a program in Ubuntu. [askubuntu.com]

I _love_ how all of the upvoted replies start with "well first, run terminal command xyz --override", that is just gold. It's a bug that will get corrected, but seriously, how hard do they want it to be? Although, from a "rethinking the experience" perspective, if it stops users from having a sea of icons from edge to edge on their desktop, maybe they are on to something.

Re:People hate change (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44437645)

If you can't figure out LIbre Office you shouldn't have your job.

And this is what has always been a problem with open source ... it's clearly the users fault they can't figure out how the hell to do something in your product. Nosiree, it can't be because the tool is lacking, it must be a user defect.

And it certainly can't indicate that you're a smarmy douchebag. Instead it suggests you're a genius and the world is full of idiots.

Go fuck yourself. I'm betting you've never worked supporting people who do things so you're clueless about how the real world works.

Hating any change is just being an evolutionary inferior waste on society.

So is using shitter alternatives because they're ideologically cool. It's like poking yourself in the eye with a stick because it feels good when you stop.

I haven't looked at OO/LO in years, because the last time I did I was clunky an annoying to use and missing huge chunks of functionality. And they were in the middle of having forked and the two were still fighting one another.

Sorry, but something which mostly kinda works most of the time but has big warts and usability issues isn't a step up. It's a pain for your users to endure ...and for those of us who need to deal with users, the last thing we want is to give them even more reason to bitch about it.

Seriously, grow up and learn that because it works for you doesn't make it equal to the tool it's replacing.

Whiny little punks, demonstrating why Slashdot is out of touch with actual people for over a decade now.

Re:People hate change (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | about 8 months ago | (#44437681)

Libre Office does not have the features I mentioned. I wanted to make something look nice on my resume. The tools to do so were not there are very primitive compared to MS Word. Just a fact. With the ribbon you can preview changes and have 20+ titles with different effects, styles, fonts, and lines for my name.

Libre Office is about where Word 4.2 and Word 5.0 are for Windows 3.1.

Sure I can do basic documents with it but everyone else in the business word is making artful documents and changes and I can't have my documents look like crap on their computers because of different implementations of ooxml.

Re:People hate change (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 8 months ago | (#44437491)

I use Gimp daily to nondestructively alter blueprints. Photoshop would be a complete waste of money for my shop.

Re:People hate change (1)

wjcofkc (964165) | about 8 months ago | (#44437577)

LibraOffice has years to play catchup

Correction: OpenOffice has years to catch up. While LibreOffice of course gets parts of OpenOffice back ported, the code gutting and re-writes that made LibreOffice put it far ahead of OpenOffice. LibreOffice is great when it comes to outputting .doc, although I don't do much with spreadsheets so I can't comment there. Every once in awhile I install OpenOffice just to see how it's going but I always end up removing it after a few bug filled hours. I really don't know why anyone would use OpenOffice over LibreOffice.

Re:People hate change (0)

iggymanz (596061) | about 8 months ago | (#44437635)

never had that problem with LibreOffice, what I see is what I get on four very different printers at work and home.

I feel sorry for you Billy G, besides your ineptness with computers your mother burdened you with the name of a power and money grubbing leech.

Re:People hate change (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44437641)

GIMP is certainly not Photoshop, but for %90 of the people who use it, its good enough. Its stable, its quick, and it does most of the basic things, that most average consumers use PS for.

LibreOffice doesn't quite have the complications of MS Office, but again, lets face it, most people just type a document, occationally highlight, underline, bold or italic certain words, change a font, center/uncenter text, and spell check.

For the same reason most people don't know, and don't care about the new features between windows XP and windows 7.

Heck, I don't think much people would notice the diffrence between a full featured linux DE skinned to look like windows and the real thing. People just want to listen to music, type documents, browse the web, and download things and drag them to and from external media.

All major OSs do that.

Re:People hate change (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44437665)

Change is not the problem, it never has been...

The problem is change for change. If you can show them a change that is "a lot" better, people are easier at accepting it. And if it looks beautiful than people are willing to spend time to learn (osx ?).

If you show them some ugly desktop (ex. windows 8), with not really much new features, you get a big resistance. If it is free, maybe a little less...

everyone in all ages, is starting to use smartphones or tables, totally different UI, but it looks nice. There are a lot of advantages to using a smartphone/tablet, so people are willing too accept the change...

apple is also updating and changing there desktop, but I get the feeling with osx, they try to make it better, and not like with windows/office too make if different.

