How to effectively introduce Linux (Mint) to potential users?

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Lnx_User1
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How to effectively introduce Linux (Mint) to potential users?

Post by Lnx_User1 »

Perhaps this question is better suited on a general Linux forum but as I use Linux Mint as my distro and am recommending it I thought I'd ask here. I started gathering and fixing up people's unwanted computers recently. I'm rather self taught in this regard. I am by no means a Linux whiz but I have recently started getting back into Linux and so learning all I can and passing that knowledge on. I would like to take the unwanted computers I have, make them into Linux machines and sell them to people who are looking for a computer on a budget.

Main issue I have is most people who want a computer these days are reluctant to step out of the MacOs or Windows box. Most don't even know what a Terminal or Command Line is. They gravitate to the familiar and want things simple. They might hate the way MacOs or Windows does certain things but they don't consider themselves savvy enough to work with an OS that gives them options and flexibility. At any rate I am trying to figure out a kinda "baby-steps" approach to get people interested and hopefully hooked on Linux. To have people use Linux Mint as their OS and realize that they can accomplish all their computer related tasks as easily as on MacOs or Windows.

So I'm wondering if someone can point me in the direction of resources I can use to turn people on and get them up and using Linux Mint quickly without intimidation. I'll spend a 1/2 hour to an hour helping them get started and give them enough info that they can take further steps if they want to. Also would appreciate any helpful advice in doing such.
Last edited by karlchen on Tue May 12, 2020 3:50 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Not specifically about Linux Mint, but about Linux in general. Thread moved to "Chat about Linux" therefore.

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trytip
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Re: How to effectively introduce Linux (Mint) to potential users?

Post by trytip »

anyone that uses the term "box" for their computer should already know what to do
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Re: How to effectively introduce Linux (Mint) to potential users?

Post by mikaelrask »

hey i would suggest bring your laptop with you next time you meet the potential persons into linux show them around in the desktop and show them how to install programs through the software store. i say its the best way to introduce someone to linux.
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Re: How to effectively introduce Linux (Mint) to potential users?

Post by CapraFan »

I run a little hobby business supporting local home computer users. In a few cases when their Vista or Windows 7 machines stopped receiving updates I have installed Mint and they've all been happy as clams with virtually no problems.

When their OS is reaching EOL, my approach is to ask them if they are inclined to pay $400-600 for a new computer, or if they would really prefer a cheaper alternative. If the cost of a new computer doesn't scare them, I help them buy new.

If they really want something cheaper, I look at what they have installed and talk to them about the programs they need now or in the future. If they need a Windows-only program, I talk to them about a refurb. If I'm confident they will never need a Windows-only program, I'll show them Mint. I'll have it set up very similarly to their Windows machine and show them them how they will browse the web, watch videos, or edit a document. When they realize that for their daily tasks Mint is for all intents and purposes no different from Windows, they generally are sold.

However, they also know that if they were to have a problem I'd help them. I don't give them guides on how to troubleshoot, use the terminal, or request help on a forum, because that would scare them off.

If your thinking is to send regular users off with a Mint machine without the fallback of support if they need it, I don't think you'll have much luck. In reality they won't need much support, but they don't know that. (Though let's face it -- at some point they might.)

However, if you're willing to be their IT guy -- even for a fee -- you'll do better.

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Re: How to effectively introduce Linux (Mint) to potential users?

Post by DAMIEN1307 »

I have installed over 100 various Linux distros into friends, neighbors, and business's in my small city since 2016 and have showed everyone including my oldest "student", 86 yrs young, how to do the simple things such as updates, software manager etc.with linux.

Most all were "introduced" to Linux just be visiting me at home and seeing it work.

I am also available to them on the very rare occasions that they may call with a question, only a handful of calls sinc 2016 so really no intensive intrusions on my time at all.

I occasionally call them to see if they are OK, All tell me everything just keeps working for them no problems.

If these were Windows systems, i would be getting constant calls as i used to years ago after Windows borked updates and upgrades until i have now told everyone that I no longer will work on Windows OSs for any reason.

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Re: How to effectively introduce Linux (Mint) to potential users?

Post by TheOmniad-2020 »

Burn the ships, like a Viking: install it on their main machine, overwriting all their data, get rid of all icons so they can only use the terminal, and give them an 850 page book on Python.

