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CBC Recommends Linux To Average User

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the penguins-to-the-masses dept.

Linux 270

rustalot42684 writes "The CBC [Canadian Broadcasting Corporation] has posted an article on its website promoting the use of Ubuntu Linux to the 'average computer user'. 'With the exception of gaming, which is limited, almost all of the average person's basic computing needs are well looked after with this package. I've used the last three versions of Ubuntu on my main portable web-surfing computer for years just to avoid viruses and spyware (as the vast majority of these nasty programs are written for Windows), and I have yet to be disappointed.' The author seems to have made some sweeping generalizations about the development of GNU/Linux, but that aside, will mainstream media coverage help more people switch?"

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Boy, THIS one is easy. (0)

Caspian (99221) | more than 7 years ago | (#18467899)

"[W]ill mainstream media coverage help more people switch?"

No. :)

Re:Boy, THIS one is easy. (5, Insightful)

cheater512 (783349) | more than 7 years ago | (#18467915)

I disagree.

A awful lot of people have never heard of Linux nor do they know that there is anything other than Windows.
If they start hearing about something which doesnt have the pitfalls of Windows then it will be very interesting.

Also there is the people who think its a nerds only OS (e.g. my mother). When they start seeing in mainstream media they may want to look in to it.
As it stands right now, I dont have a snowball's chance in hell of getting my mum to switch.
It was hard enough getting her to use Firefox.

Re:Boy, THIS one is easy. (2, Insightful)

Caspian (99221) | more than 7 years ago | (#18467949)

They will be interested precisely up until the point where they find that they can't play the games that they just bought from their local CompUSA (or PC World, or whatever).

Or until they try plugging in an arbitrary device and find that it doesn't work.

Or until they install one of the rare Linux games and find that the open-source nvidia or ATI drivers are so insanely slow as to make the game unplayable, due to lack of proper 3D acceleration support.

None of this stuff is the Linux community's "fault", per se. In fact, all of it is due to the hostile and pro-monopolist (read: pro-Microsoft) attitude of the software and hardware industries.

That doesn't, however, make it any more tolerable to the average user.

Re:Boy, THIS one is easy. (5, Insightful)

Chandon Seldon (43083) | more than 7 years ago | (#18468119)

Most of that stuff simply isn't true. Hardware generally works and the proprietary 3D drivers have perfectly good 3D performance. It's true that Windows software like games doesn't work, but that should be pretty obvious - no one gets confused or complains when their Mac won't run some Windows app, an Ubuntu system is the same.

Re:Boy, THIS one is easy. (1, Troll)

Falladir (1026636) | more than 7 years ago | (#18468319)

That stuff *is* true, if you're talking about randomly chosen hardware rather than stuff selected for linux functionality. Plug and play for "arbitrary devices" is still pretty weak in GNU/linux at this point. It's not surprising: the gadgets have been built with the intention that they work right out of the box with Windows. Maybe they work in linux, but you have to read on a forum somewhere about how to set them up. Even for totally generic devices, there's less plug-and-play freedom than in Windows. If I yank the CD-drive from my laptop while running GNU/linux, it locks completely. I can't plug in ethernet after having turned the computer on, rather I have to boot with it plugged in. Maybe I shouldn't do the first, but if you're giving the computer to your mom, you'd rather she be able to. Maybe there's something I can do about the second, but if so, why wasn't it enabled by default in Ubuntu Edgy? As for proprietary 3d drivers, it's true that even ATI, the worst GPU manufacturer when it comes to OSS support, has pretty decent drivers for recent cards. Slightly older cards, like my Mobility Radeon 9000, are supported only by open-source community-built drivers with lousy 3d performance. I'm willing to accept this in return for greater control over my desktop, but you can't say that I've got perfectly good performance. 1st person shooters are totally out of the question, whereas in Windows I could play stuff as modern as FarCry, albeit on the lowest settings. So: hardware might "generally work," but it's a pain to configure compared to Windows (where you probably just have to plug it in. At worst, you might have to pop in a cd and use a wizard to install drivers), and even when properly configured it may not give the user as much freedom. As for graphics cards, the proprietary 3d drivers are fine for the newer cards, but older cards are capable of much more under Windows.

Re:Boy, THIS one is easy. (4, Insightful)

Chandon Seldon (43083) | more than 7 years ago | (#18468393)

Plug and play for "arbitrary devices" is still pretty weak in GNU/linux at this point. It's not surprising: the gadgets have been built with the intention that they work right out of the box with Windows.

I've yet to meet a USB Scanner, External Disk, Digital Camera, or Name-brand Printer that didn't Just Work with Ubuntu. Maybe you've got some obscure edge case device that doesn't work, but they mostly just do.

I can't plug in ethernet after having turned the computer on, rather I have to boot with it plugged in.

I plug and unplug network cables all the time. This is probably a feature of Network-Manager - I'm pretty sure it was enabled by default in Edgy. Dunno, but it's definitely enabled by default in Feisty Beta and it's running great on my Edgy laptop and I don't remember any effort installing it.

1st person shooters are totally out of the question

Wait... which first person shooters run on Linux that you'd expect to work on an embedded 4 generation old Radeon card? Quake III should run fine with the "radeon" drivers.

Re:Boy, THIS one is easy. (2, Informative)

hax0r_this (1073148) | more than 7 years ago | (#18468533)

I have a desktop on a mobile cart with a UPS running Dapper. I unplug its network cable daily, and I haven't rebooted that machine in at least a month. Also I have three computers running Ubuntu (Dapper on the mobile desktop, Edgy on my laptop, and Feisty on this, my main desktop) and Linux compatibility was never a consideration in buying the hardware. In fact I hadn't even heard of Linux when I built the first two. As far as I know the only hardware I own that Ubuntu doesn't support out of the box is my Creative Zen Touch, which I was foolish enough to install the MTP firmware on (and it works just fine after a bit of tweaking).

Re:Boy, THIS one is easy. (1)

Psychotria (953670) | more than 7 years ago | (#18468693)

I'd love you to come over and help me get my USB Canon 3200F scanner working in Linux. Thanks, I'll keep a beer for you.

Re:Boy, THIS one is easy. (1)

Caspian (99221) | more than 7 years ago | (#18468505)

I have never seen a distro yet that installs the proprietary drivers for the user, by default, in such a way that both [A] works and [B] has 3D acceleration enabled.

Show me one and I will stand (sit?) corrected.

Re:Boy, THIS one is easy. (3, Insightful)

Sj0 (472011) | more than 7 years ago | (#18468613)

To be completely fair, a default installation of Windows XP will give you a very nice unaccelerated 16 bit colours in one resolution.

Anyway, most people don't use their PCs for games. Hell, I've got a really nice rig with a pretty high end video card, and even I mostly use my PS2 when I want games. It's simply easier not having to deal with Computer-isms. I pop the game in, it works. Windows can't compete.

Re:Boy, THIS one is easy. (2, Insightful)

shaitand (626655) | more than 7 years ago | (#18468757)

As another user mentioned, the proprietary drivers aren't installed by default in windows either. Under Ubuntu you check a box and have 3D acceleration. I do agree it is silly though, why would anyone want to run WITHOUT 3D acceleration.

Re:Boy, THIS one is easy. (1)

EsbenMoseHansen (731150) | more than 7 years ago | (#18468813)

Probably the ones who takes stability over 3D acceleration. Remember, your kernel is unsupported with those nvidia/fglrx drivers loaded.

Of course, if you want 3D, the drivers are necessary for all nvidia and all newer ATI (after 9x00?)

Btw, did you know that linux support more hardware than any other OS out of the box? :)

Re:Boy, THIS one is easy. (5, Insightful)

neerolyte (878983) | more than 7 years ago | (#18468795)

Before I start, I'm not a Windows fanboy, I use primarily Linux at home (Kubuntu to be precise).

