Linked by Charles Williams on Tue 17th Jan 2006 21:25 UTC
Linux What ever happened to the total computer newbies who tried Debian (part I | part II)? Mike, Diane, Mary & Carla are still doing very well, although much has changed since the first articles were written. They no longer use Libranet. They no longer use Gnome & believe it or not, Windows has now been installed. Read along to find out what happened.
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rakamaka
Member since:
2005-08-12

When nubie start to install ANY distro, my minimum expectations are.....
1) detail explaination about dual boot system and assurance that grub will not erase their beloved windows. in fact I have never come across any of linux live cds(after inserting in cd drive) explaining resizing and partitioning of preinstalled windows. Nubie will run away from QT parted
2) install any kind of internet connection? if Nubie doesn't see internet within first 1/2 hr of installation, he is frustated. Again no distro explains dialup(what is pppconfig??) or broadband wireless installation to Nubie. Why this Basic task to connect internet is so enormous for distro makers?
3)My printer to be worked within next 1 hr without configuring cupsys by hand.
4)My digital camera and scanner should work withing next two hours. No distro explains what is SANE and how to tweak it...
5)My LCD monitor should be working as soon as i boot into new system. Without editing xorg.
WHY any linux developer find these simple and honest expectations of Nubie so intrinsic to implement in distro building.
Dont compare these expectations with windows installation, just do something to make Linux Nubie's life easier.

Reply Score: 5

Splinter Member since:
2005-07-13

1) I am pretty sure my SuSE install talked about installing alongside windows and resizing windows. It makes no guarantees it won't break windows as any messing with the partition table can break stuff.
2) Dialup is very simple in KDE setup and running. However it does depend on your modem.
3) Worked for mine, did it during the install, however it configured multiple queues which is confusing for a Windows person.
4) Any Digital Camera using the USB Mass Storage standard just works. Scanner I admit was a little tricky but I had a cheap no-name brand of scanner.
5) Ok I have never had that problem with my two LCD's , one Philips one BenQ.

My experience was that most/all of my periferals and network configs worked out of the box with SuSE 10. Windows XP is a different story, could not get > 800x600 until I loaded the video card driver, couldn't config the LCD screen until I loaded that driver, sound card etc was limited until I got the mother board drivers loaded (4 reboots).

Remember Nubie's don't often install OS's, they use pre-installed.

Reply Score: 5

de_wizze Member since:
2005-10-31

While I do agree with most of the points you mention, why many distros lack this attention to detail I believe is because of distinct and different priorities.

There are the HobbyOS which focus on new and insteresting features/ideas/concepts/technology ... and then the For-ProfitOS which mostly have a target customer base and desired market area in which they focus on the request/paid for/most profitable/least costly features/ideas/concepts/technology.

The bottom line is that at this point neither groups see the compelling reasons behind those details as they fall some where in between new & interesting features and the high profit & highly demanded consumer requested feature sets.

Thats why I think they have and continue to fall through the cracks.

Reply Score: 1

ma_d Member since:
2005-06-29

1.) No one, in the software business, guarantees data. Maybe Oracle, maybe.
2.) That's for a couple reasons.
a.) Wireless literally sets itself up in the installation when it works.
b.) When it doesn't, it's for lack of drivers. Wireless and modems are notorious for being hard to support.
3.) What?
4.) Yea, more docs on Sane would be great. You figured it out, write them ;) .
5.) It usually does, if you know anything at all about it. It's understandable to know little about your monitor though, but I assure you it's in the manual you threw away when you bought it ;) .

Reply Score: 1

Finalzone Member since:
2005-07-06

When you write your argument, make sure to give reference of the hardware you use. I could write the same thing about Windows causing some posters to point out the flaw in the argument.

When you mention "Newbie", the problem is the assumption that Windows = Linux/BSD distribution which already falsened your logic.

1) detail explaination about dual boot system and assurance that grub will not erase their beloved windows. in fact I have never come across any of linux live cds(after inserting in cd drive) explaining resizing and partitioning of preinstalled windows. Nubie will run away from QT parted
What kind of distro did you use? Most Live CD already provide the way to partition disk (Knoppix, Puppy Linux, Berry Linux to name a few).

2) install any kind of internet connection? if Nubie doesn't see internet within first 1/2 hr of installation, he is frustated. Again no distro explains dialup(what is pppconfig??) or broadband wireless installation to Nubie. Why this Basic task to connect internet is so enormous for distro makers?
Do you honestly think a complete newbie will find an easy way to get dial-up connection without assistance no matter the OS?

3)My printer to be worked within next 1 hr without configuring cupsys by hand.
Name and manufacturer of that printer please.

4)My digital camera and scanner should work withing next two hours. No distro explains what is SANE and how to tweak it...
Again, name and manufacturer please.

5)My LCD monitor should be working as soon as i boot into new system. Without editing xorg.
Once again, name and manufacturer please. Usually manufacturer provide driver for Windows XP therefore the problem is related to manufacturer.

Reply Score: 1

Just works
by Jon Dough on Tue 17th Jan 2006 22:11 UTC
Jon Dough
Member since:
2005-11-30

Just shows to go ya that most people don't care about the Windows/GNULinux/BSD/OS-X debate. They just want to get their work done. Platform makes no difference.

Reply Score: 5

RE: Just works
by hobgoblin on Tue 17th Jan 2006 22:46 UTC in reply to "Just works"
hobgoblin Member since:
2005-07-06

true. and good free standard help here. like say being able to open openoffice files anywhere and so on.

about the only people that need specificaly windows these days are those that play the latest windows only games, work with in-house or custom developed software running on windows with no available code or have similar reasons.

the more general purpose the tasks one needs done is. the more likely it is that you can do them on just about any os.

still, a bit strange to see them go from debain to gentoo. but i guess it have allready been stated that with a bit of friend/neighbor support at start and no need to do the install themselfs, people can use just about any linux distro.

would be interesting to check how many of the wal-mart linux pc customers still use them.

in many ways its wrong to look at a linux install vs windows as 90%+ of the windows users have never installed windows from scratch.

hell, these days most comsumer pc's come with a custom installer that either just overwrite the windows or reset the system back to factory defaults and all.

something similar can nicely be done with linux. it may even prove easyer...

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Just works
by de_wizze on Tue 17th Jan 2006 23:00 UTC in reply to "RE: Just works"
de_wizze Member since:
2005-10-31

I think it's more like 95% do not install Windows ever. It's the other 5% that do it for the rest. From OEM provided reimaging CD's the come with the computer when it comes from the store to the IT department who do it for you at work, the virtually no enduser is expected to install the OS.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Just works
by Eric Martin on Wed 18th Jan 2006 06:36 UTC in reply to "Just works"
Eric Martin Member since:
2005-11-11

Great point.

LINUX is just a KERNEL ! Not an OS !

X windows has alot to do with the negative experiences of LINUX .

Reply Score: 1

RE: Just works
by Googlesaurus on Wed 18th Jan 2006 14:19 UTC in reply to "Just works"
Googlesaurus Member since:
2005-10-19

"Just shows to go ya that most people don't care about the Windows/GNULinux/BSD/OS-X debate. They just want to get their work done. Platform makes no difference."

What most users really want is to avoid learning anything new. If they can get their work done on their existing platform, they are unlikely to welcome learning another platform or method of operation.

The part geeks and advanced users seem to forget;
Most people don't share the passion for computers, technical issues, or learning in general.

Non-technical people, hate technical things.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Just works
by dru_satori on Wed 18th Jan 2006 19:30 UTC in reply to "RE: Just works"
dru_satori Member since:
2005-07-06

You need to be more specific:

Most people resist change.

The argument isn't tech versus non-tech, it's change. I know some incredibly gifted technical people that hate Linux (or OS X for that matter) not because they can't use it, but because it forces change upon them, and they are unwilling to leave that comfort zone. It's the same reason that so many OSS folks get so upset when licenses change, or external forces cause change.

Let's take for example the Suse users all up in arms about the possible move to Gnome when Novell bought Ximian. Here is an example of a group of people that are willing to embrace Linux are unwilling to embrace the possibility of change. Could they have gotten the same work done in Gnome, sure, but it would require change.

