Why do new people give up on Linux?

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Re: Why do new people give up on Linux?

Postby Leppie on Wed Feb 17, 2010 10:16 am

a fair amount of new users turn their backs on linux because of issues with grub2. instead of finding good concise help, they often find a large amount of users saying that grub2 is crap and things like that.
i believe that when people go to a forum for help, they want to find a solution and they don't want to hear that a large amount of more experienced users say that what they have just installed is one of the worst applications around. i had the same issues in the early days of grub legacy, finding a lot of people say that it just didn't work and no solution so i reverted back to lilo as i knew how to use that. however, not everybody knows how to change boot loader or is willing to do so after a first clean install.
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Re: Why do new people give up on Linux?

Postby Zocko on Thu Feb 18, 2010 8:25 am

Number one reason I can think of is you can't download a .exe file and just click on it to install a program that will just run from the desk top.

Being new to Linux and Mint I have to Scroogle every move to do anything with Linux, I'm not complaining much as I'm learning from the experience. BUT if you are in a hurry to install a tool and just get on with a job, Linux is a total head ache.

I'm presently trying to find out how to checksum an iso (edit:added link) with md5deep using Mint. I had to scroogle WGET then, well I forget, its taking so long to create this Rescue Disc I saw mention on This Mint Forum (added link) I've forgotten what its called. Edit, it was this: RescueDiscCD

But BUT BUT MINT is by far the best OS I've ever used, (dumped XP altogether) which is why I'm determined to learn how to do everything from Mint. So far I've installed all the programmes I need to run my websites using just Mint all except how to batch process images with Gimp which is proving a scoogle nightmare.

But my best advice to anyone is stick with Linux/Mint and you will soon wonder why you were ever forced to undergo the torture of Microsoft just for the sake of relative ease of use.

LINUX MINT RULES edit: added links to above as I finally worked it all out with a little work
Last edited by Zocko on Thu Feb 18, 2010 11:41 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Why do new people give up on Linux?

Postby Leppie on Thu Feb 18, 2010 8:57 am

Zocko wrote:I'm presently trying to find out how to checksum an iso with md5deep using Mint. I had to scroogle WGET then, well I forget, its taking so long to create this Rescue Disc I saw mention on this Mint Forum I've forgotten what its called.

if you're looking for an app, it's very likely you can install it from the repositories.
use synaptic or "apt search" to find directly installable applications:
Code: Select all
apt search md5

will provide an output something like this:
Code: Select all
leppie@leppie ~ $ apt search md5
p   cl-md5                          - Common Lisp package for MD5 Message Digest
p   crack-md5                       - Password guessing program
p   isomd5sum                       - ISO9660 checksum utilities
p   libcrypt-passwdmd5-perl         - interoperable MD5-based crypt() for perl
p   libdigest-md5-file-perl         - Perl extension for getting MD5 sums for fi
v   libdigest-md5-perl              -
p   libfast-md5-java                - fast implementation of the MD5 algorithm w
p   liblua5.1-md5-0                 - MD5 library for the lua language version 5
p   liblua5.1-md5-dev               - MD5 library for the lua language version 5
p   libmd5-perl                     - backwards-compatible wrapper for Digest::M
p   md5deep                         - Recursively compute hashsums or piecewise
p   python-pyisomd5sum              - ISO9660 checksum Python module
v   python2.5-pyisomd5sum           -
v   python2.6-pyisomd5sum           -

then install like this:
Code: Select all
sudo apt-get install md5deep
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Re: Why do new people give up on Linux?

Postby markfiend on Thu Feb 18, 2010 9:14 am

Zocko wrote:Number one reason I can think of is you can't download a .exe file and just click on it to install a program that will just run from the desk top.

It's a feature, not a bug. :wink:
Zocko wrote: how to batch process images with Gimp which is proving a scoogle nightmare.

Not much help, I know, but I understand that it's possible to write scripts for the GIMP in Python. That might be the way to go for you?
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Re: Why do new people give up on Linux?

Postby Zocko on Thu Feb 18, 2010 9:51 am

Hello Leppie and markfiend and thankyou both for your advice. Unfortunately I'm very slow and a bit thick (old age) but really my post was to encourage anyone else like me that they should definitely persevere with Linux and NOT give up.

I can't put it into words but have a sort of concept in my mind that Linux is light years ahead of the Microsoft idea, which is just a dangerous smoke and mirrors way do do things, with the aim of getting the most money out of the punter. Where as Linux is so very clever, even if you have little computer knowledge with a little patience you should be able to grasp that something far superior is going on.

I gave up with md5 and md5deep, I did download them with package manager but haven't found the terminal commands yet. Instead of finding out the best way to burn the software I was reading about in a Mint forum post earlier, which happens to be System Rescue CD, I just took the short cut and trusted the terminal wget iso download and burnt it to disc with Brasero Disc Burner already in Mint menu. It worked and the SystemRescuCD looks as if it also works. Don't know if I'll need it but I like to try and learn all about linux and what it will do as I'm very impressed so far.

