» Five crucial things the Linux community doesn’t understand about the average computer user

May 23, 2007 at 9:07 am 1 comment

» Five crucial things the Linux community doesn’t understand about the average computer user | Hardware 2.0 | ZDNet.com

I agree with a lot of what he says. As an avid Linux server user for many years, who converted to Desktop Linux (Ubuntu) about a half-year ago- I’ve been trying to look at Linux without a veil of geekdom. There is no doubt that Linux has improved very dramatically over the last couple of years from a user standpoint, but it definitely still needs a lot of polish before it becomes something one would want to see on Grandma’s computer, for example. My technical support guy at the office decided to try out Ubuntu this past week. He doesn’t have nearly as much experience as I do, but I thought he could handle it. He couldn’t. Granted he was installing it on a laptop, which gives even Windows a hard time, but still- it was almost a nightmare for me trying to talk him through it. The average user won’t Google for solutions to problems, won’t RTFM, and asking them to do something at a command prompt is almost like asking them to cut off a hand.

Windows (and especially Vista) SUCKS as far as I’m concerned for their reliability and security and their ability to do things I don’t want them to do on MY computer, while not allowing me to do what I DO want. But- even with all of their downfalls and problems- they are still more “idiot proof” than Linux.

Another problem I mentioned is laptops. Laptops always have proprietary hardware on them and are almost always an installation challenge for Linux. Chances are- if you somehow manage to get your laptops audio to work- you won’t be able to get its video or network card to. I won’t go into the hell of trying to get multiple monitors to work right. I also won’t go into trying to get WPA to work, even if you can get a wireless card to. This is more of a problem now because more and more people are moving to laptops as their prices drop and they discover how convenient they can be. As the article mentioned- hardware manufacturers need to get behind Linux and actually support it for Linux to gain widespread acceptance.


Entry filed under: Linux.

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. fullmetalgerbil  |  April 27, 2009 at 1:54 pm

    Yah, I slapped Ubuntu (8.04) on a laptop and getting the wireless card to work with it took more effort than it should have. But that really paled in comparison to when I loaded Slackware on my desktop. It was configuration hell for a little while.
    However, there was a trade off-my wife, formerly a Windows user for a good amount of years, absolutely loves Ubuntu on the laptop for the most part (minus the Ubuntu Firefox crash syndrome). And since I’ve been running Slackware I’ve never encountered a more stable and problem free OS-Linux or otherwise.
    Yet, I don’t think the mythical Average User could have handled the task without just saying fckit and installing Windows instead. But still, it’s hard to tell since when I first started using Linux I’d only really been using computers for about a year and was a sub-average user I guess. But I’ve had a lot of time to put into it, which most folx likely wouldn’t, and I’m guessing that’s one of the biggest things that keeps hordes of people from using Linux. Cause it works generally better than Windows, there’s just that learning curve most people don’t even want to be bothered with.


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