[ubuntu-uk] Leaflets

James Tait james.tait at wyrddreams.org
Tue Jun 19 11:22:46 BST 2007


norman wrote:
> As no one seems inclined to react to my comments I will respond to
> myself.

I didn't notice them.  This is a lively discussion and it probably
slipped by as comments contributing to the discussion rather than an
invitation to respond.

> As one of the longest users of Ubuntu in this group I am curious
> to know why there is all this activity in wanting to produce a leaflet.

I think it's the best, most reliable way to get information and
awareness out there among people who either don't use computers already,
or who do but haven't heard of Ubuntu.

> Is there a real desire to promote the use of Ubuntu and, if so, why?

Yes.  There's a chicken-and-egg thing going on at the moment.  Some
hardware vendors refuse to produce open drivers/firmware for Linux
because they say there isn't the demand.  By growing our user base, we
debunk that myth and also expand the community of people able to help out.

I also think it is essential that computing is accessible to as many
people as possible.  I've recently been looking for a new job, and a few
people have asked me if I have experience with Microsoft Visual Studio.
 I had to explain that it was too expensive for me, and the only way I
had access to Visual Studio was via a summer placement at University.
Otherwise I would have struggled to get any job requiring experience of
Visual Studio, because the only way I could get that experience was in a
job using Visual Studio.

I've also been asked a lot for a Microsoft Word version of my CV.  I had
to explain that I maintain it in HTML, which is readable on any computer
with a web browser -- even my mobile phone can be used to view my CV --
because I value open standards.  I was even told by one agency that MS
Word is a standard format and had to explain that no, actually, it's not.

> Who do you expect to be interested enough to even give Ubuntu a try?

I imagine anyone who needs to use a computer would be interested in free
software that doesn't try to restrict how you use it and forces you to
pay to upgrade when your current version does everything you need it to,
just because everyone else has.

> What is your personal motive in all this activity to produce a leaflet?

See my second comment above.  It would be remiss of me not to also state
that I intend to try and make money offering paid-for support amongst
other things, but my primary objective is to spread the word and expand
the community -- people won't come to pay me for support they can get
elsewhere, so I'm not expecting a free ride.

> How, why and when did you start using Ubuntu and which operating system
> were you using before conversion?

My wife started using Ubuntu before I did.  She's non-technical, but
wanted a computer for browsing the web, sending/receiving e-mail,
talking to me at work via instant messaging, managing her business
accounts and producing letters, quotes and invoices.  I got hold of an
old machine for free, with an AMD K6-2/550 and 256MB RAM, but no hard
drive and no software.

I'd originally got her on Red Hat 7.1, but I got pretty frustrated with
it, particularly the RPM package manager.  I was using Debian unstable
on my desktop and a couple of servers and was impressed by apt, but
didn't consider Debian either stable enough (duh!) or friendly enough
for my wife.  So when the first Ubuntu Live CD came out (Breezy, in
October 2005?), I got her to try it out for a week or so.  She liked it,
apart from the fact that it was so slow, so I installed it for her.  Her
machine has since been upgraded to a 933MHz Celeron and runs Dapper just

I was still running Debian unstable on my desktop when I bought a new
laptop with Windows XP Pro X64.  I even booted XP a couple of times.
But for most of the first couple of months, I used Ubuntu from a Live
CD, until I eventually decided to go ahead and install it.

> What makes you believe that your knowledge and experience qualifies you
> to produce a leaflet?

You will note that so far, I haven't produced anything.  I merely poked
the hornet's nest, so to speak, after Alan Pope had originally made the
suggestion.  However, I do have around 10 years' experience using
Linux-based operating systems on desktops and servers, as well as
providing support to friends and family for a wide range of computer
problems, so I have a reasonable idea of the types of problems "normal"
people tend to come across.

> There is no compulsion, of course, for you to respond to the above and I
> shall not feel hurt if you don't. Unless there is a good reason for me
> to say more I am now finished with the subject. The best of luck and
> stick with it if it makes you feel good.

One of the things I've been most impressed and heartened by in this
discussion is the collaboration.  The community, in my opinion, is one
of the major benefits that Free software, and Ubuntu in particular,
offers to people.  Free, open discussions, bouncing ideas back and
forth, comments and suggestions have led to some very professional
looking results in a short period of time.  Yes, it makes me feel good
and yes, I will be sticking with it.


James Tait, BSc                        |    xmpp:jayteeuk at wyrddreams.org
Programmer and Free Software advocate  |       VoIP: +44 (0)870 490 2407

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