That's the fundamental issue that faces all of the alternative platforms.

It takes something to cause a desire to change. Linux doesn't have that. There is no marketing group that is giving the world any reason to change other than, it's free, and even that isn't selling, because to the consumer, it's not free. It's a $499 new computer, or a $99 box of Suse Linux. Further, there isn't that Digital Camera that says, Plug and Play with Linux on the side of the box. There isn't that iPod with a big sticker on the side that says 'Works with Linux'.

Microsoft has that comfort zone established, and the old mindset of nobody got fired for using Microsoft hasn't died. Novell isn't 'selling' to consumer's only businesses, and even that's less than it should be. IBM, Linux is only offered on the business targeted computers. Gateway, Dell, <insert tier 1 consumer vendor here> are all offering Linux to businesses, they aren't targetting the consumer. Only the Walmart computer's are doing that, and only online at that, you can't buy them in the stores, not at Sam's either.

Apple is the ONLY alternative vendor making an effort to make a consumer desire to change. The iPod, Digital Cameras, on demand TV shows, hardware that looks nice on a kitchen counter, software that just works (for the most part). They are also the only alternative platform that has a single point of focus and vision, not the fragmented Linux & Unix world.

But regardless of all of this, there is no question that Linux can get the job done, there is a question as to why a consumer would desire to put forth the effort to embrace that change? Because ultimately, most people don't like change and resist externally imposed change.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Just works
by hobgoblin on Wed 18th Jan 2006 21:57 UTC in reply to "RE: Just works"
hobgoblin Member since:
2005-07-06

or to put in a diffrent way:

what they want is an appliance that do one thing and do it well.

sometimes i wonder what if we give them a cpu that you can hook up to diffrent storage media. these storage media store diffrent programs or collections of programs in a rom, and have some storage space for user files.

at will you can jump from one attached storage media to the next, suspending the use of the others (alltho a ongoing task, like the downloading of a webpage or mail can continue).

basicly make the computer more physical to use.

want to jump to a diffrent storage media? hit the change button on the cpu box until the small use light on the media lights up (there should be a diffrent one for working. preferably flashing).

no need for installing files, no need for drivers.

want that multimedia suite to handle a diffrent codec? download it and put it into the codec folder on the user area of the media its on.

Reply Score: 1

Terracotta
Member since:
2005-08-15

1) try Suse, it makes a dual boot, just like any windows user you just have to hit enter without actually reading what's to read.
2) Since when are internet connections not recognised? Aside from wireless cards then. I've never seen anything in my windows history that ever showes a sign it was capable of dialing-up.
3)Install printers in KDE? Kcontrol center, printers, add printer, or something like that, quite exactly the same as in windows.
4)Don't know don't use either of theme, but in windows you need to find the drivers anyway, so it's not always that easy either.
5) As far as I can tell: suse, ubuntu ... ask what resolution you'ld like to be default, something windows does not during install.

Just to show you: if someone bought a pre-installed linux box, they'd get along quite nicely. The regular noob doesn't even know how to install windows. And linux is far easier to install (at least suse, ubuntu ...)

Reply Score: 0

Gentoo?
by miket on Tue 17th Jan 2006 22:23 UTC
miket
Member since:
2005-06-29

Thats the last distro I would've expected. This woman is remarkably patient. The fact that she did not question or even object to 18 hour installs or overnight updates is curious. She tolerated many things no home user should have to tolerate. She must hold the author in very high regard to have been that cooperative.
Don't get me wrong; my windows box hasn't even been powered on in a long time. I'm just saying I don't think most home users would act the way this woman did.

It does show how far distro's have come recently, though. Compare Gentoo's update process to Ubuntu's. I would argue that Ubuntu's method is even easier/more user friendly than Windows.

Reply Score: 5

RE: Gentoo?
by superstoned on Wed 18th Jan 2006 00:04 UTC in reply to "Gentoo?"
superstoned Member since:
2005-07-07

hp?news_id=13337&ci'd say (k)ubuntu is even easier compared to windows, as it also updates things like office and ALL other apps, and also handles upgrades to new versions - unlike windows update. you can also install software much easier, and as you don't need virusscanners and anti-spyware to keep your pc running, a pre-configured kubuntu kick's windows' ass anytime.

exept of course when it comes to microsofts monopolistic behaviour, when it uses its power to force you to use windows/office/etc... (talking about defaulting to a non-free non-open fileformat in word, having a broken webbrowser etc etc).

Reply Score: 1

RE: Gentoo?
by dumbkiwi on Wed 18th Jan 2006 00:50 UTC in reply to "Gentoo?"
dumbkiwi Member since:
2006-01-02

I don't get what the issue is with long upgrades on gentoo? You do them overnight, and they never get in your way. You can even do them as you are working, and they don't get in your way.

The advantage of gentoo is that their updates/installs invariably work as expected. The quality of gentoo packages is second to none on any distro I've tried. I just can't imagine going back to a binary based distribution. They always feel like they're held together with sellotape.

Time is irrelevant when the computer does things in the background and doesn't get in your way while it does it.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Gentoo?
by BlackJack75 on Wed 18th Jan 2006 01:46 UTC in reply to "RE: Gentoo?"
BlackJack75 Member since:
2005-08-29

I am sorry but I still think the concept of distributing the source instead of the compiled app is just plain stupid. If one machine can compile it for 40'000 users and everyone else benefits from it why the hell would you want to leave your machine on for the night? It costs money, requires more energy (hence damages the environment). It is just inefficient and absurd for anyone who is not a programmer to get all those sources just to compile and then delete them.

As for computers doing things in the background:
- on a laptop it eats your battery
- responsiveness disminishes (yes, even on linux having a gcc task using 100% in the background doesn't make gimp that usable).
- leaving your computer on could just to compile once again the whole OS is going to reduce its life in the end (disks mostly).

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Gentoo?
by AnonaMoose on Wed 18th Jan 2006 02:02 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Gentoo?"
AnonaMoose Member since:
2005-08-11

Howdy all

I am sorry but I still think the concept of distributing the source instead of the compiled app is just plain stupid.

Why not just use pre-compiled apps? Gentoo does support this (there are caveats though).
The main reason that gentoo normally has to compile things is that you may have set your system up with non-standard USE (compiler) flags (in which lies it`s flexability), these may create binary incompatablity with certain binary files your trying to install.
And before you ask, solving binary in/compatablity is a bit harder then just checking version numbers ;)

Your only looking at one aspect of it all, if everything was as simple as 1 way to do something we`d all be in flying cars and living in peace.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Gentoo?
by wilburpan on Wed 18th Jan 2006 06:33 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Gentoo?"
wilburpan Member since:
2005-08-09

I've been a long time Gentoo user (>3 years). I'm also a non-IT person (I'm a pediatrician). I think the real benefit of Gentoo is not the ricer aspects of tweaking your system, but the excellent package management system with portage.

And as far as compiling apps and upgrades sucking the life out of your computer, all I can say is that I had Gentoo installed on a crappy 6 year old P-III laptop, and was able to compile apps and use both KDE and Gnome without a noticeable slowdown in performance.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Gentoo?
by Dark_Knight on Wed 18th Jan 2006 02:51 UTC in reply to "Gentoo?"
Dark_Knight Member since:
2005-07-10

There are some people that are good at giving advice and there are those that simply try to help but end up sometimes providing the wrong information. An example is with the article and the family involved. While I have my reasons for using SUSE Linux a RPM based distribution from Novell, most relate to my field of work, supported software/hardware and the big one...ease of use. Now I know there are fans of Debian distributions but if I were to recommend a Debian distribution to a Windows user especially for the family home I'd say Linspire is the easiest to install and use. It boggles the mind why someone would suggest Gentoo or even Debian unstable to a former Windows user not unless that person(s) has extensive experience using Linux. It's like someone recommending a former Windows user to just compile the software program instead of installing the binary (ie: package_name.rpm). Which on SUSE Linux for example a binary RPM can be installed with the click of the mouse and the root (Administrator) password given (aka: one-click-install). When I demonstrate Linux to someone interested I use LiveCD or LiveDVD that run from their disc drive so as to evaluate both the OS, included software and how it runs on their hardware. I typically will show SUSE Linux due to my experience with Novell though I'll also demonstrate Mandriva Linux and even Linspire. Any questions the user may have I simplify the comparisons not only with each Linux distribution but also how they relate to their current OS.