Quote: "no one gets confused or complains when their Mac won't run some Windows app, an Ubuntu system is the same."

You've obviously never met someone who's used only windows and switches to anything else for the first time. I worked in a school for two years, while there I was repeatedly asked why application XYZ wasn't installed on the mac laptops the school had. They have quite a surprised look on their face when I inform them that without emulation software there is no way to run windows applications on mac's (and then I have to explain what emulation software is and why we didn't have it... but that's a longer story).

Same goes for Linux. Principal hears "school ABC is running their Terminal Services network on Linux and having less problems than we are, why aren't we doing that too?!?!". After getting in contact with the school and finding out exactly what they were doing I found out they didn't even have Terminal Services, and they only had one Linux box. The PDC was Linux with a bunch of fat XP clients. But that's not the point is it? The point is that roughly half of the uneducated users I have every met don't have the slightest clue that there's any more difference between OS X and XP than there is between XP and 2000, so why on earth would they expect that their applications wont all run Linux?

For further proof just look at Linux is NOT Windows [oneandoneis2.org] . If everyone knows that Windows applications will not run on Linux why did that ever need to be written?

I live in Australia, I suppose it is possible users are better educated elsewhere in the world, but I doubt it.

Stop underselling Linux (5, Informative)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 7 years ago | (#18468325)

Up to 2003, I think overselling linux was a real problem. These days I think many here are underselling linux - people are not complete idiots. They may not know how computers inside or out - but many just want a decent browser, a word processor, and many, with kids, want something that little Timmy can't mess up - the little kids not being able to install crapware and killing the computer is a big plus.

Is sweeping your computer for malware with several programs more tolerable? How about slowing it down in general with virus detection. How about running all these programs and still having crap slip through?

You can make Windows secure, but default it isn't. Windows is not some magical utopia where everything works - it is work but people don't recognize it as such - instead it becomes an "inevitable" task - like having to defrag the drive is normal chore on Windows given hardly a thought "why am I doing this crap?"

I think many in the Linux community are selling Linux short by problems that were issues 3 or 4 years ago but not so much today. The last few people I switched were people who had malware infested Windows computers almost beyond repair and they wanted Linux for several reasons - I was asked to help them put it on there, they even specified Ubuntu. These are not computer people.

Most of their printers work seamlessly. Their cameras work seamlessly. Their MFCs work for the most part - though there was one that was a pain in the ass to install for no reason (looking at you brother).

And games? Many don't play games in the first place though I keep their Windows partition around just in case. One guy plays flash games on line a lot - no linux barrier there.

Linux is truly good enough for a large segment of the population out there.

Re:Stop underselling Linux (1)

Naruki (601680) | more than 7 years ago | (#18468465)

Many specify Ubuntu because someone told them to. If they aren't Linux people, then they don't KNOW that it is better than anything else.

Many many many more people have not been told or didn't pay attention if they were told. They get a computer, they think it should "just work".

Even on Windows that is often impossible, but Windows has been dominant for so long that they can guarantee a large percentage of available apps that do "just work".

These people who run Windows usually don't run anything to combat viruses or malware. They don't know they have to. That's why you found people who had malware infested computers.

They just run their computer till it becomes so slow they can't stand it, then they get something new. Often they naively assume their computer has just gotten too old.

And many people don't identify themselves as gamers. But when someone at work tells them to try $X, or their precious grandkids come over and want to play $Y, they get upset if it doesn't work. They don't care that they are running the "wrong" OS. They don't believe there should be a wrong one.

And that is true even if they run a Mac.

Re:Stop underselling Linux (1)

soulshinejam (985430) | more than 7 years ago | (#18468735)

Yeah, I agree. With your average "lay" PC user's impending transition to what I assume could be called "next-gen" operating systems, having to learn an all new operating system like Vista or Mac OS X shouldn't be that much different from using Ubuntu. At my university, I hear kids spouting the virtues of Mac OS X and how it "doesn't get viruses" and I believe that same line of thought could point them in the direction of Linux. Especially when you can explain to them how all of this free kick-ass software gets included; OpenOffice (IMO way better than Office 2007), GAIM, Firefox; and with the quickly maturing desktop environment, I think that a company like Dell having Linux pre-installed would definitely make widespread adoption more feasible. The only reason I don't run Linux on my desktop is for gaming, and if I could get my old HP notebook working worth a damn, I'd use it for taking notes in class and use Linux. (HDD appears to be shot so OS installation is a bitch, and battery life maxes out at like half an hour, but running Ubuntu from the CD makes it a fully operational computer, even sound, and FreeSpire, while lacking support for my proprietary onboard soundcard, recognizes my Linksys wireless card right out of the box.)

Only disagree with one point (5, Insightful)

Weaselmancer (533834) | more than 7 years ago | (#18468421)

Or until they try plugging in an arbitrary device and find that it doesn't work

I like the gist of what you're saying, but I think this point is a moot one. Vista has plenty of incompatibilites. [pcworld.com]

And sadly, it'll wind up being the best selling OS of al time, most likely.

Re:Boy, THIS one is easy. (1)

AJWM (19027) | more than 7 years ago | (#18468477)

up until the point where they find that they can't play the games that they just bought from their local CompUSA

The average computer user doesn't buy PC games from CompUSA, or much of anywhere else for that matter. If they do games, it'll be PS2 or XBox games they pick up at BestBuy or Walmart.

Or until they try plugging in an arbitrary device and find that it doesn't work.

Out of the box, Linux supports more devices than any other OS. Those that it doesn't are unlikely to be supported by any other OS out of the box -- that's why devices come with driver discs, which if you're really lucky will actually work with whatever version of Windows you have installed, and not clobber some other driver during the install.

Of course, the average computer user doesn't plug in "an arbitrary device" to their computer. They get it set up with a printer, once, then leave it the hell alone. If they want something else plugged in they'll probably call Geek Squad.

Re:Boy, THIS one is easy. (1)

shaitand (626655) | more than 7 years ago | (#18468729)

'They will be interested precisely up until the point where they find that they can't play the games that they just bought from their local CompUSA (or PC World, or whatever).'

You say that because you play games. Most adults do not play video games on their computer. At least beyond simple 2D games and card games and any Linux distro includes dozens more of those than windows.

'Or until they try plugging in an arbitrary device and find that it doesn't work.'

That doesn't really work under windows either. It's SUPPOSED to work under windows but commonly fails. I can't tell you how many times I have plugged in a thumb drive to have XP fail to install the device. Your typical home user is stuck at this point, they call the nearest tech savy family member (then end up buying a new drive) or the friendly neighborhood tech guy (me) and he removes the device in the device manager and then replugs the drive. Magically the same drive, loading the same drivers, plugged into the same port works.

I'd say about 1 in 10 usb devices fail to load correctly on windows when installed properly. That isn't considering that 5 in 10 usb devices aren't installed correctly by the average home user. This again results in a call to the tech guy and it should. Installing hardware and software is not something that should be done by those who don't know enough about the system to determine the impact that configuration change will make.

'Or until they install one of the rare Linux games and find that the open-source nvidia or ATI drivers are so insanely slow as to make the game unplayable, due to lack of proper 3D acceleration support.'

That goes back to the fact that most adults don't play the kind of 3D games that need accelerated graphics. Further, if they are using Ubuntu their nvidia driver will be the binary drivers. My experimentations has shown drastically increased performance in OpenGL under linux when compared to the same tasks and the same hardware running under win2k and xp.

Re:Boy, THIS one is easy. (1)

lattyware (934246) | more than 7 years ago | (#18468781)

But they are making headway.
In feisty, there is a new restricted drivers manager, which allows easy installation of the proper nvidia/ati drivers - without hassle - and it automatically prompts you to install.
There is also much better device support, and as Linux gets more popular, maybe the manufacturers will start to make proper drivers too.
Wine is also making headway. With the latest version of wine, EVE online works flawlessly.

