Another problem...

Story: The GNU/Linux Desktop Adoption Drive: Revisited -or- Maybe I was wrong...Total Replies: 7
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Apr 18, 2005
6:48 AM EDT
The herd instinct and "the easy way out". People buy what everyone else has. They ask friends what kind of computer to buy and get Dell or HP for an answer....Windows is assumed.

Most Windows users don't know much more than which icon to click for email. When they have a problem or question there is usually someone familiar with Windows around to help or answer questions for them. Who would they go to with Linux? Most Windows users are not willing to google for answers or visit the forums. Until Linux is simpler and more pervasive this will be a show-stopper for many.

I love Linux (I use Kanotix) and no longer use Windows, but it took a lot of time and effort (which I enjoyed) to get to the point where I am now. Most Windows users do not have the time or inclination for this effort. Sure, if someone would install Linux for them and set it up they would have no trouble using it, but I doubt most would be willing to pay a lot for someone's time to do that.

Realistically, I fear, the "year of the Linux Desktop" is still a ways off.

Apr 18, 2005
7:50 AM EDT
mdl: so true.

People are very used to brand-naming as the only way to buy anything. One of my favorite examples of this was around 1995 or so, when "Packard Bell" was at its heyday. Most of their machines had a reputation of being absolutely the bottom of the barrel -- but the name sounded vaguely familiar. Maybe it was because the Korean firm that created it simply combined a phone company name with half of another brand name, to have instant recognition. I'm not sure (cough).

Anyway, This friend of my was asking me at work one day what "brand" of PC did I recommend. I gave him about an hour of lecture on how to understand CPU clock speed, components and so on, and a basic idea that you shouldn't shop by brand -- but by features and components.

And he ignored my advice and about a half a dozen other peoples advice -- and bought a "Packard Bell". He was really proud of it, you could tell. About every other week, he'd stop by with questions about why this or that wasn't working.



Apr 18, 2005
12:58 PM EDT
Paulie --

Sounds like you're finally catching on.

That leaves, oh, 98% of the remaining Linux users/evangelists, etc.

I have long said that the most important ingredient in ramping up Linux desktop acceptance will be the office and neighborhood "gurus".

The word guru is important -- it is different from expert. If you pay much attention to Windows users, you will find that most have at least one, probably more, non-techie "gurus" they can turn to. Not Windows experts per se, but knowers of things who can tell you what you need to know. Their answers may not always be best, but will tend to get you where you're going.

Most people don't know any equivalent Linux gurus. Oh sure, there's the hyper-geek kid down the street, but, "oh my, I'm afraid he just doesn't understand my needs".

People need to know that they can do the things they need to do. They need to know that they will not be stranded. That's the role Windows gurus fill. That's thre role we need to fill.

It will take time, buckos. It will take time.

Apr 18, 2005
3:12 PM EDT
You know, during my Linux Honeymoon...that period when everything is new between the two of you and every little thing it does is just so cute...I would have become a bit defensive over statements like the one made by MDL, however honeymoons end and eventually we settle into our everyday lives. I spend some part of my day, everyday as a Linux ambassador. Dude is right...people just don't care. You can show them that their HP is neck deep in spyware, trojans and trash. You can run a live cd and demonstrate the ease and safety of Linux until the friggin' hard drive melts, most of the time it won't matter. Once they discover that they are actually going to have to "re-learn" something...even the smallest of things, they suddenly remember they left the cat in the dryer and have to go. I still care about the proliferation of Linux and I work toward that day after day. I am just not so evangelical about it any more. I have come to the point where if someone rejects better, safer and sometimes easier ways of computing in exchange for the toxic soup that is their hard drive, I just shrug.

I am beginning to understand "the elitist attitude".


Apr 18, 2005
5:39 PM EDT
helios: No, I wouldn't say that, you're just tired of not being listened to, and that's ok. It would be nice if people cared about privacy, security and so on -- you're fundamentally onto one of the problems; difference causes pain. The devil you know is often better than the one you don't know.

I'm pretty sure, though, it's going to happen sometime in my lifetime ;) Possibly a couple of sorry viruses making their way deeper than anyone imagined -- but again, I could be wrong.

Amazing how much people will put up with, though.

Dino's point about being stranded, in other words.

But he's wrong about something there, I just haven't decided what it is...

Apr 18, 2005
6:40 PM EDT
Paulie, let me help you:

Where I am wrong, or may seem to be wrong, is in my simple-minded repetition of the same mantra.

The truth is that it's loaded with chicken and egg problems. The other truth is that it can be overcome by fiat -- witness a number of government and business organizations that have made the switch.

I have always maintained that the desktop is far more difficult to conquer than the server room.

Your target audience is much more diverse in terms of interest, capability, and the tasks that matter to them.

Apr 19, 2005
1:30 AM EDT
No, where you are wrong is to suppose that I am in some way going to let a discussion slide without royally flaming you. I (darn it) agree with you point of view.

to that point, though: "chicken and egg problems"

You farming hackers are all alike.

You crouch in the dust of your chicken-coups, nothing but the glow of the egg-checking lights and the smell of bird doo-doo to guide your way. This was a discussion about desktop Linux, but could the infamous 'trac'd one pass up a chance to nudge it into the area of his special interests once again -- oh no, it had to be subverted into a discussion of Poultry Coups instead of Personal Computers. And while both of these have the dreaded PC acronym -- only one of them fits here.

But I see how you are -- I can see through the subtle hints in your language. I'm on to your ways. One day that 'Trac-Tor you drive to work will turn on you. You'll be needing good diagnostic software to fix it (hint: it ain't going to be from RedMond). Then you'll be sorry.

There, now I feel better. ;) --FeriCyde

Apr 19, 2005
5:00 AM EDT
OK, Paulie.

Glad you were able to get out of your system.

One of us, at least, can remain grown up in this matter.

And - while I'm at it -

Nyah! Nyah! Nyah!

I'm right and you know it!

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