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Re: Getting people into Linux

Promoting Linux is a good thing, but misrepresenting
the competition isn't the way to do it.  Your experience may be
different, but it is from hardware, drivers, or exploits that
slipped past your defenses - the base OS is solid enough to be
usable at least with a certain amount of grooming.

   Les Mikesell
    lesmikesell gmail com

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Totally agree. Very much along the same lines as an argument I've made
in the past when people have discussed security of Windows vs Linux.
Misrepresenting Windows in order to raise Linux has the opposite
effect on an educated user.  Both OS have their roses and thorns.
Give each fair representation and let users make an educated choice
instead of trying to decide for them.  One of the media relations tips
they covered in a course I took was to admit the obvious.  If Windows
does something well, admit it.  The fact that Windows has some good
points doesn't take away the strengths of Linux.

Ever walk into a car dealership and have the salesman start running
down another brand of car in order to pump up theirs?  I'm sure some
have experienced that.  It would be a turn off to me.  Not a turn off
from the brand - I do my research and make my own decision regardless
what the salesman tells me - just a turn off for that salesman or
dealership in particular if the trend for all their sales staff. But
to some it would turn them off to the brand.  Now imagine you've
driven that other brand for the last 5+ years and have been reasonably
satisfied with it.  Sure a few shortcomings, but overall satifying
your end user needs.  You'd think to yourself, "This guy is blowing
smoke up my *ss to try and make his cars look better.  I haven't had
1/10 of the problems with my car that this guy claims they have all
the time."

That is the exact reaction you will likely foster in a Windows user
with that approach.  Most are satisfied with how Windows meets their
end user needs.  You aren't going to win them over by trying to
convince them that they weren't really satisfied (or shouldn't have
been satisfied).  Because those people, if they do give Linux a try,
will do so with a very critical eye now because you've been very, very
critical of the product they are using and are satisfied with.  I
haven't been using Linux long enough to forget the challenges that a
new user will face of setting up repositories, installing stuff from
source, getting browser plugins to work, listening to video clips
using codecs not installed by default, finding drivers for certain
hardware and no doubt other instances of frustration that does not
plague Windows users nearly as much.

Now you have someone who's trying Linux to find things wrong with it
and tell all their friends "Don't try Linux.  I did and these are the
things I found wrong with it ...".  And they will find things wrong
with it from an end user experience.  Stick to telling them about the
benefits of Linux as it relates to an end user (without running down
Windows).  Warn them that there will be some bumps in the road but
well worth enduring because the payoff will be worth it, then you will
have someone who will have a much better experience in trying Linux
and who is more tolerant and prepared to face the challenges of
migrating to a new OS.

Jacques B.

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