Why do new people give up on Linux?

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Why do new people give up on Linux?

Postby chris0101 on Sun Feb 14, 2010 2:29 pm

I have tried to create something of a comprehensive list to see why people abandon Linux. This is my second thread that I have started here. I wrote this one for one reason: to promote discussion, thought, and to exchange ideas. This is partly copied from my own posting from the OpenSUSE forums:

This is my first time using Linux by myself. I just installed Linux this month for the first time in my life by myself, so this is very interesting for me. I consider myself to be quite knowledgeable at using Windows and as such, I am continuing and am experiencing troubles. Speaking as somebody who is currently transitioning to Linux right now:

1. Most people expect things to be very close to Windows. Perhaps an operating system that looks like the one below with an automatic Wine function built in is the solution. (Most likely, the MS Messenger would be Wined of course). This is because people are inherently averse to change and because they actually have to learn it again.

Image

2. People have a now, now mentality. They get frustrated when things do not go the way that they want. They don't understand how big a transition they are making and as such are completely unprepared for it. Not to mention, their now now mentality makes them unwilling to learn anything new or to spend time learning something new.

3. Lack of technical expertise. Like it or not, most people do not know what a kernel, file system, etc. are. They don't understand that each time they click a mouse, there is a lot of code being executed. They just know that it "works". You think that they have ever heard of X Window, or DOS?

4. Poor tech support or because few other people around them use it. When there is trouble with Windows, you can ask somebody around to help. Mac, with its growing market share, is starting to be like that as well. Linux? Not as easy. (That said, I am a student right now going to the University of Waterloo, and 6% of students here now have a distro of Linux installed; dual booting is common). Much has been said here of the attitude of people in the forums, many of whom hang to their useless traditions. Who cares about showing the code? Replace it with a splash screen already! It looks much friendlier. Also, you "paid" for Microsoft tech support - they are obligated to provide it. It's in the cost of most PCs on the market. Furthermore, in Linux, new users may not be used to asking for help on a forum.

5. Poor hardware and vendor support. I myself right now am going through quite a bit of trouble getting my ATI Radeon 4890 installed. Many hardware vendors right now don't support Linux. I anticipate that this will change as Linux gets more market share. Look at servers right now, there is plenty of Linux support. Steve Ballmer has declared that 60% of servers run Linux, about 40% run Windows. Link [url="http://www.pcworld.com/businesscenter/article/151568/ballmer_still_searching_for_an_answer_to_google.html"]here[/url]. In desktops, what is Linux? Most likely under 2%. That number is even lower in the Western world. In the developed world, Linux being low cost is probably much more attractive, because people are also not switching from Windows.

6. Still user unfriendly. Face it - most users aren't willing to use a console or do things that people here are. Linux has gone a long way in the past few years, but it hasn't reached the point of Windows yet.

7. Buggy still. Linux distros still have many bugs and crashes are not uncommon. Some distros like Fedora or Ubuntu have really short release cycles that leads to too little time to iron out all bugs. After doing my research, I have learned that Mint is one of the more stable distros. A problem because Linux is often advertised as more stable and safer than Windows.

8. The fact that there are distros probably repels people, especially do to cosmetic differences and incompatibilities in things like tar files with the different distros. Seriously though, there needs to be some sort of open standard. I recommend for tarballs a common directory system already to minimize confusion.

9. Short release cycles for some distros that mean that people have to upgrade a lot. Well, you don't have to upgrade, but there are benefits in doing so. Most people are willing to tolerate switching to a new Windows or Mac every few years, but a new update every few months? Some people just don't have the time.

10. They actually have to download it. Face it - people are lazy. Some don't even know how to burn a disk with an ISO. No hope there unless they have a geek that knows Linux already. Contrast with Windows or Mac which already comes with the computer.

11. Cosmetically, one could hope to make Linux look like Windows or introduce something like the Aero interface (see below). However, there is no way to hide the massive differences under the table like the fact that software repositories are needed.

Image

12. Their favourite apps don't work on Linux or cannot be Wined (or they have never heard of Wine). Furthermore, no Linux equivalent exists. This is especially a problem in the professional world. Solving this could go a long way to getting profit motivated corporations to adopt Linux more as the costs of running Linux are cheaper (despite what Microsoft claims).

