Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 15th Jan 2009 23:20 UTC, submitted by poundsmack
In the News There's a story making its rounds across the 'net about a woman who missed several online classes, and failed her semester, and she claims this happened because she bought a Dell laptop with Ubuntu on it - instead of Windows. She didn't know what Ubuntu was, and was surprised to see that her Windows software, such as Microsoft Office, didn't work. While this isolated case sounds a bit ridiculous, there is still a bigger problem here.
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Member since:

This woman was obviously ripped off. She got a computer that does not do what she wants. Let's face it, she wants it to work with windows, and the software that comes with that. If you wanna play geek rebel that is all fine and dandy, but then you do so knowingly. It doesn't matter if you love or hate windows (I personally hate it), it is the standard today and so is the office package (which I hate all so very much more).

But open source is free! You scream. No it is not. There is no fee for the software, but it is not free, you still need to learn to use it, and for the online educators that is a cost that more than likely is higher than requiring windows. Pushing your agenda on them I feel is not in the spirit of free nor freedom. But to be honest, GPL has never ever been about freedom.

What is important here are two things. Don't push your agenda on others, and open standards are what is important. I can take a jpeg I take with my digital camera and use it with all major OSes today, and I can sit down and write a piece of jpeg reading software and display it myself if I wanted to, since I am a software engineer. The data isn't locked into a vendor. This is not true for documents, and that is a problem.

So to sum it up, open and royalty free standards for data is very important. Pushing your fascist agendas are not.

Reply Score: 0

Macrat Member since:

Let's face it, she wants it to work with windows, and the software that comes with that.

You are assuming that she even knows what Windows is.

Reply Parent Score: 15

Michael Member since:

If she doesn't even know what Windows is then she wants Windows.

Reply Parent Score: 4

poundsmack Member since:

other things that are important:

1. having enough self esteme to stand up to a dell tech over the phone and insist on getting what you want (in this case Windows).

2. If 1 is null Then, try learning how to use the new operating system, or find an alternative, or go buy a copy of Windows. don't give up and drop your classes and blame your laptop.

3. if 2 Then, you're problem solving skills are clearly not very high so maybe college isnt right for you anyways. Else, 4

4. But clearly she became frusterated enough to contact a local TV station in order to complain about the problem. should have used those skill points better, 15 points that went into "whine about it but do nothing" could have been put into "actively come up with a solution." See 1. (my other 2 picks were sneak and small guns).

5. it's suprisingly difficult for your average user to even order a dell with linux. go to their website and see how many clicks it takes you and how obvious (or lack there of) the option for linux is as a choice for your perffered OS.

6. When all else fails she could have taken it into a local Best Buy (or insert your own lousy tech service store here) and watched teh very confused, and under tained tech go "your windows looks funny." to which they would have said "we need to restore the machine" which would have ultimatly fixed the problem as they would have put windows on it.

Moral of the story: I don't sympathise with anyone who just sits back and lets life happen to them. take control and find a solution, if your smart enough to attend college (and pass) your smart enough to do 5 minutes of research (or phone a friend, if you havent used that life line yet) and find out your options. who lets a dell rep tell them, "no its fine, you'll get used to it" and tehn accepts the answer later "you didn't get used ot it, that sucks now your stuck with it." learn to play...

Edited 2009-01-16 00:08 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 21

Bully Member since:

Your missing the point of the article.

Reply Parent Score: 4

orfanum Member since:

Is it just me or do all uebergeeks in fact as part of a secret ritual pledge to imbibe and act out the Nietzschean philosophy of the will to power?

"Oh God! To hear the Insect on the leaf pronouncing on the too much life among his hungry brothers in the dust."

Reply Parent Score: 1

christianhgross Member since:

Here is what I think happened...

Woman needs a new notebook. She has some friends, maybe one friend in particular that she trusts. That person said, "Buy Ubuntu, it works really well..."

Then she gets the computer and things don't work. She says she bought it by "accident". The friend who advised her doesn't have the time to fix things for her since they are busy fixing something else.