Edited 2006-01-18 03:03

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Gentoo?
by abraxas on Wed 18th Jan 2006 16:17 UTC in reply to "RE: Gentoo?"
abraxas Member since:
2005-07-07

It boggles my mind that everyone seems to think people are too stupid in general to use Gentoo. It's not that hard. I converted someone who knew very little about computers in general to someone who now can configure and install Gentoo from a stage one on his own, getting everyting to work along the way. It's not for everyone, and some people have so little patience they will never try anything new, but Gentoo is not exclusively for Linux experts. In fact when I started using Gentoo I did not know nearly as much about Linux as I do now.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Gentoo?
by Ookaze on Wed 18th Jan 2006 16:40 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Gentoo?"
Ookaze Member since:
2005-11-14

It boggles my mind that everyone seems to think people are too stupid in general to use Gentoo

I've said it before : a lot of people think of themselves as more intelligent than anyone else because they know how to work their way around Windows. A lot of these people, lost in the Windows way, were unable to even install a Linux OS. So these people can't understand that others can do with computers what they could not do. I say that based on my experience.
I recall saying several time to my wife (who is computer illiterate) that when I tell people that she uses Linux on the desktop, they think it's impossible, so she must be a genius; I also told her that she is more computer literate than a lot of Windows expert out there, who could not do half of the things she does now (especially printing, I was impressed with what she managed to do in KDE).

I converted someone who knew very little about computers in general to someone who now can configure and install Gentoo from a stage one on his own, getting everyting to work along the way

I've not done so much, but I converted (nearly) all my neighboorhood to Mandriva (I'm french). It was simple actually : one day, I said STOP, I will not lose any more hours supporting your Windows. I'll be glad to support your Linux though. Within a month, all the Windows were dead or unusable ;) ) (that tells you the amount of support I was doing).
Now, these people are still in contact with Windows shills, as I hear them telling me the same stupid things like "but this is too complicated on Linux, but it's easy on Windows". I don't argue anymore, I don't even ask them if they really tried it (they never even try, just spout back the FUD). I just tell them : "then do it yourself on Windows if it's so easy, I don't know Windows anymore". That's when they say : "help me do it in Linux then, I don't have time now to do it on Windows", which is rather funny for me everytime. Two of them I have partially or not converted. One of my brother bought a laptop specially to be able to MSN with a webcam and use (a pirated) MS Office (I find this stupid, but oh well). The other also bought a new box, but is not connected on the internet, he just play games (I find this stupid too, given that he does not play a lot actually, he just fell for the latest game hype, he would have been better off with a console).

Reply Score: 2

ouch.
by lonelf on Tue 17th Jan 2006 22:29 UTC
lonelf
Member since:
2006-01-14

Man, It is good to hear that they are getting their work done in linux. But it sounds like having them run linux would be a support nightmare. You are braver than I sir. Kudos.

Reply Score: 1

RE: ouch.
by archiesteel on Tue 17th Jan 2006 22:50 UTC in reply to "ouch."
archiesteel Member since:
2005-07-02

But it sounds like having them run linux would be a support nightmare.

Actually, it is much less of a hassle than supporting Windows (I should know, I act as unofficial tech support for family and friends - on the one condition that they run a firewall and ditch IE/OE).

The fact is that Linux, once correctly set up, just works. Just to make sure, you can run sshd on the box (with a long, complicated password, of course) and do remote maintenance with ease.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: ouch.
by pxa270 on Tue 17th Jan 2006 23:00 UTC in reply to "RE: ouch."
pxa270 Member since:
2006-01-08

> Just to make sure, you can run sshd on the box (with a long, complicated password, of course) and do remote maintenance with ease.

If you're going expose somebody elses computers to the internet through sshd you should at least use public-key authentication. It's more secure, easier to use (since you don't have to type (and occasionally change!) passwords anymore) and it stops those annoying dictionary attacks.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: ouch.
by hobgoblin on Tue 17th Jan 2006 23:03 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: ouch."
hobgoblin Member since:
2005-07-06

If you're going expose somebody elses computers to the internet through sshd you should at least use public-key authentication. It's more secure, easier to use (since you don't have to type (and occasionally change!) passwords anymore) and it stops those annoying dictionary attacks.

do both. a 2-part authentification is much better then any kind of 1-part authentification.

the more parts there is to the access prosess, the more likely it is that a attacker will go look for a easyer target...

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: ouch.
by pxa270 on Tue 17th Jan 2006 23:59 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: ouch."
pxa270 Member since:
2006-01-08

> do both. a 2-part authentification is much better then any kind of 1-part authentification.

AFAIK OpenSSH does not support this, if you allow PasswordAuthentication you can always log in using the password regardless of the setting of PubkeyAuthentication.

Reply Score: 1

RE[5]: ouch.
by hobgoblin on Wed 18th Jan 2006 09:43 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: ouch."
hobgoblin Member since:
2005-07-06

AFAIK OpenSSH does not support this, if you allow PasswordAuthentication you can always log in using the password regardless of the setting of PubkeyAuthentication.

oops, i should have put a "if you can" at the start of that post.

did some checking and it looks like your right about the limitation of openssh. hmm, maybe its time to post a feature request ;)

Reply Score: 1

RE[6]: ouch.
by Ookaze on Wed 18th Jan 2006 10:44 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: ouch."
Ookaze Member since:
2005-11-14

did some checking and it looks like your right about the limitation of openssh. hmm, maybe its time to post a feature request ;)

I'm not sure. In Linux, IIRC, OpenSSH supports PAM, and you can do what you are describing in the PAM config file for your openssh.

Reply Score: 1

RE[7]: ouch.
by hobgoblin on Wed 18th Jan 2006 11:02 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: ouch."
hobgoblin Member since:
2005-07-06

ah yes, i noticed that PAM connection but never realy looked into it. a bit more config to be done but if it helps secuirty, its worth it i would say.

and was here not one of the bsd's that had plans to introduce PAM into their next version?

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: ouch.
by archiesteel on Tue 17th Jan 2006 23:08 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: ouch."
archiesteel Member since:
2005-07-02

If you're going expose somebody elses computers to the internet through sshd you should at least use public-key authentication.

I'm not familiar with how to use public-key authentication with sshd...do you have a link to a good HowTo?

It's more secure, easier to use (since you don't have to type (and occasionally change!) passwords anymore) and it stops those annoying dictionary attacks.

Sounds good, though I always use 12+ random characters for passwords (a mixture of uppercase, lowercase and numbers), so I figure it's relatively safe. Also, lately I've begun creating a menu entry to start/stop sshd, so they can do it only when I need to do maintenance.

But I'd be interested in trying out your suggestion.

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: ouch.
by pxa270 on Tue 17th Jan 2006 23:43 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: ouch."
pxa270 Member since:
2006-01-08

http://sial.org/howto/openssh/publickey-auth/

Basically: run ssh-keygen on your box, which will generate a public/private key part. Keep the private key secure on your own box and copy the public key to the PC you want to access remotely. If you've verified it works correctly, turn off password authentication on the remote box sshd_config. Note that if you use putty on Windows you need to use a tool to convert your private key to a format putty understands.

Reply Score: 1

She didn't get her work done.
by morglum666 on Tue 17th Jan 2006 22:33 UTC
morglum666
Member since:
2005-07-06

Actually, if you read the article, she couldn't get her work done (accounting) in either Windows or Linux.

One must be wary of such articles where the user accomplished very little, which is easy to do in any operating system. Still a nicely written little piece.

