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When Will GNU/Linux Be Ready for Joe User?

P: n/a
I'm doing a survey.

When do you think GNU/Linux will be ready for the average Joe? What
obstacles must it overcome first?
Jul 21 '05 #1
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26 Replies


P: n/a
ray
On Tue, 18 May 2004 18:43:49 +0000, Simon wrote:
I'm doing a survey.

When do you think GNU/Linux will be ready for the average Joe? What
obstacles must it overcome first?


I should think, about the middle of 2002.

Jul 21 '05 #2

P: n/a
On Tue, 18 May 2004 21:43:49 -0400, Simon wrote:
I'm doing a survey.

When do you think GNU/Linux will be ready for the average Joe? What
obstacles must it overcome first?


It already is ready. The average joe just needs to learn how to think
instead of expecting to have someone hold his hand the whole way through.

One of the things I hated about the "other operating system" was that by
default it was set up with this "let me help you through this difficult
procedure" mindset. Every damned thing I tried to do out of the box had
some frickin' wizard associated with it. While this is great for a
5-year-old's first toy computer, this isn't something that an intelligent
person needs to have.

Some things it's good to have wizards for. For instance, setting up
e-mail or a network connection. What would be better would be INTUITIVE
configuration windows. My God, what is so hard to understand about "mail
server login name" that you have to explain to these idiots that "this is
the part to the left of the at (@) sign"? Maybe it's that I grew up
dealing with computers and specifically BBSes. Maybe it's that when we
got our first AOL account I noticed that my login and my e-mail address
"on the left part of the at (2) sign" were the same. I guess expecting
normal people to recognize something so frickin' blatant is asking too
much. These are things we don't need wizards for. These are things we
should simply teach people about so they don't NEED the frickin' wizards.
For me, I actually am more disturbed to use a wizard than to use the
configuration window. Think about it: when you're doing your job, or
getting a loan, or signing up for some service or whatever, do you want
someone sitting there explaining things to you, and telling you to "sign
here, here, and here" when you already know what they're telling you and
you already know that your signature goes on the lines marked "signature"?

So, if the "average joe" wants wizards for every damned thing, well,
there are Linux distributions that would suffice. Mandrake is a good
example. However, there are many things in Linux that there simply are
no wizards for. The "average joe" has to be able to learn and think for
himself before he can truly make the most of using Linux, or, even to
make the transition from the "other OS" worth it. But, he doesn't /have/
to. Anything the /AVERAGE/ user wants to do, can be done. Mind you,
some things are not fully 100% cross-compatible, like converting between
proprietary MS file formats and open formats like StarOffice uses, but
the average joe won't need to share word processor files with other
people. At least, I never did. I only had one or two professors at
college who wanted homework turned in via e-mail, and they were just as
happy with plain text as with full blown Powerpoint presentations. In
fact, my last Humanities professor preferred plain text.

It all comes down to what the average user wants to do.

OTOH, I have always been a tinkerer and that gets me in trouble
sometimes. Yet, I learn. It makes me think. I get stuck, and then I
have a problem I want to solve, and I think until I solve it. That's one
reason I ditched Mandrake. It got boring. It wasn't screwing up. I ran
out of things to try, short of getting a high-speed internet connection
so I could download tons of stuff. I also got tired of having the
feeling that I wasn't putting my computer to full use. I wanted to
expand. My brain needed some lebensraum, something new to try.

So a few days ago I took the dive and reformatted / repartitioned my
drive to run Debian. Didn't have to wipe it like I did, but I wanted to
so I could reorganize after having gotten rid of that other OS so many
months ago. It was an exercise in thought as well as irritation, I'll
admit. Installing Linux can be hard if you make it hard like I do. I
demand to install individual packages so I know what's there and I know
that only what I [think I] want or need is there. By the same token, the
average user will probably see Mandrake's installer screen, see
"Graphical Desktop", "Network Server", and maybe "Game Station" and click
those options and think "gee, this is swell" as it installs the most
commonly used X Windows applications and windowmanagers like KDE, Gnome,
and maybe Fluxbox or WindowMaker along with some form of Apache web
server and some games like Tuxracer and some card games. All behind the
scenes, all unbeknownst to the average joe who is installing it.

The average joe doesn't even have to know what a hard disk is, to install
Mandrake. Debian requires a little more of a brain, though.

So, as I consider how long I've been typing this reply, and how
incoherent it might seem (as I've gone through and added to it as new
thoughts came to me, and I've certainly forgotten to add key points I
wanted to make (I'm tired, leave me alone) ), I can sum it all up with a
few key points. Whether or not Linux is ready for the average joe
depends upon:

* What you call average.
* What he wants to do with his computer. Specifically.
(i.e., activities)
* What he needs to get from his computer to "use" it.
(i.e., how it helps him; what benefits he receives)
* What distribution we are talking about.
(or, are we going to use whatever works best for A.J.?)
* If something happens to not be perfect,
* Will he try to fix it himself?
* Will he want a wizard to do it for him?
* Whether or not he is willing to accept Google as a reference tool
* Ditto Usenet
* Ditto mailing lists / list archives
* What kind of software installation he can live with
(most of the popular distros use some form of installer tool.
Debian has apt-get / dpkg, Red Hat & Mandrake have RPM, etc.
Some software simply has no package form as they're not
popular enough to warrant the work that would go into it,
so can our buddy A.J. learn to "./configure, make, make
install"?)

