Looking for new business oportunities

Kenneth Hawkins kjurkic at yahoo.ca
Mon Feb 23 20:02:07 UTC 2009

Howdy Leslie

FWIW, one of the best desktops I ever saw for a newbie/"don'twannalearn" was made by Compaq, as an alternative to the Windows 3.1 desktop. It featured large, colorful, easy to understand icons for Email, Internet, Word etc. I think there was maybe 8 large icons on the desktop, and access to more was available from a launcher/taskbar similar to what came out on Win95/98. The developers has investigated what the easiest way was for people who knew nothing about computers to "git 'er done", and didn't overload them with extraneous crap they didn't want/need. They even used the File cabinet/drawer/folder/file metaphor, rather than the spectacularily stupid "My Computer" approach. Its second nature now, but when MS brought out the '95 interface, it caused a lot of retraining grief (not that 3.x was a shining example of usability mind you).

Any desktop solution for the general public, has to perform the CURRENT essential tasks, and will be different for the home user vs the office user. In an environment where the employer can make the call for staff, you don't need the multimedia, the chat, the photoviewer, or youtube/flash. For the home PC, no matter how stable, or how great for the essentials, if you can't do youtube/flash/messenger (with audio-video), make a DVD appear ON THE DESKTOP (rather than "mount /dev/sdc1 mydvd" or such), you will never get the enthusiasm of "jane public"

The funny thing is, there are a number of distro's that provide this, but (speaking as a compulsive distro-hopper myself) they often run into installation or hardware issues that are work for people like us, let alone a newbie. FWIW, I recently threw GOS onto an older PIII-600 Toshiba Portege I have, that just never dies. I had trouble with XP, even after I roto-root the septic sludge they force on us. I did not have high expectations, as the max RAM on this thing is only 384MB, and it has no special graphics chip. I confess that I was TOTALLY blown away! Every component worked by default, including every PCMCIA wireless card I have thrown at it so far. Best of all...it is WAY FASTER than XP was on the same hardware in its DEFAULT config. Youtube worked without having to bitch-slap flash onto the machine, I can watch ripped videos if they are not too compressed, stream audio/MP3/ogg right out of the box. Now if they could just do somehting about the
 crappy default desktop theme........If you are rebuilding PC's for people, try GOS (its ubuntu based, so sources work)



From: Leslie Lewis <lesliel8 at gmail.com>
To: The Canadian Ubuntu Users Community <ubuntu-ca at lists.ubuntu.com>
Sent: Monday, February 23, 2009 11:27:34 AM
Subject: Re: Looking for new business oportunities

Thanks for this interesting discussion, guys. I have nothing to offer but have had a few Aha! moments reading your responses - especially Ken's: 

The biggest barrier to the general adoption of linux has been, IMO, the
fact that most of us who have adopted it are naturally curious and
willing to endure some frustrations and problems to have a better end
experience, or even just for the new experience, and we cannot grasp
why everyone else doesn't feel/behave the same way.

I volunteer for a non-profit organization that gets by with donated (crappy) computers and illegal copies of M$ software. I'd love to convert them to FOSS, but I'm guilty of expecting them to be as willing to learn as I am - and they simply don't have the time for that, let alone the interest. They might be able to buy some hardware of their own soon, and I know they're going with Windows if they do - damn, damn, damn! I hate to see them waste their scarce resources, and I just don't know how to help. So keep on talking, and maybe I'll get some ideas.

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