What you get is what you (buy already installed)

Story: Anyone Can Use The Linux Operating SystemTotal Replies: 3
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Jun 13, 2011
12:33 PM EDT
It is easy to forget that everybody in the world buys a computer (ok, nearly everybody) and they get Windows. They get on with it, ecosystems are formed, traditions, habits, and momentum has been created. What they do not do is mess with partitions, or install operating systems, ever. Most users I come across do not even back up in a serious way, if at all.

Expectations are already in place (even for Windows experts). They expect trouble, and can easily find it instead of doing what I would think of as sensible, and easy. I think you are pretty well spot on with your points. Particularly your last point 'by someone that knows what they are doing' - a friend, family member, mentor or whoever. There are powerful enemies out there who also know what they are doing. Expectations are distorted by FUD, and the Free software community is pants at any sort of marketing. I would add that I find some home grown and (by me) unwanted uncertainty (the 'U' in FUD) in the commonplace use of the word 'Linux' and the dual personality - kernel or OS - implied by the general usage I believe works against free software.

Jun 13, 2011
5:12 PM EDT
The thing is they can buy with Linux preinstalled. It isn't hard to do. A quick Google search is all it takes. Then Linux is usually problem free.

Jun 13, 2011
8:03 PM EDT
They can buy with Linux pre-installed -- but first they have to believe that Linux can meet their needs, and do so better than the default choice -- the "safe" choice -- and that's Windows.

They have to go significantly out of their way to get anything but Windows. Even if they're not satisfied (and how can they judge, without broader experience), Windows defines their expectations.

They at least are sure that they are no worse off than everybody else, and haven't thrown money away or inadvertently screwed themselves by trying to be clever and choosing an "exotic" product. They know someone who "knows computers" and can help or at least give advice, etc...

And Microsoft is a prestigious, lauded and wealthy corporation that "made computers "easy" and "affordable" for ordinary people -- so it must be good, right? So if there are differences from and incompatibilities with that other operating system, obviously the "free" alternative must be at fault.

It's not a level playing field. I'm not a techie, But I have become relatively computer-savvy. And I remember what it was like, buying my first computer. Newbies -- especially those who have to watch their budget -- are going to be less concerned with picking out the "best" choice (they realize they're not qualified to judge) but rather with avoiding a bad one. And in that context, Linux often looks like a bigger risk than they're willing to take, whether it comes pre-installed or not.


Jun 13, 2011
11:11 PM EDT
> Then Linux is usually problem free.

Well, except for those necessary programs which sometimes pop up, which are almost universally Windows only. And services which refuse to support Linux or use Windows only media formats (Netflix, for one example, but there are many). Etc, etc.

The problems are legion. They're also, in any individual case, usually relatively minor, but they do build up. Most people will find that they need some type of Windows machine around (whether physical or virtual) to deal with them. But it's reached a point where Linux should be your primary machine, and Windows the niche one. That's a significant improvement over the way it used to be.

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