Linked by Eugenia Loli on Tue 22nd May 2007 00:12 UTC, submitted by Jon Dough
Linux Why is it that the average computer user still chooses to spend hundreds of dollars on Windows or Mac when there are countless Linux alternatives that they could download, install and make use of completely free of charge? Some answers here.
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RE[3]: A misconception...
by budword on Tue 22nd May 2007 01:29 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: A misconception..."
budword
Member since:
2006-06-18

I'm not trying to do open heart surgery. That's his point. People who want to use a computer have an obligation to learn at least the basics.

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[4]: A misconception...
by Cass on Tue 22nd May 2007 01:43 in reply to "RE[3]: A misconception..."
Cass Member since:
2006-03-17

Thats the thing, the basics are, find the power button, press it, find icon for browser, email, Itunes, click them.. switch off when done ... most users have that in the bag, its all the other stuff that comes after thats the tricky part .... I suppose its all about perception as to what users are supposed to know !

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[5]: A misconception...
by archiesteel on Tue 22nd May 2007 02:01 in reply to "RE[4]: A misconception..."
archiesteel Member since:
2005-07-02

Thats the thing, the basics are, find the power button, press it, find icon for browser, email, Itunes, click them.. switch off when done ...


Good thing Linux can already do all of that! ;-)

Edited 2007-05-22 02:10

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[4]: A misconception...
by BluenoseJake on Tue 22nd May 2007 02:41 in reply to "RE[3]: A misconception..."
BluenoseJake Member since:
2005-08-11

I'm not sure why, they expect it to work, reliably and most of the time, just like any other tool. In this respect, Linux is no better than Windows, as users perceive it to be more work to setup and maintain a Linux box than a Windows box, more is expected of the user, and that is a fact, even if it actually takes no more, or less work. Perception is the key. Most people who own cars don't know too much about how it operates, it is enough that thye know how to USE it, and take it to a shop when it breaks down. Why do computers have to be different?

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[5]: A misconception...
by bogomipz on Tue 22nd May 2007 09:10 in reply to "RE[4]: A misconception..."
bogomipz Member since:
2005-07-11

Why do computers have to be different?

They don't. The only difference is that you wouldn't accept paying the same price per hour for people fixing your computer as you pay for someone fixing your car.

Since computer software is even more complex than a car, and you're likely to add/change parts more often, this would probably happen monthly or even weekly. On top of that come the times you screw something up, like deleting important data.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[5]: A misconception...
by twenex on Tue 22nd May 2007 09:32 in reply to "RE[4]: A misconception..."
twenex Member since:
2006-04-21

I'm not sure why, they expect it to work, reliably and most of the time, just like any other tool. In this respect, Linux is no better than Windows, as users perceive it to be more work to setup and maintain a Linux box than a Windows box, more is expected of the user, and that is a fact, even if it actually takes no more, or less work.

Sorry, but this is fiction. A preinstalled (whether by the vendor or a friend), well-maintained Linux distro should be much less work than a preinstalled, well-maintained Windows installation, because with Windows you'd have to:

(a) run a virus checker (b) run a spyware and/or adware checker (c) run a defragmenter (d) download Windows updates (e) search for updates for other software (f) download those one by one.

On Linux, these mostly don't exist (you can get virus checkers but (a) some of them are intended for use on servers, to get rid of Windows viruses on behalf of clients; and (b) to my knowledge no-one has ever seen a Linux virus that can destroy files in more than one directory): for our purposes (a-c) don't, and if they did you can bet your bottom dollar that user-friendly distros would set up a cron job to run them at appropriate times.

As for (d-f), the number of packages in a "big" distro is so large that it is getting increasingly difficult to justify the old complaint about

$ ./configure && make && make install

even though I still maintain that this is NOT hard, if it works. And the only software I have encountered recently that didn't was old, unmaintained, and unlikely to be used by newbies anyway. And you can often find software these days that works fine on your distro precompiled and sitting on $RANDOMVENDOR's website.

The chances are, therefore, that even if you DO have to search for software and download it separately, you're going to have to do it a lot less than you would do it for Windows.

Most people who own cars don't know too much about how it operates, it is enough that thye know how to USE it, and take it to a shop when it breaks down. Why do computers have to be different?

Computers ARE different. They are what you might call a "meta-thing" (or better a "meta-tool"). A computer can be a games machine one minute, a calculator the next, a word processor the next, and so on. Thus even just learning to use a computer is an order of magnitude or two harder than learning to drive a car.

The problem with Windows in this respect is not that it makes computers easy to use. It is that it makes it impossible to fix even trivial cock-ups or errors without going through the whole "reboot-reinstall" rigmarole. They probably got this idea from tv's, etc., where once you had to get in and replace vacuum tubes, then they moved to replacing circuit boards, and now I should think they probably just replace the whole thing. Again, the problem is that the act of replacing a tv (barring such details as placing a time for pickup, etc.) takes a lot less time than repairing it, whereas for an OS installation, (ironically, particularly so in Windows), the reverse is often the case.

Edited 2007-05-22 09:35

Reply Parent Score: 5