I arrived at Mint having tried Ubuntu a couple of months ago and have been using Helena since its release.

My advice to anyone thinking of moving from Microsoft to Linux is have some patience, use the forums and search engines and your work and study will be rewarded many times over and will also save you money but that's a minor detail :lol:
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Re: Why do new people give up on Linux?

Postby FedoraRefugee on Thu Feb 18, 2010 10:10 am

Leppie wrote:a fair amount of new users turn their backs on linux because of issues with grub2. instead of finding good concise help, they often find a large amount of users saying that grub2 is crap and things like that.
i believe that when people go to a forum for help, they want to find a solution and they don't want to hear that a large amount of more experienced users say that what they have just installed is one of the worst applications around. i had the same issues in the early days of grub legacy, finding a lot of people say that it just didn't work and no solution so i reverted back to lilo as i knew how to use that. however, not everybody knows how to change boot loader or is willing to do so after a first clean install.


It is the same every time Linux changes to a newer technology. :D We tend to get set in our ways because it took a fair amount of learning to get to the point where we understand how things work and when they go to change it on us we tend to get a bit cranky. Grub 2 is no exception, it will pan out in the end, but for now it is just different and until people understand it they will complain. Pulseaudio is an even better example. I still say it is a solution in search of a problem but now that it works I willingly use it.

I went to answer this thread a few times and decided against it. The specific reasons are as myriad as the people trying Linux. But I think it all boils down to a single factor. Unwillingness to learn something new. Most people are Windows users and have preconceived notions about how things should work. Linux challenges those notions. What is the giveaway is when you ask any long time Linux user and they claim that Linux is EASIER than Windows. This has been my experience also, from teaching 5 kids Linux first then having them use Windows. They simply do not understand Windows. Linux makes more sense, at least it has in the past though it is changing.

1. The file hierarchy. In Linux everything flows from root (/). This is so very cryptic to a new Linux user who is looking for My Documents and Program Files. They see an actual written file path such as /home/joe/fileone/music/songx. Instead of trying to understand what this is saying they freak out. Linux is too hard, it is for geeks and not ready to replace Windows...The reality is it makes infinitely more sense then Window's convoluted system. Once you understand it.

2. The repo system. The post two above mine (when I was writing this war and peace post, that post is now on the last page :P ) exhibits this problem for the new user. They are used to surfing the web, finding random .exe files anywhere and clicking on them. When they try Linux they do not understand a "package system." Instead they go to various app homepages and are encountered with debs, rpms, source files and who knows what else. They hear people talk about building packages and naturally this freaks them out. It becomes so much clearer when they are shown the distro's repo! :lol: I laugh because I used Linux for about 4-5 months before I figured this one out myself! Let's compare a typical Windows install versus a Linux install. With Windows I install the OS, go get the updates, tweak everything, then I need to install all my favorite apps. I go to the AVG site. I hunt around until I find the current free AVG package and I DL it and run the installer. After reboot I go to the Gimp site and repeat. After the next reboot I Google Open Office and repeat. (yes, I use these apps on Windows.) After I finally get all my programs in place, and after constant rebooting, I can finally use my computer. Elapsed time? At least an hour, maybe half a day. Now Linux. I can have Mint installed and tweaked and updated in under 10 minutes with decent broadband. Then I simply open synaptic, (I will update a new install first, reboot into the inevitable new kernel, then add the packages afterward) use the search to find all the apps I want, simply check a box and install all them at once. Elapsed time? Under 5 minutes including the DL time. The two systems do not compare, Linux is much easier. The problem is people do not understand the Linux way.

3. Root password. In a way Mint (and Ubuntu) has got this one beat. Being a traditional Linux user I never trusted having root locked on me. I always create a root password. I have found that using both sudo and su gives me super-fine-grained control over permissions. But anyway, Windows XP and previous users are used to having "total control" over the OS by running as administrator. Vista has changed this perception, albeit in a half-assed way. But at least now people are beginning to understand the wisdom of having a user account. Still, for a new Linux user it is troubling to be asked for a password. They do not understand that setting up the install will need constant root permissions. So you suck it up and type the password 4-5 times. But once set up the only time you really need to do this is when installing an app or making a system change. After you use Linux for a while this becomes habit, you do not even pause. I have a super strong root password and it does not take but a second or two to type it. In fact, I wish Windows 7 prompted for a password instead of just a check box. Not that I worry about my family hacking my computer, but just sayin...Old habits die hard and I do not want to ever have to compromise Linux's fine user/root system.

