[Ubuntu-ch] Linux Install Event Experience

Myriam Schweingruber schweingruber at pharma-traduction.ch
Mon Nov 2 14:35:22 GMT 2009

Hi Wolf,

I have no idea why you write with a blank line between each, but it
doesn't enhance the readability of your mail, sorry. I therefore
removed those lines in my reply below and will leave all lines in.

On Mon, Nov 2, 2009 at 11:27, Wolf Geldmacher <wolf at womaro.ch> wrote:
> Hi all,
> even though most of you are busy preparing for Karmic, I'd like to share
> some experiences I've made doing Linux install events in the past two weeks.
> The Setup
> I took the Windows 7 release on October 22nd as trigger to offer free Linux
> Install Events as an alternative. I got 20 Ubuntu 9.04/Swiss-Remix DVD's,
> basing the event on a proven release rather than on the upcoming new one.
> In total I offered 16 possible time slots, three hours each. The program
> for the event had three parts: (1) A short presentation on Linux and Open
> Source Software, (2) Exploring Ubuntu from the DVD and (3) Installing
> Ubuntu.
> I advertised the events in a local newspaper, on my home page
> http://www.womaro.ch/linuxevent and we (i.e. My wife, my children and I)
> sent email to a lot of local friends and acquaintances and put it up on
> Facebook.

It would also have been a good idea to tell the Swiss Team about it
before the event, so you could have got some additional help from the
team. That is what we have this mailing list and the wiki for. It is
beyond my understanding why you do this without telling us about it...

> The Execution
> All of the 22 responses I got were due to the emailings - none to the
> advertisement in the newpaper. One response was outright negative: "Been
> there, done that - doesn't work for me", 10 people could not make it in
> the time frame provided, but would like to attend at a later time.
> Out of the 16 times offered the event actually took place 8 times. Of the
> 12 people who attended the events, 4 left without running Ubuntu on their
> machines: One of them was still running Win2k and the machine neither had
> enough memory nor sufficient disk space for an install; the second needs to
> be able to use Active-X in the browser to do his job; the third could not
> handle the added complexity of a different GUI; the fourth really wanted to
> run Ubuntu, but we could not free enough space on the disk for an install.
> One person decided to run Ubuntu in a (VirtualBox) VM under Win-XP, mostly
> for experimenting.
> Seven participants decided to go for dual-booting Windows and Ubuntu and
> left with the intention to give it a real try.
> Problems encountered during live-sessions / installations included: audio
> not working (solved since), built-in webcam not working (participant never useѕ
> webcam anyway, so this didn't bother him at all), graphics card not working
> well in live-session (this is the person who did a VM install afterwards),
> too little memory (256MB - shared graphics...). Surprisingly WLAN worked
> out-of-the-box on all machines that had such hardware.

256 Mb is not too small for an Xfce or Fluxbox installation. Of
course, it is way too small for Windows, too, I guess it must be
extremely slow... so I guess this machine is not really used in a
productive environment, or does it?
Nowadays RAM is so cheap that an upgrade to 521 or even 1024 Mb is
really easy to make, I hope you suggested that.

> The feedback I've received up to now can be summarized as follows: two
> participants are quite happy with the dual-boot and use it regularly; 1
> person has decided that Linux is not for him and has switched back to Win-XP
> only. The main reasons given are essentially "too much choice",
> "no support for (some very special) hardware out of the box", "too different
> from what I'm used to".

They will have a hard time when they upgrade to Windows 7, then, since
it's more far away from what they are used to than for example KDE...

> Food For Thought
> Here's some food for thought - please feel free to comment and suggest
> improvements.
> - I've been using the Swiss-Remix DVD for this experiment. The amount of
> software available on the DVD is staggering and quite a few "first-timers"
> are just overwhelmed by the choices they suddenly have.
> Having this much software is nice for showing off (there is something for
> everbody), but I got the impression that for actual use less would be more.
> Your non-expert user finds it really hard to cope with a choice of 5 web-
> browsers, 4 email clients, 3 different GUIs, ...

Guess why I do not promote it without giving a hand installing from
it... I think for the average user the choice on the regular live CDs
is well balanced and aimed at the end user. It also comes with the
most current languages and needs less tweaking for a single language
installation than the Swiss Remix DVD. I totally agree with you, it
installs far too much stuff.
Again, would you have told us, we could have provided you with Live
CDs and additional support...