IMHO, Linux is ready. It was ready a few years ago when I first picked
up a copy of Mandrake 8.1 from the local Wal-Mart. Best purchase I ever
made, next to my Dodge Daytona. Some hardware has limited support, so
you do have to be careful. This is the price you pay when you're
competing against only the world's largest software conglomerate that
tries to set its own "standards". Of course, he with the money has the
power to put his OS on computers sold by Dell, Compaq, and
Hewlitt-Packard, to name just a few, making it the most recognized name
in computer OSes, and therefore being the most likely OS for people to
get software for, and therefore the most likely OS for hardware
manufacturers to write drivers for. Plus, unlike ATI and nVidia and
Matrox, many hardware manufacturers think that by writing drivers for
their hardware, they have to give away all their money making secrets and
codes. Of course, they *DON'T* have to, as nVidia has shown. A quality
product will still earn money regardless, so maybe the other
manufacturers are just scared that they can't live up to quality enough
to make money without MS. I don't know, I don't care.

I use Windows for one thing at home. Need for Speed 4: High Stakes,
Need for Speed 5: Porsche Unleased, Descent3: Mercenary, Delta Force,
and Viper Racing.

The one bad thing about linux is the game support. Most of the working
games I have played on linux look like the old DOS games that I ran on my
486-DX4/133 back in 1996. The others were simply too damned slow with
that OpenGL or Mesa, which were slow in windows, too (but not as slow).
DirectX in Windows seems fast enough, why doesn't Linux have something
along those lines? Or does it, that's not being implemented by coders?
I see so many games that look like they have kick-ass graphics, but they
require this GL crap that doesn't run worth a flying squirrel's tail on
my system. I was able to play Descent3 on this AMD K6-2/300 in Windows
running DirectX, but not very well on my Pentium-III 700 in Windows
running OpenGL. I have yet to find a game remotely as elaborate as
Descent3 that I can play in Linux. Tuxracer is the closest. XRacer, the
Wipeout lookalike, is completely unplayable even on my P-III laptop.

Now, I've noticed Debian has ***MUCH*** better use of memory than
Mandrake did. Mandrake regularly ran me half out of RAM and swap,
whereas I have /yet/ to see Debian hit one quarter usage on either.
Maybe it will run my games better.

I've installed a few. I'll try them out.

Aside from games, though, Linux has done everything I ask of it and then
some. It is certainly ready. I use it for NAT/Masquerade, firewalling,
office productivity, web browsing, Usenet, e-mail, watching TV on my
ATI A-I-W Pro, listening to MP3s, blah blah blah it does it all. I've
got my instant messaging, which I can get apps for everything from Unix
Talk to AIM to ICQ to Yahoo! to MSN to Jabber to even VoIP applications
like GnomeMeeting -- the Netmeeting compatible program, along with
several others whose names I do not recall (hit google, I'm tired).
There are applications for turning your computer into a PBX switchboard,
a voicemail machine, and even an automated menu-based phone program
thingy. I forget what they called it. Can even do fax on demand, IIRC.
As I was installing packages today, I ran across what must have been two
or three DOZEN ham radio related applications, applications for tracking
projects, applications for

damn, just about everything INCLUDING games (if only I could figure out
how to get DOOM or QUAKE to use the WAD files I got...) (some other
time)

Is Linux ready for A.J.? You tell me. I've been typin for an hour and
it's bedtime.

HIH

CJ
Jul 21 '05 #3

P: n/a
Simon wrote:
I'm doing a survey.

When do you think GNU/Linux will be ready for the average Joe? What
obstacles must it overcome first?


It may never be ready for Joe.

But it is already in use by Juan, Chang and Rajiv

Joe has fallen way behind on the technology curve because of Microsoft
Protectionism ( read: Protection of Ballmer'$ and Gate$ stock wealth ).
Jul 21 '05 #4

P: n/a
:) wow is your circuit breaking? (j/k no offense intended)

as a programmer and a tinkerer myself, i generally agree with you.
but there are things that my mom, sister or lil nieces and nephews need to
be able to do with the computer without spending too much time learning how
to use the computer. linux on the desktop, just to be fair, does need some
improvement in this general area. i think that's what the guy meant when he
asked when it's ready for the average joe.

honestly dude... whether it's linux or windows or what have you, technology
(hw/sw/os/app/embedded-os/etc/etc) in itself is interesting enough and big
enough of a subject that no one person can master it completely. still
sometimes i still wonder why understand the debate between which one is
better persists. when an employer pays me to do something either in linux or
in windows, i do it to their satisfaction. and fortunately for me, i'm
pretty proficient in linux/java/oracle/jsp camp as well as
windows/.net/sql/aspx camp that i really don't have to choose between the
two. whatever whoever pays me says he wants that's what i'll give them.

we're all just working folks trying to put foods on the table here; whatever
works works. and to that end... it's really just a matter of preference
(though some might convincingly argue otherwise, each has its own pros and
cons). potato po-tah-toh.

just my .02.
"Circuit Breaker" <ba********@ship.aol.com> wrote in message
news:pa*********************************@ship.aol. com...
On Tue, 18 May 2004 21:43:49 -0400, Simon wrote:
I'm doing a survey.

