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Linux is Mainstream, Paul. April 4, 2007

Posted by Carthik in commentary, ubuntu.
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Paul Thurrott writes at internet-nexus about the previous post I’d written about how more people “want” to use Ubuntu or some other flavor of Linux.

First off, it’s great to have Paul’s attention. Paul is an opinion leader in the Windows-centered world.

I would like to point out some small misconceptions he seems to have:

I never said that most people want to use Linux, or that most people use Windows since they have to. The word I used was more, and in this case, I meant it to mean that the numbers seem to be increasing – which is a good sign, as far as I am concerned.

That aside, the following is what worries me most, Paul says:

The truth is, for most people–like, 99.99 percent of the computing using public–a computer is a tool. What they “want” isn’t a particular OS. What they want is a solution to a problem, or an answer to a need. They want email. They want the Web. They want Office. Games. Digital photos and music.

Paul, we Ubuntu users belong in the 99.99% you mention, too. Have you used Ubuntu lately, and have you been able to compare how easy it is to use Ubuntu on a day to day basis? Heck, it installs much faster and easier than Windows, and if you support open-source friendly hardware providers, like Intel, then everything works great – much faster than you can say “install windows driver”. :)

Then again, he says:

Anyone who stays up at night worrying about OS platforms just isn’t part of the mainstream. That’s not good or bad, it’s just reality.

We Linux users are part of the mainstream now, Paul. Linux is not just for geeks. For one, governments the world over are adapting to change, and thus driving it faster. In a few years, entire cities/states/countries will see vastly increased number of Linux users. People who use them in offices/schools will tell the others. I trust them to. Good news can’t be stopped from spreading. Oh, and Bill Gates’ (or Microsoft’s) first clients were geek hobbyists(a minority that was not part of the mainstream), and computers used to be a hobby back then. Look at where we are now.

While no amount of personal examples from me, or from other Linux users can convince someone that this is the case, it cannot hurt to have a list of “normal” “mainstream” people who use Ubuntu — how they do, why etc. I just checked and there seems to be no such list. If you read this blog, and don’t do programming/computer related stuff for a living, please drop us a comment here, saying you use Ubuntu. Let’s see where this goes.

Our world view is inclusive, Paul – anyone who has the hardware for a computer should be able to use the computer for free. We will get there. Ubuntu is amazingy easy to setup and use. GNOME, even KDE, are much much more intuitive and easy to use (from the usability point of view) than Windows. Of course, this is a subjective statement. I wish there was a study report I could point to. Could Canonical sponsor an Ubuntu Usability Study, comparing it to OSX and Windows? Just so that we have something to point at?

Comments»

1. Jeffrey Gordon - April 4, 2007

Elementary school teacher. Using ubuntu.

2. Jen - April 4, 2007

Student studying nothing related to computing whatsover.

3. carthik - April 4, 2007

Thanks folks. Suddenly, I wish I wasn’t a student of computer engineering. :)

4. Luke - April 4, 2007

High school student in New Zealand. Using Ubuntu. No one I know had ever heard of “Ubuntu” before I told them, but some had heard of something called “Linux”. But I’d say thats just New Zealand for you.

5. Jeff Waugh - April 4, 2007

Carthik, Paul has been writing about and using Ubuntu for quite some time now, and he’s absolutely right when he says that “Anyone who stays up at night worrying about OS platforms just isn’t part of the mainstream”. That is not a comment about Ubuntu, or the people who use it. It is a comment about people who just don’t care.

Your blog is aggregated on Planet Ubuntu. That puts you in a very tiny minority of people who care about another platform enough to be closely involved in the community around it.

Most people won’t even read the main Ubuntu website, let alone read or be aggregated on Planet Ubuntu. Understand that your poll is going to be stunningly misleading (no matter how you structure the question!), considering the audience who will find it.

In fact, the kind of people we want using Ubuntu are the kind of people who would never visit the main website even if they were running Ubuntu.

He follows on to say, “That’s not good or bad, it’s just reality”. Bear that in mind when trying to grok Ubuntu’s ultimate audience.

You have to understand why they don’t care, to understand how to help them to care.

6. Sokraates - April 4, 2007

Lawyer in Vienna, using Linux as my main OS since may 2005 (Kubuntu Hoary).

7. Ian McEwen - April 4, 2007

High school student; I’ve been using Ubuntu Edgy as my operating system on two computers since January of this year, when I finally noticed my computer (in Windows XP) was BSOD’ing every two to three days; not to mention, I had no time for the computer games that had largely kept me in Windows before then anyway.

Same time, though, I do think Jeff Waugh above is right that this is not a large group — even among *buntu users, I suspect readership of this blog is nothing near a majority. Luke is also right, and not just in New Zealand — I have had to explain Linux down to the basic concept of an OS several times (as a result of an Ubuntu sticker on my laptop or simply people looking at my screen), and I suspect that about 90 percent of the people I see every day would require the same explanation, if they cared enough to ask; notably, they don’t.

8. Stan Baker - April 4, 2007

What we’re up worrying about is which of the thousands of bugs in the default OS is going to be the next emergency phone call from friends or family.

Most people only know the memorized steps to open Office of IE, and that’s it. They don’t even know they are running an application, an OS or anything but computer. I’ve had people want to open the monitor to get their files out. These are the people for whom Linux, and Ubuntu especially, are ideal. They are not changing the world. They just want to look at the internet and maybe watch a video or two … and no more panicked 11PM phone calls for your truly.

Add this printing press operator, his mother, two ex-girlfriends, a couple of other guys and a church down the street on the list of people more interested in using their computer than creating jobs in the IT industry.

9. nielshansen - April 4, 2007

I’m studying politics – and only know a little PHP for web-programming. I have been using Ubuntu since the start, but never used Linux regularly before that.

Sorry about my bad english, but I’m in a hurry – just wanted to show that I also think Ubuntu is for the mainstream.

10. carthik - April 4, 2007

Jeff,
Yes, after I wrote this, I searched for “linux” on his blog and found some articles, including one in which he seems to have been quite impressed by Feisty’s Beta.

I was not in the minority of people aggregated on Planet Ubuntu, I just happened to get there since I stay up at night (well, sometimes) thinking about computer-related stuff :) My effort is directed in the same direction as yours – to reduce the barrier for adopting Ubuntu (linux in general) for people of all kinds, even those that don’t know about it now. Yes, the poll will be misleading – most of the respondents will be those that will be counted in the future among Ubuntu’s early adopters. But I seek to find non-techie users from among Ubuntu users, so will it really be misleading if only Ubuntu users read the request? It sure will, since lots of non-techie users of Ubuntu will probably never read this. It is not so much a survey as it is an attempt to create a small, insignificant sample of a few users who don’t fit into the “ultra-geek” “power user” category. There are less than 10 people listed on Browsehappy.com but they all convey the message that all kinds of different folks can use browsers other than IE.

As for Ubuntu’s ultimate audience, wouldn’t it be nice if it was like what Windows’ audience is – computer users of all kinds? Let’s not limit our scope to anything less that that :)

Thank you for your comment, Jeff. It is good to have someone check my thoughts, and to balance points-of-views.

11. christian - April 4, 2007

I’ve installed Ubuntu on 2 PCs for me and my wife (both polititcal/educational science graduates, so no tech geeks), one notebook for my mother (medic, also no tech geek) and had 3 friends install it just because they didn’t want any more virii, spyware or spy-OS on their computer. It was easy-going and *everyone* agrees that it works just well and sometimes even better than MS-OS does.

