LinuxQuestions.org
Download your favorite Linux distribution at LQ ISO.
Go Back   LinuxQuestions.org > Forums > Non-*NIX Forums > General
User Name
Password
General This forum is for non-technical general discussion which can include both Linux and non-Linux topics. Have fun!

Notices


Reply
  Search this Thread
Old 04-20-2008, 03:07 PM   #1
theunixwizard
Member
 
Registered: Feb 2008
Distribution: Ubuntu,Fedora,PC-BSD,FreeBSD
Posts: 116

Rep: Reputation: 15
Has Anybody ever had to explain what Linux is to a MS Person?


I went to WalMart today looking for a keyboard and I was looking for e
one to run on Linux and a sales assosicate asked Me if I needed help
I said yes "I'm looking for something to Run in Linux" The Clerk looked at me as though I was crazy. He said that I must be reffering
to MS Vista I said "No LINUX". Then He made me explain what it is
Has anybody ever had this problem
 
Old 04-20-2008, 03:20 PM   #2
acid_kewpie
Moderator
 
Registered: Jun 2001
Location: UK
Distribution: Gentoo, RHEL, Fedora, Centos
Posts: 43,417

Rep: Reputation: 1981Reputation: 1981Reputation: 1981Reputation: 1981Reputation: 1981Reputation: 1981Reputation: 1981Reputation: 1981Reputation: 1981Reputation: 1981Reputation: 1981
Well i personally avoid that situation. On the occasions where I do get there I have to admit to myself that I know they'll not understand what I mean long before, and i'm just trying to make myself look good, which is really very dumb and purile. So i don't let myself go there in the first place. The average IT guy in a shop has no reason to know anything about them really, and I don't know how knowledgable a walmart bod would be, if they are specialized compared to the rest of your stores. Certainly in a generic supermarket in the UK i wouldn't even expect someone to know what USB is. If someone knows much about IT then they shouldn't be working in a shop.
 
Old 04-20-2008, 03:56 PM   #3
calraith
Member
 
Registered: Apr 2008
Location: Gray, TN, USA
Distribution: UbuntuStudio, Linux Mint
Posts: 36

Rep: Reputation: 15
I usually tell people that Linux is another operating system, just like Mac OS is another operating system. The difference between Mac and Windows is about the same as the difference between Linux and Windows. Short, sweet, and accurate enough for someone just looking for a very basic idea. At that point, people will either say, "Oh," and nod; or they'll ask me for more information, and we have an intelligent discussion.
 
Old 04-20-2008, 03:58 PM   #4
pixellany
LQ Veteran
 
Registered: Nov 2005
Location: Annapolis, MD
Distribution: Arch/XFCE
Posts: 17,802

Rep: Reputation: 740Reputation: 740Reputation: 740Reputation: 740Reputation: 740Reputation: 740Reputation: 740
There are people with advanced college degrees who know nothing about Linux or any other OS, and would not be able to deal with installing or configuring any of them. My favorite recent responses---at work, degreed engineers:
"Linux--isn't that made by RedHat?"
"Does Linux have a GUI?"

Why would anyone expect a Wal-Mart employee to know any of this? Before CompUSA went belly-up, I sometimes asked them such questions. Their knowledge was marginal at best.

By the way, I think just about any standard peripheral will work with Linux. The only issue might be some special features (most of which you can program yourself)
 
Old 04-20-2008, 04:53 PM   #5
2damncommon
Senior Member
 
Registered: Feb 2003
Location: Calif, USA
Distribution: PCLINUXOS
Posts: 2,906

Rep: Reputation: 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by theunixwizard View Post
I went to WalMart today looking for a keyboard and I was looking for e
one to run on Linux and a sales assosicate asked Me if I needed help
I said yes "I'm looking for something to Run in Linux" The Clerk looked at me as though I was crazy. He said that I must be reffering
to MS Vista I said "No LINUX". Then He made me explain what it is
Has anybody ever had this problem
All the responses to your post so far are right.
From pixellany's "There are people with advanced college degrees who know nothing about Linux or any other OS, and would not be able to deal with installing or configuring any of them.", to acid_kewpie's "...i personally avoid that situation...i'm just trying to make myself look good, which is really very dumb and purile...", and calraith's "I usually tell people that Linux is another operating system...and we have an intelligent discussion."

I can only add that if you are feeling spunky that day you could tell the "sales assosicate" that Linux is an unauthorized version of UNIX and then laugh maniacally. You would probably not need to explain further to the "sales assosicate", however you may have security approach you. On the upside you would be featured on Slashdot with the I was strip searched at Walmart for saying Linux article.