When do you think GNU/Linux will be ready for the average Joe? What
obstacles must it overcome first?


It already is ready. The average joe just needs to learn how to think
instead of expecting to have someone hold his hand the whole way through.

One of the things I hated about the "other operating system" was that by
default it was set up with this "let me help you through this difficult
procedure" mindset. Every damned thing I tried to do out of the box had
some frickin' wizard associated with it. While this is great for a
5-year-old's first toy computer, this isn't something that an intelligent
person needs to have.

Some things it's good to have wizards for. For instance, setting up
e-mail or a network connection. What would be better would be INTUITIVE
configuration windows. My God, what is so hard to understand about "mail
server login name" that you have to explain to these idiots that "this is
the part to the left of the at (@) sign"? Maybe it's that I grew up
dealing with computers and specifically BBSes. Maybe it's that when we
got our first AOL account I noticed that my login and my e-mail address
"on the left part of the at (2) sign" were the same. I guess expecting
normal people to recognize something so frickin' blatant is asking too
much. These are things we don't need wizards for. These are things we
should simply teach people about so they don't NEED the frickin' wizards.
For me, I actually am more disturbed to use a wizard than to use the
configuration window. Think about it: when you're doing your job, or
getting a loan, or signing up for some service or whatever, do you want
someone sitting there explaining things to you, and telling you to "sign
here, here, and here" when you already know what they're telling you and
you already know that your signature goes on the lines marked "signature"?

So, if the "average joe" wants wizards for every damned thing, well,
there are Linux distributions that would suffice. Mandrake is a good
example. However, there are many things in Linux that there simply are
no wizards for. The "average joe" has to be able to learn and think for
himself before he can truly make the most of using Linux, or, even to
make the transition from the "other OS" worth it. But, he doesn't /have/
to. Anything the /AVERAGE/ user wants to do, can be done. Mind you,
some things are not fully 100% cross-compatible, like converting between
proprietary MS file formats and open formats like StarOffice uses, but
the average joe won't need to share word processor files with other
people. At least, I never did. I only had one or two professors at
college who wanted homework turned in via e-mail, and they were just as
happy with plain text as with full blown Powerpoint presentations. In
fact, my last Humanities professor preferred plain text.

It all comes down to what the average user wants to do.

OTOH, I have always been a tinkerer and that gets me in trouble
sometimes. Yet, I learn. It makes me think. I get stuck, and then I
have a problem I want to solve, and I think until I solve it. That's one
reason I ditched Mandrake. It got boring. It wasn't screwing up. I ran
out of things to try, short of getting a high-speed internet connection
so I could download tons of stuff. I also got tired of having the
feeling that I wasn't putting my computer to full use. I wanted to
expand. My brain needed some lebensraum, something new to try.

So a few days ago I took the dive and reformatted / repartitioned my
drive to run Debian. Didn't have to wipe it like I did, but I wanted to
so I could reorganize after having gotten rid of that other OS so many
months ago. It was an exercise in thought as well as irritation, I'll
admit. Installing Linux can be hard if you make it hard like I do. I
demand to install individual packages so I know what's there and I know
that only what I [think I] want or need is there. By the same token, the
average user will probably see Mandrake's installer screen, see
"Graphical Desktop", "Network Server", and maybe "Game Station" and click
those options and think "gee, this is swell" as it installs the most
commonly used X Windows applications and windowmanagers like KDE, Gnome,
and maybe Fluxbox or WindowMaker along with some form of Apache web
server and some games like Tuxracer and some card games. All behind the
scenes, all unbeknownst to the average joe who is installing it.

The average joe doesn't even have to know what a hard disk is, to install
Mandrake. Debian requires a little more of a brain, though.

So, as I consider how long I've been typing this reply, and how
incoherent it might seem (as I've gone through and added to it as new
thoughts came to me, and I've certainly forgotten to add key points I
wanted to make (I'm tired, leave me alone) ), I can sum it all up with a
few key points. Whether or not Linux is ready for the average joe
depends upon:

* What you call average.
* What he wants to do with his computer. Specifically.
(i.e., activities)
* What he needs to get from his computer to "use" it.
(i.e., how it helps him; what benefits he receives)
* What distribution we are talking about.
(or, are we going to use whatever works best for A.J.?)
* If something happens to not be perfect,
* Will he try to fix it himself?
* Will he want a wizard to do it for him?
* Whether or not he is willing to accept Google as a reference tool
* Ditto Usenet
* Ditto mailing lists / list archives
* What kind of software installation he can live with
(most of the popular distros use some form of installer tool.
Debian has apt-get / dpkg, Red Hat & Mandrake have RPM, etc.
Some software simply has no package form as they're not
popular enough to warrant the work that would go into it,
so can our buddy A.J. learn to "./configure, make, make
install"?)