Reply Score: 2

RE: She didn't get her work done.
by hobgoblin on Tue 17th Jan 2006 22:57 UTC in reply to "She didn't get her work done."
hobgoblin Member since:
2005-07-06

Actually, if you read the article, she couldn't get her work done (accounting) in either Windows or Linux.

if your refering to that problem with gnucash and quickbooks, there was a comment about her looking into kmymoney2. it may be that both are basicly overkill for what see wants to do, and that the interface is overloaded.

basicly it says more about a single app then about the whole system.

she was nicely able to both update the os (given written instructions) and use openoffice to keep records of her spendings.

in the end it boils down the the old discussion about a glass for beer. either its half full or its half empty, it all depends on the way one approach the data ;)

Reply Score: 2

Celerate Member since:
2005-06-29

"it may be that both are basicly overkill for what see wants to do, and that the interface is overloaded."

I like that you brought that up. There is a lot of software out there today, and a lot of it tries to incorporate as many features as possible with the outcome being a confusing UI more often than not. Since I started learning how to program I've written my own simple applications which work prefectly for me compared to commercial products.

Reply Score: 1

v Linux is not for newbies
by Joe User on Tue 17th Jan 2006 22:33 UTC
RE: Linux is not for newbies
by miket on Tue 17th Jan 2006 22:41 UTC in reply to "Linux is not for newbies"
miket Member since:
2005-06-29

Ultra noobs can *use* linux, in "appliance" mode. An internet kiosk and such. As long as I am around to administer the linux boxes in my home, my wife and eventually kids will use linux every day, to do all sorts of things.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Linux is not for newbies
by archiesteel on Tue 17th Jan 2006 22:57 UTC in reply to "Linux is not for newbies"
archiesteel Member since:
2005-07-02

Funny, my non-technical girlfriend has no problems using my Kubuntu laptop.

In fact, I'm not sure she really understand what an OS is. All she knows is that the music player and the IM programs are better on my laptop than on her Windows PC...

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Linux is not for newbies
by BlackJack75 on Wed 18th Jan 2006 01:51 UTC in reply to "RE: Linux is not for newbies"
BlackJack75 Member since:
2005-08-29

If you are only a user and never install any software or hardware then linux is fine. Lots of nice apps and if it is properly configured it just looks like a good os.

Now, don't tell me your girlfriend could survive with her linux computer without your geeky help. At some point in life she'll be wanting to do somehting and at this point she'll have to ask for help. Had she had, say, a mac, it is likely that she could easily learn how to install a new app she found on a webpage or a driver.

Reply Score: 1

dylansmrjones Member since:
2005-10-02

She can't survive on Windows without help from geeks.

The common Windows user is incapable of using the start menu, incapable of installing applications (apart from spyware), incapable of uninstalling applications, and don't care about security (no firewall - no antivirus - no nothing).

About Mac OS X : Agreed. (To a certain extent - Mac OS X has severe usability problems as well.)

Fact is: No matter the platform most users will sooner or later need help from people with more knowledge. EOD!

Reply Score: 1

RE: Linux is not for newbies
by Celerate on Wed 18th Jan 2006 02:00 UTC in reply to "Linux is not for newbies"
Celerate Member since:
2005-06-29

Funny, I had no trouble learning Linux. The difference was that I wasn't a Windows power user, so I didn't have to worry about my ego when making the switch.

A lot of people don't give Linux a fair chance because they think they're 'l33t d00ds' as long as they have an OS they're familiar with. As soon as they are confronted with Linux and realize it's not Windows and they aren't going to know it well enough to impress their friends right away they usually go back to Windows with their tails between their legs. Often after only giving it a short trial period where they didn't bother to put a legit efford into learning it beyond poking and prodding around briefly without bothering to look at documentation. They usually leave with their pride hurt, they blame their inability to learn the OS on the software itself rather than their unrealistic expectations to simply install the OS and know how to use it because years of using Windows only gave them the impression they were 'uber geeks' who could use anything beyond the hardest of things such as assembly language. That's not everyone's reason for not using Linux, some people just preffer other operating systems. But by no means is Linux as a whole user unfriendly, there are distributions out there which are more point and click than Windows, yet still different enough to stump people who don't want to learn but expect the to be able to use the OS based on their Windows monoculture experiences. Most of the people I know with whom Linux actually took had used several different operating systems for extended periods of time. They knew how to find and read documentation, they had the deductive reasoning required to apply what they learned from that documentation, and learned much more from experimentation. They had all the excellent qualities that you would not find in someone who's spent too long in an OS monoculture.

I know lots of people who learned how to use Linux, the only think it costs is anywhere between a week and a month to become comfortably familiar and independent with it. Most people just stick with Windows because it's familiar to them and because it's not hard to find someone who already knows the OS to teach you the basics of how to use it.

Reply Score: 1

My wife
by fretinator on Tue 17th Jan 2006 22:35 UTC
fretinator
Member since:
2005-07-06

I setup a debian laptop for my wife once. A couple month's later I asked here how she liked her Linux laptop. She was shocked. She thought she had been booting into Windows all along. She mostly uses Firefox, and since I always put a pretty Firefox icon on the desktop (no matter what OS), she never noticed. She has been using the laptop for over a year now, and I never have to intervene. She really likes frozen bubble. As mentioned above, as long as things works (i.e., a knowledgeable user sets it up), most users could care less what OS is running.

Reply Score: 5

RE: My wife
by rockwell on Wed 18th Jan 2006 17:32 UTC in reply to "My wife"
rockwell Member since:
2005-09-13

//She has been using the laptop for over a year now, and I never have to intervene. She really likes frozen bubble.//

If she's just using Firefox and playing "Frozen Bubble" then she's obviously not taxing her laptop much. Linux is just as good as any OS, for such minimum requirements (probably better than Windows).

Many, many, many, many folks, however, use their laptops for much, much more. And a properly installed/configured/patched Windows system is the OS of choice.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: My wife
by archiesteel on Wed 18th Jan 2006 12:52 UTC in reply to "RE: My wife"
archiesteel Member since:
2005-07-02

Many, many, many, many folks, however, use their laptops for much, much more.

Good, because a Linux laptop can do much, much more as well.

What I do on my Kubuntu laptop:

- Surf the Web (this include accessing bug databases for work)
- Chat on MSN and Yahoo (with webcam)
- e-mail, e-mail, e-mail
- Do these in Wireless Internet cafés (fun!)
- Write a novel (using MS Word out of habit) and occasionally print out a few pages on a network printer to have people read it (I'm a quarter of the way through)
- Control my budget and expenses with some Excel spreadsheets I made for myself and my roommate
- Listen to music with Amarok
- Put songs on my iPod with Amarok
- Watch DVDs on my TV (it's got TV out through s-video)
- Burn CDs and make DVD backups (all legal, of course)
- Control my home network
- Play KNetWalk (fun little puzzle game - I do my "real" gaming on PS2/Xbox, playing Battlefront II at the moment, it's awesome)
- Share my laptop with my girlfriend (she has her own user, with her own desktop, all under Linux - she doesn't mind as long as it has her favorite wallpaper)
- Almost never turn it off (I love suspend-to-RAM...)
- Get weather info, birthday reminders, etc. with Kontact
- Download and test LiveCDs from other Linux distros, using KTorrent and k3B

My Kubuntu laptop fulfills all my needs, and I'm sure it would fulfill the needs of most computer users. A minority of people might actually require Windows due to some specific software, but you're deluding yourself if you think that represents the majority of users.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: My wife
by rockwell on Wed 18th Jan 2006 18:04 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: My wife"
rockwell Member since:
2005-09-13

//A minority of people might actually require Windows due to some specific software, but you're deluding yourself if you think that represents the majority of users.//

Well, a *majority* of users (in business) require Windows, because that's what their IT depts tell them to use (for better or worse). I choose Windows on my laptop because: 1.) I know how to configure it for very good stability and security; 2.) I follow best practices to avoid trojans/viruses/spyware; and 3.) many apps I use are Windows-only. Unfortunately, there are many users out there that don't have #1. or don't follow #2.

Now ... for a personal laptop use, yes ... most Linux distros would suffice. So long as the "average user" knows someone smart enough (like yourself, obviously :-) ) who could setup the system for them.

But that's rare.