No problem there.

12. Eirik Newth - April 4, 2007

Professional writer of young adult fiction and non-fiction, and user of Dapper. Recently converted my father, a retired children’s book writer, from XP to Edgy. He’s a very satisfied ubuntunista. :-)

13. Jeff Waugh - April 4, 2007

Carthik,

I’m not suggesting the target market is substantially different from that of Windows. Few Windows users care that they are running Windows, very few visit the Microsoft website. Again, they just don’t care.

I think you misunderstood my point about being on Planet Ubuntu. As a person who is aggregated on Planet Ubuntu, you are in a tiny minority of people who are quite different to the mainstream. It is better to realise that sooner rather than later.

14. Dmitri - April 4, 2007

I’m in High School and use Ubuntu at my personal computer.
Although I like experimenting and trying to get much more from my computer, I can very well say I’m a part of the mainstream.

15. carthik - April 4, 2007

Jeff,

Of course, I hope someday we’ll get to the point where a majority of Ubuntu’s users don’t visit the Ubuntu homepage.

And no, I have no delusions of being part of the regular mainstream Paul talks about – not at all. I meant what I said in my comment more as a joke (which seems to have failed miserably, despite the smiley).

16. brett - April 4, 2007

I barely know how to use the terminal. I figured out what sudo meant about two days ago and I’ve been using Ubuntu for several months now.

I am the anti-techie.

17. Jordn - April 4, 2007

Uni student – Arts/Science. Astrophysics doesn’t have too much to do with computing. ;)

Mind you, I don’t use exactly the Ubuntu others use… what is this hardware-hogging DE of which you speak? :P (Openbox FTW!)

18. Matthieu - April 4, 2007

I’m a creative writing major at Dartmouth College and a Ubuntu user for ideological and financial reasons as much as technical reasons.

At most, I suspect that a comment/straw poll like this can prove that Ubuntu has a greater number and wider variety of non-technical adherents as a “general tool” than Paul Thurrott thinks. Libertarians, free-lovers, rabble-rousers, revolution-chroniclers, environmentalists, social network economists, hippies, soldiers, all can feel the pull of an OS “tool” that is somehow better by their personal metrics with barely any technical understanding.

Here’s an example following the tool analogy: Buying fair-trade gardening tools hardly requires knowledge of industrial petrochemical fabrication or international artisan markets– a stamp of relevant merit and a general assurance of equivalent utility is more than enough for many to pick up the “good-motives” rake.

To extend and bend his metaphor:

Paul’s right that people who know about the differences in operating systems are outside the mainstream, but he underestimates the number of winding social creeks and scattered intellectual rivulets that combine with the technical channel to altogether form the mighty River Ubuntu.

19. Roel - April 4, 2007

I am an environmental consultant, and I have been using Ubuntu for over 18 months. At home, that is, but I wish my employer would allow me to install it. :)

I cannot program, and 95% of the time utilize the GUI. My terminal work is basic (ls, aptitude, grep, nano), and most of the time I just follow the excellent howto’s from the Ubuntu wiki and forums.

Linux is easy! (for anyone that can use Google and searches forums)

20. Pharao - April 4, 2007

I worked with computers while I was in school to earn some money -
after I finished I started my apprenticeship in financial sector here in Germany.
Now being self employed I have to use Windows for one or two programs, but private I run Debian on my servers, Ubuntu and ArchLinux on my clients and OpenWRT on my Router.
Beside Windows I run – in my office – a Debian server for the Windows clients and a router based on IPCop.
I didn’t stop writing some small scripts or programs, but just for fun :)

21. JGJones - April 4, 2007

I work in IT – managing a nation-wide network of PC’s and servers (all running Linux with Windows clients) so I use Ubuntu however I use Ubuntu as an every day system – office stuff such as writing out plans/reports, emailing, internet etc. Ubuntu allows for easier access to administrative such as Terminal client, SSH etc.

For “normal” people that doesn’t work in computing or have anything to do with it or even understand it:

My wife – student in photography – use Ubuntu
* graphic editors
* office stuff (ie typing report/essay’s etc)
* everyday internet access – which included a lot of viewing Flash/Quicktime/WMV movies due to viewing vlogs (we’re deaf so we subscribe to a lot of video based blogs where the author sign in sign language)

My kids – aged 8 and 3 – use Ubuntu – using inbuilt games or Flash games online

22. Richard - April 4, 2007

Biological Scientist.
I’ve been using Kubuntu exclusively for work for the last 6 months. Most of my colleagues don’t even notice when we’re sending documents back and forward. So that has to be points for interoperability. I now get people looking over my shoulder at OpenOffice and going ‘actually that’s quite nice’. Those are good days.

I’ve also had one person borrow my laptop to do a presentation in OOo and not even notice that it wasn’t Windows. I just said click that icon and open the file and off they went. Not to mention how impressed the boss is when I keep showing him FLOSS solutions to proprietary software analysis tools that cost thousands of dollars

23. Vincent - April 4, 2007

Jeff,

It might be that mainstream people do not visit Planet Ubuntu or anything similar, but people who *do* visit Planet Ubuntu might know someone mainstream who uses Ubuntu.

For example, I know of a 72-year-old man who does not speak English who installed Ubuntu on his own. OK, computers are his hobby, but he does not do computer-related work. In fact, he’s probably retired ;-)

And I’m still a high-school student too, but well, I’m a real computer geek ;-)

24. Michael - April 4, 2007

I’m working on my PhD in philosophy, and I use Ubuntu on my desktop computer as well as my laptop. I’ve always enjoyed working on computers, but I’m nowhere near doing it for a living, just enough to let me build my own box and help friends out with their problems. Normally, my computer is for word processing, reading articles, checking email, and chatting on the internet.

My Ubuntu experience has been nothing but positive, and I’ve been recommending it to all of my friends who are tired of dealing with windows.

25. Milad Alizadeh - April 4, 2007

Studying Electrical Engineering-I’m using Ubuntu cause it’s faster and more secure

26. szantaii - April 4, 2007

I’m a high school student learning informatics, and I’m using Ubuntu a long time now.

27. Manuel - April 4, 2007

Hi, I use the computer for Internet browsing, e-mail and word processing with OpenOffice.org. I’m a mainstream user. Currently I use Windows XP but I will install Ubuntu 7.04 as soon as available. I’m pretty sure that Vista will never have a place on my computer. Ubuntu is more simple and clean. Moreover it’s free and the community is great! I hope Dell pre-install Ubuntu on its computers since I don’t want to pay a Microsoft license I don’t use.

28. Benoit - April 4, 2007

Folks,

I fully agree with all of you! You do not need to be geeks to run Linux. I have an old Dell laptop which was very slow under Windows. The laptop is used by my kids just to browse and play.

I installed Ubuntu and my old piece of junk is now fast, easy to use and the kids love it again (they do not nag for my laptop any longer ;-) – they are 5 and 8 years old so not into computers at all, for them it is a commodity, so is Linux and Ubuntu, the do not care about the brand or type of OS.

This was the best test for me, if my young kids can adapt to Ubuntu and use the GUI as easily as with windows, it is just proving the point that Ubuntu has made significant progress to encapsulate Unix complexity away from its users if needed.