> - The average user is *really* upset by the mix-in of foreign language (i.e.
> English) interfaces, documentation, even links to English support pages.
> I got the impression that this is an area that requires additional attention
> and work - maybe up to the point of providing a tool that allows spontaneus
> translation (e.g. you get an English dialog - you can right click on it,
> select "translate", do the translation (with support from the web,
> suggestions of terms to use, a.s.o), save (and optionally publish for
> review to the offical LoCo language teams) and use the translation right
> away.)

This is a known bug in all translations, even more so in the German
one, and should be resolved in the future, at least for KDE. The
problem is Rosetta, the translation platform in Rosetta, that allows
average users to change translations and overwrite existing ones.
Since all KDE and Gnome packages are translated upstream, this can
screw up badly. Let's hope that the newly created translation managing
group can handle this and gets this sorted out. If you want to have
influence on this, you should join the translators mailing list, the
LoCo Teams can do very little about that
JFYI: the Kubuntu team has decided *not* to use Rosetta anymore at
all, until this is sorted out and will get it's translations from
upstream directly. This should be so for the upcoming Lucid version.
KDE 4.3.x is completely translated in over 40 languages, and I am sure
the same is true for Gnome, I hope they (the Ubuntu developers) take
appropriate measures to solve that problem, too.

> - Even more testing is necessary! Having cutting-edge software on the DVD is
> nice, but stability is even more important. Even though the user might
> forgive program crashes and unexpected behaviour in his customary Windows
> environment, he is not as tolerant when in an environment that he is not
> used to. KDE4 on 9.04 is especially weak in this area.

Again, this can be solved easily by people used with KDE support and
who know the existing problems and workarounds, that are quite easy to
make BTW... FYI, we can be reached in #kubutnu and #kubuntu-de on
irc.freenode.net as well as in #kde, all in real time, and of course
in the KDE forum on http://forum.kde.org and the Kubuntu forum on
http://kubuntuforums.net. I strongly suggest that these sources for
help are advertised so the end user knows where she can find help.

> - Don't change user interfaces without necessity. I know this is rather
> controversial, as we as developers like to experiment and develop with
> the new stuff and we are frequently changing/reimplementing/improving
> things to make room for all the goodies that will come, but for Joe L. User
> it is really hard to adapt to a new GUI, Amarok2 being a prominent point
> in case - see also the ongoing discussion there. Sad as it may be, users
> seem to like interfaces they know better than shiny new interfaces.

Well, this is the main reason why people are reluctant to change from
Windows to Linux, because they are trained idiots (sorry but one has
to tell the truth every now and then) who only know where to click
without thinking for themselves. In a culture dominated by Windows and
its "clicky-bunty" strategy, no wonder that most of the people are
lost if you change only a menu entry... Educate people to think
instead of click and that problem is solved :)

And  I agree for the default Amarok 2.0.2 shipping in Jaunty, this
should never have been integrated there, so don't blame the Amarok
developers. We clearly stated that it is a complete rewrite, 2.0.x was
a preview and never aimed at end users. We are the ones drowned by
support requests and bad language due to a poor choice by the
distribution :(

All that should be largely solved with Karmic, shipping Amarok 2.2.0,
which is almost feature par with 1.4.10 and even has a lot more new
features that were never there in the 1.x series. I am not going to
explain for the n-th time why this re-write was necessary, but I
strongly suggest everybody to upgrade to Amarok 2.2. Amarok 1.4 is
already falling apart since it's code is not maintained anymore and
there were a lot of changes in features it integrates that makes it
difficult to use, and this will not improve over time.

Just to make this clear: the old interface was a real PITA to maintain
and our usability folks (who are *real* usability professionals, not
users who think they know what usability is on an individual level)
are flogging the developers on a daily basis to improve that :)

> - The support of accessibility features (especially screen magnifier and
> support for one-handed typing) turned out to be one of the strong points
> for considering Linux.

Indeed, that is something Linux Desktop developers always have
integrated in the development. Unfortunately there is still a lot of
proprietary technologies with a lot of undocumented implementations
around, for example for the blind.

Thanks a lot for that report, it would be nice if you could add this
to the wiki, we have a section for past activities. And I really
strongly suggest you get in touch with the team next time before you
do something, since we can provide everything in term of support, CDs
and manpower.

Regards, Myriam.
Protect your freedom and join the Fellowship of FSFE:
Please don't send me proprietary file formats,
use ISO standard ODF instead (ISO/IEC 26300)

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