She gets frustrated and wants a new notebook, but again is advised,

"The person I was talking to said Ubuntu was great, college students loved it, it was compatible with everything I needed," said Schubert.

Then she realizes that she can't get diddly done, panics and does the first thing many do, "complain to the media."

Reply Parent Score: 1

jessta Member since:

But to be honest, GPL has never ever been about freedom.

Don't start that again. The GPL is about freedom, just not the unrealistic version of freedom you're thinking of.

I expect to have the freedom to say what I want to say, but I don't expect the freedom to prevent you from saying what you want to say. Which isn't complete freedom for me, but a lot more freedom for the society I live in. This is the reason the GPL is as it is, to increase the overall freedom of the society of users.

So to sum it up, open and royalty free standards for data is very important. Pushing your fascist agendas are not.

fascism...seriously? Asking universities to help their students by giving them more options to submit their work is fascism?
The article isn't pushing for universities to use Linux or Mac OS or any specific software. It's pushing to get universities to accept work in formats that are easy to implement(plain text, HTML etc), and so are available on majority of computer systems. Which is a very reasonable request.

- Jesse McNelis

Edited 2009-01-16 00:14 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 17

flanque Member since:

I think what he's trying to say is that open standards (e.g. documents, images, sounds, network stacks, etc) are what is important, but GPL software is not.

Maybe I'm not understanding him properly though.

Personally I tend to agree with that. I think open standards inside of properietory software is just fine.

Reply Parent Score: 3

systyrant Member since:

The woman got what she paid for. It's that simple. Here first mistake was buying from dell (yes I have a low opinion of dell). Her second mistake was not understanding what she was buying. Her third mistake was being talked out of getting Windows by a dell rep. Her last mistake was obviously not going to a school with a computer lab that's available to all student.

As for schools. Teacher, in most cases, aren't any smarter than the students when it comes to computers. All they know is Microsoft products and in most cases they barely know that.

Now for agendas. Everybody has one. The 'fascist', as you call them, aren't doing anything any different than anybody else. (btw they are probably closer to communist than fascist). Not everybody who supports open source is a shining example. Some are down right rude and others are even spreading fud.

I believe in open and unrestricted standards across the board. I believe that it fosters competition and real innovation. It also allows the consumer more choice and fewer headaches.

At the end of the day though the reality is that Microsoft has one hell of a strangle hold the educational system. It has one hell of a strangle hold on the computer market in general. Maybe that will change one day, but I suspect it'll be a long ways down the road.

Reply Parent Score: 2

LarchOye Member since:

Ripped off?

She didn't pay for microsoft software...

Reply Parent Score: 3

ggeldenhuys Member since:

Yes, who says the woman knows how Windows works! And I'm sorry to same, but in this day and age, most OS's are pretty similar when it comes to interfaces. All you need to do, is READ THE DAMN SCREEN!

Also you keep stating "don't push your agenda". Well, what are the universities doing! They are pushing their agenda just to make their lives easier!! That is not right and not fair. I had a similar case when I studied at my univ. I did a course in C++. At the time I had a OS/2 machine. Little did I know they were forcing MS Visual C++ on everybody, not just the C++ language! They even graded us on specific features in the MS Visual C++ IDE. Yet, nowhere did they mention that, they just mentioned the C++ language in the course pamphlets.

I fully agree with your statement on open standards though! Promote that rather that a specific OS or software tool.

Reply Parent Score: 5

Bernhard Member since:

Yes, who says the woman knows how Windows works! And I'm sorry to same, but in this day and age, most OS's are pretty similar when it comes to interfaces. All you need to do, is READ THE DAMN SCREEN!

You'd be surprised just how many well-educated people are totally unable to get that right. It's like a mental block that lets them freeze in terror as soon as there's an error message on the screen. Or, in the worse cases, if anything goes differently than their memorized "i just push that button, no i don't know what its name is" routine.

Reply Parent Score: 3

sargek Member since:

Oooo, a Microsoft employee!

Reply Parent Score: 2