29. PerSilve - April 4, 2007

Medical librarian. Using Ubuntu since 5.04

30. oomu - April 4, 2007

people who don’t care will simply read ubuntu.com

(because it’s right in the ubuntu menu)

so, put the question on Ubuntu.com , a “who are you?” form :)


linux is mainstream. it’s now a professional tool and I see many people forced to consider linux, windows or os X. even when they hate all of that. do not forget one thing : _windows_(yes, the big W) is not ready for the desktop.

31. pavel - April 4, 2007

Assistant to project manager in a large wholesale company. I reside in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. I have been using Ubuntu on a home PC for around one year. The only thing I miss in Ubuntu now is a decent application for my Garmin GPS receiver.

32. dada58 - April 4, 2007

I work for a foundation that supports people with a mental handicap and one of my clients recently got a PC with Windows Vista. I had to see it so I played with it for a little while. It’s slow with a Celeron @ 3,6 GHz and I GB, you can hear the hard disk spinning all the time. A couple of days later my client told me that Windows Mail wasn’t working anymore so I looked again to see what messages Windows was showing on this. Ok, Windows Mail didn’t work and the client had to wait for a solution, showed on the message window one time but not now :) There were 3 updates waiting so I tried if they brought the solution, I had to reboot the system after the download and rebooting Vista is a time consuming process and Windows Mail still refused to function properly …

“The truth is, for most people–like, 99.99 percent of the computing using public–a computer is a tool. What they “want” isn’t a particular OS. What they want is a solution to a problem, or an answer to a need. They want email”

Yeah.

33. mount - April 4, 2007

student communication (as in adverising) using Ubuntu on a regular basis. Ony switch to Windows or MacOS for the music production support.

34. Alfredo - April 4, 2007

I have never studied programming or computers

I heard about Ubuntu when the famous list of PC World “Best of the year” came out on Dic 2005 and I was just looking something to get my laptop to behave faster and more secure

The first thing I looked for when I installed UBuntu was an antivirus and an antispyware.

My wife now uses Ubuntu (she was a windows user all her life) and I have severall friends wich are NOT computer geeks or programers who use Ubuntu and love it too.

I feel part of a community and even had the idea to open a wordpress blog to post some solutions while using UBuntu!

Isnt it crazy for a non-computer guy to do that?

35. andi - April 4, 2007

musician, writing from my happy little ubuntu-only thinkpad.

36. Herman Bos - April 4, 2007

My girlfriend uses Ubuntu whenever she destructed her windows installation. But that doesn’t count.

I know about 20 people who use Ubuntu in the office and I can assure you they use it just as a tool and don’t give a shit about it. Well they are quite happy its stable and they like the thinclients.

37. Peter Aldred - April 4, 2007

Law student, currently doing the LPC, happily using Ubuntu for all sorts of things, including connecting to the University’s Citrix server.

38. Simon Fraser - April 4, 2007

I work for an tiny freight forwarding company and sort of look after the company’s IT. All I know is what I have picked up over the years. I’m not a programmer or anything, just an inveterate tinkerer. My involvement with Linux started when I first got broadband and installed a freebie Mandrake 7.0 CD. Ubuntu 4.10 arrived just in time to stop me moving over to Fedora. Apart from email, web etc I have all my CD’s and vinyls FLAC-ed on my home network (Slimserver), as well as photos (Gthumb). My 8-year old loves Tuxpaint and PPracer etc and is adept with the Squeezebox. I know I’m probably not typical, but it certainly works for me.
If only there were FLOSS freight forwarding software (sigh)!

39. Brian - April 4, 2007

I am like a case study for this discussion, 6 months ago I’d never heard of Ubuntu and didn’t give the “OS” question a second thought- I’d used both Macs and Windows PCs. My work (construction and related bureaucracy) laptop was stolen and I got a hand-me-down Dell with Windows 2000. A week later a friend accidentally installed some nightmarish virus called SystemDoctor, which took a week to remove. I then got new cheap laptop with the basic version of XP. I’d used Firefox and figured there might be a similar free office suite; by Googling “free office suite” I found Open Office and it was a perfect substitute for Office, which I’d been using. I never got around to installing MS Office. A few weeks after the warranty expired XP mysteriously vanished and the retailer (a big box) wanted $40 and three weeks in the shop FOR A RECOVERY CD. I was very piqued and based on my experience with Firefox and Open Office I figured that there might be an alternative, at a bookstore I found the Ubuntu book and the included DVD brought the computer back to life.

I’d been through three computers in a year and each time I switched my iPod had to be erased and I lost my entire collection. Not knowing what to expect I plugged it in to the Ubuntu installation and for the first time my computer declined to sabotage me- everything was there. That was an incredible eye-opener, I haven’t gotten over it. I still half-expected I would need to somehow reinstall windows and was braced for that possibility but all my communications with offices and state agencies are in PDF, no spreadsheet has yet had a formatting problem, my printer works, and those were my only concerns. Occasionally things come up, like bank account reconciliations in Quickbooks, which brings me to Mr Thurrot’s point about what users want. We do not want to have to pay a company whose market power is matched only by it’s unresponsiveness in order to look at bank statements. We do not want to be one click away from an appalling virus that hands our computer over to Estonian mafiosi. We do not want our link to the outside world to be mediated by an incessant stream of upsells and incompatibilities, or for company A in Redmond to meet with company B in Hollywood and decide which computer I can plug my iPod into.

Again, none of this was on my radar a few months ago, I was even annoyed that Microsoft was in anti-trust trouble, which I assumed was sour grapes. A problem with my wireless card introduced me to the wonders of the command line and it turns out I prefer to actually be able to see and manipulate what is on my computer. I am absolutely regretting the amazing amount of wasted time spent with Windows. And it is true that I wouldn’t have been reading Planet Ubuntu before this realization, but that is an ad logicam argument- people who read Planet Ubuntu like Linux, most people do not read Planet Ubuntu, therefore, most people do not like Linux. Actually, most people are not aware that there is a free and secure operating system whose designers’ only consideration is usefulness and transparency and who view those qualities as ends in themselves. I had never even seen a Linux desktop until I put the dvd in the tray. And at the risk of making a “statement” I do like it, and would rather not shell out $200 for a glossy turd that will tie me to a company whose only evident mission seems to be tying me to that company.

40. Phil Thane - April 4, 2007

Freelance writer. I got into Linux (SuSE8.0) when I couldn’t afford to but WinXP, and have never looked back. Kubuntu is great, everything works, Open Office, Gimp, Kontact and GnuCash are what I use to earn my daily bread.

41. dex2k - April 4, 2007

Frankly – i use windows at work – not because i have to (any GNU/Linux distro would do the job) but because my company is affraid of change. Recently some of ur machines were switched to OpenOffice.org since Excell doesen’t cope well with files from its previous versions, maybe it’s a first step towards change.
I use Ubuntu at home. My GF uses ubuntu on her laptop (after i installed it for her), finally she can do whatever she needs on her computer (not so easy on her previous install of xp). I have also installed Ubuntu on 4 of my friends computers and as far as i know none of them are willing to look back to XP.
I’m not especially tech oriented person. I chose Ubuntu for economic (average one has to pay for winXp + MSOffice nearly as much as he earns a month ) not ideologic reasons. I noticed I can do whatever i need under Ubuntu (sometimes with much reading on forums and ubuntu wiki) so there is absolutly no reason to use windows again.

