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Old 03-09-2009, 10:03 AM   #1
3vra
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Is Linux for the average user


I was just discussing with a friend the many distributions and hence the many choices that the Linux OS comes with and he raised a very important point; that Linux is not for the average user and that could be what's preventing it from being the leading choice for the average user.While the luxuries of having choices and everything installed in one go is absolutely a plus the problem is how does one keep up.
Listening to my colleague he complains about how does an average user keep up when there is so many of them to choose from and how will the average user ever find the one that is right for him if he does decide to switch.I think he understands to an extent what the power of Linux can do,but he thinks that it is out of control because only "techies" reap the benefits of appreciation because of the constant change.

please give me your views!!
 
Old 03-09-2009, 10:31 AM   #2
TB0ne
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 3vra View Post
I was just discussing with a friend the many distributions and hence the many choices that the Linux OS comes with and he raised a very important point; that Linux is not for the average user and that could be what's preventing it from being the leading choice for the average user.While the luxuries of having choices and everything installed in one go is absolutely a plus the problem is how does one keep up.
Listening to my colleague he complains about how does an average user keep up when there is so many of them to choose from and how will the average user ever find the one that is right for him if he does decide to switch.I think he understands to an extent what the power of Linux can do,but he thinks that it is out of control because only "techies" reap the benefits of appreciation because of the constant change.

please give me your views!!
This has been discussed many times here, and in other forums on the net. In short, yes, I believe it's ready for 'average users'. What distro, that is harder to say.

Ubuntu/Kubuntu are great for 'regular' users, and are very much focused around easing the transition from Windows to Linux. However, it's ALL a matter of preference. I've known people who get started with Ubuntu, and then get frustrated quickly, because their skills grow, and they don't like Ubuntu's quirks as much, and go to another distro (OpenSuSE? Fedora?), to push things further. Some folks start out with such things, and are quite happy...it all depends on the person.

Since they're all free, it costs nothing to try them, and find the right fit. You can have the same GUI's on any of them, and they can all look/feel the same way, so you're not giving anything up.

As far as 'keeping up' goes...keeping up with what? Pick one that you like...change only if you feel like it. Automatic updates run easier on Linux than on Windows, IMHO. And how many Windows XP users still haven't 'kept up' with getting the latest Vista? SP3? Whatever crap that Microsoft wants to trowel out that week? Just because a new release of OpenSuSE comes out, doesn't mean I'm going to automatically go get it....because I don't have to.
 
Old 03-09-2009, 10:33 AM   #3
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Sure it is, if 50+ years old folks use machines with Linux preinstalled happily, it can't be bad. And I don't mean those h4x0r 50+ folks, but those who don't know how to write with 10 fingers simultaneously; those, who know how to read e-mail and surf the web because they were introduced to the browser; those, who don't know how a wireless access point works or why you should type in a password to be able to use it, but still enjoy the experience. I know quite a few of such people, most of them are nearly "computer illiterate" by some metrics, but still they have no problems using Linux -- the point is, you must not make them install the thing nor anything like that. Just serve it ready and it works. As a comparison, some of them have also been using Windows (XP), and have found it difficult.

One example is the Eeepc (I have one of those too) along with it's default Xandros installation: it sure is for the "average" user. Open lid, press power button, wait a moment, [type a password], click the "Internet" icon or the "Email" icon and you're there. No need to find "Start button", "programs group" or "Internet Explorer". Of course you can put in a nice Gentoo installation without X and all and be sure to see people turning away, but it's simply a bad approach, not Linux (referring to the various distributions, in general) being difficult.

I think the biggest problem is that people try to "convert" other people and thus their goal is not to teach people, but to tell them what's good for them. (EDIT: the second biggest problem is probably that the "teachers" get too excited, pump in too much irrelevant things like Compiz effects and all in all pay attention to trying to give the users the most of everything instead of solid, easy-to-use working solutions)

Last edited by b0uncer; 03-09-2009 at 10:37 AM.
 
Old 03-09-2009, 10:44 AM   #4
jiml8
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I just joined the 21st century. Yes, it's true. I just bought an ipod.

Hard as this may be for some people to believe, I have managed to live all this time without an ipod. But no more.

So I took my new toy out of its box, plugged it into my computer with the provided cable. It automounted, and Amarok immediately knew it was there. I synchronized my music collection, and voila, the ipod is loaded with music. I googled for a bit, discovered gpixpod, and used it to ship some photos to my new ipod. Happened painlessly.

So, I guess Linux is ready for the average user.
 
Old 03-09-2009, 12:06 PM   #5
pixellany
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This question evokes a bit of a paradox. There could be two defintions of "average user".

1. Needs only a basic functionality---e-mail, web, simple word-processing, play video clips, and maybe some photo stuff. Does not mind doing a small amount of administration as long as given specific instructions.
......This user can be handed a pre-configured Linux box and do just fine. My GUESS is that this definition applies to at least 1/2 of the computer users out there.

2. Has many and varied needs but a) Is adverse to new things, and/or b) is totally brainwashed by the MS machine.
......This user won't switch without a HUGE motivation----comprises maybe 90% fo all Windows users.

Note the overlap: What this is saying is that there are many that fit in category 1, but either don't know it or don't WANT to know it.

Conclusion: Linux can meet the needs of a majority of Windows users, but ONLY if they are somehow motivated. We are seeing this---eg---with Netbooks. When you can buy a Linux netbook for ~$250, and the Windows version is $50-75 more, AND you are looking at a down economy---you might be motivated.
 