13. Possibly the most ridiculous reason, and I don't think that this a problem at this forum - unfriendly people. I have noticed that Linux users by and large feel that they have a better OS (and not without justification) than Windows or Mac. Unfortunately for somebody who is new at Linux, that is not going to be so. For them, the fact remains that until proven otherwise, Windows is the best OS for them. Add onto the fact that most people at most Linux forums (and I have been to a few) are firmly convinced that they have the best Linux distro around (and one that may not always be compatible with a new user's hardware), and you have a recipe for a newcomer interpreting Linux users as arrogant and unwelcoming. In some other distros, you may be called "dumb" for not understanding how this concept or that concept works, because it is so huge a migration from Windows.

14. For migrating desktop users, the fact that Linux is FOSS is not a big selling point. They already paid for Windows in their hardware costs when they bought a new PC (save for system builders like myself). Windows is already "free" in a sense to them. It's just buried in the price of purchase. For programming and possibly security reasons (more programmers obviously want to fix Linux than screw it up), open source is great, but it is of no consequence for the typical end user.

I speak as somebody who is currently trying to learn Linux for the first time in my life. I have only been with Linux this month of February 2010. I have quite a bit of patience that most people I feel don't have. I have worked now with Windows since I was 5 years old; this is my 14th year with Windows. I don't pretend to know everything with Windows, although my friends often ask me for help with their Windows woes. I know perfectly well that learning Linux is an ongoing process that will take years. Getting the basics down is likely to take months, which many people are not willing to do. As such, they will abandon Linux rather rapidly until changes are made. Indeed, I was warned at the OpenSUSE forums that my Windows knowledge may be a detriment. I am only starting to learn Linux. For example, I have discovered to my dismay that there is no direct equal to the Windows registry system, that there is no direct equal to the .exe or .msi formats (.deb and .rpm are not the same thing), etc.

I dislike Microsoft, and knew that I was not getting an ideal product with Windows. That is why I am trying out various distros now. Many people in this world are sick with Microsoft, its business practices, the bloat of Windows, etc. but not to the point that they are willing to change. However, the fact remains that there is a large potential user base for a stable and widely compatible operating system that is FOSS. Linux has advanced a lot, but it still has a wide distance to go before the general public can use it. There are many reasons why people may not like Linux. I have attempted to create something of a comprehensive list. The real question remains - how to improve upon this?

Edit:

Why do I think that Linux needs a bigger market share? The reason why Linux has many problems like poor hardware support would largely be mitigated with greater market share. Suddenly, like Mac, there would be more software and better vendor support. This of course leads to an interesting question - how much market share is enough to catch the attention of vendors? My estimate: 5-10% of the desktop market share. That is enough to justify the effort for vendors and because there is the possibility that the Linux OS may have even wider adoption. Companies like AMD (which makes the ATI drivers) will suddenly see justification for better drivers. Linux will end up with a better out of the box experience for everyone using Linux.

Who should Linux target to expand? That is an interesting question. First of all, anybody with a high degree of knowledge in computing who does not have any experience with Linux. And there are a surprising number of programmers, system administrators, or just plan geeks (like myself), who have never bothered to try Linux, even armed with the knowledge that Microsoft Windows is far from ideal. To target these people, like myself, there is a challenge, and I did state it above as one of my reasons why people abandon Linux. When you migrate from say, Windows Server 2003 to 2008 or Xp to Vista/7, your knowledge in Windows is still very useful. But for many people, they will be unable to use their knowledge in many cases. They will have to learn from ground up ... like I am. As a person from Generation Y, I first used a computer when I was 5 years old (and watched others when I was younger, if my memory serves me correctly). I was born in 1990 and that operating system was Windows 95. I remember that well. It was an Intel Pentium CPU at 100 MHz, made by NEC. I am sure that I am not alone. There are many people who learned Windows and nothing else from childhood or the first time they used a computer. However, these are the sorts of people who have a good grasp of hardware, computer architecture, and what an operating system is and does. That makes a world of difference. I think that the mentality of targeting the average person to use Linux should probably stop. Ultimately, for the reasons stating above, the most probable outcome is that they will abandon Linux. This is also bad, because they will have a bad impression of Linux and may share their experiences with others. Recall what I said about 5-10%? The 5-10% should be the most technologically proficient. (Not to mention, for gamers, software companies will be more willing to consider supporting Linux, which should hopefully draw some more gamers here. I admit that I am a gamer myself, and there are many others like me who would be interested. This in turn will of course give hardware companies an even bigger incentive to support Linux as gamers and geeks are most likely to buy cutting edge (and high margin) hardware). The objective here is to create a virtuous circle for Linux. For this reason, all system builders, A+ certified technicians, and people who work for computer stores (who may be able to sell custom-made Linux PCs), should also be added to the list. Many may have heard of Linux, but may not have tried it.