Re:Boy, THIS one is easy. (-1, Flamebait)

Seumas (6865) | more than 7 years ago | (#18468265)

Advertising linux to the masses is a terrible idea. Linux is not ready for the masses. It is not ready for your mom or your grandmother or your little sister. Your grandmother is not going to spend a week trying to figure out what to change to get her sound card to work in linux without making scratching noises or how to properly install and configure proprietary codecs that will allow her to play MP3 and WMV files.

You don't advertise to everyone so they all come running to Linux, find out how difficult it is for the average user to accomplish the simplest of actions and then run away and are less likely to ever give it a chance again, because of those initial bad experiences.

Re:Boy, THIS one is easy. (4, Funny)

jZnat (793348) | more than 7 years ago | (#18468387)

My grandmother rips her music in FLAC and Ogg Vorbis you insensitive clod!

And she even ripped her old vinyl collection to digital formats; a feat even I don't know how to do as cleanly as she did.

Besides, she doesn't watch porn (as far as I know), so WMV support is worthless to her (which is the only situation where I've seen WMV used frequently that isn't restricted with DRM).

Re:Boy, THIS one is easy. (2, Insightful)

AJWM (19027) | more than 7 years ago | (#18468581)

It is not ready for your mom or your grandmother or your little sister.

My grandmother (both of them) is dead, you insensitive clod. My mom was programming computers before PCs were invented and my little sister is a software consultant.

Yeah, I think it's ready for them.

If you don't know what you're doing, then no OS is easy and you spend your time trying to figure out how to do the simplest things. Once you've done that, it's not difficult. OTOH, if you do know a bit about the OS (whether Windows or 'nix), it's generally a hell of a lot easier to do simple-but-multi-step things in 'nix than in 'doze.

I wouldn't recommend that somebody who knows nothing about any unix and doesn't know anybody who does should try to install it and figure it out on their own (unless they like that kind of thing). But I'd recommend that over someone who knew nothing about Windows and didn't know anyone who did trying to install and learn Windows on their own. That's the kind of thing that would have them running away with initial bad experiences.

Re:Boy, THIS one is easy. (4, Insightful)

iSeal (854481) | more than 7 years ago | (#18467935)

No. :)
I have to agree with this. For one, most casual users don't have the know-how/confidence to install an OS. Even the process of burning an ISO is above the heads of most users, no matter how simple the process, or how much documentation is available. Furthermore, to install a distro these days implies installing it over, or in addition to, a current OS. One that likely does what the casual users already want. So with that in mind - what incentive would there be for users to switch? As the old saying goes "if it ain't broke, don't fix it."

Re:Boy, THIS one is easy. (3, Interesting)

smilindog2000 (907665) | more than 7 years ago | (#18468101)

Agreed. IMO, the real power of Ubuntu isn't lowering the bar for average users, but lowering the bar for average IT professionals. I know several who have tried Ubuntu, and while they're not ready to give up their jobs doing Windows administration, Ubuntu is on their radar. However, the real power and draw of Linux is what we geeks can do with it. It's by far the worlds best platform for expressing our creative art of programming, and sharing our work with others. I've stopped worrying about what the rest of the world wants. Linux fills my needs like no other system ever built.

Re:Boy, THIS one is easy. (3, Interesting)

dorath (939402) | more than 7 years ago | (#18468695)

IMO, the real power of Ubuntu isn't lowering the bar for average users, but lowering the bar for average IT professionals. I know several who have tried Ubuntu, and while they're not ready to give up their jobs doing Windows administration, Ubuntu is on their radar.
Yeah, that's me. I'm the guy my buddies call when OMG WINDOWS EXPLODE. I'm kinda tired of it, and I've started using Ubuntu at home. I really like it, and aside from the plethora of Windows games it does everything I need and more. To be fair, for the amount of gaming I can get in these days, the number of native linux clients and the amount of stuff that runs well on WINE is enough. I've zero interest in WoW, and consider it a good thing that I can't get EQ2 going on WINE. ;-)

Back to the point: I'm a guy comfortable with Windows. One of the lucky few who doesn't have problems with it. But I'm tired of it. And if I let my friends know that Ubuntu is a good thing, they'll believe me.

Re:Boy, THIS one is easy. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18468291)

Hey Slashdot!

Can you answer a question for me, please? Why are Linux users such ugly dweebs [imageshack.us] in comparison to Mac users [atspace.com] ? Is it because nobody has the time or patience to put up with Linux except for friendless, sexless nerds like you?

Thanks! I eagerly await your response.
-A Mac user

Re:Boy, THIS one is easy. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18468453)

You obviously haven't installed Ubuntu, have you! To first try it out: turn on computer, open cd tray, insert disk, close tray, reboot computer. Wait. Now you are running Ubuntu (off the CD). To install, click on "Install Ubuntu". Answer 3 questions (one is a password for you, another for the administrator), and 1 is the time zone you live in. Done. The computer will reboot, and you have Ubuntu. It will partition disks if you want to keep some old dead legacy system around. Installation is painfully simple. I *HAVE* installed windows operating systems in multiple ways (across networks, with CD/DVD, and from current hard disk drives (actually sent over a serial port )--Windows install images sent over a twisted pair serial link to a hard disk on the target computer-- and installed it, complete with service packs, very sucessfully. But all of these are fantastically harder than installing Ubuntu. You can have 9 (just 9) monkeys typing randomly for less than a day, and have all 9 'accidentally' install Ubuntu correctly!

Re:Boy, THIS one is easy. (1)

Medgur (172679) | more than 7 years ago | (#18468749)

Or instead of installing Ubuntu from CD they could install Debian Testing from a web page. It's like Ubuntu, only it's blue and has more packages available.

See: http://goodbye-microsoft.com/ [goodbye-microsoft.com]

Re:Boy, THIS one is easy. (4, Interesting)

Medgur (172679) | more than 7 years ago | (#18468731)

My girlfriend was a typical "get frustrated first, ask how to fix it later" windows user; with just enough knowledge to make her way about excel, word, and a web browser. Her computer became horribly broken from trojans and viruses and rather than doom myself to an endless succession of repairs I /handed her an ubuntu CD/. I didn't install ubuntu, I gave her the CD and told her that she merely needed to restart her computer with the CD in the drive to install it, being sure to email her personal data to herself before hand.

You know what? She prefers linux. Can use linux. Doesn't become frustrated with Linux.

She scoffs at Windows now.

I don't know this average computer user you speak of, but the one I know well coped just fine with using Ubuntu.

Don't be so sure (2, Informative)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 7 years ago | (#18468767)

My 70 y.o father runs both linux and windows. He has tried to switch to just linux, but he finds that he is missing certain things (in particular, lotus home organizer is holding him back). So he currently runs both. He is not a geek (airforce/airline pilot, rtd), but he is not stupid.

What is interesting is that he has installed Linux on computers of over a dozen other friends of his. Most of these ppl are also retired pilots who were using windows for simple web surfing, and handling of bank and retirement funds. They have no desire to spend their hours managing windows. They do not want the security hassles that MS is. They all love the Linux price and the lack of admin time. Once it is installed, it just works. ALL OF THEM are apparently happy.

What amazes me is the opportunity that companies like the geek squad are missing. Apparently, several of these folks called geek squad and asked to be ported to linux and were told that they did not do that. Nor would they support it. Oh, well. I guess that Airline pilot's money is no good :)

Now, if IBM (esp lotus), and Intuit would just port their damn software, then you would see a HUGE exodous off windows. A couple of thse ppl have moved off Quicken onto GnuCash and can work it. But they have reported liking Quicken better. Interestingly, only a few of them had used Office and loved using Office. Basically, Linux, GNU Cash, and Open Office can trump from windows 2000 on back. XP appears to be battle except for the fact that MS has created a security nightmare.

