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Old 06-01-2009, 08:32 AM   #1
pianonut
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howto introduce LINUX?


I wish to convert friends, colleagues, administrators to the use of LINUX. I was an informal IT consultant recently in a school that had nearly all of its ancient computers ("gifts") set up in dual operating systems so that a user could chose W2000 or Ubuntu upon startup. The IT and myself wrote documents on the use of OpenOffice, etc to encourage teachers & staff to use Ubuntu but most refused. Many had difficulty taking MS documents they had generated at home on their XP or Vista computers and modifying or printing them from OpenOffice.
The administrators were convinced that LINUX was for tinkerers and geeks and so not for real work. The new IT is a purely M$ expert and even uses M$ servers. The battle was lost.
I have to admit that one of my problems is that in demonstrating some of the neat features of LINUX, I tend to use the command line interface which freaks out most of my would-be converts.

Anyone have a conversion method that seems to work? Somehow the economic argument did not work for me.
 
Old 06-01-2009, 08:42 AM   #2
linuxlover.chaitanya
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I would definitely say that Ubuntu was a good choice. It does a lot of work in the background and unless user is really wanting to know it will keep most of the things hidden from the user like MS windows.
You could try to convince them by asking them to use Ubuntu for some time before you put those machines in real time. Obviously Linux is damn good at server level and admins need to know how to use it to unleash complete Linux power.
But do not expect novice computer and windows users to change ti Ubuntu in flash. It will take some time and there could be a steep learning curve for some.
If someone is hard backed not to use linux then there is no real reason to force them to. But as far as I know Open Office should be able to view the MS office documents.
As far as printing goes, some printers could be windows specific or at least not easy to find drivers for but if you are using HP make of printers then it should not take long for windows users to know how to configure it on Ubuntu.
You should also look into OpenSuSe if they are not really impressed with Ubuntu. Even Mandriva should be good option. Also try them to show something on KDE 4.2.2 or 3.
 
Old 06-01-2009, 08:43 AM   #3
jamescondron
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Years ago, the thing that worked for me was a hard drive failure and lack of money to buy a new win95 licence (Or at least the unwillingness of my parents to do this)

You could go around wiping hard drives a la bofh and leave a calling card, perhaps an ubuntu or foresight disk

But no, seriously- best way is to set up a demo station somewhere and let people tinker around, see what they think. Just make them see that on the grand scheme, there aren't many differences.
 
Old 06-01-2009, 08:45 AM   #4
Su-Shee
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In my experience people are usally awed by the skillful use of the commandline, but they don't consider this for themselves. It's something people have to learn and gain experience in and not just "do".

The best convincing happens if you make Linux as non-intrusive and smooth and windows-like as you can, so noone even notices that they're now working under Linux. You have to convert their Windows document over to Linux. I personally would also refuse to fiddle around under Windows to get my Linux stuff up and running and cleanly converted due to the nuisance of things like that - so why should any of your Windows users think otherwise?

My main arguments are usally: no licence issues, strong legal support (at least in Germany), security issues (assuming your Linux cluster is well cared for..), education to computer literacy, coolness and hipness (Windows is SO yesterday and "open" and "free" the way to go) and an optimal configuration in terms of my user's needs.

But usally, I simply just shut up, use my Linux and let people bother themselves with their Windows stuff. It's their choice, after all.
 
Old 06-01-2009, 08:47 AM   #5
linuxlover.chaitanya
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Yes, this is a good advice. Putting up a demo machine with only Ubuntu or any newbie friendly distribution and let them hover around it could just do it for you. Once the people have some hand on it you could find some enthusiasts coming to you asking for Ubuntu.
 
Old 06-01-2009, 08:56 AM   #6
onebuck
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Hi,

The right tool is the one that fits the person that is using it properly.

It doesn't do anyone justice to preach one type over another. The proof is in the use of the tool in a manner that will show the potential user that they too can perform with your tool. If some like M$ and feel that it meets their needs it will do you no good to preach GNU/Linux. As some have suggested to setup a test bench with GNU/Linux so that a user can experiment with the system.
Once the person gets to know the system then you might have your first convert. Until then you should just continue to use your GNU/Linux and maybe they will see their struggles are just that.
 