4. The...(in ominous font) TERMINAL!!! :shock: Okay, really, Mint users have to use the terminal what... .00001% of the time? For real, over 4 years ago now I wrote in the Fedora forum that I actually managed to install and set up Ubuntu without ever once opening a terminal! Back then that was HUGE news! Today? Pfft...Last time I installed Fedora 12 I did not touch a terminal either, I used Dangermouse's Autoten to install everything. But this has always tripped me out, why this huge fear and reluctance to use the terminal? It makes no sense. Is it a fear of arcane bash commands, or simply a perception that they are going back to the stone age of computers by having to actually type something? I don't know. But I always found the terminal to be the EASIEST way! For explaining how to do something AND for actually doing it. Have people not heard of copy and paste? Do they not understand that you can open a terminal on top of a webpage and simply copy right to the terminal? Instead of reading two pages worth of, "open the menu and find system. Then drill down to program X. Click on the top left button and in the new window that opens find the dohicky button. Click on that and it will open a selection pane. Find the 369th entry called "This One" and click on that. Then go back to the menu..." BULL! :twisted: It is so much easier to just say:

Code: Select all
su
chattr +i /file/to/lock

(locks a file even to root)


The terminal is a huge advantage over Windows. It is a powerful tool that is always there when the GUI goes wrong. True Linux users embrace the terminal, they do not run from it. Do you have to be a geek to use it? Lol, I can count the bash commands I actually know on two hands. Copy, remove, apt-get install, yum install, chown...I Google and copy and paste like the rest of the world. You do not have to have any special knowledge other than search skills and knowing how to copy and paste. Why not open a terminal and try it? Yes, you! Do it now! That's right, right now! The terminal is in system, go ahead, open it and apt-get something. Be daring, walk on the wild side. There is nothing to fear there! :D

These are just a quick few examples of what holds people back. It all boils down to one thing: Fear of the unknown. A reluctance to experience anything new. The ability to think outside the box. No, wait...That is wrong. Linux users should NOT think outside the box. There are set and tried and true ways to do things. If you just forget how YOU think things should be done and listen to the experienced users then your Linux experience will be fun and rewarding. It is a state of mind. Enjoy learning new things, enjoy being challenged. Do not fret the next problem, instead embrace it, conquer it. You will feel so good about yourself after you solve the issue. Always look for the next challenge, never stop growing. May Tux be with you.
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Re: Why do new people give up on Linux?

Postby MALsPa on Thu Feb 18, 2010 11:36 am

FedoraRefugee wrote:The specific reasons are as myriad as the people trying Linux. But I think it all boils down to a single factor. Unwillingness to learn something new.


Often it's just a matter of not wanting to put in the time (and effort) to learn how to do the things in Linux that they're already doing in Windows. Or feeling that they really don't have the time to put into it. Some of the people I've discussed Linux with might have been willing to learn something new, but they felt they had so much on their plates that it was easier to just stick with Windows.

And also it's often simply that they're relatively satisfied with Windows -- or not dissatisfied enough to want to learn how to use Linux.

Like you said, the specific reasons are myriad. Linux isn't for everyone, as is so often repeated.
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Re: Why do new people give up on Linux?

Postby FedoraRefugee on Thu Feb 18, 2010 12:23 pm

MALsPa wrote:
FedoraRefugee wrote:The specific reasons are as myriad as the people trying Linux. But I think it all boils down to a single factor. Unwillingness to learn something new.


Often it's just a matter of not wanting to put in the time (and effort) to learn how to do the things in Linux that they're already doing in Windows. Or feeling that they really don't have the time to put into it. Some of the people I've discussed Linux with might have been willing to learn something new, but they felt they had so much on their plates that it was easier to just stick with Windows.

And also it's often simply that they're relatively satisfied with Windows -- or not dissatisfied enough to want to learn how to use Linux.

Like you said, the specific reasons are myriad. Linux isn't for everyone, as is so often repeated.


Very good points. But is it not true that unwillingness to learn can include the time factor and the satisfaction with something else factor? Both of these still create an unwillingness to learn something new. If they wanted to use Linux bad enough then they would create the time. After all, how hard is it today? I ask that as a genuine question because already knowing Linux my perspective is different.

Linux is not for everyone. I started out very evangelistic but using Fedora for 5 odd years taught me that most people should NOT be using Fedora and many of them should not be using Linux. If a person is looking to just "use" their computer to accomplish their daily emails, book reports, youtube fix or whatever then I would have a hard time arguing against Windows. In fact I would most likely just suggest Windows 7. Bottom line is they can get help anywhere. I have always felt that to be truly at home with Linux a person has to have an interest in the OS. They will want to learn. Mint and distros like it have been changing this, and I would not argue that Linux is any "harder" but the fact remains that Windows is, and likely will remain, the standard.
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Re: Why do new people give up on Linux?