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Re: How to effectively introduce Linux (Mint) to potential users?

Post by Mick-Cork »

Not sure if it's something you'd be up for, but you could create your own resource based on, e.g, an updated version of this video...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I8ik8pDTgJE

You could focus it on LM only, and keep the terminology as simple as used in this example.
This would allow you to introduce the concept in a consistent manner, without having to remember details every time you're presenting the idea.
It would also position you (in a sense) as an authority, and might make the 'sell' aspect of what you're trying to achieve a bit easier.

And, as mikaelrask suggested earlier, bring your own laptop and demonstrate it in action. Download the video to the laptop, and you're good to go if no Internet available.

If the idea is interesting take your time, make the video, put it on a private channel and provide a link here on the forum. Get feedback, refine, republish, make public and become famous :)

And I'm actually serious - why not?

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Re: How to effectively introduce Linux (Mint) to potential users?

Post by Lnx_User1 »

Thanks for the replies.

I'm thinking first to make sure I have the education to pass on accurate knowledge, then working on a step by step approach to get others up and using Linux. I agree that offering some kind of ongoing support will be necessary. Heck my mom calls and texts me all the time to explain things with her phone, tablet, computer when she could just google it herself. I think people want a human to explain things to them as opposed to doing the research themselves. Though I am not in the position at the moment to offer a 40 hour a week support service I hope to offer enough for them to feel confident enough with the basics that they can, if they so choose, further their knowledge through available sources on the internet.

I'm looking at a program like this:

-Were they a Windows, MacOs user beforehand or are they new to computers? Based on this I can develop transitional/introductory steps.
-Find out their needs and wants in a computer/OS and then show them how Linux can accomplish this.
-Once they are comfortable in using Linux on a basic level show them how they can customize the environment to their liking. For example, the look and feel of a Mac or Windows desktop in Linux Mint. How to add useful software, etc.
-Give them a list of resources for furthering their knowledge of Linux.
-Set up an introduction to using the Terminal and how command line works. Show them the basic, most commonly used commands, then point them in the direction of information for more advanced usage if they feel so inclined.
-Be able to troubleshoot certain basic issues people may encounter.
-Etc...

Right at the moment I have a number of parents looking for cheap computers for their kids to do their schoolwork on. So I'm thinking about how to make this all highly digestible. I don't see Linux Mint as complex, any more than any other OS, so it's just getting people turned on to it and overcoming their fears and reluctance for change. I'll probably use my own laptop to demo everything and/or run Linux Mint off a USB so they can get a feel for it. If I can get them interested then hopefully sell them a refurb computer with Linux Mint installed.

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Re: How to effectively introduce Linux (Mint) to potential users?

Post by Lnx_User1 »

Mick-Cork wrote:
Tue May 12, 2020 4:49 pm
Not sure if it's something you'd be up for, but you could create your own resource based on, e.g, an updated version of this video...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I8ik8pDTgJE

You could focus it on LM only, and keep the terminology as simple as used in this example.
This would allow you to introduce the concept in a consistent manner, without having to remember details every time you're presenting the idea.
It would also position you (in a sense) as an authority, and might make the 'sell' aspect of what you're trying to achieve a bit easier.

And, as mikaelrask suggested earlier, bring your own laptop and demonstrate it in action. Download the video to the laptop, and you're good to go if no Internet available.

If the idea is interesting take your time, make the video, put it on a private channel and provide a link here on the forum. Get feedback, refine, republish, make public and become famous :)

And I'm actually serious - why not?
I like the video. I'm thinking perhaps 1st step is to sit down with client and show them a comprehensive short video explaining Linux and some basics. Something that can quickly clear up any misconceptions or confusion and give me a launching point to demoing Linux Mint for them.

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Re: How to effectively introduce Linux (Mint) to potential users?