Linux is likely to remain something of an exclusive club. While true that mobile versions such as Android may succeed, Microsoft with its sheer power is likely to remain dominant for the foreseeable future, something that will make many Linux fans dislike me for saying. I would love to be proven wrong. Yet, people have been saying for years that Microsoft will die in a few years, and it has not happened. In a way, this is not unlike Macs. While the iPhone OS may succeed (although Symbian, which is now OS, remains dominant) and Apple is gaining market share, I don't see Apple becoming potent. Not to mention, the fact that they do bind their OS to their hardware is repulsive for certain hardware vendors. Likewise, some of their business practices, such for the iPhone as giving AT&T exclusive rights in the US or rejecting wonderful apps from their App Store brings resentment to consumers and developers alike. I, like most people here fundamentally disagree with the idea of binding an operating system to its hardware. Of course, the average consumer does not care and for this reason, Windows might as well be bound to its PCs, the way that Mac OS is bound to Macs. (Indeed, effectively, it is, although it is possible to get a "Windows refund"</A> sometimes). (Hopefully, you learned something here. Microsoft tries hard to keep this one quiet, which it has succeeded, even with many Linux users. Be sure to contact companies like Dell, Hp, Acer, etc. about the possibility of getting a refund. if you are buying a computer and spread the word to fellow Linux users, especially those who don't dual boot with Windows.) Do check these out:

http://arstechnica.com/open-source/news/2008/08/lenovo-wont-refund-the-windows-tax-without-an-nda.ars
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_refund

I had the opportunity to talk to an Dell representative about this. He insisted that we never had this conversation. Apparently, one of the reasons why hardware companies comply (apart from not wanting to give back the money of course), is that Microsoft in some cases has threatened the special corporate volume licenses that it offers to its partners. Several other large vendors were too, but they are keeping their mouths shut. Interesting fact: This is one of the reasons why the netbook was killed off. As much as I hate to say it, even if a widespread used distro like Mint, Ubuntu, or Debian had been used, the netbook would have likely met a similar fate. Now Microsoft can call them an ultra-portable laptop, sell the higher margin Windows 7 Starter, and make quite a margin, while squeezing the already low margins of the manufacturers of netbooks.

Back on topic. Linux, until it makes some considerable improvements, is not yet ready for everyone. True, learnt from ground up, Linux is as easy to learn as Windows True, Windows Aero is a KDE wannabe. However, Linux is not going to be ready for them. My goal is to try and make Linux the best OS that it can be for those who wish to use it. I think that most people here share that goal. For those who are so within the Microsoft box that they cannot see the 4 sides or the roof (just the floor of Windows), I firmly feel that it is a waste of time to target them. They may never have heard of the GNU (despite using software licensed under it) or the CCL (even though websites as common as Wikipedia may use it), or even know what open source software is. The only thing such an end consumer knows is that when they click download, it downloads rather than directs them to a credit card/Paypal or other method of payment page (or adds to their virtual shopping cart).

What are your thoughts? Should Linux be for an exclusive group, or as many people as possible regardless of technological knowledge/proficiency? If option b, should we aim for 5-10% or be happy at 1-2%, while knowing that Linux dominates the server and supercomputer market and powers our world (think of everything that runs Linux now and make the web possible)? Why else do you feel that Linux is often abandoned?
Last edited by chris0101 on Thu Feb 25, 2010 3:02 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Why do new people give up on Linux?

