[ubuntu-uk] Intro, newcomer

alan c aeclist at candt.waitrose.com
Fri Sep 29 00:01:38 BST 2006

Martin Fitzpatrick wrote:
> Welcome to the list alan,

I realise just now that my recent presence on the
gmane.linux.ubuntu.user.british is mirrored anyway.

>> I have just joined the list and hope to be helping at LinuxWorld. I am
>> a recent user of Kubuntu, having started linux three years ago with
>> suse. I really appreciate the Ubuntu approach and the energetic and
>> friendly efforts to spread the distro.
> What prompted the switch from SUSE to Ubuntu? 

I demo a number of distros, and was originally inhibited by the ubuntu
version(s) 5.10 text based installer, although otherwise I was
attracted by the good community feel of the ubuntu family of products.
When 6.06 appeared with a more gui installer, then I began looking
more seriously. Suse 9.3 through 10.0 is a very comfortable distro,
and has good internet based (and retail pack) support, and I like/d
the corporate feel anyway, with its implication of longevity. Along
with the Ubuntu community positiveness and energy, there is a good
drive to spread Ubuntu. Suse promised a 'lizard blizard' and has made
some moves, but the 5 CDs and the novell licence, although not being
an inhibitor for small scale installs, make it harder to attract a
mass 'spreading' activity, except via more corporate channels. Ubuntu
etc is free by policy. A single CD is very convenient - and a live CD
gives two birds with one stone, and there is windows FOSS things on it
also. The shipit facility and the CD pack is attractive, the pack
design gives a 'retail' feel to things - competing in the realm which
'customers' actually understand. All these aspects are strategic
bullseyes. Oh, and of course, the distro is a good well balanced one.
The updates facility is very competent, while the suse 10.1 updates
facility is getting pretty slow and unattractive, I get an impression
of lack of focus there.

> I started out on that
> (for a brief 5-10minutes before the install died), then Redhat. While
> Ubuntu is far from perfect it certainly doesn't reduce me to despair
> as often as the alternatives! I'm including Windows in that too btw.

I don't count windows. There seem to be a fair % of people
(experienced users) trying to escape it as I did.
Suse is still a comfortable distro to use, and I find pclinuxos very
appealing, although it has not yet gained enough following for support
of newcomers to linux I think, that can take a lot of attention in
support forums.

>> I run (mostly single handed) the Infopoint table at the Bracknell
>> Computer fairs monthly if I am available. The table has rapidly become
>> a defacto Ubuntu Kubuntu distribution point, other distros are not so
>> attractive to newcomers - who are the  main attenders.
> What success do you have handing out CDs 

Around 10 or 15 per day to people who approach and come to discuss
maybe more sometimes.

>and do what sort of feedback
> do you get? It's always good to hear people are having success
> introducing people to OSS

The initial measure is in what they choose - a retail looking pack is
far more attractive than a home made copy with no colour pack. (btw
even colour packs containing home made checked iso burns would be
attractive...). For my part I am glad to reccommend Kubuntu to a
windows escapee because of the basic distro and not least the
community and its obvious promise for the future.

It took me personally a couple of years to start a linux try
seriously, and a couple after that to feel at all confident. Unless
there is a close local group to hold peoples hands, it could take some

I have had few return to discuss it yet, once per month is not close
enough contact to get a feel in a few months, I would like a local
venue to offer a local install fest and club, but  -another story.

> - in many ways the individual stuff is where
> the biggest impact can be had.

I am convinced that is a basic truth, unless linux is pre installed by
dell etc for popular use. I had first hand experience of the then
windows 3.1 being chosen in preference to OS/2 by team leader end
users in direct contravention to a main IT policy in the company. I
had the discomfort to chair the decision, and was visited by our
company heavy gang but the users still won. OS/2 was a better more
stable os and we used it for control systems. The reason for OS/2
unpopularity was simply that all the end users had windows at home!

> Do you get into much post-introduction support?

Not yet locally but I have a small yahoogroup set up awaiting any very
local users who are not yet confident to contact a full LUG (which can
be a bit daunting).  Almost all the computer fair Infopoint activity
so far has been with people who have never really installed linux
(yet) but are encouraged to be actually *seeing* it. I note that these
have decided to investigate a changeed OS first, then come and talk.
Many others are yet uninterested, or have not yet noticed.
alan c

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