IMHO, Linux is ready. It was ready a few years ago when I first picked
up a copy of Mandrake 8.1 from the local Wal-Mart. Best purchase I ever
made, next to my Dodge Daytona. Some hardware has limited support, so
you do have to be careful. This is the price you pay when you're
competing against only the world's largest software conglomerate that
tries to set its own "standards". Of course, he with the money has the
power to put his OS on computers sold by Dell, Compaq, and
Hewlitt-Packard, to name just a few, making it the most recognized name
in computer OSes, and therefore being the most likely OS for people to
get software for, and therefore the most likely OS for hardware
manufacturers to write drivers for. Plus, unlike ATI and nVidia and
Matrox, many hardware manufacturers think that by writing drivers for
their hardware, they have to give away all their money making secrets and
codes. Of course, they *DON'T* have to, as nVidia has shown. A quality
product will still earn money regardless, so maybe the other
manufacturers are just scared that they can't live up to quality enough
to make money without MS. I don't know, I don't care.

I use Windows for one thing at home. Need for Speed 4: High Stakes,
Need for Speed 5: Porsche Unleased, Descent3: Mercenary, Delta Force,
and Viper Racing.

The one bad thing about linux is the game support. Most of the working
games I have played on linux look like the old DOS games that I ran on my
486-DX4/133 back in 1996. The others were simply too damned slow with
that OpenGL or Mesa, which were slow in windows, too (but not as slow).
DirectX in Windows seems fast enough, why doesn't Linux have something
along those lines? Or does it, that's not being implemented by coders?
I see so many games that look like they have kick-ass graphics, but they
require this GL crap that doesn't run worth a flying squirrel's tail on
my system. I was able to play Descent3 on this AMD K6-2/300 in Windows
running DirectX, but not very well on my Pentium-III 700 in Windows
running OpenGL. I have yet to find a game remotely as elaborate as
Descent3 that I can play in Linux. Tuxracer is the closest. XRacer, the
Wipeout lookalike, is completely unplayable even on my P-III laptop.

Now, I've noticed Debian has ***MUCH*** better use of memory than
Mandrake did. Mandrake regularly ran me half out of RAM and swap,
whereas I have /yet/ to see Debian hit one quarter usage on either.
Maybe it will run my games better.

I've installed a few. I'll try them out.

Aside from games, though, Linux has done everything I ask of it and then
some. It is certainly ready. I use it for NAT/Masquerade, firewalling,
office productivity, web browsing, Usenet, e-mail, watching TV on my
ATI A-I-W Pro, listening to MP3s, blah blah blah it does it all. I've
got my instant messaging, which I can get apps for everything from Unix
Talk to AIM to ICQ to Yahoo! to MSN to Jabber to even VoIP applications
like GnomeMeeting -- the Netmeeting compatible program, along with
several others whose names I do not recall (hit google, I'm tired).
There are applications for turning your computer into a PBX switchboard,
a voicemail machine, and even an automated menu-based phone program
thingy. I forget what they called it. Can even do fax on demand, IIRC.
As I was installing packages today, I ran across what must have been two
or three DOZEN ham radio related applications, applications for tracking
projects, applications for

damn, just about everything INCLUDING games (if only I could figure out
how to get DOOM or QUAKE to use the WAD files I got...) (some other
time)

Is Linux ready for A.J.? You tell me. I've been typin for an hour and
it's bedtime.

HIH

CJ

Jul 21 '05 #5

P: n/a
so***********@yahoo.com (Simon) writes:
I'm doing a survey.

When do you think GNU/Linux will be ready for the average Joe? What
obstacles must it overcome first?


Automatic troll detection.

--
David Kastrup, Kriemhildstr. 15, 44793 Bochum
Jul 21 '05 #6

P: n/a
Simon wrote:
I'm doing a survey.

Yes, certainly.
By posting via google
Crossposting, even to MS-groups
By using an open proxy in Brasilia

Yes, this certainly sounds convincing
When do you think GNU/Linux will be ready for the average Joe? What
obstacles must it overcome first?


None. When braindead trolls like you try to imply that there are "obstacles"
one has to assume that none exist

Tell us, what percentage of windows users is as stupid as you are?
Maybe 50%? 60%? More?
--
Avoid reality at all costs.

Jul 21 '05 #7

P: n/a
On 18 May 2004 18:43:49 -0700, Simon <so***********@yahoo.com> wrote:


I'm doing a survey.

When do you think GNU/Linux will be ready for the average Joe? What
obstacles must it overcome first?


I personally don't care if it ever is. To compete with Windoze is to
become like Windoze, and I don't see the point in that.

I wouldn't touch such a distro with a ten-foot pole.
Wouldn't support them in any way.

(Redsnot and Mandork come to mind here)

If I wanted to run Windoze, I'd run Windoze.
AC

--
A mouse is a little furry creature that likes cheeese.

Jul 21 '05 #8

P: n/a
On 18 May 2004 18:43:49 -0700
so***********@yahoo.com (Simon) wrote:
I'm doing a survey.

