Why do new people give up on Linux?

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jjp2145-oldtimer
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Re: Why do new people give up on Linux?

Post by jjp2145-oldtimer »

I thought I posted my answer before, but I guess I held my tongue.

The reason that new people give up on Linux is that most people are not suited for using Linux. People fall on a weird inverted bellcurve in this regard. The people who can use Linux are the people who can be issued a stable operating system and use it without breaking it, and the people who can figure out how it works. Somewhere between these two points there is a big hole in the ground where most people live.

My observations are not helpful. I don't know what I am trying to measure and I don't know how to measure it. So what traits does a Linux user need to be successful? A high tolerance for frustration when learning to use Linux. The ability to articulate a problem and provide accurate and pertinent information when asking for help. Good judgment when making system changes.

The most important trait for the person who just wants a stable operating system is good judgment. The most important trait for the person who is trying to figure things out is a high tolerance for frustration.

Either there is a large vocal minority, or a distinct skills gap at play here.
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majpooper
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Re: Why do new people give up on Linux?

Post by majpooper »

I still think it boils down to "turn key" (you buy it already installed ready to go as is) VS. "DIY" you install it and set it up . . . . and oh - fix any BIOS (huh . . . what's a BIOS), driver etc. issues that may arise.
RollyShed
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Re: Why do new people give up on Linux?

Post by RollyShed »

jShumway00 aptly points out a few very basic obstacles that cause new people to give up on linux;
1.) most non-savvy computer users are not even going to know how to burn a bootable .iso USB/DVD.
2.) and if they do get a bootable .iso chances are there will be installation issues. How many of those folks even know what a BIOS is? And if it's a Mac . . . .
3.) and somehow if they get it installed but they have Realtec WiFi or Nvidia driver issues or need to set up a home network or keep getting a black screen or so on and so forth they have no idea where to get support let alone how to even articulate their issue.
(1) Is the thread about those with an already installed system? If so it doesn't apply.
(2) Is the thread about those with an already installed system? If so it doesn't apply.
(3) Is the thread about those with an already installed system? If so it doesn't apply if properly done.

I did a count-up and over the past year (2 years?) 18 systems I've installed, not one of those do the 1, 2, 3, obstacles apply. They haven't given up either so maybe a properly installed system doesn't prove to be a problem.
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Barbados99
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Re: Why do new people give up on Linux?

Post by Barbados99 »

jjp2145-oldtimer wrote:
Thu Jan 14, 2021 12:20 pm
The most important trait for the person who just wants a stable operating system is good judgment. The most important trait for the person who is trying to figure things out is a high tolerance for frustration.
I agree with you. I remember my very first experience with a computer at my place of employment in the 1980's. I nice older guy from I.T. who was helping me passed on a tip that day. He said the #1 advice he could give me was to be patient. Over the 40 years since that day I've thought about that comment many times when I found myself getting frustrated with a computer. It was so true in my journey with computers and technology. I have never found any of this easy. Not with Windows or Linux. But maybe I'm not the sharpest knife in the drawer. But if I'm patient then stuff usually ends up okay. I just read and try to follow instructions like I'm following a cooking recipe - step by step. I don't understand why some of this stuff works, but all I really care about is that it does work. But yeah, patience and a high tolerance for frustration helps. It's true for technology and true in life. LOL, I'd rather do a clean install of 10 Linux installations than do my taxes or do any government paperwork for that matter. :)

Thinking back now, I had more frustration with Windows over the years than with Linux. But maybe I was just lucky.
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Frank Pereny
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Re: Why do new people give up on Linux?

Post by Frank Pereny »

I can give you my perspective as someone who has recently switched to Linux.

I've always been interested in computers and programming a degree. I wouldn't say I am a "power user" at all, but I have been definitely slightly above average on computing skill.

There are a few main issues in my opinion with standard users making a clean switch to Linus as a primary personal OS. They can be summarized as follows:

1) The idea of Linux and a "Distro". Most people don't understand what Linux is. They think it is a singular thing. They are confused by the concept of Linux and different distros and what it means for them, their device and their experience. As a result, they don't even know how to start unless they get pointed in a clear direction kindly by a Linux user suggesting a proper distro for their use case.

2) Stuff working out of the box. Linux mint 20 has been a great experience for me. Everything is working very well out of the box. But in the past that was not my experience with other distros (even old versions of Mint years ago). The WiFi isn't working, keyboard lighting isn't working, etc. Even some relatively benign "bugs" cause the user confusion, and makes them question whether things are working properly at all. Most of the issues can be fixed, but people don't know how to go about doing it (and they think they shouldn't HAVE to do it if this is a quality software)

3) User experience / aesthetics. I will again say my experience with Mint has been fantastic. But in the past this was not the case. Things were confusing, poor tutorials (if available), codecs not being available, and things looking a bit old and clunky. The linux community has traditionally valued function over form, and that totally makes sense in many instances. However, we need to understand human psychology. People don't want the best appliance if it looks like an old clunky device. They are allured by the latest and greatest shapes, curves, colors etc. I'm not saying this is GOOD for the user, but this is reality.

4) Work arounds. I had a linux machine many years ago. I gave it to my wife since it was super small and light for her to take to her school for showing presentations etc. It had a problem with the projector, multiple monitors etc. It had a work around but it was a pain in the butt. Even though I could clearly use it, she didn't want to deal with using terminal and working around what should be a plug in, click and go. I can understand this frustration and myself feel someone embarrassed when explaining the value of Linux and at the same time explaining why I can't simply plug in a monitor and go.

Honorable Mention
5) Games / software. This is an honorable mention because I think 1-4 are 90% of the problem. If they were solved I think most people would be happy browsing, checking mail, and using office 365.

I know this is getting better with Steam on Linux etc. But the stigma is there that games don't / can't run on Linux. Also many proprietary software (CAD, financial, MS Project, etc.) used in industry is not on Linux making the switch impossible for professionals. That being said, I think over time this will slowly go away as apps become more and more web based (we are already seeing it with Office 365, MS Project PWA, etc.). I'm even somewhat hopeful long term streaming services like Stadia type services will be available so gaming on a linux machine with low end hardware is as good or better than a Windows PC.
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