Old 03-09-2009, 05:38 PM   #6
brianL
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Linux (some distros, anyway) is ready for the average user, as defined by pixellany's category 1. What is lacking is awareness of the existence of an alternative OS by the majority of those average users. And even if they knew about it, would they be interested in switching?
 
Old 03-10-2009, 05:29 AM   #7
pixellany
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In the history of technology, how many things have been "ready for prime time" long before being adopted on a large scale?
 
Old 03-10-2009, 06:21 AM   #8
rich_c
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I'd say a very basic web browsing email sending user would be in heaven with Linux assuming someone knowledgeable chose a distro for them and installed it. With a bit of elementary 'training', they'd be able to look after themselves far better than with the 'other' OS that requires pretty regular maintenance to keep running smoothly and safely...
 
Old 03-10-2009, 07:50 AM   #9
strick1226
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If more people and businesses opt to use Openoffice.org, there's a good chance of some kind of notable increase of linux use by "average" users. If that MS Office tie-in begins to lose its grip--and I think it's possible, given the booming popularity of netbooks (and how nicely linux runs on them)--I think the future looks bright.

Certainly, I'm not saying Windows will be gone entirely--indeed, I would be happy to see linux desktops/netbooks hitting even a 20% marketshare.

I've watched long-time low-skilled Windows users experiment with Ubuntu and discover their computer suddenly "works" the way they want it. One of the biggest pluses? No system-destroying virii or malware.

I was pleasantly surprised at just how quickly some people were comfortable with Ubuntu once they had a brief tutorial. For truly "average" use, yes, I think some distributions of linux are very much ready for the desktop.
 
Old 03-10-2009, 10:21 AM   #10
Su-Shee
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Well, I was the very average humanities department women never seen anything but Word on a computer and even I managed in 1994/95.

The successful installation and usage of Linux is mostly about being capable and willing to read and to research and to re-read and to try over and over again.

On the other hand - if someone else does the installation - how many users would be really unable to use Firefox and Abiword/Kword or OpenOffice?

And this is something even my "only high school education" 65 year old mother manages sitting on my notebook - as she does an average Windows or her new shiny Mac and her cell phone.

I'd say: If mommy can, you can.
 
Old 03-10-2009, 11:32 AM   #11
3vra
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Sometimes the Average user does not appreciate choice.They just want to know that a computer cant suite their needs without having so many choices thrown at them or someone telling them that this choice is better.
Back to the conversation with my friend, we like Linux and appreciate what it has to offer, we are first year Computer Science students and we have to deal the arguements evryday about which is the better distibution and why everyday at school.I think that's what becomes scary.Linux is not being appreciated as one OS anymore but which version is better.
 
Old 03-10-2009, 12:00 PM   #12
fair_is_fair
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Linux is for the average user.

The question should be; "Is the average user ready for linux?".

I had a friend come over the other night with his laptop. He is having lots of trouble with an old install of Xp. I had already figured out the operating system would need to be refreshed. I was thinking dual boot or personalized cd to break him in gently to linux.

First thing I did was boot up a linux live cd for him while I went to gather up some software. I came back to find him red-faced, confused, and a little upset. "What is this? Where is Internet Explorer? Where is Word?" Where is Google?"

Now this was my personal Puppy remaster made for this purpose. Simple layout, icons on desktop, with most apps included. No conky, no compiz, and no widgets. Flash and java present and working.

I opened Firefox for him and showed him where "google" was. I showed him the "start" menu which was similiar to windows. That is as far as I got. He cut me off(still red-faced)and told me he had no time to learn something new. He seemed to have trouble understanding the dual boot and live cd ideas. I suspect he thought I had altered his machine permanently when I ran up the cd despite my description otherwise.

Now this is a fellow who has shown interest in linux and was, very much, wanting a Macintosh. He is no dummy. I told him to reconsider the Mac purchase if he found what I shown him confusing.

I cleaned up his xp install a bit. He had a couple of projects on the go with proprietary software and a hard drive almost full. Reinstalling xp was not going to happen either. He expected me to wave a magic wand over this thing and make it all better!

The moral of the story raises the guestion; "Is the average user ready for linux?".
 
Old 03-13-2009, 04:43 AM   #13
ak99505
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maybe I'm a bit cynical, but I don't think the average user is ready for a computer regardless of the OS, they'd do just fine with linux if they'd take the time to use it. They want the thing to work and yet they know so little of computers they can't understand why things work or don't.

but that's my opinion.

so yes linux is as ready for the average user as much as windows is, we just need to get the users ready for
the OS.
 
Old 03-13-2009, 06:13 AM   #14
brianL
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The "average user" doesn't need, or want, to know how a computer works. I don't need to know how a microwave oven works to cook ready made meals in it. I dont need to be able to act or direct a film to enjoy it.
 
Old 03-13-2009, 06:43 AM   #15
ak99505
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brianL View Post
The "average user" doesn't need, or want, to know how a computer works. I don't need to know how a microwave oven works to cook ready made meals in it. I dont need to be able to act or direct a film to enjoy it.
I like your microwave oven analogy better than the film one. it seems more accurate to me.

even though you don't need to understand the inner workings you should at least
have a firm grasp on the interface and cooking in general to be able to use the microwave.
otherwise you'll just burn your food.

but yes your correct. the average user doesn't need or want to understand computers inner workings
they do need some fundamental information about computers though. I don't think they should be
in a complete vacuum of information.
 
  


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