Post by Tomgin5 »

I learned a little about LM in 2016 just after the Belaruse hack. Since then I have installed well over 200 LM OS in resurrected desktops and laptops, Most for a non Profit "FreeGeek".
I have also installed more than 50 in scraptops (broken Laptops) of both the MS variety and Apple. The vast majority were merely the abominable MS systens, some with burned out HDD, replaced for $10-$30 with either a HDD or SSD. I have had over a dozen friends from church in the senior non computer types that had relatively nice desktops that had died. These I visited and installed LM from DVD's that I bought in bulk for about 10 to 20 cents, and burned on site from one of my laptops. 3 of them I needed to replace the HDD and 5, I added 1-6 GB of RAM. Beside the OS I added the instructions for the "Taskbar recovery" to the Home screen. This helped for when they accidentally deleted their menu. :shock:
All but one has been very happy and that one ( whom was tire dot paying for MS updated went back to MS and averaged $150 per month to play MS solitair, since to a local computer shop to service her laptop and keep reinstalling the MS OS. I never charged her.

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Re: How to effectively introduce Linux (Mint) to potential users?

Post by Portreve »

TheOmniad-2020 wrote:
Tue May 12, 2020 2:28 pm
Burn the ships, like a Viking: install it on their main machine, overwriting all their data, get rid of all icons so they can only use the terminal, and give them an 850 page book on Python.
+1

Lnx_User1 wrote:
Tue May 12, 2020 5:38 pm
I'm looking at a program like this:

-Were they a Windows, MacOs user beforehand or are they new to computers? Based on this I can develop transitional/introductory steps.
-Find out their needs and wants in a computer/OS and then show them how Linux can accomplish this.
-Once they are comfortable in using Linux on a basic level show them how they can customize the environment to their liking. For example, the look and feel of a Mac or Windows desktop in Linux Mint. How to add useful software, etc.
-Give them a list of resources for furthering their knowledge of Linux.
-Set up an introduction to using the Terminal and how command line works. Show them the basic, most commonly used commands, then point them in the direction of information for more advanced usage if they feel so inclined.
-Be able to troubleshoot certain basic issues people may encounter.
-Etc...
I think the plan has a pretty solid basis, at least insofar as you've laid it out. Mac users will likely be less wowed by GNU+Linux than Windows users would be because, if they have been using it for any significant amount of time, they'll know it's already nicer than Windows. They'd already be used to a newly attached device "just working" instead of having to load drivers and/or go through some kind of formalized process.

If anything, you can show them that the Cinnamon desktop is extremely Mac OS X-like. Moreover, what I would do if I were you is to always (during the course of installation) set the default keyboard layout to English International AltGr Dead Keys, because that gives them direct access to all of the accents and special characters they might be used to, via intuitive keyboard shortcuts instead of having to dig out Character Map. If they know standard keyboard shortcuts for functions (create a new folder, etc.) you can show them all they have to do is switch from [Command]+[whatever] to [Control]+[whatever]. That can help them cannibalize their existing investment in muscle memory instead of them thinking they have a whole bunch of new stuff to learn.
Right at the moment I have a number of parents looking for cheap computers for their kids to do their schoolwork on. So I'm thinking about how to make this all highly digestible. I don't see Linux Mint as complex, any more than any other OS, so it's just getting people turned on to it and overcoming their fears and reluctance for change. I'll probably use my own laptop to demo everything and/or run Linux Mint off a USB so they can get a feel for it. If I can get them interested then hopefully sell them a refurb computer with Linux Mint installed.
Cheap is not really a good place to be, tactically speaking. I mean, I get it — people aren't all made of money — but you risk a serious backfire in your conversion efforts when they want to play games, etc., and find out they can't because of the operating system and now suddenly they think it was a bad deal and that they've in some way been swindled.

I would love to do a "train the trainer" video because I'm certain I can give a lot of on the fly suggestions and bring up a bunch of assorted knowledge that could make doing what you're talking about doing a lot more effective and thorough. However, I have none of the requisites (particularly knowledge and experience shooting and creating the video, but also an appropriate camera, mic, etc.) so that's not going to happen.
Please remember to mark your fixed problem [SOLVED].

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Re: How to effectively introduce Linux (Mint) to potential users?

Post by MartyMint »

The number of people that actually care about how computers work is a fraction of a fraction.

And all "conversion" stories aside, most folks will just run to the nearest Walmart to grab the cheapest laptop off the shelf at the first stumble they have with Linux.

Sorry. I've been doing this since 2003. The amount of threads on forums asking "My friend installed (fill in the blank distro), please help me get Win 7 on my laptop"...is endless.