Re:People hate change (1)

pr0fessor (1940368) | about 8 months ago | (#44437735)

The company I work at switched to open office when Sun was still around. It took some months for the users to become familiar enough with open office to be as efficient as they were in MS office and I had to answer an awful lot of questions many I had to look up. Today we run on Libre Office and have many users that are extremely efficient with it. Some still miss MS office not many.

Re:People hate change (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44438031)

For grown ups I would be furious if I had to use LibreOffce too over MS office. Outside of slashdot it most certainly is not equal unless you are doing simple things. I tried to print something on another computer with it and all the margins were messed up. I could not change title's and preview changes before selecting them. Everything was hidden in a menu and after 4 minutes I wanted to pull my hair out before just downloading Word viewer instead.

Are you a greengrocer? Surely you didn't use grocer's apostrophes in college? As to the content of your comment, I agree that Libre Office sucks; I tried it a few weeks ago and ununstalled it after five minutes. Not having full justification is a no-show, but I'm happy with Open Office.

If you saved the document in Word format and tried to print it from another computer you should expect the margins and formatting to change -- Microsoft engineers their products to be as incompatible with everyone else's as possible, one of Microsoft's many evils. As to not being able to change the titles, that sounds suspiciously bogus. As to not being able to preview changes, how much is Microsoft paying you for your shillage? LO (and Oo) both have print preview and undo. You're a liar. Either that or incredibly stupid. Which may be that, since you can't fathom common menus.

I laughed at "playing catchup", I picture a LO pretending to be a bottle of red condiment. Sheesh, buddy, are you really that uneducated? I'd be ashamed to post if I looked as uneducated as you do.

Or are you just an anti-FOSS troll pretending to be a stupid uneducated liar?

Re:People hate change (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44438057)

Advantages for LibreOffice:
- No ribbon
- You can open multiple windows. So you can see two documents at the same time.
- Better regex support in Calc
- Logical print preview in LibreOffice shows you what will be printed. Office will not show you an accurate print preview, if, for instance, you are trying to 'print selection'
- Did I mention NO RIBBON!

I'm sure Office has some advantages, ubiquity comes to mind. But every iteration that comes out seems to make the UI worse. And, I know I'm not the only one with this opinion. I liked Windows 7 compared with XP. I am not adverse to change. I am adverse to stupid change.

Re:People hate change (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44438081)

I tried to print something on another computer with it and all the margins were messed up.

Oh come on, you're smarter than that. If you're going to create a document on one computer, transfer it to another and then print, export it to PDF first. Even MS Office doesn't play that nice unless the systems are pretty much clones of one another (same version software, monitor resolution, etc.). One of the main reasons PDF is such a relevant file format is that it prevents the issue you just mentioned, regardless of what software was originally used to create the document.

btw, I use both GIMP and LibreOffice professionally. My boss just wants the end result in PDF or on paper, he doesn't even know or care what software I use. Both applications are actually overkill for what I do, so Photoshop would be a complete waste of money (I have MS Office but I only use it for Excel).

While I understand that there are professionals that need the features Photoshop offers over GIMP, most people who actually do use Photoshop could just use GIMP. People who actually need Photoshop represent a small minority of those who actually own it (and often think they need it). With MS Office vs. Libre -- everything Word does Libre can do just as well. Excel compatibility and comparable smoothness is the only thing that LibreOffice needs to catch up on for me. Basically, what I'm saying is that most 'professionals' aren't doing anything more complex than what a kid typing a middle/high school paper/project is doing when it comes to formatting. It's the content that actually matters; a fancy ribbon interface doesn't improve the quality of my report, it just takes away white space and makes me scroll more often.

Exactly! (5, Interesting)

sootman (158191) | about 8 months ago | (#44437311)

> [Windows XP] works fairly well from a user point of view, it's
> been around practically forever, and people don't like change.

Yes, yes, and yes. Too bad MS didn't realize that -- they could have just spent the last few years refining XP and keeping people happy.

Apple actually has a pretty good thing going on with OS X -- like them or not, "small changes every year or two" beats "monumental fuckups twice a decade."

Re:Exactly! (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | about 8 months ago | (#44437459)

They did refine it.

It is called Windows 7.

I have noticed though Windows 8 is going through an annual update and my hunch is they are trying to avoid another XP again where people will start getting used to constantly upgrading and not have their brains used to reflexes of one browser version and one OS version and app version for a good portion of their lives. Instead of viewing their tool as a computer. They view it as XP which is part of the problem.