Re:Boy, THIS one is easy. (1)

shaitand (626655) | more than 7 years ago | (#18468777)

I agree. The real catch 22 is preinstallation. When Dell sells desktops with ubuntu preinstalled it will be time for tell everyone in the mainstream news and press about linux. Until then its best to keep a lid on it.

Re:Boy, THIS one is easy. (3, Insightful)

QuantumHobbit (976542) | more than 7 years ago | (#18467941)

It will let the average Joe know that something other than Windows and OS/X exists. It's Linux. It's free. And know with Ubuntu average Joe has a shot at getting it to work. Most people don't know that Linux exists, so maybe this won't convince them to make the switch, but it will let them know what Linux is. They can then ask the friendly neighborhood geek a few questions and its all penguins from there.

Re:Boy, THIS one is easy. (2, Informative)

bibliophage (779642) | more than 7 years ago | (#18468193)

I have to agree with the bit about Average Joe and Ubuntu. While I skim /. daily, I am in no way technically inclined, and I just installed Ubuntu on my XP box. It did take me over a week to get it right (working in 2 hour increments due to my crummy schedule), but we are talking remedial level here. And what I was not able to figure out on my own, the community stepped in to fill the gaps for me.

Re:Boy, THIS one is easy. (1)

bortas (930116) | more than 7 years ago | (#18468007)

I'd have to disagree. Mom and Pop buy their computers at Future Shop, Best Buy and Staples. If they hear about Linux on mainstream media, they might ask for it for their next computer, or might just ask next time they're in the store. I'm sure their support departments will gladly install it and migrate their data for their usual hourly fee. Most moms and pops that aren't fortunate enough to have a geek in the family usually treat their computers like I treat my furnace: let the pros deal with it! The more mainstream attention Linux gets, the more we all win. Jerome

Re:Boy, THIS one is easy. (0)

iSeal (854481) | more than 7 years ago | (#18468063)

I'd have to disagree. Mom and Pop buy their computers at Future Shop, Best Buy and Staples. If they hear about Linux on mainstream media, they might ask for it for their next computer, or might just ask next time they're in the store. I'm sure their support departments will gladly install it and migrate their data for their usual hourly fee. Most moms and pops that aren't fortunate enough to have a geek in the family usually treat their computers like I treat my furnace: let the pros deal with it! The more mainstream attention Linux gets, the more we all win. Jerome
Small issues I see with this:
1. Brand Recognition: I actually used to work in Staples, as a computer sales rep. This was at the time a few years back when AMD was ahead of the curve of Intel. Yet, regardless of their actual knowledge on the issue, people insisted on Intel. The brand was that important. Linux is still the little unknown, and that won't jive well with most consumers.

2. Windows applications don't run on Linux. That geneology software gramma bought, the el cheapo card game product they really wanted - it won't work with their machine. Sure there are free alternatives, but it's not the product they chose. And WINE? No guarantees that it'll work. You'd just be causing more problems for the user.

3. Most tech support people working at places like Best Buy or Staples don't even know what Linux is, let alone support it.

Re:Boy, THIS one is easy. (1)

cheater512 (783349) | more than 7 years ago | (#18468113)

The brand was that important. Linux is still the little unknown, and that won't jive well with most consumers.
Yeah uhh thats what the CBC is for.

Re:Boy, THIS one is easy. (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 7 years ago | (#18468217)

"Windows applications don't run on Linux"

You'd be surprised. Even Internet Explorer runs under linux. [tatanka.com.br]

This week another developer installed suse 10.3 alpha 1 on his dual-lcd box at work - all his Windows apps work - and one of them works better under linux than it does under Windows. Plus he now has access to a lot of stuff that just isn't available under Windows.

Re:Boy, THIS one is easy. (1)

omeomi (675045) | more than 7 years ago | (#18468323)

You'd be surprised. Even Internet Explorer runs under linux.

What?

Why???

Re:Boy, THIS one is easy. (1)

jZnat (793348) | more than 7 years ago | (#18468399)

Because it can! :)

Actually, I believe it's for web developers to test their sites in IE without having to use Windows. Also, if you want to test websites in more than one version of IE, you can either use Linux or have several different versions of Windows running their own versions of IE.

Re:Boy, THIS one is easy. (1)

AJWM (19027) | more than 7 years ago | (#18468611)

That geneology software gramma bought, the el cheapo card game product they really wanted - it won't work with their machine. Sure there are free alternatives, but it's not the product they chose. And WINE? No guarantees that it'll work.

True, no guarantees, but in my experience that kind of Windows software tends to run better on WINE than the high end packages, because the programmers stuck closer to the most commonly used APIs. Its the high end packages that use some of the obscure API corners that have issues. (OTOH, some of that software is plain buggy even on different versions of Windows - and a lot of the older stuff won't run on Vista.)

Re:Boy, THIS one is easy. (3, Insightful)

eln (21727) | more than 7 years ago | (#18468089)

No, they treat their computers like they treat their furnace: it should just work. Like it or not, Mom and Pop expect their computer to work like an appliance: it should do what it's supposed to do, and they shouldn't have to fiddle with it. Maybe it will break once every 5 or 10 years, but other than that it should basically do what I want it to do with a minimum of hassle. Mom and Pop are not tinkerers, they just want shit to work and not require any extra time or effort to operate.b

Microsoft's monopoly has actually made this sort of mindset easier to cater to, since hardware manufacturers and software programmers only need to deal with one operating system. Linux, meanwhile, has continued to lag behind in hardware and software support because of this.

So you're right, they may ask for Linux if they see enough coverage about it. But until Linux can (relatively) painlessly run everything people want to run on it, they will not stick with it, and they will certainly not evangelize it to their friends.

Re:Boy, THIS one is easy. (1)

Daishiman (698845) | more than 7 years ago | (#18468333)

No, they treat their computers like they treat their furnace: it should just work. Like it or not, Mom and Pop expect their computer to work like an appliance: it should do what it's supposed to do, and they shouldn't have to fiddle with it. Maybe it will break once every 5 or 10 years, but other than that it should basically do what I want it to do with a minimum of hassle. Mom and Pop are not tinkerers, they just want shit to work and not require any extra time or effort to operate.b

No offense, but I don't know what kind of computing world you where a basic Windows install "just works" for the average user. If you mean "just work" as in "I can install a lot of crap on it", it sure goes well. But I can't remember the number of times I've been called to clean spyware and junk and make it start up in less than 5 minutes due to registry bloat.

The average Windows installation lasts about 9 months. That's how long it takes for it to break down due to registry bloat, trojans, adware, and antiviruses. I remember the time my ex called me at 12:30 at night because Photoshop stopped working for no reason and I had to reinstall it. Boy were those 2 hours of staring at a progress bar fun.

Microsoft's monopoly has actually made this sort of mindset easier to cater to, since hardware manufacturers and software programmers only need to deal with one operating system. Linux, meanwhile, has continued to lag behind in hardware and software support because of this.

I'd say that's mostly right on the money, except for two things: a lot of these people that supposedly don't want to tinker with the machine still have installs of Windows2000 and below, for which many applications are no longer compatible. And Vista has promised a new era of breakage with exclusive applications to force adoption of their new OS.

Second, Linux is not "continuing to lag behind". If anything it's catching up at an incredible pace and the reality is that 90%+ of hardware just works, which is actually very respectable considering that a lot of new hardware doesn't have support for older Windowses and old hardare doesn't for new Microsoft OSes, and that I've had a huuge amount of generic Chinese hardware whose only copy of drivers existed in their original CD, and if you lose that, good luck finding them on the Internet (I've had to throw away an ADSL modem because of that).

So you're right, they may ask for Linux if they see enough coverage about it. But until Linux can (relatively) painlessly run everything people want to run on it, they will not stick with it, and they will certainly not evangelize it to their friends.