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Re: How to effectively introduce Linux (Mint) to potential users?

Post by Lnx_User1 »

I suppose much is easily explained, except for Terminal commands. I still struggle with them, understanding what is going on. Difficult to get people to see the usefulness of using the Terminal when it still seems a bit daunting to me.

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Re: How to effectively introduce Linux (Mint) to potential users?

Post by cliffcoggin »

Don't concern yourself with the terminal. I have been using Linux for three years and I don't.
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Re: How to effectively introduce Linux (Mint) to potential users?

Post by RollyShed »

The best way? As I've explained before, I'd copied everything just before Windows destroyed itself so my partner, a Windows user for a couple of decades or more was now sitting at a Linux Mint machine and complaining the icons were scattered on the screen not in the same layout as the night before. After she sorted them she has carried on for a year and a half, using the computer as she always does, emails, web searches and downloads, accounts via a spreadsheet, etc. Any questions are the same as would be asked what ever the system.

Other users either get a dual boot or totally Linux Mint. If the latter their files are copied across to a NAS box and then reloaded after Mint is installed. If a dual boot the Windows files are copied across and loaded into the correct folders in Mint - Documents, Pictures, Videos. Off they go home and use their computers. If they have time I'll probably run through a few shortcuts but otherwise what is so different?

Terminal? What's the Terminal? They never touch it in Windows so why even know about it in Mint?

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Re: How to effectively introduce Linux (Mint) to potential users?

Post by JerryF »

I'd start with asking questions like "what programs do you use?"

A friend of mine had Windows 7. He hated Windows 10, but was willing to pit up with it because 7 was no longer supported. Luckily, he uses his computer for surfing the net and emailing.

So I suggested Mint. Showed him he could use Chrome and Thunderbird as he's already been using.

I customized his desktop pic to be the one he had in Windows and created desktop icons.

Also, I set Mint to log in without password (which he asked for) and set Update Manager to auto update.

There was one hiccup with his old USB wifi adapter so I let him borrow my trusty USB wifi adapter, then got him an inexpensive Ralink PCIe wifi card. With the help of these forums, I got that card working.

He loves it.
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Re: How to effectively introduce Linux (Mint) to potential users?

Post by deepakdeshp »

mikaelrask wrote:
Tue May 12, 2020 2:12 am
hey i would suggest bring your laptop with you next time you meet the potential persons into linux show them around in the desktop and show them how to install programs through the software store. i say its the best way to introduce someone to linux.
If the person is willing, you can ask him to install teamviewer, let him connect to your Mint machine remotely and let him get familiar.This will avoid physically carrying the machine and meeting him in person, what with these corona days.
If I have helped you solve a problem, please add [SOLVED] to your first post title, it helps other users looking for help, and keeps the forum clean.
Regards,
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I am using Mint 20 Cinnamon 64 bit with AMD A8/7410 processor . Memory 8GB

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Re: How to effectively introduce Linux (Mint) to potential users?

Post by mikaelrask »

deepakdeshp also a good advise to use a remote access tool.
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Re: How to effectively introduce Linux (Mint) to potential users?

Post by GS3 »

MartyMint wrote:
Thu May 14, 2020 5:08 pm
And all "conversion" stories aside, most folks will just run to the nearest Walmart to grab the cheapest laptop off the shelf at the first stumble they have with Linux.
My in-laws and family have been buying new laptops whenever the one they had got a bit slow. Suddenly, with the corona virus and stay at home situation everybody needed computers to attend meetings, classes, etc. and I was the designated "expert" who had to get the computers up and running.

Most of them had started their life with Windows 7 or 8 and I did try running Win 10 but they were just not up to the task. So, it was either buy a new computer for money or install Linux for free. In the process I replaced the HDD with SSD (about $40) and they are amazed at the speed of "Linux".

For the things they do Linux works well for them and they are happy but, again, I am the designated IT guy.

In the past I used Teamviewer and I really liked it but then they started annoying with accusations of business use, etc. and blocking my accounts and I got tired of that pretty fast. What ash-oles. Since then I have been using Anydesk and it works well and I am happy with it.

In summary, a big point in favor of Linux is that it will run well on older software that Windows 10 cannot run.
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