When do you think GNU/Linux will be ready for the average Joe?
I'm assuming you talk about the average Jane who does some
emailing, web surfing, and light office work.
What obstacles must it overcome first?


There exist distributions that can be used by anyone who can
use Windows. One example is Sun's Java Desktop (based on SuSE).
There are many others, like Xandros.

Like Windows, it should come pre-installed on the computer
(or be installed by someone with a bit of a clue). And
like Windows, the number of pre-installed applications
should be severly curtailed, such as not to confuse the
average Joe. For example, if Evolution is installed, the
mail component should be removed from Mozilla.

Those are the only obstacles that need to be overcome.

--
Stefaan
--
"What is stated clearly conceives easily." -- Inspired sales droid
Jul 21 '05 #9

P: n/a
David Kastrup <da*@gnu.org> wrote:
so***********@yahoo.com (Simon) writes:
I'm doing a survey.

When do you think GNU/Linux will be ready for the average Joe? What
obstacles must it overcome first?


Automatic troll detection.


I think it needs to be made idiot proof, to keep people like "Simon"
away?

Jul 21 '05 #10

P: n/a
so***********@yahoo.com (Simon) wrote:
I'm doing a survey.

When do you think GNU/Linux will be ready for the average Joe? What
obstacles must it overcome first?


I ask a simple question... and get a bunch of insults in reply.

Forget it.
Jul 21 '05 #11

P: n/a
On Tue, 18 May 2004 18:43:49 -0700, Simon wrote:
I'm doing a survey.

When do you think GNU/Linux will be ready for the average Joe? What
obstacles must it overcome first?


Well, I am Joe user. After about 6 months exposure to Linux I am running
Slackware 9.1 and use it for almost everything. There are distributions
like Mandrake and Fedora Core which practically install themselves. The
biggest obstacle for the new user is installing and upgrading software.
Debian is one of the easiest in this regard (although it is far from being
the easiest to install) so long as the software is packaged in a deb file.
The rpm distributions are also relatively easy, there is a small learning
curve but not great.

The great thing about almost all the distributions is that they come
packed with bundled software.

I think it's ready for Joe user right now...
Jul 21 '05 #12

P: n/a
Simon wrote:
so***********@yahoo.com (Simon) wrote:
I'm doing a survey.

When do you think GNU/Linux will be ready for the average Joe? What
obstacles must it overcome first?


I ask a simple question... and get a bunch of insults in reply.

Forget it.


Well, after all you are a really stupid wintroll
A rotten loaf of bread is smarter than you are
But then, you are just a run-of-the-mill windows user
--
Howe's Law: Everyone has a scheme that will not work.

Jul 21 '05 #13

P: n/a
so***********@yahoo.com (Simon) wrote in news:82ca3381.0405181743.c898de0
@posting.google.com:
I'm doing a survey.

When do you think GNU/Linux will be ready for the average Joe? What
obstacles must it overcome first?


Hopefully, never.

Everything has its Pros and Cons. Im not convinced that GNU/Linux can be
made ready for the average user without losing some of the power I love
about it.

Actually thats kindof a wide statement since I think much of GNU and some
versions of Linux are already pretty close to being there. But I definetly
would be behind an effort to NOT have that become the goal of GNU/Linux
advancements. Leave it to other OS's to be the "training wheels" for new
users.

Gandalf Parker
-- Sure I'm a guru but beware of asking guru's what operating system you
should get. Guru's tend toward the most irritating system they can find.
Thats how they get to be guru's. Instead, ask someone who uses a computer
everyday and still knows nothing about computers.
Jul 21 '05 #14

P: n/a
so***********@yahoo.com (Simon) writes:
so***********@yahoo.com (Simon) wrote:
I'm doing a survey.

When do you think GNU/Linux will be ready for the average Joe? What
obstacles must it overcome first?


I ask a simple question... and get a bunch of insults in reply.

Forget it.


Look up the word "survey" in a dictionary of your choice.

--
David Kastrup, Kriemhildstr. 15, 44793 Bochum
Jul 21 '05 #15

P: n/a
Simon wrote:
I'm doing a survey.

When do you think GNU/Linux will be ready for the average Joe? What
obstacles must it overcome first?


I recently installed mandrake 10 just to take a look at how friendly a
'friendly' distro could be. To my mind, it's already there. The only thing
needed is to get OEMs to install it on new PCs
Jul 21 '05 #16

P: n/a
On Wed, 19 May 2004 01:07:23 -0400, John Smith wrote:
:) wow is your circuit breaking? (j/k no offense intended)

as a programmer and a tinkerer myself, i generally agree with you. but
there are things that my mom, sister or lil nieces and nephews need to
be able to do with the computer without spending too much time learning
how to use the computer. linux on the desktop, just to be fair, does
need some improvement in this general area. i think that's what the guy
meant when he asked when it's ready for the average joe.
I agree it does need improvement, but we can't argue that Windows has
plenty of room for improvement itself. I agree that it comes down to
using the best tool for the job. For the job of being A.J.'s home
system, either could be used equally effectively IMO. In my case, it
came down to personal preference. My computer is slow, so constantly
rebooting to solve problems is not an option. I'd rather pop to tty1 and
killall a runaway task, or ssh in from my other computer to do the same.
I'm sure I could do these things in Windows if I *really* wanted to, but
I've never seen how. With Linux, I was seeing how almost from the very
beginning. And I learned. And I liked it :-)

Last time I learned -- really /learned/ -- something useful about windows
was back when I installed Win 2000 on this machine several years back.
I learn stuff about Linux all the freakin' time. And it's not hard stuff
to learn, either. Just a lot of it.