Last edited by 2damncommon; 04-20-2008 at 04:55 PM.
 
Old 04-20-2008, 07:00 PM   #6
ak_random
Member
 
Registered: Jun 2007
Location: Silicon Valley, CA
Distribution: Xubuntu
Posts: 83

Rep: Reputation: 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by theunixwizard View Post
I went to WalMart today looking for a keyboard and I was looking for e
one to run on Linux and a sales assosicate asked Me if I needed help
I said yes "I'm looking for something to Run in Linux" The Clerk looked at me as though I was crazy. He said that I must be reffering
to MS Vista I said "No LINUX". Then He made me explain what it is
Has anybody ever had this problem
What you experienced isn't a problem. The problem in this scenario is that you expect people to know what Linux is when you already know that most people won't know.
 
Old 04-20-2008, 07:14 PM   #7
brianL
LQ 5k Club
 
Registered: Jan 2006
Location: Oldham, Lancs, England
Distribution: Slackware & Slackware64 14.2
Posts: 7,809
Blog Entries: 58

Rep: Reputation: Disabled
Yeah, these dumb Windows users!
I hate to shatter anyone's illusions, but there are a lot of people out there who don't give a **** about operating systems - many of them are quite intelligent too. If they have a computer, they may just use it for web browsing, emails, etc. They may be interested in, and know a great deal more about, other things - surprising as that seems. If anyone expresses any interest in GNU/Linux to you, then tell them about it. Otherwise - fergedabatit!
 
Old 04-21-2008, 12:06 AM   #8
dv502
Member
 
Registered: Sep 2006
Location: USA - NYC
Distribution: Whatever icon you see!
Posts: 642

Rep: Reputation: 57
I used to mention linux to people I know, but I don't anymore. In the past I used to get into verbal wars when I try to get them to try linux.

Today, I only mention linux if they approach me asking what is this linux I'm talking about and then I give them a live cd to try out.
 
Old 04-21-2008, 12:19 AM   #9
ErV
Senior Member
 
Registered: Mar 2007
Location: Russia
Distribution: Slackware 12.2
Posts: 1,202
Blog Entries: 3

Rep: Reputation: 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by theunixwizard View Post
I went to WalMart today looking for a keyboard and I was looking for e
one to run on Linux and a sales assosicate asked Me if I needed help
I said yes "I'm looking for something to Run in Linux" The Clerk looked at me as though I was crazy. He said that I must be reffering
to MS Vista I said "No LINUX". Then He made me explain what it is
Has anybody ever had this problem
I'm trying to avoid those kind of explanations. Because:
1) Mentions about linux might turn latter discussion into an another useless holywar/flamewar. Flamewar might spoil the talk(also mood, etc) and so this will be just a waste of time, especially because after 5th "Linux vs. Windows" discussion they all look the same (boring, pointless and endless). And explaining (to user of another OS) beauty of OS without starting flamewar might be very tricky, especially if that user really knows his OS well and loves his OS.
2) If I'm buying computer hardware, then there is a 99.9% chance that shop employee won't be able to help me with anything if I mention "Linux". So it is easier not to waste my time explaining to a clerk "what is linux", and find hardware/software I need using shop's web page/online pricelist/google search. Using online pricelists saves time, because computer shops aren't just nearby. I also can live without suggestions what should I buy - I can decide this myself.
3) A throughout explanation of "What is Linux" might take hours, and unexperienced user listening to this explanation might fall asleep/get overwhelmed with a bunch of unknown words/get a headache. So the best thing to do is to say "it's an operating system" and quickly change the subject. It will save your time and breath. If they don't know "what is it", they don't really need to know. Everybody has different interests, and not everyone around really need knowledge about computers, Linux, etc.
4) After all those nice explanations I've already given in my life, I'm finally sick with giving any more "nice explanations". In most cases user can find answer himself, while I have better things to do. So if "MS Person" wants to know something about Linux, he/she can find all the information without my help, using search engines.

Last edited by ErV; 04-21-2008 at 12:28 AM.
 
Old 04-21-2008, 10:39 AM   #10
efi
LQ Newbie
 
Registered: Nov 2004
Location: Athens,Greece
Posts: 30

Rep: Reputation: 15
Some do know about Linux and act as they have never heard of it,some do not know anything about it,and some know everything about Linux.People in Walmart probably do not have the slightest idea about Linux.But I do not worry about it.They will have to know when they will have to sell it!
 