42. dennda - April 4, 2007

Hi.
I was a pupil (similiar to High School) until some weeks ago. I use Ubuntu as my main OS on all my machines. I am related to computing things, but i may mention that many of my friends (and even people i did not know before they read my posts on local forums) changed to Ubuntu. Those people mostly have no clue what a kernel (for instance) is, but they are running and using Ubuntu as their main OS.

regards

43. chad - April 4, 2007

A salesperson here, with no programming experience, using Ubuntu for the first time and loving it.

44. felix - April 4, 2007

Second person in a PhD program in Philosophy. I’ve been using Ubuntu for a little over a year and am in love.

45. Jeff - April 4, 2007

Project Manager – I don’t use Ubuntu at work (yet), but I use it on my home computers and have installed a Ubuntu virtual machine on my work laptop as a test to see if I can keep some separation between the two worlds. Lovin it!

46. Thomas - April 4, 2007

I study political science and I use ubuntu!

47. Peteris Krisjanis - April 4, 2007

I can’t be counted as myself as IT spec for 11 years and Linux user/admin for 6 years, but I can easily say that my girlfriend enjoys Ubuntu without big problems (bugs pops up there and there, gets reported and in next release they’re gone), and two users in last two weeks are very happy to use Feisty (About what I was nicely surprised, because I live in very dominant Windows country and I suggested and installed Ubuntu with little doubt).

So people, yes, Linux is mainstream. We have lot of things to do to be better, but…

48. Renate - April 4, 2007

I’m 52 year old mother and aunt, and work with special needs people. I use Ubuntu.

49. james - April 4, 2007

law student, xubuntu edgy

50. JF - April 4, 2007

Another name to the list; I’m a student of Political Science and History and I use Ubuntu.

This call to non-IT professionals using Linux is a great idea! A commercial should probably be made, “Hi, I do so and so, and I use Linux.” and have a bunch of people say that, and end with “Linux. It’s not just for geeks.”

51. françois - April 4, 2007

hi, i’m a musician and i’ve been using linux for more than three years.
I use my computer for total mainstream activities like web surfing, emailing, listening to music and watching videos, sometimes creating websites and working on images. Linux is perfect for this and so much fun to use. I learned a lot about computers since i got into the linux world (thanks guys) and i’m able now to fix my computer instead of formatting and reinstalling.
I also helped quite a lot of people saving ‘lost datas’ (after w…. crashes) using linux live cd’s.
I use Kubuntu and it rocks !! I find it faster, more efficient and user friendly than xp or vista. And i don’t have to go for illegaly cracked applications anymore :)

52. Srikanth - April 4, 2007

Me a computer science under grad using Ubuntu among lot other distros but this is my default one for my entertainment,productivity.

The free shipment provided by canonical helped me to reach a lot of people.I personally have converted atleast around 10 people(both classmates / non IT guys) around me to use linux full time. Many others are trying their hands on when they need to rescue data when virus corrupts their windows.Feels great to have more and more friends using ubuntu(linux un general)

53. donald duck - April 4, 2007

Nice fud.

“Heck, it installs much faster and easier than Windows” – I don’t know, my Vista installed in roughly the same time.. The installation phase was extra comfortable because it enabled the vga-out automatically for me – small useful things the Ubuntu doesn’t have.

” like Intel, then everything works great – much faster than you can say “install windows driver”.” – Umm, all my hardware worked on Vista out of the box. Instantly. Webcam, display adapter with full acceleration, sata controller, .. Just absolutely everything.

“Paul, we Ubuntu users belong in the 99.99% you mention, too.” Yeah, 99.9% of people this and that., blahblah. You know, that means they don’t have any extra love for Ubuntu either. Many of us don’t see any extra value to switch to Ubuntu either. Windows works as a tool pretty fine.

“Ubuntu is amazingy easy to setup and use.” Okay, set up my smartcard reader for being able to sign my email using the national id smartcard. Time starts.. now. Or hey, how about getting consistent management platform out of the box? (Centralized desktop management, authentication etc?) That doesn’t simply exist? Too bad. How about trying to get me some nice software for multi-point video conferencing? Lol, sheesh. Or good development environment for programming like the Visual Studio? (You don’t know what it is until you start up the MSDN documentation browser and you realize the documentation for everything is a few magnitudes more comprehensive and complete.) How about getting me something like Photoshop? (Gimp is in the 90s, sheesh) Visio? That doesn’t exist either.. Too bad.. I’d like to use the iTunes out of the box as well without hours worth of tweaking (it’s actually a good music shop). How about trying to get multi-monitor setups working while being non-expert nerd? It can be very painful experience sometimes.. (I could point you to a few dozen Ubuntu bug tickets that are in state WONTFIX and on GMA950 all you see on vga-out is WOBBLE)

See? It’s full of misery and hard from “easy” when you actually try to accomplish something to fix your real-world problems. Stuff that non-nerds might actually need. Yeah, it’s “easy” and “fast” if you define that by a) booting up to certain state b) being able to type text with an office package that is 5-10 years behind in development.

“Of course, this is a subjective statement.” The statement is subjective. The matter is not. Microsoft has actual usability labs all around the globe and they do work on those things. Although they have failed in some, some things are just fabulous. They have consistency in some areas that would be extremely hard to grasp on otherwise.. And on some areas they are years ahead in development.

Generally especially in the areas that concern the needs of business users and larger environments they are so much ahead that it’s practically impossible for anyone else to catch them in 5-10 years… Yes, I’m talking about the ROI and risk reducing things like AD,SMS/MOM, etc. They are simply stellar if you compare them with competition.

54. specs - April 4, 2007

[....Hi Paul....]

anyways, I’m a student and I use Ubuntu. I like that I can use a six year old ATI card and have a really nice 3d desktop with compiz out of the box.

55. Chris Rohde - April 4, 2007

Accounting Clerk / MBA Student in US. I run the Ubuntu-Florida LoCo Team… randomly tested it out to see what it was about around 9 months ago, then switched to KDE and loved life even more.

I have since installed kubuntu on my mom, stepmom, and soon my wife’s computers.

Why not spread the word while being able to access them and help them from my house? lol.

56. Phi - April 4, 2007

Math undergrad with a side of everything. I run linux because I find it intuitive and friendly for installing/running/viewing/using my email, web, (0pen)Office, games, digital photos and music.

57. Jon Dubovsky - April 4, 2007

My fiancee runs Kubuntu, a move she made on her own with no urging from me, and she’s an artist for a living.

58. George - April 4, 2007

Undergrad in math. Ubuntu is free. Less maintenance, so less time worrying about keeping it working, more time spent using.

I browse (Firefox/Konqueror), check email (webmail, so in browser), Abiword, a couple of older games (UT, Q3), music, chat.

59. Chris - April 4, 2007

Senior bank counsel.

We are using Ubuntu as the basis for our LAMP based contract management system (KnowledgeTree, great stuff btw.) and our department Wiki, because of its missing price tag and on the desktops for security reasons.

Well, here in Germany, Linux is already mainstream – if you land at Frankfurt Airport, your first impression might be – Linux. Look for the shiny new public phones with screens, operated by Deutsche Telekom. Guess what they are running…..

