I recently upgraded a friend of mine to Ubuntu 9.04 Desktop for his five-year-old Acer laptop with 512 MB of RAM. I removed Windows 2000 after backing up his precious documents, pictures and browser favorites. I installed the latest stable version of Ubuntu, restored all of his settings, Internet connection and documents. He immediately fell in love with the GNOME interface, the speed at which the system booted and how snappy it responded to his barrage of clicking. He was in heaven.
What came next was a bit of a shock. A few days after the "big transition," I received a frantic phone call. The conversation went something like this:
Bill: Hey, thanks for fixing up my laptop the other day.
Me: No problem. How's it going?
Bill: Well, that's the thing. It isn't going too well.
Me: What's wrong?
Bill: Umm, I think I broke it already. I can't get it to come up. It's there at a blue screen.
Me: A blue screen. No, we took Windows off of it. There's no blue screen.
Bill: No, seriously dude, there's a blue screen with a bunch of words on it and I don't know what to do. I'm afraid to do anything. Can you come over right now?
Me: <painful sigh>
Bill: I have some new beer and it's cold.
Me: I'll be right over.
Bill was outside waiting for me with a cold beer that was already apologetically opened and ready for guzzlement.
Bill: Sorry, man, come on in.
Me: <beer half gone--hey, it's hot in Oklahoma> Let me take a look.
I walk up to his computer and almost spewed what's left of my beer onto his laptop screen and keyboard.
Bill: What? Is it really messed up? Can you fix it?
Me: It's not messed up at all. Let me ask you something--did you happen to lay something on the keyboard or have a key pressed when you turned on your laptop?
Bill: Maybe--why is that bad?
Bill: Man, I knew we should have just put Windows back on it. This Linux stuff is great for you eggheads but for us regular guys, it's the pits.
Me: <motioning for another beer> Has nothin' to do with Linux. Could've happened with Windows.
Bill: <opening my beer> OK, so what is it?
Me: When you were touching the keyboard, you made the computer boot up into the BIOS settings.
Bill: So, Windows and Linux both have that?
Me: It's in your laptop. It comes with it.
Bill: Oh, so how did I do that?
Me: <powering off and on the laptop> I'll show you.
The moral to this story is that people often associate the unknown with their problems. Linux was the thing that was different for him and, of course, it was to blame for his problem.
I trained Bill how to avoid accidentally entering the BIOS, how to escape it if he does and how to do some basic things in Linux. He's never been happier and I've never had anyone offer to supply me with such a tasty beverage in all my days. I've gained a new admiration for Wisconsin from this experience and Bill has gained a renewed love for his old laptop.
Have you had any similar experiences with users or friends? Write back and let me know. Get to the "Point" quickly; it helps.