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: My wife
by archiesteel on Wed 18th Jan 2006 22:03 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: My wife"
archiesteel Member since:
2005-07-02

Well, a *majority* of users (in business) require Windows, because that's what their IT depts tell them to use (for better or worse).

That's not a requirement as much as an arbitrary decision from the IT dept. You're right, of course, in the sense that those people could not use Linux even if they wanted to...however, that doesn't mean that they wouldn't be able to do their job with a Linux PC if their IT dept. allowed it...

Now ... for a personal laptop use, yes ... most Linux distros would suffice. So long as the "average user" knows someone smart enough (like yourself, obviously :-) ) who could setup the system for them.

...or they buy them preconfigured, along with a nice manual. We're not there yet, I'll admit, but it's certainly feasible.

Reply Score: 1

Chamaeleon
Member since:
2006-01-17

The regular noob doesn't even know how to install windows.

Most part of the people thinks Windows is easy to use, easy to configure, but you think is easy because you know how to do it and been doing it for quite a while. The people that are used to Linux finds the same and finds also advantages on doing it "their" way.

Most of the newbies don't know how to install Windows, or configure email clients or other stuff. They just use the preinstalled Windows that probably already came with Office and a all lot of other applications.

I do believe that people working in the Linux distros should polish some edges and make it cleaner if they want to apeal to the masses but mantaining an identity of their own.

I have been using linux for a while and it seems to me that is pretty usable and it came along way. If only the HW makers release good drivers for Linux as they do to other OS's and installing an application with be as simples as copy&paste without the freaking dependencies that would be awesome.

Reply Score: 1

v This article is a farse.
by linuxh8r on Tue 17th Jan 2006 17:40 UTC
RE: This article is a farse.
by Thom_Holwerda on Tue 17th Jan 2006 22:44 UTC in reply to "This article is a farse."
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

This article is a farse.

Please give some arguments next time. Comments like yours are utterly pointless, and give no help to the discussion and/or the author. Oh, and it's farce, not farse.

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: This article is a farse.
by Celerate on Wed 18th Jan 2006 01:32 UTC in reply to "RE: This article is a farse."
Celerate Member since:
2005-06-29

Given his nickname, average score, and comment history you really don't know what you're asking for.

This guy's got a history, albeit a short one in it's entirety, of posting flamebait against Linux. A veritable troll imo.

Go ahead, have a look if you don't believe me.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: This article is a farse.
by Sphinx on Thu 19th Jan 2006 05:23 UTC in reply to "RE: This article is a farse."
Sphinx Member since:
2005-07-09

He could have meant, "This article is a arse"?

Reply Score: 1

dylansmrjones Member since:
2005-10-02

No, don't think so. In that case it should be "This article is an arse"

Reply Score: 1

RE: This article is a farse.
by Arawn on Wed 18th Jan 2006 00:46 UTC in reply to "This article is a farse."
Arawn Member since:
2005-07-13

I was about to mod you down... then I thought, "what a waste of a vote"... It's best to reply.

You don't like the article? Fine. You don't believe the events are true? Fine. That doesn't mean they aren't true. Like Thom said, if you think it is a farce, then state your reasoning. And just denying the article isn't a argument. You're just trying to convince yourself. Not anyone elses.

Do yourself a favor. Start believing in yourself.

Reply Score: 1

RE:My wife
by Chamaeleon on Tue 17th Jan 2006 22:47 UTC
Chamaeleon
Member since:
2006-01-17

I setup a debian laptop for my wife once. A couple month's later I asked here how she liked her Linux laptop. She was shocked

I'm in the process of doing the same thing with my family. They are used to Windows but not Linux so I installed (in Windows)OpenOffice.org, Firefox,Thunderbird and Gaim. I'm going to let them get used to it then change then OS.

Unfortunatly I love Xara Xtreme a vector graphics program that exists only in Windows but they are trying to build it for Linux (it was a news in OSNEWS not to long ago).

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]:My wife
by fretinator on Tue 17th Jan 2006 22:57 UTC in reply to "RE:My wife"
fretinator Member since:
2005-07-06

Unfortunatly I love Xara Xtreme a vector graphics program that exists only in Windows but they are trying to build it for Linux (it was a news in OSNEWS not to long ago).
This is why I usually install Codeweaver's Crossover Office (a souped up WINE), as well as run Parallels (a VMWare like program to run a real copy of Windows in a window). I do a lot of Windows development with Visual Studio (the gotta eat thing, ya know), so I need these other options. However, a lot of my development has been shifting to Java, so my need for Windows has reduced.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]:My wife
by hobgoblin on Tue 17th Jan 2006 23:07 UTC in reply to "RE:My wife"
hobgoblin Member since:
2005-07-06

Unfortunatly I love Xara Xtreme a vector graphics program that exists only in Windows but they are trying to build it for Linux (it was a news in OSNEWS not to long ago).

i dont recall the name of it right now but isnt there a GPL vector graphics package thats getting high marks these days?

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]:My wife
by archiesteel on Tue 17th Jan 2006 23:10 UTC in reply to "RE[2]:My wife"
archiesteel Member since:
2005-07-02

i dont recall the name of it right now but isnt there a GPL vector graphics package thats getting high marks these days?

Inkscape's pretty good:

http://www.inkscape.org/

It's available for Windows as well (we have started using it at my place of work).

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]:My wife
by BlackJack75 on Wed 18th Jan 2006 01:59 UTC in reply to "RE:My wife"
BlackJack75 Member since:
2005-08-29

As long as they don't play games or any specific window app I am pretty sure this can go unnoticed. If you put the ugly XP background on your kde desktop they might even not notice :-)

I have been willing to switch people in my family but some of them play games which makes even a mac an impossible choice. Some other are just skilled enough to realize they don't know how to manage a linux system (while they could do it vaguely in windows).

I am curious about the experiences of people who tried to do a "switch from the start" with children or someone who just never had a computer. Most often you get used to something and the difficult thing is changing.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]:My wife
by ma_d on Wed 18th Jan 2006 02:20 UTC in reply to "RE[2]:My wife"
ma_d Member since:
2005-06-29

http://www.debian.org/devel/debian-jr/
You might ask on their irc channel.

Reply Score: 1

I repeat, GENTOO???
by macisaac on Tue 17th Jan 2006 22:52 UTC
macisaac
Member since:
2005-08-28

OK, I think it's great trying to get people of little experience to be trying/using a free OS such as Linux. And yes, I'm one of those nutty folk who actually enjoy hacking at a system to make it do wonderful things. But really folk, gentoo??

That would be the _last_ distro (well right behind LFS I guess) that I'd put on a regular joe's box. At least, a newbie who's not interested in becoming a linux geek and just wants to get their work done and such.

This isn't a flamebait (I hope), I like distros like debian, slackware, etc, but come on. You have to consider your target audience when you install something for other people, not what's the latest, coolest thing to you as an alpha geek (putting debian unstable comes close to gentoo). For your regular folk, something like suse, mandriva, pclinuxos, (k)ubuntu, even fedora core would be better I'd think.

Reply Score: 2

Windows harder to install
by fretinator on Tue 17th Jan 2006 22:53 UTC
fretinator
Member since:
2005-07-06

I believe Windows is now many times harder to install than Linux. I have installed both hundreds of times. The reason people think Windows is easy to install is ether they never do it, or they are using a rescue cd that "blasts" a pre-installed image onto the hard drive. With Linux, I often have play around to get optimal video or sound working. With Windows, after a fresh install, I usually have vanilla VGA, no network, no sound, etc (unless I am lucky). Once I've download and installed the network driver from another machine, I then start the fun of downloading the rest of the drivers. In this day of "motherboard chipsets" with integrated sound, networking, etc., this can be a real stumper (nForce chipsets, etc). As a person who buys a lot of used computers, laptops, etc., and then installs various OS's (hence the reason I do not have little driver disks laying around for the commputer), most modern Linux install are bone simple. Just thought I'd throw this out, since I rarely hear people talk about it.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Windows harder to install
by gehersh on Wed 18th Jan 2006 00:26 UTC in reply to "Windows harder to install"
gehersh Member since:
2006-01-03

That's what you believe. I went through the experience of installing both Windows and Linux on my laptop, after reformatting the hard drive, to have a dual boot. Installing windows was 'no event affair: install the system, add the laptop-specific drivers (there were few) and here we go. Installing Linux was intirely different story. I coudln't install either SUSE or Mandrake, various problems during the installation, like USB-connected mouse suddenly no longer works, and I can't use GUI installer, and no other installer is available, of can't configure display, etc, etc. Ended up with RedHat, only because the whole installation went through. I'm a Linux newbie, but otherwise familiar with Unix (many years of Sun/OS and Solaris experience). So LInux can be a bitch to install. May be nowdays things are easier.