Postby MALsPa on Thu Feb 18, 2010 12:46 pm

FedoraRefugee wrote:Very good points. But is it not true that unwillingness to learn can include the time factor and the satisfaction with something else factor? Both of these still create an unwillingness to learn something new. If they wanted to use Linux bad enough then they would create the time. After all, how hard is it today?


Yes, that is very true. What I meant was, some of the folks I know who gave up on Linux are people who are very willing to learn new things. Linux just doesn't happen to be one of those things. They've checked it out and decided that it wasn't worth their time, for whatever reasons. They'd rather spend time learning other things, I guess.
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Re: Why do new people give up on Linux?

Postby DrHu on Thu Feb 18, 2010 12:54 pm

I might have responded already, but didn't scan all the replies..

Why do new people give up on Linux?
    I want to read that as why don't new Linux users stick with Linux

I don't know, I have to assume it might be a little different for everyone, if they are able to give a reason
    Else they might simply say, I don't know why I don't stick with Linux, I guess I just prefer Windows or MAC
--that is, they don't actually have a reason: nor a reason not to.

But I can think of the same common themes that everyone recognizes already
--mainly for windows users, but MAC OS-X users can also be included, as they see their OS in similar ways to how a windows users sees their OS
  • I only tried Linux because of the buzz, now going back to what I use (windows or MAC)
  • I can't play games (windows games that is)
  • It is too different (from Windows)
  • My (name-the-device) doesn't work, it did with Windows/MAC
  • I want to change the desktop or add a screen-saver, how'da do that?
  • Linux will never compete with windows; there are too many distributions
    --a Windows troll
  • Linux doesn't work as well as OS-X does
    --A MAC troll, although I see a lot less of those users
  • There is no good apps available for Linux
    --A combination troll, Windows + MAC

Some reasons are somewhat legitimate, e.g. not being able to play PC games, however since the console market seems to be where the buzz (action) for games might be heading, it isn't really a big loss, unless you have a lot of PC games
    In which case you can multiboot for those occasions when you are using your PC as an games machine (console)

And finally who cares, especially for that person who only tried Linux because of the buzz: probably should head back to social networking suites for another group to inhabit
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Re: Why do new people give up on Linux?

Postby DrHu on Thu Feb 18, 2010 1:12 pm

FedoraRefugee wrote:What is the giveaway is when you ask any long time Linux user and they claim that Linux is EASIER than Windows. This has been my experience also, from teaching 5 kids Linux first then having them use Windows. They simply do not understand Windows. Linux makes more sense, at least it has in the past though it is changing.

I have to agree with this whole post

The terminal is not the enemy, it is not the stone age of computing to use a terminal
    As stated, it is in many ways both quicker and more intuitive than finding a GUI selection to do the same task
--now I have to admit, even though (once learned) keyboard driven editors are both more productive (quicker) and functionally better than GUI driven editor selections, they must be learned to be really useful. I mean programming style editors, like emacs

Anyone who has used windows for any length of time, has found out about the Registry, which Microsoft discourages as a user tool, however it is often the best way of managing a windows OS functions and facilities.

Now both Apple OS-X and Windows OS allow scripting; which, of course many new users or even most people will not bother learning to use
--and they can be considered just as powerful as the scripting available to all Unix/Linux users via the shell commands or specific languages like Perl or Python.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_PowerShell
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AppleScript
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Automator_(software)
--well Apple does always like to push a bit further with the look

Its always seems to be windows compared to Linux, howsa 'bout Apple compared to Linux
http://macosx.com/forums/mac-os-x-serve ... eeded.html
--you see how it goes, first we get a dos/windows question for a MAC; even though the person administers a MAC server setup ?
    I am running two Xservers, one of them, our primary open directory server also hosts a roaming profile folder. I need to create some type of script or program that would allow me to make a daily copy of that folder on the second Xserver.
    In the PC world, this would be easily done through a batch file, and simply setting it up as a scheduled task, but I am not sure how to go about it in a MAC environment.
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Re: Why do new people give up on Linux?

Postby oliverh72 on Thu Feb 18, 2010 3:13 pm

I'd like to chime in here. Clearly, looking at my post count (1!), I'm a newbie to Linux. However, I've been installing various distros sporadically for about 3 years now. I've tried a variety, from SimplyMepis to PCLinuxOS, Ubuntu, UNR, Moblin, OpenSuse, and Mint. I have always gone back to Windows - typically, XP. I decided to try out Mint this time as my Win7 RC was pretty much up and I had to clean install my laptop anyway, so what better time?

My experience so far has been good and bad. Like many have said, there's a barrier right off just due to naming conventions etc. I'm a computer tech and a webdev, so this doesn't put me off, but it definitely would to some.

First the good.