Postby JoeFootball on Sun Feb 14, 2010 2:46 pm

Excellent points. I'll also add that many Windows people that I've encountered won't even consider trying Linux because they think that they will then become "incompatible" with any of their family, friends, & co-workers. They actually think that Windows PCs can only email other Windows PCs, or look at pictures, or instant message, or view Word/Excel documents, etc.

Of course, these are the same people that don't see the distinction between the hardware, the OS, and the applications. It's all "The Computer" to them. :roll:

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Re: Why do new people give up on Linux?

Postby jpete on Sun Feb 14, 2010 3:52 pm

Here's the problem I see. A "computer" is an appliance to 95% of the people out there.

I don't need to know the laws of thermodynamics to operate a refrigerator, I don't WANT to know how to write code to run my computer.

I want it to "work". All too often, Linux just doesn't "work". I'll admit that may be asking a lot from free OS, but that's what most people expect.

I'm not a complete noob when it comes to computers, just with Linux. And from searching for answers, I find that there is a basic level of understanding that a lot of these threads ASSUME people have. It's just not so.

I think if some of the more advanced users kept that in mind when answering questions, more noobs would be able to hang with it and be able to continue enjoying Linux.
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Re: Why do new people give up on Linux?

Postby exploder on Sun Feb 14, 2010 4:04 pm

The biggest problem is people expect Linux to be a free version of Windows. Windows users think that they were given the ability to install drivers and applications at birth. The reality is they had to learn how do do things in Windows or they bought the computer pre-configured. A Google search will provide an answer to just about any problem. You can buy a computer from Dell, System76, etc with Linux pre-installed and configured. Also, people are taught how to use Windows in school, schools are just starting to use Linux machines. The bottom line is that every single one of us here had to take the time to learn something. :D
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Re: Why do new people give up on Linux?

Postby gordon.cooke on Sun Feb 14, 2010 4:27 pm

Interesting comments. I first tried Linux in the late 90's. I left it then because it really didnt offer me anything over windows except to scratch my techno itch a little. But once I had it running, at the time, it was far behind the windows NT I had. Any more explanation is probably irrelevant nowadays.

So why did I switch? Well, about two years ago my wifes laptop crashed- crashed hard. Wouldnt boot at all, and even a brand new hard drive wouldnt solve the problem. But I was able to use Knoppix to get access to the drive and copy off all of her files she cared about. So I got to see how far Linux has come in over a decade. It still seemed a bit rudamentry and very on my techny side - simple but powerful. Then again, at the time I was searching for distros to do recovery. Took me awhile before I came across Ubuntu and some of the better desktop distros.

Then I got Vista. Id have to say that is why I switched. It was so broke, and nothing I knew from years of XP carried over anyway. (Personally I think this is the opportunity Linux has missed, between Vista/Windows 7 and Office 2007 the entire learning curve argument against linux is moot. You have to relearn everything whether you stay with MS or switch, perfect time to switch)

However- I have noticed something interesting. My wife didnt bat an eyelash at picking up my Mint laptop and just surfing the net. She has never questioned how to do something. Early on she asked me why this is better and I didnt have a very good answer at the time. But over time I sit next to here surfing away while she yells at her computer and threatens to throw it out the window. (Honey, that is why Linux is better). And yet, with all those problems, the last time she had me fix her laptop (her entire desktop disappeared, every link and document) I asked if she wanted me to set her up like mine -- she said NO. I dont know why. Comfort i guess.

It is an interesting question- why do new user leave and not stay? (Why do people not switch is a different question) So for soemone who knows about linux and has seen it, why do they not stick it out? My guess is that the benefits arent immediate. But the troubles, even temporary, can be. If my wifi doesnt work, i know right away. Sure I only have to fix it once and it may never be a problem again. But it is an immediatly apparent problem. What are the benefits to stay? Many are long term. How long do I have to stick around to notice- hey I havent gotten a crippling virus (yet)? My computer is still running fast like the day I installed and I havent needed my little cousin to come 'fix' it (defrag? clean registry?)
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Re: Why do new people give up on Linux?

