Linux Needs to be "House" Trained. Not.

khess 0 Tallied Votes 582 Views Share

It's hard to convince Joe and Mary User to convert to Linux when the first things you hear from them are: "Where's my <insert stupid application here>?" "Why can't I just have <insert ridiculous thing here>?" or the ever-popular "This doesn't work like <insert overpriced application here>?" Honestly, it's enough to make me want to tell them to "just buy a Mac and stop calling me." Linux, after all, is for smart people and I really don't find any reason to "dumb it down" for the general population.

Linux converts feel that they must proselytize everyone they know and have them experience the awesomeness of Linux. Well, stop it--it just isn't going to work. Spend your time doing something more constructive and less frustrating. You'll be happier. They'll be happier. Apple and Microsoft will make more money, which will make them happier.

There's no need to convert the masses to Linux. Let them flounder and complain and pay you to fix their systems. Why fight it? If they buy into a Microsoft system and need you to fix it, you can charge them. On the other hand, if you convert them to Linux, you'll have to fix their system free of charge for the rest of your life because you converted them to it.

Linux is too complex for Joe and Mary User and that's as it should be. You wouldn't try to convert them to partial differential calculus just because you find it so fascinating, now would you?

Joe and Mary are content with having to reboot their systems at least once a day, having issues with drivers, endless service packs, updates and malicious software removal tools. They love their anti-virus programs and spyware killers. Leave well-enough alone. They are doing it the way they want--the way they've been trained and the way they've paid good money to do it.

Go back to your basements. Go and play some video games. Go test out your latest unstable kernels. Install all of the Ubuntu, Red Hat, Debian and CentOS virtual machines you want in your Linux-based hypervisors and let them go to operating system Hades.

Stop trying to convert by speaking of stability, freedom, price and versatility. Keep it to yourself. No one wants to hear it. There's been no prophet ordaining you to go two-by-two into all the homes in your neighborhood, spreading the gospel of Linux, converting tired old computers, teaching the reboot weary and having your heart ripped-out by all the dumb questions about "How do I get my Internet to work on this thing?"

You'll never convince them of your new way. They'll never see the light that you peer into for 16 hours a day. They'll never appreciate the thousands of volunteer hours that went into building Linux nor will they care. Do yourself a favor and drop it. Take a vacation to a Linux conference. Have yourself some micro-brewed beers. Quote some movie lines to fellow geeks. Talk about swords and elves and Led Zeppelin lyrics. Do anything but try to convert any more non-geeks to your way of life. They'll never get it.

Seriously, just let it go.

MagikGimp 0 Newbie Poster

[Homer Simpson]

Member Avatar

Thanks. That makes me feel much fresher.


But sharing is caring! Let's hope Xenon won't have any confused customers.

matthewb 0 Newbie Poster

There is no rule in GPL and other copyleft licenses that makes you fix GNU/Linux systems free of charge. Some users WANTED to pay me for installing GNU/Linux on their computers even when I meant to do it free of charge.

abhikalyan 0 Newbie Poster

Have tried this out with close to couple hundred of people.
I have succeeded in changing 1 person!! Hurrah,
I failed miserably in my previous organization.
Currently i have come very close to at least have a linux server that does proxy job,
As for desktop users its a FAR CRY!!.
After reading this post feeling a bit eleted.
I should have delved into answering forums that trying to create converts.
I go with you!!

J-ose 0 Light Poster

Support Windows???

Show them Linux+FOSS in action to do things they don't know how to do on Windows. There are tons of tutorials. Learn something and show. Some will even pay (especially once Linux catches on and surpasses Windows in many ways so as to reach the heavy spenders). You will have a project to work on. You might start down a new hobby/career path.

If you are into making lots of bucks, just think what being the only Linux guru around your area will mean in terms of $$ if many start to use Linux.

If you are into the nonprofit thing or into being liked, just think of all the headaches and money you will save many people.

And there is plenty of room to do both free and $$ services. Figure out what you like or are your goals. Figure out what others want. Where these overlap, gain free points through freebies. Where they don't overlap, you will have opening for making $$.

Why "fix" Windows when it is so opaque and boring? On Linux+FOSS, there is much more that can be created. Tomorrow, support will be a lot more interesting.

Why help hostile monopolists stay in tact?

I hope Ken Hess is not helping Microsoft overcome the second "Con" here: Linux is differential equations if you want to hack heavy source code. At least it has that option and is not black magic. [BTW, many people are into superstition on par with or to a greater degree than into science. A horoscope/magic/whatever distro might catch people's attention.

bailbath 0 Newbie Poster

What a load of rubbish Linux is easier to use than windows. It is easier not to change for most people because they are not given a informed choice. if you go to a store to buy a PC what choice do you get? I work in a retail electrical goods store in the uk. Like a lot of companies they jumped on the 'netbook' bandwagon. We had Linux on our shelves(always did but no one knew about the use of Linux in tv's sat nav's etc) but NO training was given to this new operating system so sales people sold them 'yes it will work with 'some windows program' , sold it with Norton etc(not me). Then the easy option came out 'XP' so all sales people who did not know or could not explain the benefits of Linux said don't touch the Linux buy the slow with anti virus dross you are already using. I am happy to help anyone use a new operating system and have done so quite successfully i don't see it as a problem helping them amd giving them confidence and freedom to sort their own problems out by informing them of what options are there for them.