Old 06-01-2009, 09:53 AM   #7
salasi
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pianonut View Post
...I tend to use the command line interface which freaks out most of my would-be converts.
Well, that's one thing that doesn't work, then. Seriously, if you are trying to persuade someone, you have to pitch at them, and what they see as an advantage, not at what you would like them to think

Quote:
Somehow the economic argument did not work for me.
Hmmm, not sure that you've said anything about 'the economic argument'. Sure licenses are cheaper when you don't have to buy them, but if you've only got a windows admin, the time lost in getting him to administer stuff he can't understand and can only break is going to cost a whole lot more.

In hindsight, getting in someone who can only admin windows seems like a real mistake (to us); it might be worth thinking about why this seemed appropriate to the person who set the job spec?

You seem to imply earlier that Linux wasn't really delivering; it would/might have done if ordinary users were using it, but they weren't. So there is a question; Why didn't they see advantages? In particular, there are specific scheduling programs for schools; I guess the teaching staff weren't persuaded of the advantages.

What about all of the extra software you can get for linux (mind mapping/gimp/drawing/compilers & languages/project management/...) that would cost a fortune, if you bought it for windows and that therefore the school probably didn't have available (or, do educational discounts play a role)? Did anyone try setting this stuff up and selling the teaching staff on the advantages?

And, I'm guessing that this wasn't set up as an LTSP-style system, so you couldn't point out the power savings and the consequent environmental benefits that come from that approach.

Quote:
Anyone have a conversion method that seems to work?
From what I can tell, your method was always likely to fail. Preaching to people, and that is only what I can infer from what you have written, isn't going to work and may well turn them against your suggested course of action. Understanding their point of view and what constitutes an advantage to them, and explaining to them the advantages of the suggested method, might just work.

If anything, the command line method is more likely to produce one of three reactions:
  • that's all right for him, he is more knowledgeable than me
  • he's trying to show off
  • these dessicated geriatrics aren't in touch with the real world...look at all that typing, this century Computers have GUIs, and that command line stuff is so old fashioned
 
Old 06-01-2009, 10:18 AM   #8
Su-Shee
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Quote:
Originally Posted by salasi View Post
What about all of the extra software you can get for linux (mind mapping/gimp/drawing/compilers & languages/project management/...) that would cost a fortune, if you bought it for windows and that therefore the school probably didn't have available (or, do educational discounts play a role)? Did anyone try setting this stuff up and selling the teaching staff on the advantages?
The Windows world has its vast variety of Freeware and Shareware - so in principle you don't have to buy everything by Microsoft.

Apps like Gimp or OpenOffice do all run under Windows also but they're simply not the same as Photoshop and MS Office.

And that's something many users simply refuse as they essentially don't like to learn something new on the computer anyway.

And if conversion problems are thrown into the mix - well, who actually wants to put himself through all the trouble just for the sake of a different operating system?
 
Old 06-01-2009, 12:01 PM   #9
Topher_AL
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Smile

My experience has been to talk and show people what Linux looks like. I don't use the command line at all during those times. Actually I don't use the command line at all, if possible. I use Mepis, as I like KDE better than Gnome. The only people who I have been able to convert are one person who wanted to use Linux, but needed someone to help him. My sister who relies on me to help her, has had no problems with Mepis and always seems to have problems with MS. And my wife, who has seen how my sister has had no problems, agreed to try dual booting. But has seen how fast Linux comes up and is ready to do work, while MS goes through about 6-8 minutes of virus checking, loading stuff in the background and who knows what before you can really do something. So for the past month has only used MS about twice.
I have been using Linux only for just over a year. So, I guess, just keep promoting it and sooner or later someone will be ready to try it. Take it one person at a time. Good luck.
 
Old 06-01-2009, 12:09 PM   #10
ceantuco
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as mentioned above, setting up a lab computer should do the trick for you. I'm actually recommending Ubuntu for friends, co-workers and family, so far they seem to like it.
 
Old 06-01-2009, 12:13 PM   #11
ceantuco
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usually what I do after I recommend Ubuntu is give my laptop to the person I'm recommending it to, let it use it for a few minutes and if they give me the green light I'll install it. Most people like the fact that they don't have to install an antivirus or there are no annoying messages asking for permission to do about anything unline v$sta!
 