Postby Anthrogue on Sun Feb 14, 2010 5:00 pm

n00b too here... But I have Mint 8 KDE running and also XP as a guest via VirtualBox. That was my goal and so I'm pretty happy about it. Learned a few things ironing out problems here and there. But... a few things that seem odd to me still right at the moment:

1> It is difficult to find where things are, i.e. executables. So, I have yet to figure out how to make shortcuts like one does in Windows... last time I tried I had to give up because I couldn't find where to aim whatever I'd tried to work with.

2> Related to this, the Dolphin File Manager (and I think this was true of the Nautilus thing in Mint 7) doesn't show the file directory structure in a tree. There's "places" off to the right... and I can't figure out how to make a tree view. I guess there's some better Linux file managers I need to find.

Ha.. I saw something about Wine in the original post... Off to try and figure out what that is, since I've seen various Wine things I have not played with yet.

Anyway, as it's pretty clear that the Terminal is an important thing in Linux [and since a geek friend new how to use it even though he is "not sharp with Linux"]... I'll also be looking for the most logical, cool introduction to becoming marginally competent at that.
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Re: Why do new people give up on Linux?

Postby monkeyboy on Sun Feb 14, 2010 5:14 pm

Fighting for Windows users is a fools game because in the end the only way to compete is to become a shadow of Windows. My take is to accept the fact that Linux is a niche market OS and to make it the best OS it can bee given its own strengths and limitations. Sure that means that some Windows users will not convert, so what?
If you don't like it, make something better
If you can't make something better, adapt
If you can't do either ball your panties up and cry.

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Re: Why do new people give up on Linux?

Postby chris0101 on Sun Feb 14, 2010 5:38 pm

monkeyboy wrote:Fighting for Windows users is a fools game because in the end the only way to compete is to become a shadow of Windows. My take is to accept the fact that Linux is a niche market OS and to make it the best OS it can bee given its own strengths and limitations. Sure that means that some Windows users will not convert, so what?


Actually, I am not fighting to get Windows converts to come here and create a Windows clone. If anything, things like Aero are KDE4 wannabes.

The real question is how to get people to stay on Linux. With a bigger market share, a lot of problems like poor hardware and game support will be gone because vendors will have to start supporting Linux in bigger numbers from day one.
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Re: Why do new people give up on Linux?

Postby Husse on Sun Feb 14, 2010 6:30 pm

Skimming the topic
The main reason is probably poor hardware support - a lot of hardware does not work on Linux, but that's a fact for Windows as well
Another reason is that it is not a "complete" OS - for most 3D gaming you need Windows so why bother with dual boot?
If indeed Dx 11 will come for Linux as I mention in the latest Newsletter this will change
Some manufactures (Kodak is one I have seen recently) say Linux is such a small market that it does not pay to have Linux drivers - more or less nonsense, even a small percentage of all computers means millions of computers
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Re: Why do new people give up on Linux?

Postby gravelbay on Sun Feb 14, 2010 6:42 pm

Hmmm ... I think gordon.cooke comes pretty close with:
My guess is that the benefits arent immediate. But the troubles, even temporary, can be.

People today are incredibly impatient. We see it on the roads and in the courts all the time.

I very nearly did not stick with Linux. I struggled in several areas. But I dual booted for a long time, which helped me still get things done till I learned how to do them in Linux. And every time I thought about going back, I'd remember having to keep re-activating my Windows because it thought I'd changed too much hardware - even though I'd made no changes at all. I'd think about how stinkin' long it took on boot up for it to read a registry file that was nearly as large as a video file. I'd remember the last time I had to call Redmond, Washington because my office suite suddenly decided I was unworthy and the link it gave me to re-activate it said the same thing. Then the tech support guy told me I needed to re-install it. And that gave me the determination to invest the mental energy needed to become comfortable and productive in Linux. (No more dual boot, by the way!)

But, had my Windows experience not been so miserable, had I not fondly remembered my Amiga, I doubt if I'd have stuck it out. I guess it's a little like trying to lose weight. We look at a second helping of apple pie and have to decide if we want to get thin or eat that pie. Eating the pie is a whole lot easier at the moment. :wink:
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Re: Why do new people give up on Linux?

Postby bobcollard on Sun Feb 14, 2010 6:51 pm

Either they "Trust" Microsoft, (bad idea) or they like things they have to pay for (another bad idea) Ha, ha. I haven't used MS products for years, True, I paid through the nose for Apple computers and software but, I never hand a virus eat up my entire HD or those pesky popups and Malware. For the last six months I'm learning Linux, it's challenging. Some people are lazy and don't want to keep up. Maybe that's the reason? :lol:
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Re: Why do new people give up on Linux?