I think that is mostly due to a lack of OEM vendors that will provide Linux. Like it's been said before, the "average" Windows user does not install the OS himself, and would probably have a far more difficult time starting from scratch with Windows that Ubuntu.

learned helplessness (4, Insightful)

fyoder (857358) | more than 7 years ago | (#18468485)

No, they treat their computers like they treat their furnace: it should just work. Like it or not, Mom and Pop expect their computer to work like an appliance: it should do what it's supposed to do, and they shouldn't have to fiddle with it.

Let me get this straight, you're suggesting Windows is like that? I can understand people not switching to Linux just because they read a glowing review on the CBC site, but I don't understand their not wanting to escape from Windows and from the shit they seem to regard as normal. I think it may be due to some form of learned helplessness [wikipedia.org] syndrome.

Re:Boy, THIS one is easy. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18468519)

Why is it that when people buy a windows application that doesn't work because they have the wrong version of windows or a video game that doesn't work because they don't have a thousand dollar video card it's OK? If you have a nvidia or radeon then you bought a good pc, what about everybody else? I happen to know that they buy video games that don't work on their computer and it doesn't have anything to do with linux.

Re:Boy, THIS one is easy. (1)

mushadv (909107) | more than 7 years ago | (#18468671)

No, they treat their computers like they treat their furnace: it should just work. Like it or not, Mom and Pop expect their computer to work like an appliance: it should do what it's supposed to do, and they shouldn't have to fiddle with it. Maybe it will break once every 5 or 10 years, but other than that it should basically do what I want it to do with a minimum of hassle. Mom and Pop are not tinkerers, they just want shit to work and not require any extra time or effort to operate.

Microsoft's monopoly has actually made this sort of mindset easier to cater to, since hardware manufacturers and software programmers only need to deal with one operating system. Linux, meanwhile, has continued to lag behind in hardware and software support because of this.

So you're right, they may ask for Linux if they see enough coverage about it. But until Linux can (relatively) painlessly run everything people want to run on it, they will not stick with it, and they will certainly not evangelize it to their friends.

I agree that non-computer literate folk generally do treat their computers as they would toasters, but they're also in the mindset that random pop-ups, sluggishness and monthly reinstalls are just "facts of life" concerning owning a computer. Linux OSes have the barrier of having to do some extra, sometimes quite intimidating things to get what most would consider basic to work. Proper video settings is the largest part of this, but it's surrounded by little things like Flash and MP3 support; little things that are as easy and even perhaps easier than to install in Windows but have foreign methods such as moving individual files across the filesystem with root priveleges. However, once it's all set up, it'll stay like that for as long as you don't screw it up somehow, which is hard to do for those who don't want anything to do with a terminal window. The only "maintenence" required is clicking the icon in the notification area that says there's new updates available, hitting apply, entering your password, waiting a bit and perhaps rebooting at the end (but don't count on that last one). As it stands, Ubuntu and its variants in many cases require a person who knows what they're doing to get it up and running for Joe Grandma (embrace the phrasal portmanteau), but as long as they do a good job and explain the differences ("this is how you install new programs," "this is how you write documents," etc.) Joe Grandma isn't going to have any trouble whatsoever with their new OS.

You could probably say that non-preinstalled Windows would require assistance as well, but it has the advantage of every conceivable driver available in one form or another floating around the net. Then there's the transitional wall, the most pervading obstacle in Linux evangelism. It's rare you'd find someone migrating from Windows to Linux with all their files intact and have them all work. It's also rarely installed by Joe Grandma; it's what came with their computer. A Linux-based OS won't be preinstalled until there's significant demand for it, and significant demand is borne of big-name commercial apps, and big-name commercial apps are borne of consumer popularity, and consumer popularity is borne of preinstallation. Therein lies the paradox. In this Microsoft-monopolized consumer PC industry, that's the rather inexorable situation, so the only real solution is to have Microsoft legally called on their shit and given a bit more than a slap on the wrist this time around, then maybe we'll see some genuine competition. Other than that, I'm stumped.

Re:Boy, THIS one is easy. (1)

had3z (1064548) | more than 7 years ago | (#18468661)

Yes! Users that thought that ubuntu is someone from nigeria will now know that id *might* help their computers be more safe. That's a might from their perspective, because they're intoxicated with windoze's "get the facts" campaigns. It will at least raise some question marks about studies that find windows the most secure OS.

The switch is happening, and it can't be stopped. It just needs time

The CBC is generally forward thinking... (5, Interesting)

Goalie_Ca (584234) | more than 7 years ago | (#18467961)

The CBC has been pretty good about open standards and open source. I, along with over 70k other people, download the 1 hour free podcasts showcasing canada's independant music. These podcasts come in OGG format too! Recently they started a second podcast and a track of the day feature. The french canadian (bap.fm) also has an hour of free music per week mostly showcasing montreal area and french canadian music.

The CBC has been very responsive to complaints, comments, etc. Check it out at http://radio3.cbc.ca/podcasting/podcastplaylist.as px [radio3.cbc.ca]

ATTN: SWITCHEURS! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18468001)

If you don't know what Cmd-Shift-1 and Cmd-Shift-2 are for, GTFO.
If you think Firefox is a decent Mac application, GTFO.
If you're still looking for the "maximize" button, GTFO.
If you don't know Clarus from Carl Sagan, GTFO.

Bandwagon jumpers are not welcome among real Mac users [atspace.com] . Keep your filthy PC fingers to yourself.

Budget (5, Funny)

spammeister (586331) | more than 7 years ago | (#18467979)

Since CBC has a budget the same as most of it's viewership yearly income (yea rly), no wonder it reccomends Linux as a viable alternative to Window$.

Is Ubuntu ready really? (1)

QuantumHobbit (976542) | more than 7 years ago | (#18467989)

I haven't used anything since Breezy Badger, but it really was easier to use for most everyday things than Windows(in my opinion). But it definatly wasn't girlfriend/mom/grandparent ready. I had problems with wireless connectivity and the fix was definetly not user friendly. Anything involving the terminal will freak out the typical user.

Re:Is Ubuntu ready really? (1)

Chandon Seldon (43083) | more than 7 years ago | (#18468137)

Ubuntu is easily as ready for the desktop and the "typical user" as Windows is. Your specific problems with wireless connectivity are completely resolved, as long as you manage to chose supported hardware.

Re:Is Ubuntu ready really? (3, Informative)

ZakuSage (874456) | more than 7 years ago | (#18468143)

Since Dapper it's had a live CD based GUI installer, and Feisty is going to bring in easy installation of restricted codecs and graphics card drivers. Trust me, it's ready.

Re:Is Ubuntu ready really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18468221)

Dapper greatly improved the wireless situation, and it's only gotten better since.

Re:Is Ubuntu ready really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18468283)

By that metric, Windows isn't nearly girlfriend / mom / grandparent ready either. Unless someone else sets everything up for you, Windows is pretty much unusabe to your average non-geek. So is Linux. Mac OS X is a little better, but not by much.

Re:Is Ubuntu ready really? (1)

mackyrae (999347) | more than 7 years ago | (#18468589)

2/3 female in your example, gee thanks

3/5 of my family are female. We use Linux (Ubuntu 6.10 for them, 7.04 for me). I'm the only one who knows anything about computers, and I am not sitting there babysitting it and playing admin. I'm 250 miles away with no SSH setup to do things for them. They function just fine on their own. All I did was install it (hit next 6 times) then tell it to download the DVD and MP3 codecs and installed a few games I thought my brother and sister would like. By the way, this was at my sister's request. I asked my mom, and I told her that if she's not too attached to Windows (which since she's very BAD with it, I didn't think she was) she would have no problem. She, like you, considers it easier.