Re:Exactly! (1)

nine-times (778537) | about 8 months ago | (#44437525)

I have noticed though Windows 8 is going through an annual update and my hunch is they are trying to avoid another XP again...

Well, insofar as they're trying to avoid another XP, as a OS that people are attached to and are uncomfortable moving away from, they're doing an awfully good job. I don't foresee people becoming attached to Windows 8 no matter how long they use it.

Re:Exactly! (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | about 8 months ago | (#44437607)

I have noticed though Windows 8 is going through an annual update and my hunch is they are trying to avoid another XP again...

Well, insofar as they're trying to avoid another XP, as a OS that people are attached to and are uncomfortable moving away from, they're doing an awfully good job. I don't foresee people becoming attached to Windows 8 no matter how long they use it.

You say that now in 2013 where it is alien for someone used to the old way. My guess is towards 2019 if MS decided to give up on Metro and go back to a Windows 7 style UI the Windows 8 people would come screaming and crying because by that point they will be used to it.

Maybe I am wrong. I had someone in Facebook accuse me of being old and resistant to change after I reviewed Windows 8.1 and said how terrible and useless it was. I find it inefficient but maybe it is because my brain couldn't handle it?

But XP to Windows 7 is not that radical which I find confusing. So you have an orb instead of a button that says start. Big fucking whomp and oh things are translucent now. That is not radical in my opinion and people change cars all the time too and are happy. Not saying ... oh my POS works just fine screw this shiny new car with the fresh car smell!! ... weird.

Re:Exactly! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44437663)

its the user interface. If someone can come up with a specification for linux desktop UI experience such as placement, start menus, icons etc thinks would get better.

Just imagine what cars would be withoud standarization of pedals, steering, gears etc

Re:Exactly! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44437709)

Apple actually has a pretty good thing going on with OS X -- like them or not, "small changes every year or two" beats "monumental fuckups twice a decade."

Microsoft would never be able to get Windows customers to pay for service packs like Apple does.

Re:Exactly! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44437887)

Yes, yes, and yes. Too bad MS didn't realize that -- they could have just spent the last few years refining XP and keeping people happy.

If they did that the danger would be one day someone finally succeeds in producing a Windows XP compatible. Then the Windows market may go the way the PC BIOS market did... No longer monopolized and controlled by one entity.

Nobody really needs the UI/API changes of the new Windows. Most people want to use their apps not deal with the OS. The performance and most other benefits can be provided without those changes. But Microsoft has to break compatibility and move the goal posts. Or one day they will be a "BIOS" vendor and BIOS vendors don't make huge amounts of money.

Re:Exactly! (2)

intermodal (534361) | about 8 months ago | (#44437955)

Redeveloping things was necessary with Vista/7 to handle newer hardware and concepts, but the problem was they threw out half the baby with the bathwater when they significantly changed the main interfaces. There was no reason to mess with that when people were happy with it. I'm not even sure what they thought they were trying to beat by doing so.

Think of the children (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44437345)

If work places use Windows, shouldn't a high school prepare them for that?

Re:Think of the children (5, Insightful)

Bert64 (520050) | about 8 months ago | (#44437457)

They said the same about DOS and Wordperfect when i was in highschool, where are they now?

School should teach users generally applicable concepts, ie that there are multiple applications to accomplish a given task. If you only teach specific software then users will be stuck if they encounter different software, and by the time they leave school the software will be different. Even newer versions of the same applications are often wildly different. If taught properly, people will be able to grasp any new application that's designed for performing the same general functions.

Re:Think of the children (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44437945)

Good point! I remember when WordPerfect dominated word processing everywhere. When the school moved to upgrade to Windows they just got some DOS based version of WordPerfect that was slightly newer yet the same except for a mouse pointer in a DOS window.

Microsoft Word finally caught up feature wise and was able to reliably open WordPerfect documents without messing up the formatting. If only OpenOffice/LibreOffice/Google Docs/etc. could actually open up Office documents without such unreliable conversion it would gain a lot of traction.

Really schools should focus on general concepts or even require students to learn two different types of software.

Re:Think of the children (1)

LokiMorgan (1757026) | about 8 months ago | (#44438061)

Agreed. Schools should teach students how to learn to use software in general, not train them on specific applications.

Re:Think of the children (4, Insightful)

bryanandaimee (2454338) | about 8 months ago | (#44437487)

Exactly! Because we all know that school is first and foremost a job training program designed to replicate drone workers efficiently. You wouldn't want to expose those impressionable youngsters to alternative tech, or heaven forbid, non-PC thought.