Old 04-21-2008, 11:36 AM   #11
Agrouf
Senior Member
 
Registered: Sep 2005
Location: France
Distribution: LFS
Posts: 1,596

Rep: Reputation: 80
In this day and age, I'm surprised by all your comments. Where I live, most people use Windows, but when you go to a shop and ask about linux, they know what it is and that they know nothing about it. The other day, I went to a shop and asked for a computer with no OS. The sale man told me it's illegal to install a copy of Windows and I said it was for linux. He tryed to sell me a Windows version anyway telling me linux was too difficult and that I would not find support and all but he certainly he didn't tell me I was refering to Vista.
I live in southern France and here the people who know what Windows is know what linux is. There are a lot of people who don't know what a computer is though.
 
Old 04-21-2008, 11:50 AM   #12
teabag_46
Member
 
Registered: Aug 2007
Posts: 35

Rep: Reputation: 15
Quote:
The sale man told me it's illegal to install a copy of Windows
I have had a similar response in the UK when asking for a pc/laptop with no OS; the slight difference being, I was informed that it was illegal to sell a computer without an OS!
(Fortunately, I know better!) When I said I was going to install Linux anyway, the sales-rep just told me that if I wanted, they could sell me a pc, and delete windows for me (at a cost of 50.00)!
He did, however, know what Linux is!
 
Old 04-21-2008, 12:18 PM   #13
alan_ri
Senior Member
 
Registered: Dec 2007
Location: Croatia
Distribution: Debian GNU/Linux
Posts: 1,733
Blog Entries: 5

Rep: Reputation: 127Reputation: 127
A few days ago I went to computer shop to buy a new keyboard.So when I've found the one I like(of course it was with Microsoft Windows logo,like there was a choice),by the way,it was Genius and I knew it will work under Linux,I asked a salesman do they have computers with Linux preinstalled,and he said no,we don't.So while I was waiting to pay for my new keyboard,I noticed,just in front of me,1 metar from salesman desk,three computers with sign that there is a Linux inside,so I said to salesman,you are maybe not aware that you have computers with Linux preinstalled,but you do.He said: We do? and then I showed them to him.
I speak about Linux to anybody who want's to listen.

Last edited by alan_ri; 04-21-2008 at 01:16 PM. Reason: adding info
 
Old 04-21-2008, 12:35 PM   #14
Labman
Member
 
Registered: Apr 2004
Location: Nothern USA
Distribution: Kubuntu 11.10
Posts: 104

Rep: Reputation: 15
I used to hang out a general Q&A site until I got tired of the stupidity there. Thinking I didn't know enough to, I seldom answered computer questions there. I did point out to one Windows user that it was cruel of her to confuse a new Mac user with a bunch of Windows instructions. Her answer? ''How was I to know the Mac was different?'' Somebody that thought she knew enough to give computer advice didn't know Macs work differently from Windows.

I seldom mention Linux to anybody outside my family, who all use Linux and some Mac.
 
Old 04-21-2008, 01:07 PM   #15
ciden
Member
 
Registered: Dec 2006
Location: New Delhi, India
Distribution: PCLinuxOS 2010
Posts: 246
Blog Entries: 1

Rep: Reputation: 31
Most people underutilize their computers.
All they do is listen to music, surf the web, watch movies,
and occasionally type something into their WYSIWYG monstrosities, or
illogically large spreadsheets peppered with ugly graphs.

WTH, you can do it in windows or linux or mac or watever else.
If you know one OS, it is sufficient for most practical purposes.
Leave such people to their Windoze, because they are comfortable with it
and dont give a damn to the nerdy/geek/bespectacled world of linux.

It pays to realize that open source and bleeding edge software is very important to us here,
but not necessarily to the millions 'suffering' at the hands of MS.
 
  


Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off



Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Linux For Mentally Challenged Person VernerVonTux Linux - General 3 11-01-2006 03:56 PM
New person installing vector linux nicosiabr VectorLinux 1 07-30-2006 12:02 PM
Person who wants to try Linux SomeNewbie LinuxQuestions.org Member Intro 1 06-03-2005 10:08 PM
Linux in one person business g-string 3 Linux - Enterprise 3 09-07-2004 11:27 AM
Can one person CONTACT me in....Linux questions? Ich_hoffe Linux - Newbie 40 07-12-2002 01:19 PM

LinuxQuestions.org > Forums > Non-*NIX Forums > General

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 07:53 PM.

Main Menu
Advertisement
My LQ
Write for LQ
LinuxQuestions.org is looking for people interested in writing Editorials, Articles, Reviews, and more. If you'd like to contribute content, let us know.
Main Menu
Syndicate
RSS1  Latest Threads
RSS1  LQ News
Twitter: @linuxquestions
Facebook: linuxquestions Google+: linuxquestions
Open Source Consulting | Domain Registration