I'm using Feisty. It IS ready for the desktop, and in Feisty, the laptop too. Feisty has wireless roaming setup by default and Network Manager even can handle VPN connections for you. Also, there's a package you can install that installs all the codecs you need. Compiz desktop effects are installed (but not enabled) by default, and there's a Restricted Drivers Manager to get the ATi and nVidia users set up for that with as little pain as possible.

Back in the Breezy days, LiveCD and Install CD were separate and you had to use the Debian installer, right? The LiveCD is an install cd as well now and it's a GUI so it's extra easy for anyone to set up. I can't wait for Feisty's release. It'll be so much easier to get laptop users setup with Feisty. I spent a while installing Network Manager stuff for a friend last week (would've been easier if it was IPW instead of Broadcom) and really wanted to put on Feisty just for that reason.

Re:Is Ubuntu ready really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18468811)

hardware support is much improved, there's a new wlan stack that fixes most of the broadcom wireless card problems, among other things. Sadly enough, we could have been here much sooner if it hadn't been for Broadcom's stupidity, but anyways.... If your wireless card doesn't work, try it out and report the problems to launchpad, and maybe it'll be fixed by the time Feisty Fawn is out (in April)

CBC = COCKSUCKER BROADCASTING (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18467997)

FUCK LINUX. it is FOR GAYS like you FUCKING FAGGOTS

seriously, Linux is for gays.

more information on the "L" word reference (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18467999)

For those Slashdoters not understanding the "L" word reference see the following

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/l [reference.com]

Re:more information on the "L" word reference (1)

dryeo (100693) | more than 7 years ago | (#18468373)

Actually it was a TV show about a group of lesbians and their lives. Lots of frontal nudity, simulated lesbian sex etc which was on regular TV at 10 at night here in Canada
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_L_Word [wikipedia.org]

better than Vista! (2)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | more than 7 years ago | (#18468019)

Vista has more problems with software incompatibility and drivers than Linux lol. And trying to teach the average user about XP or Vista security is almost impossible, especially compared to "oh you don't have to worry about that in Linux"

Yes free software is better than Vista. (2, Informative)

twitter (104583) | more than 7 years ago | (#18468403)

See for yourself in this blow by blow install and feature compare. [desktoplinux.com] Summary here [slashdot.org] . A lack of drivers and compatibility were only the start of the author's problems which digital restrictions greatly multiplied.

As usual, the Microsoft story is worse than you would expect.

Noooo! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18468573)

You mean a site called "desktoplinux.com" has a negative opinion of Windows Vista? Surely you jest!

Every little bit counts. (4, Interesting)

greenguy (162630) | more than 7 years ago | (#18468031)

There are an awful lot of people out there who only know what they get from the mass media. This article, and others like it, will serve to raise Linux from "Mysterious and Scary" to "Mysterious, but Substantially Less Scary."

My year of Linux on the desktop was 2002, but I've also had a lot frustrations along the way... including with the upgrade to my Ubuntu upgrade today. I eventually solved it by using vim to comment out lines 543 and 544 (not lines 541 and 542, like it said in the Ubuntu Forums) of /usr/bin/pycentral. This is not something I want to have to explain to my mom, my girlfriend, or my neighbor -- nor do I want to do it for them.

I had a sad realization today, reading an earlier Slashdot post. To beat Windows (much less Mac OS) on the desktop of people who are not early adopters, Linux does not have to be as good -- as I believe it is, on balance. Rather, it has to be better, and conspicuously better.

For some people, this will mean games. For others, multimedia. For still others, CAD, or other occupation-specific apps. But for everyone, it means "When I want to do _______, it better work on the first try."

Re:Every little bit counts. (1)

bl8n8r (649187) | more than 7 years ago | (#18468133)

Linux has already beaten Windows and Mac on price alone (free) as well as merit and marketing. If one-tenth of the marketing hype put into either of the aforementioned were put into Ubuntu (for instance) Linux would be that much farther ahead. There is a large population of windows users that are fed up but have no idea there is any other option. Most of that population could care less about anything more than solitare as well. It's too bad your Ubuntu upgrade didn't go perfectly. Most things with computers dont. Hey - look at it this way, you don't have to take it back to the store, you didn't need to enter in any license key during install, and you didn't have any AOL icons on your desktop when you were done. Oh - and one other thing, you can pretty much bet that when your Ubuntu box got port scanned today, the cracker went somewhere else and when that new windows trojan tried getting into port 2967, there was nothing listening there. I bet you also didn't spend $2500 on some sexy ipod-like hardware to run it on just because your brothers girlfriend, who is a part time artist, uses a mac.

Re:Every little bit counts. (1)

greenguy (162630) | more than 7 years ago | (#18468295)

You seem to be missing the point that I don't need to be convinced. I was convinced five years ago, and was making inquiries three years before that. I have put up with a LOT of frustration to install and use Linux.

That doesn't matter. What matters is that others will not put up with a lot of frustration. As much as they hate "computers" (read: Windows), they won't try something new, because either they've memorized what to do when things go wrong (Cntl+Alt+Del) or they have someone to go to that has a nominal understanding of the system. Linux is the devil they don't know.

I'm beginning to believe that there will never be a Year of the Linux Desktop. Rather, we'll all eventually transition over to Google Apps and/or their successors. The server will run GPL software, and the local OS will be a non-issue. Why this model? Because it does what you expect it to. Given the choice, people will consistently choose a system that flawlessly meets moderate expectations over a system that might or might not meet high expectations.

Re:Every little bit counts. (1)

cheater512 (783349) | more than 7 years ago | (#18468173)

For some people, this will mean games. For others, multimedia. For still others, CAD, or other occupation-specific apps. But for everyone, it means "When I want to do _______, it better work on the first try."
What really annoys me is that most of the above isnt Linux's fault at all.
There is nothing we can do about it.

Re:Every little bit counts. (1)

cgenman (325138) | more than 7 years ago | (#18468315)

I had a sad realization today, reading an earlier Slashdot post. To beat Windows (much less Mac OS) on the desktop of people who are not early adopters, Linux does not have to be as good -- as I believe it is, on balance. Rather, it has to be better, and conspicuously better.

The theory in games is not that you have to be conspicuously better, but that you have to do ONE THING which the other systems do not do. That it isn't the cumulative value of all of the little upgrades, but one significant bit of functionality that a person would want which makes a person switch.

In that way, Linux doesn't need to be conspicuously better overall. It needs to be massively better in a specific way that matters to the person in question.

Not Mom, yet. First, Mom's company. (2, Informative)

khasim (1285) | more than 7 years ago | (#18468317)

I had a sad realization today, reading an earlier Slashdot post. To beat Windows (much less Mac OS) on the desktop of people who are not early adopters, Linux does not have to be as good -- as I believe it is, on balance. Rather, it has to be better, and conspicuously better.

Don't be sad. Look at it from a corporation's point of view.

#1. FREE!!!!!
#1a. No more money spent tracking licenses
#1b. No more time spent tracking licenses
#1c. No more threats of "license compliance audits".

#2. The package system means that upgrades are even easier than on Windows.

#3. Text-based config files means it's EASY to troubleshoot problems. Diff the files between a working box and the problem box.

and so on and so forth.

People will become familiar with Linux when it starts to replace their existing desktops where they work. That's going to take some time (years).

That will get the hardware support which is the REAL issue.

We're seeing this in some companies and governments. It's only going to accelerate over time.

C bloody BC (0, Flamebait)

Micklewhite (1031232) | more than 7 years ago | (#18468091)

Bear in mind the CBC thought Don Cherry was one of the greatest Canadians who'd ever lived.

Dodgy wording in the submission, eh? (4, Informative)

value_added (719364) | more than 7 years ago | (#18468103)

The CBC [Canadian Broadcasting Corporation] has posted an article on its website promoting the use of Ubuntu Linux to the 'average computer user'.