Agni 370 Practically a Master Poster Featured Poster

honestly joe and mary don't really care what OS it is. A lot of them won't even know what's an OS. They would be happy with any, provided it does everything they want to do and doesn't make them waste time on fixing issues and putting patches. If what they use works on what they have that should be good enough. Windows has been selling there for a long long time pre-installed and configured. Generations of non-IT related people have used only its applications and are more comfortable and productive on them. None of these people have the time, motivation or reason to turn to anything new. As of now it seems next to impossible to replace it on the desktop.
One of my friends(who was working in a non-IT related field) never liked my ubuntu set-up. I never tried to coax him to learn. Then one day their company was installing a product which would be installed and run on a *NIX server. He learned and started using *NIX after that and liked it to. He still hasn't stopped using windows but he appreciates my ubuntu setup more :) . Moral of the story: People will learn when they need to.

bwbeeman 0 Newbie Poster

Thanks. I feel better, now. The world is off my shoulders, and maybe I should get the telephone number from that blonde that hangs out in the student center instead of converting her to Linux. Do you think my wife would mind?

cwrinn 0 Newbie Poster

I call BS. It's stupid to offer "free service" to "Joe and Mary User" unless "Joe and Mary User" are the people you'd be offering free service to ANYWAY (I.E. family/close friends). Charge "Joe and Mary" for your time, but there's the added benefit that you don't have to charge them for the OS Upgrade. And be a salesperson too, if you are "selling" them Ubuntu, sell them a Canonical Service package. There's no point in going about this in the attitude "Oh, it's a free (libre) product, so I shouldn't charge you anything!" Your time is money, and people understand that. They wouldn't expect a plumber to do work for them for free.

asphy 0 Newbie Poster


Couldn't have said it better myself, leave them to their "pretend computing" whilst the rest of us get on with real work. I've been feeling this way for a while now. Computing used to be fun and interesting many moons ago before the days of paperclips and file hunting dogs took over. Personally I couldn't care less about converting another wintard... It'll just result in more "Retard Creep", the dumbing down everything around to the lowest common denominator.

woooee 814 Nearly a Posting Maven

I really don't find any reason to "dumb it down" for the general population.

Agreed, although compared to 15 years ago when I first started, Linux has a much, much wider acceptance and is growing at the expense of other OS's.

mjeffer 0 Newbie Poster

I have to disagree with the premise here. Your complaints about "Joe and Mary"'s complaints aren't based on dumbing Linux down but the fact that people have to get used to a new way of doing things. I also agree that Linux shouldn't be dumbed down, but does that mean even us advanced and techie users don't want things made easier on us? The fact is people who've put the effort into "dumbing down" Linux for Joe and Mary are the ones driving advances in usability for the rest of us. Just because I'm able to do something the hard way doesn't mean I want to be stuck doing it that way forever. I'd much rather use something simple and quick to do mundane things than go digging in config files. I for one want these tools that will simplify my computing experience while still having the ability to harness the extra power of the more technical and difficult aspects of a linux systems that an "average" user may not understand.

DidouPh 0 Newbie Poster

Ok guy!

Sounds like you come from outer space and missed the point that the problem is not the software or the consumer but education!

Lets say you spoke German for all your life and learned English at school.

Now you are sent to a place where everyone speaks danish.
Everything may sound in between English and German but won't be understandable enough to get you to have a real understanding of what is being said!

That what happened to Joe and Mary when they got their first computer ! That's what happened to you and happened to the guy who told you a few tricks ... but what happened in the end ?

Yep, you're right ! They had to cope with it ... and it doesn't mean they are comfortable with it. It means its better than nothing because they know how to do what they need to do.

So unless you missed something ... I'm telling you its not a matter of Linux or Windows or Mac OS ... all those are just different interface to a machine that produces light trough a keyboard and mouse interface ... the point is what are the secret combo to master that lightning machine ... You tell them the base, they do the rest ...

Like ninja learn from experience, we all learned from such and joe and mary are no exception ...

Now ... if you're dumb enough to fix their computer for free ... it sounds like Joe and Mary will never learn... and its not because Linux is too complex ... its because you either are too kind or to stupid to tell them : DO IT YOURSELF !

Is your mom still after you each time you get out of the bathroom ?

DidouPh 0 Newbie Poster
Be a part of the DaniWeb community

We're a friendly, industry-focused community of developers, IT pros, digital marketers, and technology enthusiasts meeting, learning, and sharing knowledge.