Mint is by far the slickest distro I've tried. It runs everything out of the box, as it were, and looks good doing it. It's fast. It's pretty easy to get around, from running apps to installing new ones to the control center.

The bad.

I have a Broadcom 4312 wifi adapter in my Dell Vostro 1220. This, right here, would be where most people simply quit and install Windows. It's close to where I quit. However, I figured I could do it. Why not? How hard could it be, right?

Right.

After a couple hours of reading cryptic readmes from the Broadcom site and browsing various forums where people claimed to have fixed this issue, I managed to fix it. To be honest, I doubt I could reproduce it if I tried. Basically, I just kept copying/pasting stuff into the terminal as I was told until it worked. Then I rebooted. Then it didn't work again. So I went through the process over again, even though the previous instructions had told me this would happen and after I implemented their fix for it. It didn't work. Finally I happened across a site that showed me how to create an auto-running script to clear out the 'bad' drivers on boot and run the ones I wanted it to. This finally worked, even after a reboot.


I wanted to see if I could make it work, and after a fashion, I did. But all the stuff I mucked about with in the terminal, though it made it work... well, I didn't know WHAT or even more importantly, WHY I was doing this stuff. Great, it worked... but I didn't necessarily learn anything because of this process. It just annoyed me. This is exactly the sort of stuff that makes people quit using Linux.

Even worse than the above is when I tried to make a shortcut to something on my desktop. While installing a new driver may be more painless for most than this was for me - and not even necessary for most - creating a shortcut is something TONS of people do. This was like pulling teeth. I had to find where Firefox actually lives and then try to find an icon for it. Wow, was this stupid-hard. I actually had to download an SVG as I couldn't actually find the firefox icon that the link in my apps panel uses.

I'll keep playing with Linux - and likely specifically Mint - but until the community aims to make user-friendliness a specific and top-priority goal, people just aren't going to stick with it. Maybe that's what the community wants? I'm honestly not sure.

As I see it, if that's what is actually desired, some things need to happen.

* less distros, with more effort being put into one distro that is 'primary'. Joe User, doesn't care that there's 947 variants. They just want to have a working OS.
* compiled executables that they can download and install. Great that there's a software manager. But if they hear about such and such an app being available, their first thought is to go to the website to download it.
* rethinking the file system to be more approachable. This is a big deal, I know. But the shortcut issue I described above is exactly one of the biggest issues most people face when they arrive at linux. Where the heck is everything? What is /usr, /var, /home, /etc??? Where are my programs? Honestly, most people just want a programs folder, with their programs inside it.
* Stop the ridiculous G-name, K-name naming scheme. It was cute, 8 years ago. If you've made a great text editor, don't call it gedit. People are looking for Notepad, Word, or the like.. make the names similar enough that people will be able to find things easily.
* change some defaults so that what people EXPECT to happen, happens. For instance, you need to change a setting in Nautilus so the Gedit just opens txt files. Seriously? When someone is given on option of Open, Run, Display, they are honestly not going to have a clue what to do.
* don't make a user put in a password for 90% of the stuff they want to do. This is exactly why people hated Vista (and still do) so much.
* I know this is touchy, but a distro should include stuff so that people can use/view/listen to their files, from MP3s to YouTube to videos, etc. Mint does this, which is why I don't use Ubuntu. Too much of a pain to just get things working.
* Joe User can't be expected to learn too much to use the OS. If they have to, they'll simply quit using it. Sad, but true. Frankly, I think that there's a certain amount you have to learn to use anything new. But terminal commands? Come on. This isn't 1987. The GUI was embraced because it does make some things much, much easier. Most people are visual learners. The terminal should NEVER be used by Joe User. Ever. Of course, that is if Linux were to be considered as a real alternative to OSX/Windows. As long as the terminal is required to fix issues, people will give up. Not all people, but likely most will.

I know that a lot of this stuff isn't doable in the short term, and is likely even difficult to do in the long term. I love the idea of linux and would like to see it be more mainstream; from the numerous number of posts along this topic, I'm guessing many people in the community feel the same. Here's hoping it continues improving over time - and not necessarily just in the directions *I* think it should. :P

With communities like this, I think it's moving in the right direction.

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Re: Why do new people give up on Linux?

Postby markcynt on Thu Feb 18, 2010 6:11 pm

In other words people want Windows! :lol:
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Re: Why do new people give up on Linux?

Postby FedoraRefugee on Thu Feb 18, 2010 6:16 pm

markcynt wrote:In other words people want Windows! :lol:


Yeah, many do. :D And I must say, Windows 7 is proving to be a fine OS in my book.

Yep, people should be able to use what they want, even if that is Windows.
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Re: Why do new people give up on Linux?

