I suck at talking to non-Linux/non-computer people about Linux, any advice?
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I suck at talking to non-Linux/non-computer people about Linux, any advice?
Hi, all. As the thread title states, I pretty much suck at trying to explain Linux (or other UNIX-like OSes, for that matter, with the execption of Mac OS X) to people who don't already have knowledge about it. I've read various things on the internet that talk about "Linux advocacy", but that's not what I'm trying to do. I want to be able to explain Linux-based OSes to people without seeming like I'm pushing them into getting into it.
It's really quite sad; I'm so shy about the subject, I can't even talk about it comfortably with my own mother! At least not without coming off as actually putting Linux down, rather than simply giving an objective, concise view of it.
Usually if I mention something that's somehow related to Linux (directly or indirectly), and they say something like "what do you mean?", or "what're you talking about?", I'll just respond with "It's a Linux thing, you probably wouldn't get it.", avoiding the subject entirely.
I almost feel like I'm doing something wrong by using Linux. Even though I'm perfectly comfortable with it myself, I just feel like I'm gonna completely alienate anyone who isn't already familiar by doing things that they won't understand, thus giving the impression that Linux is hard, or is "just for geeks" (although to some extent that is true, it's not like you have to be a computer expert to learn).
For example, if someone came over to my house and wanted to use either of my computers (assuming it's for something other than web browsing), I would probably have a bit of a time explaining where things are and how they're different from Windows. If there was something they had to do that they're used to doing with a GUI program in Windows, for example, and I had to pull up an X terminal to do essentially the same thing, that'd probably put them off a little ("You mean you have to pull up a DOS prompt to do that??"). Easy and fast for me, strange and alien to others. Not a fun place to be.
Anyone got any tips on improving my Linux newbie-talk skills? This is in person, BTW. I can help new (or potential) Linux users over the internet just fine (that's part of the reason I signed up for LQ! ), it's just when I'm talking to them in person that it becomes a problem.
I have had great success in communicating the awesomeness of Linux to the others.
Indeed, I did that of my own accord, but having read Saul Alinsky's Rules for Radicals, I had a bit of insight shown on my technique..
Linux is an angel.
Windows is a devil.
The choice is easy.
Of course, if you're NOT TRYING TO SELL Linux, then you'll want to stay within the users experience.
If the user is a total freakin' newb, then I'd tell him that the main thing you'll notice with Linux is that you don't get the viruses you did on Windows.
Freedom is the main thing with Linux. You do wtf you want to with your software.
media burning in Linux is superior.
My objective observations of Linux and Windows indicate that both operating systems are about the same in terms of complexity for the end user, Linux substantially more stable in my experience (I could never have 43 windows open, 3 OS's running as VMs with more windows open, and while watching TV on hulu -- in Windows. I've done that from time to time with Linux.)
Windows has a lot of problems with malicious code.
So, from the average joe's perspective, the benefits of Linux are -- Everything you got with Windows + no viruses and plenty of stability + no fees.
Tell them that it's easier than a GUI for some things (Seriously, that's what I think)
I would tend to agree, but the main problem that most people have with the command line (I think) is that they assume that the commands themselves are going to be hard to remember, and that they're cryptic. And some of them are, I mean look at things like:
The first one probably looks just plain weird, the second one invokes thoughts of an arcade game, and the third one looks like it should do more than it actually does (it simply plays soft white noise over the speakers).
I can explain simple commands like ls (lists files/folders), cp (copies files), mkdir (makes a new folder), etc. that do basic file operations, but other than that, I always feel obligated to go into the finer details of how the program works, and of course that makes most people ZZZZzzzz...but it's kind of the only really good way I know how to get the point across. I'm not that great at making analogies that the "Average Joe" would identify with, especially not with CLI apps. But maybe that's just because I'm a bit of a lonely nerd.
I'm sorry if I seem like I'm "shooting down" anyone's advice; I'm not. I'm just giving my take on it, no guns involved.
I haven't had any experience with anyone but my wife and her sister and best friend, and they don't do much of anything, maybe type something up or browse... sometimes listen to music. I've had good luck not explaining anything to them since I have a lot of experience with windows users and it's been my experience that they don't understand windows either. Just, "This program does this" and off they go, so that's what I tell them. My wife doesn't get the whole "startx" thing, but I intentionally boot that box to the terminal so she doesn't mess with it. There are strictly gui machines in the house if that's what she wants. If someone sees my slacktop and asks, "What's that" I explain it's linux and it doesn't crash or get viruses and malware like windows. It intrigues them. I do the same when asked what software I use to keep from getting viruses or malware. Planting seeds is about as far as I go. My sister is getting a Ubuntu live cd in the mail since she has become virus prone.... that's the most overt thing I've tried. If she like it great. She's already discovered Firefox on her own! roud:
Just, "This program does this" and off they go, so that's what I tell them.