Of course, I could quit reading newsgroups and stick to simple stuff like
browsing the web and watching TV on my comp; I already have these things
installed and operational. However, since I have the option of learning,
I'm going to use it to my advantage and take in as much as I can.
I've got a chance at an experiment. My sister is bringing her husband
and three children -- kids about 7 to 12, the husband about 30-ish --
to my area for my other sister's wedding. They will be staying at my
house, and undoubtedly, the kids will want to use the computer(s). The
oldest, Joey, he's 12, will probably not be using the comp since he is
grounded for reasons of scholastic discipline, but the girls, 7 and 10,
will probably be using it.

I plan to set each up with individual user accounts. I then will
probably set them up with KDE or GNOME so they get something remotely
Windows-ish. I'll point out what the icons are, if necessary (I don't
know what they look like in KDE/GNOME as I don't use those two), and I'll
watch over them for the first little while to see if they have any
trouble. If they're doing fine, I'll leave them alone and see how
they're doing later on. I'll have the internet already connected, as I
use wvdial for that and it needs root to use it (for now). Also, they're
used to cable, so they don't have to dial anything. They just open a
browser and go.

Anyway, I'll have Gaim on the desktop, maybe get an ICQ client (don't
know if they have any accounts, but oh well), games galore, and I can't
imagine that any of them will want to use any office productivity apps,
but I can install those real easy too. Then, of course, there are
browsers installed, including Netscape (pronounced "Mozilla") and Mozilla
(also pronounced "Mozilla"), so they should be able to recognize those
icons rather quickly.

So, I'll see how they do and probably post the results. Of course, they
may not have any interest at all in playing the computer.
we're all just working folks trying to put foods on the table here;


Some of us are. I want to be, just haven't found anything yet for my
limited experience level.
Jul 21 '05 #17

P: n/a
On Wed, 19 May 2004 09:28:04 -0400, Simon wrote:
so***********@yahoo.com (Simon) wrote:
I'm doing a survey.

When do you think GNU/Linux will be ready for the average Joe? What
obstacles must it overcome first?


I ask a simple question... and get a bunch of insults in reply.

Forget it.


WTH? I count thirteen perfectly valid replies. Only two replies to you
*original* post were even remotely insulting. I don't get you.

I was going to label you a troll myself, seeing as to how many groups you
crossposted to, but the usual trolls here post only to
comp.os.linux.advocacy, alt.os.windows-xp, and alt.os.linux... Still,
you included microsoft.public.dotnet.general, which I see absolutely no
reason for its inclusion, and gnu.misc.discuss, which is probably the
best medium for this topic (although having never visited there, I
wouldn't know).

Someone else mentioned valid reasons why he considers you a troll.

If you're *not*, and I suspect you *are*, then kindly do some research on
posting and look in particular for files on "nettiquette", specifically
with regards to posting, crossposting, and asking "smart questions"
(admittedly, I myself fail these sometimes, and it would be fitting when
I do for people to call me on it).

Frankly, I'm done with this thread anyway. Take care.
Jul 21 '05 #18

P: n/a
Simon wrote:
I'm doing a survey.

When do you think GNU/Linux will be ready for the average Joe? What
obstacles must it overcome first?


It's already far easier (and far, far more powerful) to work with than
DOS or Win3.1, both of which were supposedly "ready for the average Joe"
in their time. So if linux isn't ready today, then we might begin to
ask whether Average Joe has dumbed down in the past 10-20 years.

Linux faces challenges that other OS's don't because it doesn't cripple
the hardware or server daemons to the extent that M$ does. If all you
want to do is word process and browse the web, then Red Hat, SuSE and
other distros are already ready for the average Joe. A point-and-click
installation and you're done.

But if you want to set up a load-balanced web server, database server,
SSL certificate, ssh or sftp services, etc. then there are additional
considerations and skillsets -- regardless of OS -- that need to be
considered. WindowsXP is easier in this regard because it simply
cripples a lot of that out.