Postby fendermon on Thu Feb 18, 2010 8:25 pm

This is a fun thread so I'll play :)

I've been on a full blown Linux rampage for about a year. I've had an unusual amount of time and curiosity to dive in. So what did I do when my wife (who had a creaky 8yr old laptop) lost her job and needed to network, take classes, fill out applications, and send resumes pronto?

...I ran right out and paid uncle Bill big bucks for a new laptop. Thing is, I didn't need more functionality...we had that in spades. Truth is I could listen to music, play games, look at in-appropriate materials etc...on 6 or 8 different os's on any given day. The fact is that I needed her to be 100% compatible with M$... Not 95%... Everybody in Mich. business uses word; everybody in business here uses explorer,Outlook, etc...
I want to stay on topic here so I'll just say compatibility matters, standards matter. When Joe blow tries to open a file his boss or a client sent him or needs to exchange documents all of a sudden.. it's all business.

I will add... that Mint is a BIG step in the right direction. When I took an on-line class recently it was almost comical what I had to do to get Java to run on some distros.
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Re: Why do new people give up on Linux?

Postby chris0101 on Thu Feb 18, 2010 11:30 pm

After playing with Apple's Mac Os for a bit, I realized something. Apple has managed to make their OS largely, for lack of a better term, idiot-proof. The same thing with the iPhone (unless of course you jail break it). The same cannot be said about Linux. If a user does get into the Root without understanding what they are doing, the probability of damage is high. And you do need Root for some things. In Windows, playing around with the registry would lead to similar problems, but most people don't play with the registry, if they even know what that is.

I hate to say this: Windows gives an unrivalled out of the box experience, because Microsoft insists that hardware vendors and manufacturers pretty much support it like and in some cases, only Windows. They are dependant on their near exclusive distribution. Their only real competitor, Apple is even more restricting, exclusively distributing its own OS and iPhone. When you go a store, there is Windows and Apple. Little else and often nothing else. Each vendor of course ensures that their drivers are relatively bugless. Vendors like Hp, Dell, etc. ensure that when they assemble their parts, their are no resource conflicts, all of the drivers are often pre-installed, etc. It has been dumbed down so that one can use it with ease.

Give a few weeks, install a few apps, and what happens? It slows down A LOT. I experienced this personally with Windows 7. When I first installed it, I was astounded at how fast the boot times were. Install some applications and guess what, it slows down. When I first installed it, it took 10 seconds to shut down. Boot up was even faster than OpenSUSE 11.2 KDE x64. Then with a few apps, it slowed down. My response, defrag the hard drive and to use msconfig and Auslogics startup manager (Auslogics Boostspeed is a great program, btw for optimizing Windows, if you're willing to pay for it), but it never approached its original startup rate. With Linux ... I have only used Linux for 3 weeks, but my impression is pretty good. It's the poor vendor support that irks me. For example, some of my hardware I noticed have no drivers for Linux. For Windows, if I were to buy hardware, I just buy and assume that if needed, the vendor has drivers for Windows. For Linux ... I have to do research. Is the general public willing to do so? What about for existing hardware?

Microsoft right now is dependant on the perception that it has the best product humanly possible. I ask some of my fellow students (I am studying accounting). Many (indeed, virtually all) have experienced lag, especially with Vista, and a few BSODs. However, most assert that Windows is a high quality product or else it would have been replaced long ago by something better. I don't pretend to be a wise person, but often the best marketed or most-hyped product rather than the actual best product tends to succeed. That perception will be very hard to change.

The idea of Windows as a part of the PC or as Mac OS a part of each Mac computer like it was physically attached is hard to disassociate from people's minds. Microsoft has succeeded remarkably here. Many people I have talked to have a hard time understanding that it doesn't have to be this way. An operating system could be free, modular, with the source code (I have to explain what source code is often) available for viewing and editing, and that there will be many variants, of which you can install any or any combination of which you wish, whenever you wish. First, the fact that there are variants at all makes people shudder because they may have to learn differences (contrast Mint and other Debain distros with say, Red Hat, Slackware, or Gentoo), but also because people dislike change fundamentally, despite the huge benefits. Humans are inherently emotional and adverse to change, rather than rational.

Others had more valid fears. Some worried that OS software would bring security threats. Others worried about a "Wikipedia" like quality. Anybody can edit it. I found these also hard to disprove. First of all, just because anybody can view and create their own distro does not mean that such edits are going to be included in official distros. With Microsoft, they argued, they paid good money and expected a certain standard of quality, which they felt that Linux did not have ability to deliver. Empirical evidence suggests differently, but as I said, humans aren't rational. Look at the margins of hardware manufacturers versus those of Microsoft. Yet they still continue to support Microsoft, despite their business practices.

It is the fact that humans are not rational, I feel which is why Linux fails to dominate the desktop market. Linux is not so much fighting Microsoft as it is fighting human nature.
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Re: Why do new people give up on Linux?