Postby shane on Sun Feb 14, 2010 7:06 pm

Hi Chris,

I am going to try to go through your points as quickly as possible.

The short answer is this: Linux is not for everybody. The computer is just a tool and we just have to choose the right tool for the job.

1. Linux is not Windows... so no one should expect it to be Windows. WINE does work in some cases but does not in many. People should look for native alternatives which will work many times better.

2. No one should be forced to use Linux. Many people are comfortable with Windows and that is probably the best option for them. If one decides to make the switch he/she should realize that there is a learning curve invloved just like anything new.

3. Lately, it has become possible to use Linux without knowing the inner workings of the OS. However, just like in Windows, when something goes wrong, that knowledge will be useful.

4. It has been years since I used Windows as my main OS, but I find that the communities around Linux distributions are more helpful than on the Windows side of things. Keep in mind that this is free and unpaid for help mostly offered by volunteers. If one should require official support, every major distribution offers paid-for support that is most probably cheaper than anything on the Windows side.

5. This is true to a certain extent. But almost every piece problematic hardware either runs using closed proprietary software or drivers, or does not follow international standards. Your ATI card is a good example. The driver is closed source and there is no way the kernel dev team can effectively debug problems arising from it. Hence, the onus lies with ATI to fix their driver. On the other hand I have never come across an ethernet card that will not work in Linux... because they all stick to the international standards. The lack of support, therefore is not on the part of the Linux devs, but the hardware manufacturers.

As a Linux user, I do my research before buying any hardware to make sure it works under Linux and I can proudly say that currently I do not use any closed source drivers. Basically, I vote with my wallet. I do not expect new users to be savvy about these things, but that's just the unfortunate state of affairs.

6. In a distro like Mint, almost everything is doable without touching a terminal. But when help is offered, giving a command to run is by far the easiest way for the person helping. No need to explain where to navigate to in the menu, what boxes to check, etc... just simple commands to copy and paste and the helper is sure of what the user is doing to his/her system.

On a side note, I think the Linux command line is pretty easy to get to grips with. I look at it like a language. Once you learn the basics, with practice, forming whole sentences becomes easier and easier.

7. Fedora, by definition is in perpetual beta. It is the testing ground for RedHat. Anyone using it should understand this basic fact. For distros like Mint, as is the case with any new software, it will be buggy when first released. With time the rough edges get fixed. Remember Vista? This is the case with the biannual releases of Mint/Ubuntu. The advantage is you get the cutting edge software. If bug free computing is your goal, then there are the LTS releases. They are very stable.

8. Diversity is one of the strongest points of the FOSS world. It's all a matter of choosing the right tool for the job. If you study the FOSS world you will see that these devs are the champions of open standards. Just think of the variety of DEs out there and yet you can install a Gnome app and it will show in the KDE menu. You can run an XFCE media player and it will work perfectly in Fluxbox. All thanks to standards. If you're talking about package managers... thats where you get loyalty :D Each system has its pros and cons. They all are effectively equal. but it's like getting a getting a Porsche fan to to sell his Porsche and buy a Ferrari... :P So just pick the one you like and use it!

9. See 7. Upgrading is not compulsory... though eventually recommended. An LTS release is fully supported for 3 years, during which there is overlap with the older and the newer LTS's. Hence, you can upgrade, if you wish to the next LTS at your leisure. At least you will not be forced by a big corporation that charges you to upgrade :)

10. If someone is lazy, whose problem is it? I don't see how an OS can fix this. :P

11. I find Aero to be mostly bloatware... and once you try Compiz or even Kwin's compositing features, there is very little reason to go for the Aero look.