60. rh - April 4, 2007

I am a campus ministry staff worker. I use Ubuntu/Kubuntu as my main OS.

61. John Watson - April 4, 2007

My 6-year-old daughter and 4-year-old son are both Ubuntu users (and so am I).

62. Daniel Hardy - April 4, 2007

I do not have any great stories about friends and family who are not tech junkies using Ubuntu, save one.

Just the other day my father called and asked me if I knew anything about “this Ubuntu thing” This is worth mentioning as I have never spoke to him about it. It was something that he came up with on his own. It is also important to note that he is not a tech junkie. His primary use for his computer is purchasing equipment for is fishing habit.

The reason I bring this up is because it demonstrates the increasing buzz. Regardless if you believe sites like Digg.com are, or are not, rigged, you can not deny the fact that there is consistently Linux propaganda on them and more importantly that this propaganda is reaching a large audience.

Any time people hear about something that can resolve their problems they will gain an interest. If their problem is BSOD(Blue Screen of Death), their fear of “Canecel or Allow”, or most likely they are simply sick of the constant spy ware and virus attacks, then they will find a great solution in Linux. This will only perpetuate more propaganda.

This is the way business works. People will use a product even though it doesn’t do what they want but eventually they will seek an alternative. When they do, there is little argument that high end linux distros like Ubuntu will make a great solution.

63. Allen Shull - April 4, 2007

I’m a paralegal and adjunct college English teacher. I had two years as a CS major in college before I decided that no matter how hard I tried I wasn’t going to learn how to program. My pre-Ubuntu command line skill is mostly limited to Quake and DOS, and I was driven insane by the stupid complexity of Mandrake when I tried it back in 2000. Last year I tried Ubuntu on my laptop on a whim, and quickly fell in love with it, even though it made getting podcasts for my iPod horribly annoying. If not for a few caveats (games, multimedia w/o internet connection), it’d be my desktop home system in a heartbeat.

64. petedct - April 4, 2007

I’m an Engineer in the United States and use Windows at work. But at home I installed Ubuntu Edgy about 5.5 months ago and can’t get enough. The wait for Fiesty is killing me.

65. Tom - April 4, 2007

Less than a year ago I switch to ubuntu after many years of being a windows user.

My job has nothing to do with computers, Im not a developer.

I gave away an old PC to my dad (amd 2500) witch I didnt have a legit copy of windowsxp for it, I didnt want him to deal with WGA so I decided to install this Ubuntu everyone was talking about.

I was so impressed by it that I switched my own computer over to ubuntu, dumping my windows partition.

66. g.w - April 4, 2007

Using Ubuntu, student in college, I take computing as one of my subjects but its the one I do worst in, so…

67. sodix - April 4, 2007

I am an employee, 45 yrs old, no I.T. background and definitely am not an expert, just the Joe Average.

I’ve been using linux for 3 years and Ubuntu for the last 1 year on my PIV 256 ram pc and old PIII Toshiba Tecra 8200 laptop.
Ubuntu works great for me.

(Use windows only for my daugther school projects)

68. Timothy D Lynch - April 4, 2007

I switched my Windows consulting business to a Linux consulting business in September of last year. This move was to lower my blood pressure to a non life threatening level.

I studied the various distros (about a dozen) before deciding on Ubuntu. I had used Mandrake Linux on my server from 1997 to 2003 before my business dictated my switch to a Win2k server. I was never please with the forced change.

The first person I switched to Ubuntu after my 12 desktops and 2 laptops was my wife’s computer. She is an medium skill PC user. She was a bit hesitant at first but as soon as she saw how the internet access, email retrieval and general system was faster and smother running she was sold.

Next my one boy and his wife wanted to switch because they liked the idea of the Christian edition.

Next my 4 year old granddaughter and 10 year old grandson liked several of the kids programs (Tux Paint was a big hit) that they told my other boy and his wife they wanted it at home. So I gave them a copy of Ubuntu.

Next I made a pictorial ad for Ubuntu showing the OS and main programs and sent it to all my Windows clients and sent them with a CD. Several have evaluated at home and are discussing converting to Ubuntu.

69. MC-RPG - April 4, 2007

An IT student. Using ubuntu since one year and half, but used severals distros before.

70. naegling23 - April 4, 2007

biochemist here. Running kubuntu on both (thats all) of my home systems (one dual boots with xp…..about once a month).

And how’s this for a non tech person:

My “gaming” system runs beryl, and plays WoW, UT2004, Doom3, etc.

My HTPC runs Mythtv on top of kubuntu.

So much for linux/mythtv/3d desktops/games being too difficult.

71. Gaith - April 4, 2007

Accounting Student using Ubuntu 6.1

72. Alan - April 4, 2007

Been trying out Linux for a couple of years:
Linspire, Mandriva, PCLinux, Suse, Slackware, Debian, etc.
Decided to hitch my computer wagon to Ubuntu at the start of this year.
I no longer have any use for Windows.
I surf the net, download music, rip my cds, listen to online radio all without the worry of viruses, spyware and DRM issues.
I’m not employed in IT.
I’m a happy computer user…;-)

73. Andrés - April 4, 2007

Well, I’ve been using GNU/Linux for 5 years, way before it could be considered mainstream (I think know it is), so I think I can’t be included between that 99.9%. But I know a considerable amount of people who are in that group. Family, coworkers and friends have started using linux (mostly Ubuntu) and nowadays are really happy with the results. Of course they still need a helping hand here and there, but usually can solve their problems with a bit of reading in the forums (something I find hard when using windows).

Because of my work, I usually have to install and configure desktops and workstations, both windows and linux. It’s always easier and faster to install a linux computer, as I usually have it working in about half an hour (1 hour if there’s need of a special software or feature). Most of the hardware is detected correctly and works out-of-the-box. In the case of windows, after you have the OS installed, starts the really annoying task of driver installation (a lot of reboots), antivirus, firewall and antispyware installation (another couple of reboots), firefox and thunderbird installation (you’ll never caught me using IE ;-)), office/openoffice installation… luckily you’ll have your system working a couple of hours lately.

Now you tell me which is easier and more friendly :)

74. me - April 4, 2007

I use xubuntu… and automatix2…. makes using linux easy!

75. physicsmajor - April 4, 2007

I understand Paul’s argument. I would have to agree that I am not in the mainstream. I use Kubuntu Feisty (currently beta). I recently installed K(Ubuntu) on my laptop and I love it. I just realize that it is just the right environment I need for my personal and computing needs.

I understand your point too Kartik but as of present, GNU/Linux users are still on the minority side. Thanks to projects like Ubuntu, it’s getting more popular and I would be happy if other people also get the pleasure out of Ubuntu or other GNU/Linux distributions. We will have to continue spreading the word.

76. Howard - April 4, 2007

I read Paul’s writings on Windows and technology often and like both his writing style and views in general. I am an engineer, but I use computers as tools and am no longer as interested in the “work” of maintaining a computer as I was back in my DOS and early Windows years.

So I use Ubuntu. It just works.

Sonds like someone’s PR slogan, but Linux has come a long way toward meeting the needs of mainstream users. The list above includes teachers, students, musicians, a biologist, and an envorinmental consultant among others. A well rounded and educated group and not IT focused.

77. Rich Craig - April 4, 2007

I’m just an average computer user who was born and raised on Windows, but I have Ubuntu on my laptop (the better of the two computers I have) and absolutely love it… I want to put it on the desktop some time soon as well!