Reply Score: 2

My BiL came up to help move...
by Tuishimi on Tue 17th Jan 2006 23:00 UTC
Tuishimi
Member since:
2005-07-06

...and I showed him my latest PC running PC/FreeBSD 6 and KDE 3.5. He was very impressed with the applications bundled with KDE (especially the educational apps, they home school).

I use my BSD machine more and more for work. I still haven't set up our oracle/apache/j2ee configuration, but for testing purposes I can just tunnel into my remote network to do that and sync up with cvs...

Pretty cool stuff. KDE/GNOME and Linux/BSD get better every day.

Reply Score: 1

Windows install
by Chamaeleon on Tue 17th Jan 2006 23:03 UTC
Chamaeleon
Member since:
2006-01-17

I installed Windows XP and Office 2003 three or four times (same cd's same pc) and all of those appeared different.
There was always some screen or option that didn't appear in the others.
That was really strange.
This never happened with previous versions of OS and suite.

Reply Score: 1

wow Gentoo
by MrEcho on Tue 17th Jan 2006 23:55 UTC
MrEcho
Member since:
2005-07-07

That is a bit odd putting Gentoo on their comuters.
But then again, it is simple to keep it up-to-date.
Not as simple as Ubuntu, which I have on my dads computer.
Yes it takes a while durning the first install, after that its not that bad, its not like you cant leave the term open and go about your daily things.
One one thing that really does it for me is when I "install" a program I know it will work. Gentoo isnt that bleading edge unless you want it to be, no I dont run ~x86.
Next month will be 2 years full time using Gentoo GNU/Linux. Im a much happer computer user now, less problems, and no MS.

Gentoo made me switch to Linux
Anyone notice the news_id # ;)

Reply Score: 1

RE: wow Gentoo
by Bending Unit on Wed 18th Jan 2006 05:58 UTC in reply to "wow Gentoo"
Bending Unit Member since:
2005-07-06

No, it's not simple to keep Gentoo up to date, rather you have to maintain it constantly. Failed compilations are not that rare, configuration files must be updated, getting stuff to work and work together is a never ending job. Most people are much happier computer users not having to deal with stuff like that.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: wow Gentoo
by dylansmrjones on Thu 19th Jan 2006 09:01 UTC in reply to "RE: wow Gentoo"
dylansmrjones Member since:
2005-10-02

I call bullshit on this one.

You do not get failed compilations with gentoo unless you have some insane use flags combined with heavy use of "unstable".

Configuration files are fixed pretty much automatically. Requires no more work with configuration files than windows (configuration files and registry).

It's only a never ending job if you keep updating on a daily basis. You are not forced to do so.

My dad (67 years old) is running Gentoo Linux. Since he's using stable only it's nothing but a simple matter of doing "emerge --sync && emerge --update --newuse --deep world" once a week. Trouble only arises when you want to mix packages from unstable, and when these packages are known not to work together.

Reply Score: 1

Windows not installed?
by tarps on Wed 18th Jan 2006 00:22 UTC
tarps
Member since:
2005-08-26

believe it or not, Windows has now been installed

Should that read "Windows has not been installed"?

Reply Score: 1

RE: Windows not installed?
by DigitalAxis on Wed 18th Jan 2006 02:49 UTC in reply to "Windows not installed?"
DigitalAxis Member since:
2005-08-28

No, because he installed Windows in case they wanted it. As it turns out, Diane didn't want it.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Windows harder to install
by microshag on Wed 18th Jan 2006 00:41 UTC
microshag
Member since:
2005-11-30

But did you ever install Windows on a generic white box?

Reply Score: 1

Newbie's
by motoguzzi on Wed 18th Jan 2006 00:53 UTC
motoguzzi
Member since:
2006-01-18

I don't understand the so called problem with untrained people using Linux. I have 2 daughters, wife and 85 year old motherinlaw all on MEPIS Linux. No problems with the use of the operating system. Other problems yes ie. DSL being down, printer won't print. Same would happen on Windows. Cost all of us NOTHING!!!

Reply Score: 2

v You're hypocritical
by Joe User on Wed 18th Jan 2006 01:06 UTC
RE: You're hypocritical
by Mathman on Wed 18th Jan 2006 01:14 UTC in reply to "You're hypocritical"
Mathman Member since:
2005-07-08

Sure, because we all know that KDE is nothing like Windows, especially when it's set up to mimic Windows as closely as possible as is the case of Xandros. In fact, KDE doesn't even have a menu like Windows does, does it? In windows you'd just click on the menu, move your mouse over to winamp and you're set. But under KDE there's no way you'd be able to click on a menu, move your mouse to where it says sounds, and click on one of the media players.

Edited 2006-01-18 01:15

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: You're hypocritical
by hal2k1 on Wed 18th Jan 2006 09:54 UTC in reply to "RE: You're hypocritical"
hal2k1 Member since:
2005-11-11

>>"People who say their mom or girlfriend have no problem using KDE or finding a media player on their Linux computer are just liars.

You're inventing, guys. Bad, bad, bad...""<<

"In fact, KDE doesn't even have a menu like Windows does, does it? In windows you'd just click on the menu, move your mouse over to winamp and you're set. But under KDE there's no way you'd be able to click on a menu, move your mouse to where it says sounds, and click on one of the media players."

Oh, yeah, obviously you can't do that on Linux. Also, even if you could, it would be incredibly difficult to find, it wouldn't be under a "Multimedia -> Sound" menu or anything remotely easy to find.

Anyone who posted a link to a picture of doing that on Linux is obviously lying.

http://members.dodo.com.au/~quiet1/snapshot40.jpg

An also you obviously can't right click on a media file in a GUI file manager, and choose which multimedia application to open a file in.

http://members.dodo.com.au/~quiet1/snapshot41.jpg

Those Linux hippies are liable to claim just about anything at all if you let them.

Edited 2006-01-18 09:57

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: You're hypocritical
by AnonaMoose on Wed 18th Jan 2006 10:32 UTC in reply to "RE: You're hypocritical"
AnonaMoose Member since:
2005-08-11

Howdy all

This is such a troll, blatant lies for the sake of evangelism.
Sad, sad sad!

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: You're hypocritical
by hal2k1 on Wed 18th Jan 2006 10:35 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: You're hypocritical"
hal2k1 Member since:
2005-11-11

"This is such a troll, blatant lies for the sake of evangelism. "

Mathman's post was sarcasm.

It was Joe User's grandparent post that was the troll.

Reply Score: 1

RE: You're hypocritical
by chemical_scum on Wed 18th Jan 2006 05:58 UTC in reply to "You're hypocritical"
chemical_scum Member since:
2005-11-02

People who say their mom or girlfriend have no problem using KDE or finding a media player on their Linux computer are just liars.

You're inventing, guys. Bad, bad, bad...


Come off it. If you can use the hierachical Start Menu in Windows to find an application (I know most Windows users can't, even some with science Ph.D.'s in my experience) you can use a similar menu in KDE or GNOME. However generally this is not necessary, ever heard of MIME. You click on a link in your browser and it launches an appropriate media player application, you click on a file in a file manager and it does the same. Or you put in an audio CD and it just plays it.

Easy innit ?

In my experience GNOME and KDE are easier and more intuitive to use than Win XP now. They are just beginning to push up against OSX.

For my wife who uses my GNOME based system, I have put all off the applications she regularly uses in a drawer on the panel, which is much better than littering your desktop with lots of icons which is the way most Windows users would do it. Of course you can do it that way in GNOME if you want to.