Re:Think of the children (4, Informative)

iggymanz (596061) | about 8 months ago | (#44437511)

I used a typewriter in high school.

on the side, a teacher and some of us students formed a computer club and bought a TRS-80 so we could do Z80 assembly.

Since then I've used various document creating softwares on CDC Cyber, Vax, Unix, OS/2, Novell, Windows, Linux,

so the answer to your question is "hell no, what's the point"

Re:Think of the children (3, Interesting)

Just Some Guy (3352) | about 8 months ago | (#44437737)

None of my workplaces have used Windows for anything important. The shift to everything-as-a-web-app certainly helps.

Re:Think of the children (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44437753)

My last workplace used Linux almost exclusively. Its not a Windows World out there.

Personally, I think learning only one OS cripples someone's understanding of is a design decision in an OS, what is a fact about current computers, and what is basic reality. Its much like learning only one programming language, or only one spoken language: you can't understand something very well from passive use of a single just one type. This is why you pretty much have to take some foreign language to get into college, and the same thing applies to OSs.

There is a reason I've played with Windows, Mac (os 1-9 and X), Linux (Ubuntu, Fedora, Sugar...), BSD, Plan9 etc. and read up on others like DOS, Genode, Unix, Multix etc. I don't expect everyone to go that far, but using at least a few will greatly help you understand what an OS is, and what they can do.

I've see single OS users (my mom with Mac for example) attempt to explain how to do something on a different OS (say windows) to someone by referring to specific specific abstraction's details (where menus are for example) which are missing or very different on the OS they are talking about. Not understanding the difference between "launching a web browser", and "clicking on safari in the right end of the dock" is horrible! People won't make it past this naive understanding unless you either make them use a couple OSs, or give them a serious lesson in OS design (I recommend the first approach).

Windows is cheaper than Linux (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44437353)

One of the reasons we see so much Windows in education is that its cheaper than Linux. Microsoft gives out free software and hardware deals to schools as "donations". At my University, our CSE department had clearly been supplied with a lot of Windows stuff (I got 3 free Windows licences, and lots of other stuff as a student, I suspect the Labs got similar offers). The ratio of Windows to Linux machines was higher than most of the students wanted (It was often hard to find open Linux machines).

My High-school got all its computers replaced through some deal with Microsoft while I was there, and they were all Windows.

Microsoft makes large investments in getting its products into education so people get used to them. The people who resist change will then be stuck with them and but it in the future.

I assume this kind of thing is not the case everywhere, but their efforts seems to be keeping Windows as the standard OS in education. I'm really happy to see people working (and succeeding) at escaping this.

Parents Protesting Over Lack Of MS Office (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44437411)

The author mentioned that some parents protested because they felt learning Microsoft Office is crucial to their children's success. However we now live in an era where Microsoft is beginning to lose that stronghold. With Open/Libre Office always improving and solutions such as Google Apps gaining traction, I fail to see how this is really a factor anymore. By 2024 MS may not even be the major player anymore in the office space. This is like the prior generation telling us we must be proficient at using a typewriter or hand writing in cursive to land a job.

office compatibility is the big part of useing it (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 8 months ago | (#44437465)

Open office has some compatibility with office files but in the most part people need to use office as that is what is being used in most work places.

Re:office compatibility is the big part of useing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44437647)

Open office has some compatibility with office files but in the most part people need to use office as that is what is being used in most work places.

No, what people need is a standard file format that allows you to edit a document using whatever you want. There's no reason to force someone to use Office just because you use it; the same goes for OpenOffice (LibreOffice, etc).

Despite what many Office users think, Office is not a "standard." If it were, it would ship for free (No, MS's document viewer doesn't count).

Re:office compatibility is the big part of useing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44437991)

docx has open standards published.

Word beat WordPerfect not because Microsoft cried like a baby about formats but because they made it work with the existing WordPerfect formats. If OpenOffice or any of the alternatives want to compete instead of crying like babies then they need to make it work with the large trove of already existing documents out there.

You can't tell users who have had a working product for years before OpenOffice (and others) that they have to convert all those prior documents. The new alternative software should work 100% at reading the existing documents or it is useless.

dsfargeg (0)

Velex (120469) | about 8 months ago | (#44437479)

Westcliff High School for Girls Academy (WHSG)

Maybe I'm just having a bad week, but here goes. Insta -1 troll, karma to burn, etc.

But I thought that Linux was utterly sexist! I thought Linux discriminated against girls! I thought it was too technical!

