Linked by Eugenia Loli on Fri 30th Jun 2006 19:19 UTC, submitted by Yadav Ji
Linux "Over the years, I've had a number of people asking me what I believe the problem was with further migration over to Linux by the public at large. To be frank, I don't believe that there is a simple answer to this. To me, there are a number of factors that play a role in keeping Linux out of the mainstream limelight" writes Matt Hartley in his opinion piece.
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My experiences
by Coxy on Sat 1st Jul 2006 21:14 UTC
Member since:


I read osnews everyday but decided to make my first post after reading the comments to 'Why Linux Has Failed Most Beginners'

I'm a windows user, and web designer. I tried Linux in University (Redhat if memory serves), my experience of it was less than successful. I wanted to try Linux after selecting to specialise in Programming instead of Design - I thought I should learn to use JavaScript and specialising in Programming for a year was the only way to do that.

There were about 5 of us in the class from the Design school... it was a bit of a shock, going from the Design department to the Electrical Engineering department. Gone were the macs with students listening to music, using Flash and Director, talking, chatting. We were now in nerd heaven... row upon row of what I thought were old computers with some crappy old operating system on... turned out to be something called UNIX. By each computer was a student, just sitting there programming away, not talking, doing there best to ignore everyone else or at least trying to pretend they were on there own. Even the tutors were different, in the Design department the tutors rooms were like cool cafes, the tutors in the EE department seem to be part Robot, they were surrounded by opened computers (actually on and running with wires and god knows what connected up to them and disc drives too (not installed)). Some of the computers had fans blowing air in to them, I thought this was funny at first.

After a few weeks it be came apparent to us (the 5 from Design) that everyone else seemed to have already learnt JavaScript and Perl and used Linux at home, most of them seemed to ignore what the teacher was saying and were working on the projects. Everytime the teacher tried to get us to do something he had to stop and show us a 'graphical' way to do it... this was because his request that we "open a terminal and type 'gobledigook a- s- s-'" (or something like that) would mean him having to tell everyone what a terminal was how we open it and what a- s- s- meant.

I was given readhat by the geeks with the promise that it was easy to use and install - I think this was probably a joke ;-)

I was living with my brother at the time and he is a programmer, writing device drivers as well as software for telcoms voice recognition as well as designing the circuits for the hardware. I thought he could help... he told me not to. He had trouble installing it. His friend from Taiwan on the course to also said not to. He owned a computer chain store in Taiwan and was studying Programming to get out of the retail side of computing. That fact that two geeks found it difficult to install should have been a warning to me.

I installed redhat and after help from my brother, I was able to get it installed. If he hadn't of helped me I wouldn't have stood a chance... I use a computer everyday, I'm not a techie, but also not a newbie. If the installer that came with redhat was suppossed to be easy to use and understand for someone coming from windows (which everyone in EE said it was) then I must be Jesus Christ. I had know idea what half of it was, I've installed windows 2000 and xp several times, I had to do was click the mouse a few times, type in my name and go make a cup of tea.
This I found was really difficult. This should be fixed I think, I read a lot of comments in OS news by Linux users saying that ther 80 year old aunt uses Linux and that if they can use linux everyone can... I wonder if these Octogenarians actually had to install Linux and if they did, was the poster claiming to have an 80 year old aunt sitting next to them going through every step with them, I have a few aunts too but none of them would be able to install Linux.

One of the reasons I wanted to try Linux was because the software I had to use on my course was very expensive, I was told by posts to Linux forums and by questioning to the EE department that Linux had equiv. programmes and if they didn't exist they could be run using something called wine or VMware. Redhat was installed, with for some reason 6 or 7 text editors, 8 email clients etc, etc. Why? Why? Again, why? Most were unfinshed beta software or require that I use the Command line. Nothing seemed very professional (this is my view when I compare the software I had on windows). So I started up my first 'euiv.' app, I had some images to edit so I ran the Gimp, a programme I was assured by the EE students, was like Photoshop, only better 'coz it's free...' the Gimp was a painful experience. Anyone who has used Photoshop on a Mac and then been made to use !Paint on RISC OS will empathise entirely with my pain. The other thing I noticed was the time it took to load the applications - why's it take so long? And why has everything got a K in fromt of it's name?

I wanted then to install a new web browser... I use IE on windows. For this I'm called lazy (if the post at firefox forums are to be believed), yes lazyness is claimed to be a reason for not switching from the default installed (IE) to another browser on windows. To my surprise, questions at Linux forums on the subject of installing a browser were frowned apon. Why would I want to use a different browser? I just have to learn to use Firefox, 'it's better than IE!'. I see, it's ok to use the default browser that ships with Linux, just not the default browser that ships with windows... if you do that your lazy... hmm. Eventually I managed to download Opera. This lead to my next problem having to install software. This is awful in Linux. There were all kinds of problems, other things had to be downloaded and installed. I had to type gobledigook into the commandline. What kind of 80 year old granny can do this without problems? I can't and I have good eyesite and nimble fingers.

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