Edited 2006-01-18 06:07

Reply Score: 1

RE: You're hypocritical
by marcusesq on Wed 18th Jan 2006 10:06 UTC in reply to "You're hypocritical"
marcusesq Member since:
2006-01-18

Joe, Stop assuming everyone is as stupid as you are!

Reply Score: 1

Great story
by Sphinx on Wed 18th Jan 2006 01:42 UTC
Sphinx
Member since:
2005-07-09

I love a happy ending. That last paragraph was a bit troubling though.

Reply Score: 1

Strange Days
by moleskine on Wed 18th Jan 2006 01:54 UTC
moleskine
Member since:
2005-11-05

I guess this is not really a great advertisement for Linux evangelism. Someone wants to do something fairly simple, like use an accounting package. They are first recommended an unreliable and unstable branch of a distribution not known to be very friendly to the non-technical. When that fails to work they are offered a distribution known to be equally unfriendly to new users, though stable, but with the kicker that it takes a few days to install because the whole thing has to be compiled from raw code.

Alternatively they could be offered Ubuntu - stable, installable with four mouse-clicks in about 45 minutes - or SuSE, Mandriva or Fedora, all a lot more friendly than either Debian or Gentoo. Strange indeed. All I can say is that if this author were a mechanic, I wouldn't be asking him to fix the brakes on my car.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Strange Days
by ThawkTH on Wed 18th Jan 2006 16:09 UTC in reply to "Strange Days"
ThawkTH Member since:
2005-07-06

Quick question - how can one install *Buntu with a few mouse clicks? I've only experienced the default installer (which is of course keyboard driven). Is it maybe another medium (I.E. the DVD?)Is there a similar installer for Kubuntu?

I ask not because I have issues with the Ubuntu installer (I've messed up so many installs I think I could handle a dual-boot install blindfolded)...I ask only because I have a theory that if you could get said newbie to install Linux completely, with little to no intervention, they would feel far more able to LEARN how the system works. The "I know nothing and I'm gonna BREAK IT!!!" theory is beyond old. Perhaps if they are able to start from scratch, install, and have a working system that they can understand all on their own...well, I've always been a fan of empowerment.

To me, that's what Open Source is about. Empowerment is a powerful concept that The FOSS community will benefit greatly from.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Strange Days
by moleskine on Wed 18th Jan 2006 18:09 UTC in reply to "RE: Strange Days"
moleskine Member since:
2005-11-05

You are correct. It should be, "four mouse clicks and entering a user name and password".

I have done this from a standard Hoary CD, accepting all defaults on a standard-issue Dell of vintage 2002 or 2003. Turned out to be a godsend because I was demonstrating to a room full of folks who'd never heard of Linux or Ubuntu and they were very impressed with how easy it all was. By now, that should mean another 30-40 happy Linux users (I very much hope).

Reply Score: 1

Should have stuck with Windows
by TaterSalad on Wed 18th Jan 2006 02:21 UTC
TaterSalad
Member since:
2005-07-06

So you had linux loaded and it didn't work completely for them. Then you had Windows loaded, at no cost to you or them, which handled everything they needed by web browsing and accounting. Then you left linux on there. Seems to me that was a waste and you should have removed linux since Windows did 100% of what they needed to do with the computer. Sounds to me like you just wanted them to use linux instead of assessing their needs.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Should have stuck with Windows
by ma_d on Wed 18th Jan 2006 02:39 UTC in reply to "Should have stuck with Windows"
ma_d Member since:
2005-06-29

But they preferred Linux... Did you read the whole article ;) ?

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Windows harder to install
by archiesteel on Wed 18th Jan 2006 02:49 UTC
archiesteel
Member since:
2005-07-02

So Linux can be a bitch to install. May be nowdays things are easier.

I believe they are. How long ago did you try this?

One thing to remember about Linux distros is that many of them evolve at a breakneck speed.

Reply Score: 1

RE: You're hypocritical
by archiesteel on Wed 18th Jan 2006 02:55 UTC
archiesteel
Member since:
2005-07-02

People who say their mom or girlfriend have no problem using KDE or finding a media player on their Linux computer are just liars.

Finding a media player? Why? You click on the file and the media player starts (but anyway they're in Multimedia in my menus).

It's not a lie, it's the simple truth. Once installed and configured (which ordinary users don't do), Linux is very easy to use.

My girlfriend sees no significant difference between the two. As I said, she doesn't quite understand what an OS does.

But since you're calling me a liar, then let me simply mod you down for indulging in personal attacks.

Reply Score: 2

To the author ..
by WorknMan on Wed 18th Jan 2006 03:34 UTC
WorknMan
Member since:
2005-11-13

Well, I guess it's good thing these people had you around, else they'd have been screwed like on the first day. Pretty much any OS is easy to use as long as you have a guru within yelling distance. Problem is, there just aren't that many Linux gurus around.

Reply Score: 1

RE: To the author ..
by archiesteel on Wed 18th Jan 2006 04:06 UTC
archiesteel
Member since:
2005-07-02

Of course they had someone who knew Linux in their entourage, because they did not install it themselves. The bet is that no one installed Windows for them either.

At least you acknowledge our existence, the geeky friend/son/cousin/nephew who acts as unofficial tech support for Windows. To tell you the truth, I would rather handle their Linux boxes (or Apple boxes, for that matter) than having to deal with the problems people have with Windows.

The more people use Linux, the more experienced users of it will be around, so it's a self-sustaining thing.

The cool thing this proves is that Linux is usable.

Reply Score: 1

I am impressed!
by rancor on Wed 18th Jan 2006 05:55 UTC
rancor
Member since:
2006-01-18

Just read the third part of your series on OSNews.com

http://www.osnews.com/story.php?news_id=13337&page=1

And I would like to thank you for doing this and sharing the results.

At home I have a network of 9 machines (including 1 laptop and a HTPC) all
running Gentoo.  Yeah, I am a computer geek and a FSF fanboy (unfortunately
relegated to writing ASP.NET code under Windows during the day, yuck), so I
would like to share with you my on-going experiment and plans for the future:

I'm married with 4 kids (13, 11, 5, 3).  The older two and my wife each has
their own computer, each of them runs Gentoo with Gnome (2.12.2).  This
experiment has now been going on for about 2 years now.  We also have a TV in
the kids play room that runs Gentoo + Freevo.  My laptop, which doesn't
count, runs on an AMD64 nativly (64-bit) compiled Gentoo and I use KDE 3.5.

Overall I rate this experiment a success.  Occasionally, there is some whining
from my kids for some games, and I might install Windows on a second drive
for that purpose ONLY, but there is really no pressure at the moment.  
Everyone gets what they need out of their machines on a day-to-day basis:
e-mail, IM, browsing, printing, file access.  Also via SSH I can fix just
about anything remotely.  My wife and daughter both have portable media
players that can play music from our home sound system (custom built also
running Gentoo + MPD) library which is all ripped in OGG format.

My next phases are to begin to teach the kids some more advanced
administration, especially my daughter who will be going to college in 4
years, I want to make sure she can be self-sufficient with at least some
Linux distro.

My next phases might include migrating my mother to Linux because she is not a
game player.  My father is hopeless, he installs everything and plays a lot
of games.

Keep up the good work.  The experiment is worth it.

Reply Score: 1

v RE: I am impressed!
by Bending Unit on Wed 18th Jan 2006 06:07 UTC in reply to "I am impressed!"
RE[2]: I am impressed!
by chemical_scum on Wed 18th Jan 2006 06:22 UTC in reply to "RE: I am impressed!"
chemical_scum Member since:
2005-11-02

Ugh. Please spare your family from your religious beliefs.

I am getting tired of Windows fundamentalists (and some Apple cultists) who believe it is immoral and sacriligious to want to undertand how an OS works and to have access to the source code ;-)

I realize that you are probably referring to his devotion to Gentoo, but you see the implications of throwing around accusations of religious zealotry. However being on dialup with a slow system Gentoo is not an option for me. I have compiled enough kernels in my time, so I can see both the attraction and irritating boredom of Gentoo :-) Of course I now generally use RPM to install new kernels.