78. Jeff - April 4, 2007

psychology student, hobbyist photographer/designer, using Ubuntu since 4.10 and now running the beautiful Feisty Fawn (7.04). I used to use Windows since win95 (when I was a kid) prior to that. I am never, ever, ever going back to the Windows platform :)

Windows just doesn’t feel “serious” to me anymore.

79. Mark Ginter - April 4, 2007

I’m a pastor. I use Ubuntu.

80. Abbas Khan - April 4, 2007

Ubuntu Rocks, I don’t consider myself a Computer programmer i am just an average person. I love Ubuntu. Windows was just always crashing and giving me bugs that i didn’t need. Ubuntu takes a while getting used to coming from the windows world because most people are trained like pavlov’s dog on windows. Linux Will Rule.

81. Shane - April 4, 2007

I’m a junior enlisted soldier; I switched to Ubuntu two weeks ago and I love it.

I definitely don’t think that installing Ubuntu is in any way easier than installing Windows, though. Reformatting my hard drive, installing Windows, patching to latest version and downloading hardware drivers and installing fundamental software as a whole is much faster for me in WinXP Pro than Ubuntu Edgy. I still can’t get my card reader to work, and I am still trying to figure out how to get my computer to sleep properly when I close the lid.

That being said, I’m definitely sticking with Ubuntu. I expect to be able to get everything working properly by the end of the weekend, and it looks much better while running much faster than Windows for me.

82. anon - April 4, 2007

I’m a bartender and a light designer for a local theatre. Been using Ubuntu since Warty, I think. My wife is a secretary and in college pursuing an accounting degree. Some classes do require her to use Windows, but when she has the option, she prefers to use Ubuntu.

Overall, I have been using Linux for about four years. While I have been interested in Linux for a long time (I almost installed Red Hat 7 way back when) I would probably still be using Windows, if they hadn’t hosed me one time too many. The short version of the story is that something happened to my computer. No amount of tinkering could get it back up and running. After installing SuSe, I was able to save all of the data from the old Windows partition. (Couldn’t resurrect Windows, but no big loss…)

83. David Tremblay - April 4, 2007

Not a programmer, but an analyst working in international development, and FOSS advocate. My daughter is an ubuntu fan, and my son installed ubuntu for 2 of his friends, my wife use it also, but she has to go back and forth between windows (at work) and Ubuntu (home).

For developing countries where people don’t understand much about computer where no one patch its OS and everybody got virus/ spyware, Linux should become a solution especially if you cannot afford a computer that runs Vista.

There’s still some problem, hardware not running, but nobody will remove my freedom, I don’t use Linux because it is free, but because it comes with freedoms. That’s my choice

84. Liz - April 4, 2007

college student majoring in history. i’ve been able to use linux for all my schooling needs, and it exasperates me to no end when i *have* to use windows in the school computer labs. it’s become second nature to me now (after only 2 months).

85. Elias - April 5, 2007

I’m a medicine student, using ubuntu from july 2006. I’ve also installed it on my parents’ PC (January 2007) and they are very glad they are not getting any virus and are still able to work with a “fast” Pentium III 800!
I recommend it to everyone I know, and most people find it better than windows. Some people don’t… but usually those people 1) have to run programs that are not available for ubuntu (autocad, as I know so far, and others) 2) don’t even want to try it, because “I can’t leave Windows!”

86. Wayne - April 5, 2007

No computer programmer inside this body, but i use Ubuntu Linux everyday!

87. Peer - April 5, 2007

Lawyer, in the public service, using Ubuntu at home. No parallel installation, just pure and clean Ubuntu for everything. Because Ubuntu is virus-safe, ships with many useful applications preinstalled (Office, Firefox, Evolution, Gimp) FOR FREE and you can simply install more applications FOR FREE without doing extensive Google-searches for free-software.

88. Richard Querin - April 5, 2007

Structural engineer. XP at work (dang Autodesk!), but quite happily running Ubuntu Edgy at home and spreading the word whenever I get the chance.

89. Conor Schaefer - April 5, 2007

I study Anthropology. To be fair, that is somewhat linked to technology and the open source ideology in general, but just the same it’s a very different thing, too! =) Perhaps we should Shipit Paul a belated April Fool’s gift…

90. James - April 5, 2007

Well, I’m a windows sysadmin by day but…My house is pure Ubuntu. Now, my wife, who is studying architectural design, has been using it since 4.10 and loving every minute. ;-)

91. Sipke - April 5, 2007

student, no profession in IT whatsoever… organic agriculture and sustainability and organising event ism or actually will be my job (does anyone by any chance know of a job vacancy in this field? :) )

92. mois - April 5, 2007

i’m an IT gal. i used to use mac os x at home but i switched to ubuntu because i couldn’t afford to keep upgrading my mac to stay current. i like having control over my hardware ;D i also replaced XP on a work machine with ubuntu. i use evolution for exchange (it’s slow and i can’t get the calendar working properly but it’s still faster than entourage and more secure than outlook), samba, and vnc. i also use it for gaming at home via wine and cedega.

re: the “i installed it for my girlfriend” people – i installed it for my boyfriend. he’s a gamer and uses windows primarily but thinks ubuntu is cool. when more games support it, he’ll be using it as primary in no time.

i think what people want is for their stuff to work with minimal hassle. and if it’s free, well even better.

93. Will Johnson - April 5, 2007

High School Senior, going on to college in Theatre. I’ve been using Ubuntu for over a year and a half (since Breezy) and simply cannot fathom paying the price Microsoft is asking for their product. It may have improved, but after dealing with YEARS of BSODing I simply got tired of rebooting every 5 minutes (despite the fact that I did routine virus scans and kept a firewall up at All times.)

I started using SUSE about 3 years ago ( when it was still blossoming), and have since moved on to Knoppix, and then Ubuntu (Breezy) after scouring the net for an easy to use OS.

Even back then, I popped in the FREE cd and installed in way less time than I’ve ever seen XP or any other version of windows install. I knew then this was the future.

94. ramil clarin - April 6, 2007

Loan processor using ubuntu as my primary OS at home. Only reason I still have windows is for printing and scanning on my lexmark x75 printer/scanner.

installed ubuntu at the office and i was amazed how it found the network and connected easily to the printers without installing any separate program. this is amazing.

installed ubuntu on my wifes laptop too. she is happy. no more windows slowing down problem or low disk space problems.

95. Ron - April 6, 2007

I use and enjoy Ubuntu — but I also use and enjoy Vista. Heck, I also use and enjoy Tiger and soon, hopefully, Leopard. If I had to choose only one? Sorry, it would be Windows with the Mac a close second. Linux, thanks to Ubuntu, is much more user friendly than ever before, but it still didn’t set up as easily as my Vista installation (only recently did I finally get my wireless connection working in Ubuntu).

No question Linux wins on price, but otherwise I don’t see a compelling enough reason to drop my PC or Mac for Linux.

96. iamcoel - April 6, 2007

Design student who now uses ubuntu on my laptop for all my daily stuff like surfing the Internet, email etc. If Adobe made their software available for use on Linux (i.e. Photoshop), I would take that option instead of having to run Windows on my desktop (which is solely a design machine).