12. Apart from games, I can't think of a task for which I cannot find a native Linux app. Of course there are those who use Photoshop and other such apps, but they are closed source. It is up to the respective companies to port their software to Linux. And since you mention the 'professional world'... they are the ones holding back the entire Internet with their insistence on using IE6. Hardly the group to set our standards by. :P

13. Go anywhere on the Internet and IRL and you will find unfriendly people. Linux forums are no different. This is a problem with humanity in general :D

14. I have not met a normal person that does not like the idea of freedom. Personally, the fact that my system is mine completely, maleable completely to my wishes is probably the best part of using Linux. Most will not delve deep into the OS, but I don't think there is a person that will be repelled by the added bonus that their system is free (as in speech).

I am glad that you have decided to give Linux a go. More so, that you are diving in with the right mindset - to learn. This, I think, is where many falter and the reason why they give up. They do not want to learn. That is a terribly hard bug to fix.

Hope you have a great run with Mint. Cheers.
Last edited by shane on Sun Feb 14, 2010 7:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Why do new people give up on Linux?

Postby Matt3223 on Sun Feb 14, 2010 7:41 pm

gordon.cooke wrote:... And yet, with all those problems, the last time she had me fix her laptop (her entire desktop disappeared, every link and document) I asked if she wanted me to set her up like mine -- she said NO. I dont know why. Comfort i guess.


I just recently experienced a very similar confusing process. Some family members have an XP machine that is essentially useless, and has been for about 3 years. They don't use it much though, so they are ok with it. Anyway, it's some weird thing I can't figure out.

I have spent hours and hours working on this thing to help them out. Reinstalled XP a couple times, recovered photos etc....and then I started dropping linux hints. Even had them install Mint through mint4win to begin testing out. And they liked it!...but didn't wanna use it full time.

Then the XP broke again... big time. They were like, okay, i'm done with this, we're getting a new laptop...probably a mac. I was like ok, sounds good to me....let me see if I can save your family photos and what not. So after six hours I had XP going again and the important files backed up finally.

Then I was like, hey, this thing isn't as broken as we thought, how bout I do a full install of Mint and you can use it as a backkup for the laptop? Great idea aye?

They were like, well, looks like XP is working again, let's give it another shot. I gave a shrug and forced a grin. Saying, well, it'll probably do it again cause I don't know the real problem.

XP hasn't worked at an enjoyable level for years! and they still want it.

It crashed the next day.

My new trouble shooting technique is to stand over the persons shoulder and have them do all the typing, searching, etc as I guide them....so they can experience the hours of time it takes to get this thing limping again.

The next time I sit at the keyboard will be to install Mint. :)

The Windows gene is embedded deeep! It's some sort of non-rational thing. It's not like they are anti- anything, it's just the comfort of familiarity I guess. Even if that comfort is sitting on top of a miserable computing experience. Some weird mix between insitutionalization and Stockholm Syndrome.
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Re: Why do new people give up on Linux?

Postby pompom on Sun Feb 14, 2010 7:47 pm

Hi Chris,

I would like to take an issue with the #1 reason. People new to Linux do not know the breadth and depth of the Linux community! If you ever get a chance, you should attend your local Linux Expo and meet real people in person. It will definitely be a life changing experience. When you see for yourself die-hard Linux enthusiasts from an 8 year old to the 92 year old grandma rubbing elbows together, you will never buy prepackaged "commodity" hardware the same way again. Period.

Cheers,

pompom
Last edited by pompom on Mon Feb 15, 2010 2:44 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Why do new people give up on Linux?

Postby shane on Sun Feb 14, 2010 8:09 pm

jpete wrote:I'm not a complete noob when it comes to computers, just with Linux. And from searching for answers, I find that there is a basic level of understanding that a lot of these threads ASSUME people have. It's just not so.


The way I see it, newbies assume that everyone knows that they are newbies... :lol:
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Re: Why do new people give up on Linux?

Postby exploder on Sun Feb 14, 2010 8:12 pm

The way I see it, newbies assume that everuone knows that they are newbies.


I agree completely. If I don't understand something I just come right out and say so, that's the way I have always been.
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Re: Why do new people give up on Linux?

Postby breaker on Sun Feb 14, 2010 8:36 pm

Many computer users don't fix their own software issues. Therefore with Windows, they think that is what a PC repair person will be able to fix.

The GNU core utilities are very powerful and flexible, and were built to emulate Unix, a system that had to work well because computers weren't cheap, and those who wrote the OS had to be top notch. Users were often programmers, but I suppose on many time share systems, they were just students. College students have to adapt to whatever is thrown at them, or fail. I'm talking decades ago.