No, David Conabree, a regular reviewer of new high-tech gear and longtime computer user has written a favorable story on Ubuntu that's been published on the cbc.ca website.

I'm a big fan of cbc.ca and most things Canadian (except for the beer, of course), but I doubt they have an official position of open source software, or are otherwise in the habit of recommending a particular Linux distro to their readers.

Re:Dodgy wording in the submission, eh? (2, Funny)

g4sy (694060) | more than 7 years ago | (#18468261)

I'm a big fan of cbc.ca and most things Canadian (except for the beer, of course)


Shouldn't that read.... actually just the beer? Like the old joke goes... How is American beer like sex in a canoe? It's f^H^H^H^Hing close to water.

BBC Not so Squeemish about Panning Vista. (1, Informative)

twitter (104583) | more than 7 years ago | (#18468497)

I doubt they [CBC] have an official position of open source software, or are otherwise in the habit of recommending a particular Linux distro to their readers.

Nah, might as well dismiss it as another crackpot letter to the editor, right? Wrong. The guy is a regular contributor with other articles, like this one [www.cbc.ca] to his name. So, yes, the author and the institution have issued an opinion. There will be more like that too.

If you listen to the BBC, you won't be using Vista anytime soon. [slashdot.org] As M$ jumps up the breakage of XP, there will be lots of people trying and liking free software.

Re:Dodgy wording in the submission, eh? (3, Informative)

Hannah E. Davis (870669) | more than 7 years ago | (#18468711)

I don't know if they have an official position on it, but you may find this interesting: they have instructions for Linux/Unix users on http://www.cbc.ca/listen/ [www.cbc.ca] (the site for listening to CBC Radio online), and they specifically mention testing it with Gentoo and FreeBSD. They also have a couple of audio streams (the EST versions of CBC Radio One and Two) in Ogg Vorbis and seem to be encouraging people to try the format.

At least 29 (1)

pilsner.urquell (734632) | more than 7 years ago | (#18468129)

Since that time, dozens of flavours of the Linux operating systems have come out, and the majority of them are utterly free.

Sounds like Carl Sagan, "There are thousands of stars in the sky".

What is this fascination... (5, Insightful)

Daishiman (698845) | more than 7 years ago | (#18468149)

What is this fascination with saying that the problem lies in making Linux friendlier to "the average user"?

Like the article says, Ubuntu covers very well the needs of the "average user". He needs basic tasks done, and Ubuntu does that well. Will he/she have issues along the way? Of course, in the same way that Windows does, which is the very same reason that you need to go to the average user's house every to months to clean up all the crapware that's installed in their machine and install codecs. After all, VLC and Firefox didn't appear on their desktops all by themselves now, did they?

No, the obstacle for Linux now lies in the odious "power user": the person that has developed a relatively good skill set for using Windows but is too stubborn to port it to another operating system, be it Linux, OS X, or whatever. This is, interestingly, a group of users for which many of us have contempt: they can achieve complex tasks but only because or rote learning and memorized steps. They will get that pretty Windows theme or know all the shortcuts to the one application the use frequently, but god forbid they have to use something else and they're lost all over again. They're the people that have command line phobia and yet will have no issues with editing registry files, difference being that the CLI is immensely useful and the Registry is the spawn of Satan.

Addendum: Gamers are not regular users. Regular users don't spend $250+ on a video card to play $60 games. CAD and design app users are not regular users either: they're domain specialists in whatever their application is, and industrial CAD solutions do exist for Linux and Unix. Ask 3d animation shops that used to be IRIX shops what they're using now.

Re:What is this fascination... (-1, Troll)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 7 years ago | (#18468215)

You're a tool, and elitists super-compu-geniouses like you are the reason people stay away from linux by association. Typing make in /usr/src/linux and watching it compile does not make you an expert.

No, the windows "power user" is not confused by linux. HE RECOGNIZES LINUX AS INFERIOR FOR HIS NEEDS, and already has a working solution on his desktop. Why would he give a fuck about unga bunga lunix?

Re:What is this fascination... (1)

Daishiman (698845) | more than 7 years ago | (#18468293)

I despise having to feed the troll, but I've had this Ubuntu install for 1.5 years and I have never had the need or desire to compile anything. If anything you prove my point that Linux has nothing to gain from first trying to appeal to users like yourself, instead relying on those tolerant enough to try new things and who actually have important stuff to do.

Re:What is this fascination... (5, Insightful)

value_added (719364) | more than 7 years ago | (#18468305)

No, the obstacle for Linux now lies in the odious "power user": the person that has developed a relatively good skill set for using Windows but is too stubborn to port it to another operating system, be it Linux, OS X, or whatever.

Interesting take on the subject. The greatest impediment to change of any sort is inertia, and while I doubt making a switch to Linux, etc. is any different, the category you describe is no doubt the most vocal.

This is, interestingly, a group of users for which many of us have contempt: they can achieve complex tasks but only because or rote learning and memorized steps. They will get that pretty Windows theme or know all the shortcuts to the one application the use frequently, but god forbid they have to use something else and they're lost all over again. They're the people that have command line phobia and yet will have no issues with editing registry files, difference being that the CLI is immensely useful and the Registry is the spawn of Satan.

It occurred to me many moons ago that the sum total of knowledge one obtains using Windows systems (both as a "power user" (ridiculous word) and/or as a typical sysadmin) is a giant convoluted collection of trivia that spans registry edits, workarounds for things that don't work or work badly, memorisation of GUI layout du jour, and various methods of reinstalling borked systems, the value of which erodes as time goes by. Put another way, unless you're a programmer regularly shelling out for an MSDN subscription, you probably know squat. And to paraphrase the poetry of Donald Rumsfeld, you probably don't know that you don't know.

By comparison, anyone, novice users included, who embarked on learning the basics of shell scripting, gained familiarity with a handful of standard programs, and learned how to use a text editor would find his or her skills just as relevant and valuable today as they did when DOS was commonplace. And chances are they would learned even more as time went on.

Re:What is this fascination... (4, Informative)

hobo sapiens (893427) | more than 7 years ago | (#18468363)

the sum total of knowledge one obtains using Windows systems (both as a "power user" (ridiculous word) and/or as a typical sysadmin) is a giant convoluted collection of trivia that spans registry edits, workarounds for things that don't work or work badly, memorisation of GUI layout du jour, and various methods of reinstalling borked systems, the value of which erodes as time goes by.

That pretty much nails it. Just the other day I was trying to figure out why my PC was running slow after getting a new audigy sound card. Well, come to find out, the "driver software" also included about ten other "helper" programs that I didn't even need, some things were even for devices my particular sound card does not have. Of course these weren't in the places you'd expect (like services.msc or startup dirs). Some of these startup programs weren't even in msconfig. Noooo, instead they were in some CurrentVersion registry key, RunOnce I think it was. Insane. I remove them, and all is well. Why am I telling you this?

Because it's just as you said: just another piece of trivia to add to the heap. These registry edits, which I just found online, probably won't apply to Vista. Heck, I'd have never known where to look had I not stumbled across this info. There is no systematic approach one can take to fixing problems on Windows. I definitely feel like all the knowledge I have accumulated from fixing my PC as well as everyone else's (which I do successfully all the time) is just that...a heap of disconnected facts.

While I am somewhat green with the linux CLI (but typing this post on my ubuntu box, so I use linux), I have noticed that things are a bit more consistent on the Linux side. I think the one thing that make Windows easier, though, in spite of itself, is that somewhere someone has had a similar problem and fixed it. I have not had the same success with googling linux problems.

Re:What is this fascination... (1)

mackyrae (999347) | more than 7 years ago | (#18468673)

Try Google Linux [google.com] and of course the Ubuntuforums. And yes, things are more consistent on the Linux side. There's only one thing I can think of that seems really disconnected when it happens. When your hard drive is full, you get bounced back out every time you try to log in.

