[Techtalk] What distro?

Billie Walsh bilwalsh at swbell.net
Sun Oct 17 15:04:00 UTC 2010

On 10/17/2010 04:34 AM, Little Girl wrote:
> I could go on and on about the benefits of choosing Linux over
> Windows. The only thing I don't understand is why Linux isn't more
> popular. So I pondered it.
> My conclusion is that advertising is what's needed. I think all the
> distributions should pass the hat and gather some funding to pay for
> regular advertisements on television over an extended period of time
> (the same way milk companies or dentists get together and buy
> advertising as a cohesive unit). People use what they're comfortable
> with. They're comfortable with what they know. They know what they
> see and hear about on a regular basis... We need to get it "in their
> face." (:

At the risk of making some enemies.  [ Please - my observations are 
generic and in no way reflect on any one person or list. They are my 
observations of conditions on several lists. ]

1) Linux has a bad reputation as being a GEEK operating system. Only 
geeks and nerds can use Linux.

I've had friends see my computer and be amazed by what they see. A 
couple releases ago I had one friend see my wallpaper doing the 
slideshow thing and wanted to know how to get her computer to do it. I 
handed her a Kubuntu CD. I see that Windows 7 now does that.

Believe me, I am _NO_ geek or nerd. I am just an ordinary home computer 
user. The kind that you normally find using Windows. Somehow I manage to 
use Linux with no major problems. I don't run cutting edge hardware and 
stay away from beta and RC software like the plague. Upgrades I only do 
weeks after they are released. The only major annoyance I have right now 
is that Quanta Plus doesn't work and play well with KDE 4 and my Wacom 
Bamboo Pen and Touch is just to much trouble to get to work properly. 
Quanta still works but is crippled and the Wacom is not really a show 
stopper, just a toy I would like to use.

2) When someone does try Linux out and joins a mail list for help, the 
replies they get and some of the messages flying around turn them off 
and they go back to Windows.

If I wanted to use the command line routinely I would still be running 
DOS. I want a GUI. I want things that run in windows. I want 
convenience. When questions are asked and long strings of esoteric 
command line strings are given in reply it's an automatic turnoff. I 
understand that there are many that have used Linux from long before 
there was a GUI so they know more about CLI than they do GUI. But 
common, move into the twentieth century you guys. There are some things 
you can do with the CLI that you just cannot do with the GUI but when 
someone asks for help give out the GUI method when it's possible. Those 
esoteric command line string scare off people. Only add to the GEEKINESS 
quotient. "RTFM" is _NOT_ a helpful answer.

Then there are the long, near flame wars, that seem to carry on forever 
on most Linux help lists. If you don't have an answer to someones 
request for help don't answer the message just because you can. Theres 
no need to have a months long discussion over whether the borders should 
be red or blue when someone originally asked how to make some simple 

[ If you intention is to run people away from Linux use please ignore 
the above. Your all doing a good job of keeping Linux only in the club. ]

3) Microsoft just plain plays dirty.

Microsoft has just about locked out any operating system other than 
their own as OEM installations. Most people use Windows because that's 
what came with their computer. They are not aware that there is any 
other option. In those cases some really intelligent advertising might 
go a long way.

"A good moral character is the first essential in a man." George Washington

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