The other problem with linux is that, as an open source OS, it can be
custom compiled and there's a lot of technical -- and totally
unintuitive -- jargon surrounding it. This is a good thing for expert
users and people concerned about security, development, openness, etc.
-- but presents a big worry to the neophyte who thinks he'll need to
learn perl/c/bash in order to send an e-mail. Just not true, but it's
possible if you want -- and that's a strength not a weakness. The linux
community just needs to make it known that setting up a box equivalent
in functionality to an XP installation is basically point-and-click with
more than one distro.
Jul 21 '05 #19

P: n/a
Paul Bramscher wrote:
The other problem with linux is that, as an open source OS, it can be
custom compiled and there's a lot of technical -- and totally
Which is not different then what Microsoft does by 'working' with OEMs
to tailor it to their specific hardware.
unintuitive -- jargon surrounding it. This is a good thing for expert
users and people concerned about security, development, openness, etc.
-- but presents a big worry to the neophyte who thinks he'll need to
learn perl/c/bash in order to send an e-mail. >Just not true, but it's
possible if you want -- and that's a strength not a weakness. The linux
community just needs to make it known that setting up a box equivalent
in functionality to an XP installation is basically point-and-click with
more than one distro.


It's been said a thousand times. XP users don't 'install' their OS. If
they did, it would never be installed. They buy it pre-installed on the
machine. No average person even knows what a shell is, more or less
being able to think that he might have to use it.

This is where the Wal*Mart shopper, who simply sees a Linux value and
buys the machine and uses it without fuss, is ahead of the academic,
such as yourself.
Jul 21 '05 #20

P: n/a
Simon wrote:
I'm doing a survey.

When do you think GNU/Linux will be ready for the average Joe? What
obstacles must it overcome first?


Visit www.suse.com and purchase SuSE 9.1 Pro... you'll never pay Uncle Bill another penny afterwards.

Alex.
Jul 21 '05 #21

P: n/a
:) that would be a nice experiment with your sister and her children.
let me know how it works.

limited experience shouldn't be a problem for any tinkerer. if you've
learned how to use linux you're that much ahead. some of the windows
programmers i know (not to disparage them or anything) are so used to the
tools they use out of the box that any features that aren't "out" by default
aren't used that much or known at all at times.

i started out feeling like i had limited experience too (which i actually
did)... that didn't stop me from getting a job and honestly being a good
employee, and most importantly good at what i do. so that shouldn't keep you
from doing whatever you want to do... career-wise.

good luck.

"Circuit Breaker" <ba********@ship.aol.com> wrote in message
news:pa*********************************@ship.aol. com...
On Wed, 19 May 2004 01:07:23 -0400, John Smith wrote:
:) wow is your circuit breaking? (j/k no offense intended)

as a programmer and a tinkerer myself, i generally agree with you. but
there are things that my mom, sister or lil nieces and nephews need to
be able to do with the computer without spending too much time learning
how to use the computer. linux on the desktop, just to be fair, does
need some improvement in this general area. i think that's what the guy
meant when he asked when it's ready for the average joe.


I agree it does need improvement, but we can't argue that Windows has
plenty of room for improvement itself. I agree that it comes down to
using the best tool for the job. For the job of being A.J.'s home
system, either could be used equally effectively IMO. In my case, it
came down to personal preference. My computer is slow, so constantly
rebooting to solve problems is not an option. I'd rather pop to tty1 and
killall a runaway task, or ssh in from my other computer to do the same.
I'm sure I could do these things in Windows if I *really* wanted to, but
I've never seen how. With Linux, I was seeing how almost from the very
beginning. And I learned. And I liked it :-)

Last time I learned -- really /learned/ -- something useful about windows
was back when I installed Win 2000 on this machine several years back.
I learn stuff about Linux all the freakin' time. And it's not hard stuff
to learn, either. Just a lot of it.

Of course, I could quit reading newsgroups and stick to simple stuff like
browsing the web and watching TV on my comp; I already have these things
installed and operational. However, since I have the option of learning,
I'm going to use it to my advantage and take in as much as I can.
I've got a chance at an experiment. My sister is bringing her husband
and three children -- kids about 7 to 12, the husband about 30-ish --
to my area for my other sister's wedding. They will be staying at my
house, and undoubtedly, the kids will want to use the computer(s). The
oldest, Joey, he's 12, will probably not be using the comp since he is
grounded for reasons of scholastic discipline, but the girls, 7 and 10,
will probably be using it.

I plan to set each up with individual user accounts. I then will
probably set them up with KDE or GNOME so they get something remotely
Windows-ish. I'll point out what the icons are, if necessary (I don't
know what they look like in KDE/GNOME as I don't use those two), and I'll
watch over them for the first little while to see if they have any
trouble. If they're doing fine, I'll leave them alone and see how
they're doing later on. I'll have the internet already connected, as I
use wvdial for that and it needs root to use it (for now). Also, they're
used to cable, so they don't have to dial anything. They just open a
browser and go.

Anyway, I'll have Gaim on the desktop, maybe get an ICQ client (don't
know if they have any accounts, but oh well), games galore, and I can't
imagine that any of them will want to use any office productivity apps,
but I can install those real easy too. Then, of course, there are
browsers installed, including Netscape (pronounced "Mozilla") and Mozilla
(also pronounced "Mozilla"), so they should be able to recognize those
icons rather quickly.

So, I'll see how they do and probably post the results. Of course, they
may not have any interest at all in playing the computer.
we're all just working folks trying to put foods on the table here;


Some of us are. I want to be, just haven't found anything yet for my
limited experience level.

Jul 21 '05 #22

P: n/a
Simon wrote:
I'm doing a survey.