Zonk is gay (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18468169)

There he goes again, putting those fucking lame ass questions at the end of the blurb. Has Zonk had enough already, or is he really homosexual?

With the exception of gaming (-1, Troll)

TheRecklessWanderer (929556) | more than 7 years ago | (#18468197)

From the summary it says "with the exception of gaming".


Well, that's kind of like saying, "well except for driving [in snow] the car is very useful".


I use in snow because some people never drive in snow or play games on their computer. But most people do at some point.


So it seems to me that alternate OSs for work are good, and for home, for the most part, are bad.

Re:With the exception of gaming (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18468517)

And we thank you for bitching to the games manufacturers for not porting their games. There is nothing wrong with the infrastructure to play games. There are a few kick ass online first person shooters for Linux. If you want your fav game on Linux, you have to bitch to the games makers to port their games (natively). As more people start using Linux, more games developers will start making games for it. Its a chicken and egg thing.

Re:With the exception of gaming (1)

mackyrae (999347) | more than 7 years ago | (#18468703)

ID Games are all Linux and Windows on the same CD. They do their stuff in OpenGL then put a wrapper on it for it to run on Windows using DirectX.

nice (0, Flamebait)

brer_rabbit (195413) | more than 7 years ago | (#18468205)

maybe we could get all the Canadians to switch to linux? That'd bring up the user base by at least 4 or 5 users.

So... Unless You Game.. (2, Interesting)

moore.dustin (942289) | more than 7 years ago | (#18468209)

Ok so he says Linux is legit if you are not a gamer. The same pretty much goes for OS X. My question is, is anyone going to be able to even challenge Windows as the computer gaming platform. Personally, I cannot see it happening within a few years. At that time, the next gen consoles will be coming out soon. The next gen consoles probably finally close the gap between console and computer. To me, that means Linux and/or OS X will not be developed for unless some uniformity can be presented in how games are designed for the platforms

Re:So... Unless You Game.. (1)

adfour (883631) | more than 7 years ago | (#18468279)

You could use Cedega if you wanted to do some gaming. It isn't a perfect solution, but I find it is enough of one to keep me off windows entirely (excpet at work).

Re:So... Unless You Game.. (2, Insightful)

deimios666 (1040904) | more than 7 years ago | (#18468491)

> unless some uniformity can be presented in how games are designed for the platforms

That would be OpenGL, OpenAL and SDL . Now that Micro$oft crippled Directsound in Vista and advises ppl to move to OpenAL the only thing left to do is move DirectX programmers to SDL and Direct3D programmers to OpenGL.
The problem is that a huge amount of games are backported from consoles. Since DirectX is exclusively used in Xbox titles they cannot be ported to SDL without a major rewrite or using compatibility layers (Cedega). Playstation 3 might help in this regard since it uses OpenGL but it's architecture might be too different to port to PC.

Another problem is program startup time. Now that Vista has made programs start near-instantaneously (yes even the mozilla apps) linux seems far less snappy on the same hardware. Openoffice with tweaks and quickstarter is still painfully slow to start. This isn't a problem for people until they see the alternatives though.

CBC? I want Andersoon Cooper (1)

bsytko (851179) | more than 7 years ago | (#18468225)

Once I heard about this "Ubuntu" you speak of on 360 then I'll switch.

If only it were that simple... (4, Informative)

TihSon (1065170) | more than 7 years ago | (#18468423)

As a Canadian Linux user and advocate, I have handed out more than my share of Ubuntu and Kubuntu disks. To outline the problem that Linux is having in terms of actual adoption in Canada, the following story says it all.

A few days ago two studies were being discussed on both the CBC and CTV. The first study wanted to learn how many Canadians actually believed global warming was a reality. The numbers were high, and generally speaking believers numbered somewhere around the 70% mark. The second study wanted to learn how many people in Canada where prepared to do anything at all to help prevent global warming from actually happening. If memory serves, it was found that almost nobody ... effectively 0% ... would actually do anything themselves to help reduce the effects of global warming.

So, the studies show Canada to be a nation composed of a great many ardent believers in global warming, but believers who will do nothing themselves to prevent it. If you study our politics you would know that our actions in the last decade or so regarding Kyoto would certainly support that assessment. Simply put, we take great self-righteous pride in our ability to talk the talk, but anyone who pays attention soon learns that in the end we are completely incapable of walking the walk.

... back to Ubuntu ...

I have given out dozens of disks, and each person really, really wanted to try it. Successful installs to date? You guessed it ... Zero. Not one person was willing to spend two seconds learning even the most basic information about the beige box under their desk. In talking to people over the years I have learned that the idea that they would 'change' their computer to be about the same intellectually as asking them the grow an extra limb.

So I keep talking to people, and I show them my nifty looking Linux systems, and I convert the occasional rookie Windows sysadmin who hasn't yet had a chance to be burned by the Redmond flame, but average home users? I am becoming more and more convinced that unless Virii and such get so bad they destroy the Windows platform completely, Linux will only make major double digit inroads into the 'average user' base when hardware comes with some flavour of Linux pre-installed...

...or a whole shitload of non-programmer advocates like myself do it for them free, in our spare time.

--

Just curious, would it be correct to call a Windows rookie a Wookie? :-)

Well of course! (1)

AJWM (19027) | more than 7 years ago | (#18468681)

learn how many people in Canada where prepared to do anything at all to help prevent global warming from actually happening. If memory serves, it was found that almost nobody ... effectively 0% ... would actually do anything themselves to help reduce the effects of global warming.

And this surprises you? Hey, I used to live in Canada. Canadians are looking forward to global warming. Heck, if they'd done that survey in winter, they'd probably get a negative percentage. This is Canada you're talking about, home of Ottawa, coldest national capital on the planet.

What I want to know (1)

GregPK (991973) | more than 7 years ago | (#18468437)

Is there a way to emulate IE in a linux environment. My work login requies IE as well as my State university.

Re:What I want to know (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18468471)

You can actually install 3 versions of IE on linux easily.
http://www.tatanka.com.br/ies4linux/page/Main_Page [tatanka.com.br]

Re:What I want to know (2, Funny)

DragonTHC (208439) | more than 7 years ago | (#18468623)

not well enough sadly.

The screens aren't blue enough yet.

and they're still working on getting the security holes wide enough.

Income tax exemption (1)

jawahar (541989) | more than 7 years ago | (#18468539)

Shouldn't government give some sort of income tax exemption for all Linux users?

Bandwidth usage limitations in the 3rd world (3, Interesting)

Phoinix (666047) | more than 7 years ago | (#18468633)

In countries where you are allowed a limited amount of download/upload per month/pay, using Linux can be a pain in the neck. Downloading the updates may consume your monthly broad-band account in a day or two. Lebanon is one example.

Many third world countries has download & upload limitaions on their broadband with no choice of a free unlimited option.

"Sweeping Generalisations" (1)

petrus4 (213815) | more than 7 years ago | (#18468763)

Why do I get the feeling that primarily among the "sweeping generalisations" of the article was a complete lack of mention of the FSF? *gasp!*

It's times like these that I begin to realise that at least some of the rather passionate vitriol that I feel towards Stallman himself is misplaced. Most of it more rightfully belongs to his followers; I can honestly say that I've seen Scientologists who were more objective than some of the members of Stallman's cult that I've come across. I've also never really been able to determine whether or not a group of ardent cultists is something that Stallman has wanted from the beginning, or whether said group simply materialised around him more or less on its' own.

All the guy himself has really done is write a couple of licenses and some software. The intimidation, the tireless suppression of dissenting opinions, the abuse of this site's moderation system, the attempts to control the thoughts and actions of other people, at least where software is concerned...that's all done by his followers.

Average Response. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18468805)

Average User: "But I don't want people to think I'm supporting dictatorships in Africa!"

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