Old 06-01-2009, 12:22 PM   #12
portamenteff
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Virtual Machine

Quote:
Originally Posted by pianonut View Post
I wish to convert friends, colleagues, administrators to the use of LINUX. I was an informal IT consultant recently in a school that had nearly all of its ancient computers ("gifts") set up in dual operating systems so that a user could chose W2000 or Ubuntu upon startup. The IT and myself wrote documents on the use of OpenOffice, etc to encourage teachers & staff to use Ubuntu but most refused. Many had difficulty taking MS documents they had generated at home on their XP or Vista computers and modifying or printing them from OpenOffice.
The administrators were convinced that LINUX was for tinkerers and geeks and so not for real work. The new IT is a purely M$ expert and even uses M$ servers. The battle was lost.
I have to admit that one of my problems is that in demonstrating some of the neat features of LINUX, I tend to use the command line interface which freaks out most of my would-be converts.

Anyone have a conversion method that seems to work? Somehow the economic argument did not work for me.
If you help them set up Vmware, or VirtualBox or another virtual machine. They can use both at the same time. Older machines don't have the RAM or processors to handle it though. People can do this on their newer home machines and laptops though. I've found virtual machines to be great training wheels for newbies. I had to learn before virtual mahines were really usable. I just took the plunge and installed it as a dual-boot. Now, I no longer use M$ at all!
 
Old 06-01-2009, 12:58 PM   #13
Tinkster
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pianonut View Post
Many had difficulty taking MS documents they had generated at home on their XP or Vista computers and modifying or printing them from OpenOffice.
And I'm afraid that for most this is a real problem.

People who grew up on Word/Excel have learnt to tinker
with formatting, this formatting can be done in a variety
of ways, and is tied to the printer drivers the person is
using on the machine where their documents (strange word,
btw, considering that a document in a legal sense is some-
thing that doesn't change; files is a so much better term
for what they *really* are) were created.

This makes it difficult (if not impossible) to preserve the
formatting of stuff; if they were only putting their main
emphasis on content (which they don't) the problem
would be of marginal impact.

Try and convert them? Impossible. And very much against
the Taoist principle of Wu Wei :D


Cheers,
Tink
 
Old 06-01-2009, 01:08 PM   #14
Samael
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For the average user Linux is not a viable option. There's nothing wrong with that, in fact the lack of Linux users is part of the reason it's as secure as it is so why try and make it mainstream? I've only really just started to get more comfortable with Linux since I started using it at the hosting company I work for but even so I don't bother with it much at home.

I'm all for Linux being kept as the 'Computer Geeks' OS of choice.
 
Old 06-01-2009, 01:27 PM   #15
H_TeXMeX_H
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I wouldn't "convert" or attempt to convert anyone, because it won't work. It's much like religion, you can try to convert people, but you will very likely fail in 99 % of cases. So, instead, don't do any preaching on anything like that, instead:

1) Tell them about GNU/Linux if they don't know what it is. If they are ITs explain to them clearly that it is used in production servers (in fact I think it is now the great majority of servers run some type of *nix) ... it is not just for geeks. You can talk to them about advantages, economic, stability, security, etc. But do it in a way in which you're not telling them to use it ... simply that you're mentioning it. I've found that telling people to do something will make them not do it, and telling people not to do something will make them do it (I know, it's strange and stupid, but true).

2) When they seem to have problems with Window$, which is going to happen quite often as I have found (pretty much every 2-3 hours of use), if it is the case what would happen if they were using Linux. Many things that happen on Window$ (errors and annoying nagging things) don't ever happen on Linux. And there's plenty of stupid annoying things about Window$ that drive people mad ... insert a comment at these times, they will be more likely to dump Window$ and try something else ... they're more psychologically vulnerable at these times

3) Brag a bit about what you can do easily with Linux, and for free, that would be a terrible pain in Window$ and would cost you an arm and a leg. There are so many things that fit into this category. Basically, you should already know that Window$ is useless out-of-the-box and very hard to make useful and stable. A bit of bragging never hurt anyone. You can also make displays of the abilities of Linux, but make sure it actually works, not something like Compiz, because its buggy and doesn't really show what Linux is about, it's not representative. Instead, for example a few weeks ago someone come to class to present something and M$ office refused to open it because it was an earlier or later version ... openoffice can ... or actually use go-oo it's somewhat better and can open more types of files including the demonic openxml.

... so far that's all I can think of, but it should be enough.
 
  


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