When do you think GNU/Linux will be ready for the average Joe? What
obstacles must it overcome first?


Depending on what you do, probably before I started several years ago.

I'm a writer, not a computer nerd. When I was still using Windows 95, I had
moved to StarOffice 5.2 for all my work. It does pretty much everything
that Microsoft Office does, except flatten your wallet. Then I switched to
Linux and used--get ready!--StarOffice 5.2.

I'll let you imagine just how hard switching over was.

There were some differences between Windows GUI programs and Linux GUI
programs--learning new program names mostly--and some small problems I had
to solve because of my equipment, but nothing insurmountable. If I upgraded
to a more modern version those problems probably wouldn't even crop up now.

One of the nice things about Linux is the diversity of programs. Although
StarOffice still exists, as someone who writes all day long I found that
Emacs was the better way to go. But if for some reason I'd become
disenchanted with StarOffice, I'd have KOffice and AbiWord to fall back on,
even others. AbiWord, by the way, also has a Windows version. It's good.

Such is the Linux life: Choice, free programs, stability, security, fewer
hassles.
--Rod

__________

Author of "Linux for Non-Geeks--Clear-eyed Answers for Practical Consumers"
and "Boring Stories from Uncle Rod." Both are available at
http://www.rodwriterpublishing.com/index.html

To reply by e-mail, take the extra "o" out of the name.

Jul 21 '05 #23

P: n/a
"John Smith" <.@.> writes:
:) that would be a nice experiment with your sister and her
children. let me know how it works.


Forget it. Kids are not relevant with regard to "intuitive" and "user
friendly" and "simplicity". Kids are the kind of freaks that learn to
speak a brutally complex language without accent in few years.

They are a sponge. Linux could be a piece of wildly incoherent
illogical crock (actually, pretty much all natural languages would
qualify in that area), and they'd learn it just fine.

They also have no qualms just working on limited knowledge.

If you fear switching to Linux because you'd have no support, throw it
at your kids, whatever age, right now. Hooking an eight year old will
solve all your computer problems once he turns 12. Hooking a 12 year
old will solve your problems once he is 13. Hooking a 14 year old
will have the state attorney at your door before he turns 15.

--
David Kastrup, Kriemhildstr. 15, 44793 Bochum
Jul 21 '05 #24

P: n/a
so***********@yahoo.com (Simon) writes:
When do you think GNU/Linux will be ready for the average Joe? What
obstacles must it overcome first?


It must become widely avalible in pre-installed form at computer
stores. I just installed Gnome 2.6 and I can't really see anything
that my mom couldn't handle here that isn't also obscure on Windows/Mac
system.

I somehow doubt she'd go to the trouble to install a whole new system
instead of the one that came with the computer though.
Jul 21 '05 #25

P: n/a
On Thu, 20 May 2004 02:36:09 +0200, Henrik Enberg said:


so***********@yahoo.com (Simon) writes:
When do you think GNU/Linux will be ready for the average Joe? What
obstacles must it overcome first?


It must become widely avalible in pre-installed form at computer
stores. I just installed Gnome 2.6 and I can't really see anything
that my mom couldn't handle here that isn't also obscure on Windows/Mac
system.

I somehow doubt she'd go to the trouble to install a whole new system
instead of the one that came with the computer though.


Sure is a good thing there are so many distros. There are too many
Linux experts around just dying to make it so complex (while claiming
to be making it "user-friendly") that people will have to pay them to
administer their PCs.

Sad

Steve

Jul 21 '05 #26

P: n/a
Simon wrote:
I'm doing a survey.

When do you think GNU/Linux will be ready for the average Joe? What
obstacles must it overcome first?

My book, "Penguin in the Pew", discusses how religious and non-profit
groups can deploy Linux in their organizations right now. Some churches
and NPOs could literally switch overnight. Some would need to migrate
more slowly. But it's "ready for the average Joe" right now. Our
church's computer training ministry is largely Linux-based. Students
actually get cross-trained between MS and Linux OS/applications. In
other words, when they learn OpenOffice.org Writer, they also learn MS
Word. They learn to look for help from the on-line help system before
running to the tech support batphone.

One school district, I've recently learned, is using Linux heavily.
Health First, a Florida organization, is moving MS out the door. I saw
another post I can readily agree with - Linux should be ready about
mid-2002.

The problem many people face is getting advice from people who have
never used Linux. Typically, organizations will ask the most computer
literate person they have about Linux - when they hear about it. The
person they ask frequently has no experience with Linux, and often, very
little admin experience with Windows. These sages simply stick to what
they know. One deacon said he asked a Windows guy on his job about
Linux. He was told "Linux isn't quite there yet". At the time, I had
been using Mandrake Linux 8.0, and knew better than the deacon or his
guru about Linux' capabilities. Quite possibly, the "guru" had rread
articles. Most of the gurus on my day job know about Linux through
reading magazines and web sites. They have little real experience with it.

Incidentally, you can download "Penguin in the Pew" from
http://matheteuo.org/
Assuming you're not a troll, you should find that quite helpful.

Jul 21 '05 #27

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