Has nothing to do with the fact of price. While I have grow to understand the working of Windows quite well over the years, I like linux for it is open source, having countless people contributing to it daily (and I hope to eventually become on of those), as well as being as you said, easier and quicker to install than Windows, and it is a hell of a lot more stable.

All I need now is a Mac, and I can share the best of all worlds.

97. Thomas - April 6, 2007

Communication science student, using Ubuntu since Warty. I have Windows XP on this computer as well, because the rest of my family (still) refuses using Linux.

I think most people don’t care if it’s free or intuitive. They just want to think as little as possible about how they can do their tasks. They don’t want to change anything, unless they have to. And Linux still has a kind of geekish image.

98. Alejandro - April 6, 2007

Law student in Argentina using Ubuntu ever since I read the Vista EULA. I also inspired a friend (who studies semiotics) to switch, and my mom is now an evangelist (even though she can’t really operate a DVD player, much less correctly administer a computer.

As for ease of installation, I made a clean install of both XP and Edgy last December. Edgy installed faster than XP, and all my hardware (except for my video card) was working perfectly out of the box. And I could surf the net while installing. With Windows, I had to… format my Ubuntu partition, since it wouldn’t install anywhere but in the first HD (hda). And I had to manually install my graphics card driver too, which tended to make the computer crash. And, of course, it took longer to install – and I’m not counting the time it took to install extra software in Windows, such as OOo, Clamwin and Firefox, to actually be able to do stuff. Configuring HP printers is also easier in Ubuntu than in XP, which is cool since I’ve only used HP for a decade.

99. Timothy D Lynch - April 6, 2007

To Thomas. Since you are most likely the one who has to fix your family’s Windows PCs as shown by your ability to use Linux I would suggest refusing to fix the Windows PCs when they break.

That’s how I got my family members to use Ubuntu instead of Windows.

Without me to fix their Windows they did have a problem and were willing to let me fix it. No more refusing to use the better OS.

They now have to use Linux.

100. Timothy D Lynch - April 6, 2007

To Ron. When you need to reinstall Vista more than once and have to beg Microsoft to unlock it you will have your reason to prefer anything else.

In your case you should go with your Mac instead. It is a fine system.

101. carthik - April 6, 2007

I’ll have fun picking out the best ones… someday, when I am sufficiently bored :)

Thanks for the response, folks – and keep them coming. I love reading Ubuntu stories.

102. Bob Torres - April 6, 2007

I’m a university professor of sociology and author, and I use Ubuntu as my daily desktop environment (actually, I’m using the new Feisty beta, but that’s another story). I like Ubuntu for a variety of reasons, most of which I’ve detailed here:

http://www.bobtorres.net/2006/07/22/gone-to-ubuntu/

103. waistloss - April 6, 2007

I’m a banker and a caterer. I use Ubuntu on an older desktop. As soon as I get a better desktop up and running with more memory. As it stands, I don’t have enough memory for all of the bells and whistles but it is great for all of my day to day tasks like email, writing my blogs, sending out invoices, etc.

104. Christopher Haney - April 6, 2007

Biologist – happily using Kubuntu

105. Jim in Chicago - April 6, 2007

I’m a part-time IT guy, part-time paramedic and full-time nursing student. One day at the fire department, a couple of the guys wanted to watch hockey highlights or some such “so, could they use my laptop for a couple of minutes?”

I was having issues with Windows (surprise!) so I booted it into Ubuntu and told ‘em ‘have at’. They browsed to what they wanted, watched their highlights, closed it up said thanks and went back to the TV room.

I caught up with them a little later and asked if they’d noticed anything, well, different about my laptop. They looked at me like I’d just landed from mars and shook their heads. These, not-techy, average-joe, generally non-computer-using guys hadn’t even NOTICED that it wasn’t windows. It ‘just worked’, so they ‘just used it’.

106. W - April 6, 2007

neuroscience student, not even novice knowledge of programming, using ubuntu

107. Ron - April 7, 2007

To Timothy:

I might agree with you, Timothy, should I ever need to reinstall Vista repeatedly. You’re right, that can be a hassle. However, thus far in 20-odd years of computing, that’s never been a problem. I buy a state-of-the-art computer and don’t tinker much with it until it becomes outdated, then I just buy a new computer with the OS already installed. And I keep an image and replace from that should things get too screwed up to fix, which has never been a problem since System Restore came along.

And you’re right about the Mac, that’s a fine OS also. As I said, it runs a close second behind Windows if I had to make a choice (which, fortunately, I don’t. I prefer having all three).

108. Root - April 7, 2007

I tried Ubuntu on an old box and couldn’t install it. Switched to Simply MEPIS and it went in like a dream. I have been completely Windows clean for 18 months. More significantly my GF has also switched and she knows zero about computers. She loves linux.
What I really like is the number of crappy programs I have dispensed with completely – ftp clients being one of my pet hates- for example. I think the battle is almost won. Now Linux is just *rolling out*. :) All the others I now regard as *legacy platforms*.

109. Jason - April 7, 2007

I’ve been using Linux for many a year now. My Fiancee and her family are now Linux users (and they love it), as is most of my family. Linux is ready for mainstream use ( http://lemnik.wordpress.com/2007/03/08/linux-is-ready-for-mainstream-use-get-over-it/ ), and “hard-core” windows people don’t like it one bit. That just goes further to prove the point really. My dad and I maintain the local Freedom Toaster, and it’s amazing how many people are pressing various Linux distros.

110. Rich W - April 7, 2007

I use XP and have been trying out Ubuntu for several months now. I’m certainly not a coder. I like the philosophy of Ubuntu and generally like the look and feel of Ubuntu. Overall it’s pretty good. I’m a fan of open source (using OpenOffice for a couple of years now) and have come to have great respect for open source communities.

Now, here’s the rub: your Joe Average user get a new system and tried Linux and guess what: he has an ATI video card and now has to jump through some hoops and (as someone who may not be very technologically inclined) stresses about it. The usual response from the community? “…if you support open-source friendly hardware providers, like Intel, then everything works great…” Joe didn’t, as most people using computers don’t, consider if what he was paying money for was open source friendly. So Joe muddles through, figuring it’s worth it.

So… hoops jumped through and video is working great! Now Joe wants to use iTunes becasue he has an iPod. Ok Joe, now its time to figure out wine. After asking on the message board (where inevitably someone says, “search is your friend”) Joe gets wine working and now has iTunes. Odd because isn’t Apple pretty open source friendly anyway? Oh, make sure that the “restricted” libs are enabled so you can get mp3 support, too. Or just convert your music library into an open format.

Now it’s time to print something. Ok, Joe, now your printer may or may not be supported. Try these different drivers and see if one works. Just keep printing that page over and over. Nevermind the ink and paper usage. Joe thinks, “the heck with that, I’m going back to windows…”

These may seem a bit unusual but reading the boards over at UnuntuForums.org none of these problems are really that odd. They happen all the time.

Again, I’m all for open source, transparency, all that good stuff. However what your Joe Average user does not want is to sit there editing the config files just to get everything working like it used to before installing Linux. Granted, the linux communities are getting better at realizing this. Not everyone wants to use the command line no matter how many times someone tell them “but its easier!!”. Paul T may be off on his numbers (99%?) but the idea is correct. most pleple like their computers to be simple, familiar, and to just work with a minimal amount of effort. Granted if they have the right hardware this is the case, but there are times when it doesn’t happen and it’s those times that often keep new people from trying it.