Postby chris0101 on Fri Feb 19, 2010 12:49 am

gordon.cooke wrote:I propose that Linux (as a product) is at this turning point. As an OS it is fully capable of what the average user needs. There are plenty of forum posts here and other sites from 'average' user who just surfs the net, doesnt program and are very happy with Linux.


But that is the beauty of Linux. How about creating a distro specifically geared to those who have minimal knowledge of computers and for those coming in from Windows? It would be like Windows as much as possible. One barrier is of course that current Linux users would have to volunteer their time. But I think that such a thing is doable. This forum is a testament to that.

Full time Linux users can keep their current distros, whether you like compiling everything like Gentoo or value a user-friendly and works out of the box experience like Mint.

gordon.cooke wrote:Marketing, well Linux has almost none, but still people come. So user experience. This I think is where the Linux community will need to adjust if Linux is to pick up, or else it will stagnate. Many in the community are in the early-adopter mindset and provide help form this veiwpoint.


People come because there is reason to believe that Linux is better. Marketing only ever works on the uninformed. Sadly, most people in this world are uninformed on computer technology.

gordon.cooke wrote:Why wouldn't you want to understand what is going on under the hood, you really should if your going to make best use of the system. Well, someone doesn't need to be a mechanic to appreciate and desire the superior ride of a Porsche vs a Kia, even if a mechanical engineer appreciates even more. For Linux to continue its growth in the desktop market it needs to meet the user experience expectations of the late-adopters. Anything that gets in the way of just using the computer to do the end task (surf web, listen to music) is going to interfere with adoption and drive users away. Getting my wifi to work is not an end task for these users.


Humans are not naturally curious. Think about flicking the switch of a light. How many people consider the following:

1. 80% of the world's energy comes from fossil fuels, so let us assume that we are at a fossil fuel plant (not to mention such resources are non-renewable and cause global warming)
2. Burn that fuel. The heat energy is cooled by water and the water is turned into steam, which turns a generator converting some (but not all, and indeed only a minority) of that energy into electrical energy.
3. The electrical current is converted from DC to AC.
4. That energy is transmitted through very high tension power cables. About 5-12% of the energy in most developed nations is lost due to heat.
5. Before it gets to your home, that energy goes through several transformers to reduce the voltage because high voltage is unsafe (but has low resistance)
6. Only now is it converted to your light energy. For incandescents, it goes through a piece of tungsten and only 1-2% is converted to light energy. Most of the watts are wasted as heat. For fluorescents, that number is about 5%. Electricity excites mercury vapor, which causes phosphor on the edges to produce light. For LEDs, semiconductors through electroluminescence (a word which most people have never heard of) cause them to make light

But for most people, they don't care about how it works. For anybody reading this, did you? Turning on a light is a common and unremarkable action in modern life. It just works. Chances are, you never thought about how it worked. Think of all of the machinery around you. How were they manufactured? How were they shipped? What technologies and research power them? It is overwhelming to do so, believe me.

gordon.cooke wrote:Now some people have an opinion that Linux shouldn't go after the mass market and thats fine. I'm not against that. If you dont care if Linux expands then let well enough alone and keep developing for what you need. Personally I think Linux is worth a project to make it aim at the mass market of average users and compete with MS or Mac. If I had my druthers when you walk into Best Buy there would be a table, just past the Mac display with a few computers running Linux for customers to check out just like all the other computers there and have a third choice in their computers.


I believe that we should target enough to cause hardware vendors to support Linux much more than they do. Then, like 90% of the problems will be gone.
Last edited by chris0101 on Sun Feb 21, 2010 10:39 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Why do new people give up on Linux?

Postby Husse on Fri Feb 19, 2010 7:09 am

That energy is transmitted through very high tension power cables. About 45% of the energy in most developed nations is lost due to heat.

If you mean that 45% is lost in "transit" you are wrong - probably no more than 10 % and mostly well below that
But the total loss if you produce electricity with steam is in that order or even higher, unless you can use the surplus heat in district heating piping it round a city
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Re: Why do new people give up on Linux?

Postby SallyK on Fri Feb 19, 2010 7:28 am

I'm a new(ish) Linux user, and I don't think there is one easy answer to the question. I installed Linux Mint on one computer, and it "just worked" at least enough for me to use the system on a day to day basis. After that I've installed a number of different Ubuntu and Mint distros on various computers, and some of those have gone wrong. But because of the confidence created by that first working install, I was able to carry on and work through those issues. I can imagine that if my first install needed Broadcomm drivers for the wifi to work, and obviously I couldn't download them, because the wifi didn't work, I might have given up and gone back to a system I knew.

Reading oliverh's comment, I'm rather torn. Because what he says is true, doing all those things would probably make it easier for a lot of Windows users to move to Linux.

On the other hand, it would also take away from a lot of what makes Linux different and special - and that strikes me as profoundly counterproductive.