That's what I would do, too, but what if something comes up that would be easy (for them) to deal with under Windows, but not under Linux? For example, if someone wanted to try one of their games, I would have to tell them that it probably wouldn't work (unless it was really simple, in which case I would try it under Wine).
I dunno, maybe I'm just being too paranoid (you can't always be ready for every situation! ).
Planting seeds is about as far as I go.
Again, that's also what I would do, but in this case I'm just not sure how I'd go about it without going into a long explanation of how Linux-based OSes are different from Windows, and how some things are done differently than with Windows.
I suppose I can try what you're talking about when people see your "slacktop" () and just say "It's Linux", and I'll probably just leave it at that if they don't ask further.
My sister is getting a Ubuntu live cd in the mail since she has become virus prone....
It's a surprise/smart @$$ joke because it's my sister and I can! Honestly I doubt she even has a cd burner.
As far as the rest goes, I wouldn't worry about it. People with Macs have the same situation. On the game front, most people I know play the little games that come with M$ or a linux distro so that wouldn't be an issue here. My kids play GCompris and people that see that are really impressed. And if you are talking about your own computers.....why would you worry about admin-ish tasks and other people. If I find someone trying to do something that would require root permissions they just lost their chair anyway!
LOL. Yeah, sad but true. I had an old lady yesterday as a customer and I was stuck upgrading her Vi$ta to SP1 (which took about an hour!) and she asked the "how do I not get viruses anymore, what do you do to keep your computer from breaking?" question and I told her linux. She turned right around and asked me where I got "winzles" (sp?). It took me a minute to figure out she was trying to ask me where I got linux. I LMAO when I got in my truck to leave.
Look, just when they feel frustrated with Window$, when they say they hate it and they want something else, then just tell them there exists an alternative OS that has become quite popular, it's completely free, and maybe you wanna try it.
"...Them guys are nuts : They use that thing that boots in a black DOS Like screen, and then they have no icons no nothing... just that dumb black screens with sections with frames, with lots of stuuf in different colors... and then they just press ALT-CTRL-Fn and switch to another different screen like the first one... man.. thy say it is awsome... "
You see, for a person to learn something ( Chess, Martial Arts, Engineering, a Foreign tongue ... etc ) he needs two things... freedom of thought ( abandon all prejudice about what he's willing to learn ) and will to learn.
"You cannot fill a vase of water, unless you empty it first "
PPl tha use Windows are divided in 11 groups... ROFL
01) Those who never heard of anything else, yet they conced to try something different : These are my "target"
10) Those who are professionally tied to using some programs for which only a version for windows exist ( poor guys ... )
11) Those which use windows because other things are not so "modern" "cool", or simply because "everyone" uses W$, so there must be an "objective" reaon for it... "right"...?!
( I do not lose much time with the "eleventh" group... these are hopeless people... how can they fill a vase if they are not willing to empty it...?
As for group 1, my tactics is the "challenge" thing :
When someone percieves that a given method for doing, things although revolutionary and breaking with what is established, is objectively superior compared to what is known... they will adopt this method :
Erwin Rommel with Mechanized Infantry attacks vs the trench positional warfare paradigm of WW1, in the campaign of the Ardennes
Yamamoto Izoroku with the emergence of carrier based strike forces as opposed to Battleship based strike forces, like in Tsushima.
Fisher vs Spassky in 1972, with his anti-theoretic innovation...
History is full of examples... when ppl watching a supposed "awkward" thing in whatever subject, understand how superior it is, then finally comes the "...WTF!!??" syndrome...
They what to know why, and how... in this case, I teach them what i know...
I made a demonstration on using FOSS to solve an engineering sizing problem with some structure.
The guy had some questions about how to set up his problem, so I decides to show him how, using "my stuff"...
The other guy had M$ 7, with all those fancy, expensive, gui "point and click" apps, yet I was able to reach the same results faster, without spending a dime on licenses, in my Slackware lappy...
" WTF??!!" ROFL
So I gave him a Fedora DVD for him to install at some box at home...
EDIT : Yamamoto should not be credited with the Aircraft carrier attack thing, although he took this to an umprecedented massive scale, with Pearl Harbor attack... the first concrete application of this was British, with Tarento attack