My apologies for this being so long, but I feel that it is a point that many in the linux community either don’t see or don’t recognize.

111. Paul - April 7, 2007

I’ve been using Ubuntu for close to a year now and have found that I really need Windows for very little.
I like the rapidity with which Ubuntu is being developed, the fact that is FREE (in all senses of the word) and the ease with which genuine and freely-delivered help is available from the Ubuntu forums.
This has to be the way of the future and I’m glad to be able to participate in it right now.

112. Carl - April 8, 2007

Ecology student, been using ubuntu for three years, very happy with it. No computer savvy, happy to have a system that just works and can do what I want it to do.

113. nelas - April 8, 2007

I’m a biologist happily using ubuntu for a month now!

I thought I was going to have issues during installation (setting up a dual boot), some compatibility problems with my sound card, scanner and ipod.

NONE of the above happened. Actually, the scanner was much easier to set up than with XP, sound card (which always gave me a headache to tweak) is running smoothly now, and ipod is fully supported.

I knew it was going to be good, but it really surprised me!

114. Moniker42 - April 9, 2007

Well I guess I don’t qualify because I’m about to start Computing Science at University; but perhaps it’s worth noting that while many Linux users are not “geeks” or computer engineers, a large proportion of “geeks” and computer engineers DO use Linux (I could do a Venn diagram for that if you want ;] )

I’m sure you’d find through study that mechanics and car enthusiasts will own better cars than the average person, authors will read more sophisticated books and musicians will listen to more music – so by the same logic doesn’t that give us a clear Linux>Windows consensus? :)

115. adam - April 10, 2007

I just got into Linux Ubuntu a month ago, using Edgy. I have to admit that getting it past the initial install (to an environment that suits me) has been a challenge, and could certainly be easier. But I’m very happy to be using open source software!

(For the record, my issues have been around video drivers – a common problem)

Despite what some people dismiss as frivolity, I believe that once Ubuntu is packaged with an easy-to-use compositor – or at least looks “prettier” out of the box – the majority will take more interest. After all, that’s Apple’s sales pitch and look at what people will pay for that!

Sadly, being a gamer requires that I keep XP on my system, but I accept that this has more to do with the poor attitude of gaming studios than it does with the Linux community!!

116. Dan - April 12, 2007

I’m a student at the UW, studying Linguistics (French + Turkish).

I use Ubuntu for life. XP to game.

117. cks - April 15, 2007

I have been using Linux for years now, and recently ‘discovered’ Ubuntu. I was blown over by the ease of installation and the user-friendliness of the desktop. Now my wife, sister and I are Ubuntu users!

118. Drew Lanning - April 23, 2007

I just installed Ubuntu on an old, mostly dead laptop at home. I was convinced to do a full install when the Live CD ran faster than my Windows XP install had been running for months (this however says more about my borked XP install than Ubuntu, I’m afraid).

Installing it was easy, upgrading to Feisty two days later (dammit!) was even easier. The system runs blazingly fast on my little 8 year-old laptop, does everything I want it to do (I’ve had to toss most PC gaming aside since having a little boy 18 months ago, otherwise that last statement would be a little false), and is utterly reliable.

I’m no computer geek but I know more than the average Joe, and have never really been a Microsoft hater (keeping an up-to-date secure OS without lots of strange installs helps). That being said, I would probably switch over my desktop computer to Ubuntu as well if my wife would let me. Alas she just can’t deal with Calc; she’s been using Excel since school and needs it to survive.

What I like the most is that the computer OS gets the hell out of your way and lets you use your computer for what you really want… which seems to be what this “Paul” is saying people are looking for.

119. gbinal - April 29, 2007

Political Operative – Ubuntu User.

I hear his point, but worry that yes, he is incorrectly marginalizing.

120. max - April 29, 2007

business undergrad. Heard of ubuntu when I was in high school and I had to deal with a 600Mhz laptop with windows 95, real pain. I remember the glorious moment when I inserted the ubuntu breezy cd…

After reviving my previously dead laptop, I’ve converted a total of 18 people to Ubuntu. Not a power user at all, but linux in itself motivates you to see all the capabilites of your computer. There are things that i didnt know about my computer until i began to use ubuntu. In any case, the problem with people is the way they look at computers and technology- a tool, something they just want to function the way they want to, or perhaps something more. Linux has the capability of suiting any need. It can retain the user-friendly simplicity, or you can delve deep into its guts to explore its true power.

So, are you still using windows?

121. macdo - May 7, 2007

Buyer for a French company that creates and runs camps for children.
I’d love to use Ubuntu at the office – I do a lot of surfing to find new suppliers, and my PC is regularily virused, spywared, etc.
Geek? I don’t think so – interested in computers, but no geek…

122. Gaurav - June 30, 2007

Hi! I am a diplomat, who just started using Ubuntu about a month back. Did it more out of curiosity (on a friend’s recommendation) than any serious hunt for an alternative OS (i was, like most of the world, on XP, and still have it on my computer as a dual boot). On the whole, the experience has been positive. Some aspects do feel a little non-intuitive though – for example, it is difficult in Linux to have a simple ‘visualisation’ of how the data in one’s computer is organised (due to the slightly odd naming system of folders and drives, and the need to ‘mount and unmount’ drives etc). Also installing software (through synaptic, automatix, console etc) can seem a little odd at first… but these are all MINOR quibbles.

However, while you do make some very valid points about the ease of use of Linux, Carthik, I am led to wonder how sustainable this whole Open Source software campaign actually is! I mean, when one thinks of the hours of hard work that thousands of people must be putting in to develop, test, refine, and promote these free Linux distributions, one has to ask whether they would actually be motivated to do the same if there WASN’T a hated monolithic corporation out there that all of them wish to ‘topple’! In that sense, the whole OSS enthusiasm might begin to wane by its very success…if MS ever loses a substantial part of the desktop OS market, people might no longer want to spend time developing ‘give away’ software!! Of course, the resulting ‘competitive’ scenario would definitely make for CHEAPER software than now, but the days of ‘fully free’ stuff might not last in the long run…

What do you guys think?

123. resek - January 20, 2008

do you know why majority still using windows? Because windows is freeware as well as linux. Thanks to software piracy… :P

124. Ness - July 13, 2008

Undergraduate anthropology major and waiter. I’m by no means tech savvy, but I do use ubuntu.

125. Matthew L Austin, DVM, PhD, ACVS - July 25, 2008

Veterinarian and Researcher, use ubuntu for all my day-to-day office stuff. Way faster on my laptop, TeX is still industry standard for papers (at least for me and most of the other biochemists I know), never crashes. I use ubuntu because it JUST WORKS BETTER, not because I’m up at night worrying about OS’s. Getting to keep my soul and promote a better world of software for the future is just an large added bonus

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127. Jordan - November 26, 2008

I am a recent college grad., a personal trainer, and a medical school applicant. I was dual booting with Windows XP and Ubuntu, but recently XP crashed and I could not even get my PC to the boot up screen to choose to load from Ubuntu. I didn’t want to take the 6 hrs it took me last time to reinstall XP, so I found my Ubuntu live cd and did a clean install. I have been using ubuntu for 2 weeks now without even missing having XP on my computer to fall back on if something doesn’t work properly in Ubuntu — now I search the forums and find a fix.

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