If however you are referring to his support of the FSF that is political not religious.

Edited 2006-01-18 06:38

Reply Score: 1

Sounds Good
by segedunum on Wed 18th Jan 2006 09:43 UTC
segedunum
Member since:
2005-07-06

Sounds like he's done a good job, and he has decent patient people to work with who are willing to have a go. The problems he's encountered are nothing to do with Linux per se, but the issues of IT support in general. Everybody needs help to install a scanner or use a digital camera, and the notion that Windows is easy to use here is a red herring. It is easy for IT people to use.

And no you idiots, the users are not actually using Gentoo but they are using the desktop on top of Gentoo. He merely installed it for them.

Reply Score: 1

Appliances
by alcibiades on Wed 18th Jan 2006 15:45 UTC
alcibiades
Member since:
2005-10-12

Do agree with everyone who posts saying Mandriva or Suse (or PCLinux) would be easier for them. Or Mepis if you really want Debian. And it boggles the mind that quite naive users are recompiling the kernel, something which I've never needed to do.

But the basic experience is similar and believable. Put in Linux for people who have fairly stable requirements, and just about the only questions you get are about how to use the applications. The lady has my sympathy with the accounts package, too. They are notoriously intractable.

You should expect to do hardware upgrades, and major system upgrades. But I wouldn't expect them to put in SP2 unaided either.

You have to pick who you give linux to. If they are poor, have existing hardware, do a lot of file swapping, have fairly stable application requirments, are pretty naive about security and how computers work, use the net quite a bit, and are either prepared to work at understanding it properly, or alternatively, just use it and call you for support two or three times a year, they will do fine.

You teach some simple backup procedure. It can be as simple as copying to floppies if that's what they are used to. And you can be almost certain that they are never going to lose their life's work due to some infection, no matter what malicious emails they are sent.

Why not a mac? Well, the last time this came up for me, it was money. Throw out your old screen, buy an all in one plus Office, and do without your holiday. Or, we can just buy you a whitebox base unit, run linux, get all the apps free, you can go on holiday, and buy yourself a big LCD when you have some spare pennies. Be about equally secure, have about equal functionality. It was a no brainer.

Reply Score: 3

Jane Goodall among the newbs
by maczmail@yahoo.com on Wed 18th Jan 2006 16:05 UTC
maczmail@yahoo.com
Member since:
2005-07-12

The tone of the article seems very anthropological. "Made great strides today with Coco, they are finally accepting the distro as one of their own."

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: I am impressed!
by rancor on Wed 18th Jan 2006 16:56 UTC
rancor
Member since:
2006-01-18

Ugh. Please spare your family from your religious beliefs.

As I'm sure you do. ;-)

Gentoo: Why? Sick of the way other distros package stuff. I've been through enough RPM hell. There hs got to be a better way. I've played around with Debian a bit and like that as well.

I just like Gentoo because I like the USE flags system, (now there is per-package flagging :-) ). I just like the overall control I get with Gentoo. It's a pretty decent balance between linux from scratch and a pre-packaged system.

I've also got a decent home network so I've got distcc running on everything, in conjunction with ccache I can recompile QT in like 15-20 minutes. So the re-compilation problem really does not bother me. Also, everything links to what ever libraries I have installed (or updates as necessary). I would say once a year I run into a shared object problem on ONE machine, and that is pretty good since I use the testing (~x86) flag on all my machines.

Religion: I was a Windoze head until I got tired of MS trying to control the horizontal and vertical (software keys, then Windows activation, now totally in bed with whatever DRM cartel is in vogue at the moment, of course there is TCPM on the horizon). The piece of hardware connected to the keyboard I'm typing on is MINE! The memory where all of the software runs is MINE. I want the computer to ONLY do what I want it to do. With that attitude, about 4 years ago I decided to try an experiment with myself: I decided to try some sort of linux for a year. If, after that year I came to the conclusion that Linux sucked, well, then I would know why at least. I went through a number of distros: RedHat, SuSE, Lunar, Sorcerer, Debian. I finally tried Gentoo and everything seemed to fit right. After the first year there was no turning back, I was smitten.

For more detail, my daughter PREFERS her GNOME desktop to everything she uses at school, that includes Windows and Mac OS X. I don't pressure her to feel this way, but she really feels that they are clunky and difficult to use. For reference her first machine DID run Windows, but I (as in me, the dad) decided to get Windows out of our house. I'm not joking when I say that on a day-to-day basis I experience no problems or regrets for this decision. Of course I would like to play more games, I do have a bunch of Linux iD stuff that works very nicely, but I'm not going to hand over my freedoms to use the hardware I own any way that I want for the privilege of playing games. My freedom means too much to me. I WOULD like MY CHILDREN to SHARE this. If THAT is RELIGION, then so be it I'm religious.

Reply Score: 3

need guidance
by thinsoldier on Wed 18th Jan 2006 23:24 UTC
thinsoldier
Member since:
2006-01-18

If everyone had their own personal Charles Williams, there would be 8x as many true noobs (with no intentions of becomign linux geeks) using linux. As a result, linux developers would have a much better idea of how to make their applications more user friendly.

I wish I could switch to linux. I REALLY REALLY DO. But without my own personal Charles Williams to guide me I just can't do it.

I used to have knoppix installed on a spare drive and use it rarely to play the rare downloaded movie that wouldnt play in anything I had in windows. And to see thumbnails on a few photo cd's that had the images in a weird format that windows wouldnt generate thumbnails for.

But other than that I can't get much use out of it.

I've never figured out how to get it online or how to make the screen resolution higher than 1024 or how to get gnome to see all my drives (kde finds them fine).

It's like the author said, until I've seen someone do the basics I'll either be afraid to mess it up or will have no clue where to find the basic functionality I need.

What I need is a 2 hour long video tutorial of just somebody sitting in kde and going over all the basics. Trying to join forums and asking noob questions just to get treated like shit for being a noob is frustrating.
Being told to RTFM for a utility that gives no indication what it's used for or where to find it's manual is annoying.
Watching my friend who uses to use linux open some wierd blue window and type in a bunch of ancient greek just to find out if the OS even knows there is a network card in the system and still not be able to get online is friggin confusing.

I hate windows' vulnerabilities and instability and having used a mac 9-5,5 days a week for over 18 months, I know I don't really want a mac either (gui is just slow for no good reason when compared to windows and kde/gnome and the dock is shit). I want to really really try to use linux. But without a person like the author on speed-dial I'm as lost as my aunt who paid $3,200 for an e-machine with windows 98.

Reply Score: 1

RE: need guidance
by hal2k1 on Thu 19th Jan 2006 09:31 UTC in reply to "need guidance"
hal2k1 Member since:
2005-11-11

"I wish I could switch to linux. I REALLY REALLY DO. But without my own personal Charles Williams to guide me I just can't do it."

What you need then is "Linux for noobs". A Linux distribution designed for desktop use, with a GUI Control Centre, APT for package management, very good hardware detection, install from a LiveCD, easy to use menu layout, zero need to use the command line, and up to date software.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PCLinuxOS

Also, a "new user" guide for people new to Linux would be important to have:

http://www.pclinuxonline.com/wiki/HomePage

Hopefully the guide will develop with a bit more time, it has only just started really. Hope this helps. Knoppix is pretty good, but it is not really about new users and ease-of-use on the desktop.

Find out more here:

http://distrowatch.com/table.php?distribution=pclinuxos

Download the ISO for the LiveCD from here:

ftp://ftp.nluug.nl/pub/metalab/distributions/texstar/pclinuxos/liv...

or get an ISO pre-configured for your video card from here:

http://pclinuxos.ethz.ch/mirror/pclinuxos/live-cd/english/preview/

Enjoy!

Reply Score: 1

RE: need guidance
by dylan_b. on Thu 19th Jan 2006 16:19 UTC in reply to "need guidance"
dylan_b. Member since:
2005-10-08

You could try looking for any local LUGs & attend one of their install fests.

Reply Score: 1