Gah, I swear if I hear something along the lines of "math is hard" from another one of the real, flesh-and-blood women I know, I'm going to lose it.

Either that, or guess the fuck what. The body part between your legs does not determine your competency behind the keyboard. Women not using linux != some nebulous "discrimination" on the part of "all men."

Except I suppose this is desktop users we're talking about. Next we're going to hear how these poor girls have been discriminated against since they learned LibreOffice or KOffice and can't get hired. It's a male conspiracy!

3-4 year old systems can run windows as well (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 8 months ago | (#44437483)

3-4 year old systems can run windows as well as for cost cutting holding on to systems for 5-6+ years just seems like pushing it out also the old P4 systems can be big power hogs as well.

Re:3-4 year old systems can run windows as well (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44438029)

... the old P4 systems can be big power hogs as well.

As opposed to the current quad core i7 entropy engines?

Linux needs some help from Microsoft... (2, Interesting)

gadget junkie (618542) | about 8 months ago | (#44437485)

If Ballmer is able and willing to pull the plug on both win XP AND windows 7, in favour of windows 8, it will be easy to predict a booming interest in Linux on the desktop.

Re:Linux needs some help from Microsoft... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44437621)

s/Linux/Os X/

Odd? (1)

koan (80826) | about 8 months ago | (#44437517)

I see it from a perspective of once I learn the tool so that I can do my job I do not want to learn the tool again.
I see no reason (from my perspective) to ever change a GUI, sure update features and security but leave the part I have to interact with alone, which is why I despise Unity and WIn8.

It reminds me of picking up my guitar only to find the strings are in reverse order.

Re:Odd? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44438069)

I call people like you "neo-amish". You've decided arbitrarily that the state of technology you're familiar with is the "best" and that any new developments must be wrong in some way.

Go ahead and stand still the rest of the world will be happy to leave you behind.

Bring back XP (3, Interesting)

Skapare (16644) | about 8 months ago | (#44437683)

It's OK to upgrade it with drivers for newer hardware, and plug up more security holes. But give us the same user interface (as a choice).

Really. We CAN go back and run most older window systems/managers on a new Linux kernel and maybe new X server. We can get the old user interface. We can even get something that emulates Windows 95 (seen it). Why can't the core Microsoft Windows system do that? Just provide an app that chooses which user interface to use.

Interesting issue. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44437857)

With the ongoing high rate of change in what we call "computing" these days, it makes good sense to help students, staff and faculty understand that they need to be ready to adapt to change in their platforms, apps and interfaces. If they are stuck on "Word" for the foreseeable future, are they really going to wind up any different from the old geezer who still thinks all you need is FORTRAN?

We've gone from punch cards to PCs to client/server to Internet to tablets/phones/etc as the primary means for large numbers of people to use computing resources (well, maybe not punch cards...) and the pace of change is not slowing down, IMHO. To teach people to use, exploit, change, manage and understand computing is a much more valuable achievement than just teaching them to use a single system in a limited way.

Longer Term Study (2)

timmyf2371 (586051) | about 8 months ago | (#44438023)

A study one year on is useful, but what would be even more interesting would be a longer term study focusing on the experiences of students as they grow up and leave school.

It would be interesting to see whether using Linux and a non-MS office suite affected them academically, and as they start to look for work - particularly with many jobs coming with a requirement to be proficient in Microsoft Office (try getting Libre Office past those HR drones). Perhaps a higher proportion of students than is normal at a girls' school will end up working in the tech industry, having had more experience at school using a Linux system.

This part really gets me... (1, Troll)

CFBMoo1 (157453) | about 8 months ago | (#44438093)

"and people don't like change, even some students, oddly."

If only developers for some open source projects as well as Microsoft would have realized this and built on their successes. Instead they tried chasing after Apple and some of them really did a poor job of it and worst of all want you to pay an arm and leg compared to the others for it.

Mom-Approved (1)

organgtool (966989) | about 8 months ago | (#44438161)

The last time I stopped by my Mom's house, I was surprised to see that she had an old laptop running Ubuntu and XBMC hooked up to her TV. Apparently my uncle had the laptop laying around and decided she could use it as a home theater PC. I thought my Mom would be lost in an environment outside of Windows, but she seemed to learn the interface pretty quickly and rarely complains about it. I think with the proliferation of smartphones, tablets, and other devices with different interfaces is making users less technophobic than they used to be and they are slightly more willing to learn new interfaces. What I'm trying to say is that 2013 will be the year of Linux on the desktop.
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