The answer is surely education, rather than changing the way things are done. But in the end, if people don't have the time and mental energy to learn a new way of doing things, that isn't a moral failing, but a fact of life. Bashing people for not regarding what OS they use as a vital and moral decision only leads quite logically to the idea that if the most important thing is for people not to be using Windows, then we should be obliged to make it as easy as possible for them to do so. (And I know that the bashers are only a noisy minority, but they do have a poisonous effect on the discussion.)

So I'm all in favour of "selling" the advantages of Linux, rather than bashing the disadvantages of Windows. It's more likely to convince people in the long run, and might help people overcome those first configuration hurdles, that might otherwise put them off.
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Re: Why do new people give up on Linux?

Postby chipps61 on Sat Feb 20, 2010 2:12 pm

Hmm... a little background from a guy pushing 50 who grew up with computers in the DOS 5 and pre-internet era, and still programs (Windows) for a living.

I had last used Linux back in the 1990's as an internet server, with an old Slackware release based on the 1.2.13 kernel. I also had a few Unix shell accounts on the early ISP's in my area, so was comfortable with the command line interface to begin with. I was a very incompetent admin and knew just enough to be dangerous, but was able to muddle my way through to a working system, mostly on trial and error. I performed near zero in the way of firewalling or security, and we would occasionally get burned by someone hacking the system remotely, requring a complete reinstall just to get the system back. I never saw a GUI on that box, heard vague rumors of an "X-window" system for it, but never got it anywhere near a graphical interface.

At the time, it was the tool that did the job I was looking for, effortlessly (and at zero-cost) providing internet server functions for our family business. When the company eventually closed it's doors, with Linux still running on that very same box, that was the last I saw of Linux for a decade.

As one of the many things I used to play with back in my more geekly days as a hobbyist, I would fondly remember that minitower 386-25 Linux box with very little RAM happily serving 20 or 30 users, but never once thought of Linux as an operating system I'd want for everyday home or business use. So like (most) everybody else at the time, we ground through the Microsoft eras... from DOS 5 to Windows 3.11 to Windows 95 to Windows 98 to XP to Vista, did our fair share of complaining about it along the way, but stayed the distance... because it became a Windows world.

A few months ago, my son and I were chatting online, and he mentioned that he was fed up with his current operating system (XP Home) and was going to give Linux a try. Although he takes after his old man and is approximately the geek that I was at that time in my life, it raised my eyebrows a little, as I was envisioning that command prompt with a flashing green cursor on a monochrome monitor. I wished him luck and asked him to let me know how it goes. Naturally I instead got curious about it myself, and found myself doing some Linux research.

To say the least, it was a little eye-opening after so many years, and I was intrigued. I read review after review, and kept coming back to Mint 8 every time. I finally got bored enough one Saturday afternoon to download the Mint 8 .iso, and the next month was spent CD/USB booting and testing out at least 10 different distributions. Some I liked, some I hated, some worked better than others, but I didn't find anything I liked better than Mint 8. About a month ago, I made the decision to get a larger HD for the laptop, and had to reinstall the OS anyway... and have been dual booting Vista and Mint 8 ever since.

It's been... interesting. Now that you have some background, some recent observations in no particular order:

1. I'm blown away at how far Linux has come in terms of everyday Joe usability.
2. It's fun to tinker with and has great eye candy. I'm becoming addicted to wobbly windows.
3. Running Pokerstars under Wine is strangely more fun than running it on Vista.
4. Hardware and drivers are ridiculously hard to deal with unless the kernel just happens to support what you already have out of the box.
5. Peer to peer networking still has me scratching my head, and I wasn't born yesterday.
6. If your favorite piece of hardware doesn't immediately work, you may as well forget you have it, because it probably isn't ever going to unless you're luckier than I am in the forums and with Google. (see item 4)
7. Unless you're very, very careful, you *WILL* break your system with the wrong sudo or su command while you're learning and installing things. I did it three times, but thanks to Fred's post here: viewtopic.php?f=90&t=11872 - I don't lose everything anymore when I do.

People who want to plug and play and have a system that just works will be pleasantly surprised if they have the right hardware and don't rely too heavily on specialized non-Linux programs or games. If they have the wrong hardware or just can't live without Program X that runs ONLY on operating system Y, they're going to have fun toying with it for a while and then toss it aside like a video game when they get tired of it.

Of all the distributions I've tried, Mint 8 is far and away the closest thing there is to just plug it in and start playing / working, and certainly has the cleanest interface. I personally will continue to dual boot and experiment, and will certainly follow future Mint releases. I find it interesting and fun, but the simple truth is that Vista simply works better with my existing array of hardware. I do love a stick shift, though... I've been driving an automatic for far too long.

Sorry for the long post - ramble mode = off.
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