Many Windows users grew up with the gui, and never had the experience of having to learn MS-DOS, or Apple DOS, or anything like that. Even those who grew up with DOS probably just learned how to use it to run their DOS app for business and nothing more.

Finally, Microsoft doesn't divulge the inner workings of their system, therefore it is not an environment conducive to learning about how a computer works, or how an OS works. Unix, Linux, BSD, and Apple's Darwin file structure may be different than windows, but at one time the Windows geeks had to learn that too. Those geeks switching over to something else are simply out of their comfort zone. If they don't stay with Linux, then they are missing out on the freedom FOSS has to offer (aside from other FOSS available for Windows, etc, of course).

One other problem is many linux distros have the normal infotext and man pages, but lack a basic overview help section about how and why their file system is laid out, how things run at boot, etc, etc. There is the Linux Documentation Project, which is excellent, but distros should include a few basic files to get people started, rather than sending them to TLDP.

Why Windows? Why Linux? Why OSX? Why BSD? Why Solaris? Depends who you are, and what you need to do. I say try everything once.

But the GNU/Linux distros are getting very friendly these days. However, I agree more companies should write drivers.

Perhaps there needs to be a company that starts a FOSS hardware project with no BLOBs. Then either outsource manufacturing, or build a factory. Then they could release drivers for Mac, Linux, BSD variants, and Windows. If the firmware is not free or open source, there is little point to such a project.

Maybe some day. Remember, you heard it here first. :wink:
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Re: Why do new people give up on Linux?

Postby shane on Sun Feb 14, 2010 8:56 pm

breaker wrote:Perhaps there needs to be a company that starts a FOSS hardware project with no BLOBs. Then either outsource manufacturing, or build a factory. Then they could release drivers for Mac, Linux, BSD variants, and Windows. If the firmware is not free or open source, there is little point to such a project.

Maybe some day. Remember, you heard it here first. :wink:


Seeing that the biggest binary blob is usually the graphics card... take a look at this project: http://wiki.opengraphics.org/tiki-index.php
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Re: Why do new people give up on Linux?

Postby Ron on Mon Feb 15, 2010 12:08 am

I think this question could be asked another way. "Why do people give up on their computers?" Let me explain. I have repaired three Windows computers in the last year that were full of typical Windows problems. (Malware, adware, viruses, etc). Anyway, the owners of these computers all had the same response to their computer problems initially: "I'm going to buy a new computer." I begged them not to. I told them that as long as their hardware was okay I could get their computers running again. And I did. Using their proprietary software.

Could I have converted them to Linux? Maybe. And some would have been better off if I had. But they just wanted their computers to work again, with something they already understood, and that's what I gave them.

I applaud everything Linux (and especially Mint) has done to date and I sing its praises whenever I can but the bottom line is this: Most computer users know Windows because it is the default OS on nearly every computer sold today. And this will always be the Achilles’ heel of Linux. You see, guys like me, novices who are tired of the crap associated with Windows machines, seek out Linux. The average Windows user who gets tired of their system bogging down simply buys a new computer. As long as Windows is the proprietary OS on that new computer it will always dominate.

But Linux will rule with those who seek out a better system.

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Re: Why do new people give up on Linux?

Postby jpete on Mon Feb 15, 2010 12:09 am

shane wrote:
jpete wrote:I'm not a complete noob when it comes to computers, just with Linux. And from searching for answers, I find that there is a basic level of understanding that a lot of these threads ASSUME people have. It's just not so.


The way I see it, newbies assume that everyone knows that they are newbies... :lol:


If I'm posing in a forum called "Newbie Questions", then I think it pretty safe to assume.

But lot's of answers start out with "Just edit your xxxx file"

"Just" is the worst four letter word in the English language.

Newbies need "who, what, where, when and WHY" answered for them. Not some off the cuff answer that assumes they know where to go to make the change needed.

I went round and round with Ubuntu and eventually got fed up and went back to XP.

This time around I'm giving Mint a try. I'm still having issues but I think they are solvable. If they aren't, then Win7 is only $200. I don't want to spend it, but I don't have time to mess around with a futile project.
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