[ubuntu-uk] Novell adverts

TheVeech theveech at gmail.com
Wed Mar 28 14:02:26 BST 2007

On Wed, 2007-03-28 at 10:57 +0100, Alan Pope wrote:
> On Wed, Mar 28, 2007 at 09:53:17AM +0100, TheVeech wrote:
> > There seems to be two models of support here: the one found primarily in
> > the proprietary world and that found in the FLOSS one.
> I disagree. In the proprietary world you can pay for support or you can 
> google, use forums, irc and so on. In the free world I outlined all the 
> help-yourself methods, but I neglected to mention the pay-for methods - 
> which *do* exist.

This is essentially what I meant.  I wasn't clear enough.  There is a
difference in emphasis, with more responsibility on users but within a
community in the Linux world.  That's how I see it, anyway.

> > Something more
> > substantial than a leaflet/insert/wallet is needed, since such methods
> > wouldn't be enough to make people aware of how FLOSS support works in
> > the first place and how to get good sources of it, not least because
> > most people just want to just dive in and learn as they go along.
> >
> A leaflet would just tell people where to go to get help if they need it. 
> Not provide help specifically. We dont want to go through the expense of 
> putting printed manuals in a retail box.

Definitely, but I wasn't saying that.  A CD of PDFs and screencasts,
say, targeted at people who aren't that concerned about computing,
caters to a section of people that we may be overlooking.

> > This means that learning materials would have to be more immediately
> > attractive to a wider audience.  For example, a good set of screencasts,
> > arranged well, would stand a better chance than textual documentation.
> > A supplementary CD, packed with instructive media, might be the way to
> > do it (to also compensate for people without net connections).
> > 
> Well we have a screencast team and a big list of screencasts we would love 
> people to make! If they could be supplied on a DVD with the Ubuntu CD/DVD 
> that would be great. Especially so if people could watch it on their telly 
> whilst they install/update/work/play.

I suppose that's an idea, but I know more about printed materials.  It
wouldn't be tough to do some PDFs that compliment any screencasts,
though, and if you think a video CD idea is workable, I don't think I'd
be alone in being more than willing to offer feedback and input.

Something else this highlights is that I, for one, didn't know about
this screencast team.  In fact, I don't know about many of the teams
around Ubuntu.  An instinctive response from within the confines of a
community is that I should have found out if I'm talking about all this.
Another possibility is to question how effectively the different aspects
of Ubuntu is communicated to everyone in a way that they don't find
boring.  Screencasts are pretty helpful, and yet I'll bet that most
users don't know they exist.

> > Personally, I wouldn't mind churning out a few CDs like this, but only
> > in the context of a scheme where a number of us also offer to do
> > installs in our local areas, with new users covering pre-determined (and
> > fair) costs like travel and CDs.
> I don't think it's time efficient for us to be visiting peoples 
> houses/businesses individually as part of Ubuntu-UK to do that. If people 
> want to do that off their own back that's great, and I know a number of 
> small businesses and self employed people do this, which is great. 

You make it sound far more formal than it is.  Besides, why not get a
scheme going?  It certainly doesn't have to be under the umbrella of
Ubuntu-UK.  A team comprised of people from different backgrounds would
probably bring some fresh ideas to the table.  Why don't I do it?  I'm
not an administrator and could do without things like office politics
that you can sometimes find.

How long does an install take when you know how to do it?  A couple of
soaps worth?  Certainly not as long as a movie.  At the moment, I do
this and it isn't all that great - it's pretty easy.  The time isn't so
much spent with setting up the machine, but with setting up the user.  A
beginners' CD would save me and anyone else doing this lots of time and

One concern is just how prevalent is Ubuntu in the UK?  I'd only be
prepared to cover my district, but I've noticed that many LUGS work on a
city and county basis.  What would it take?  2-3 hours a week?  Besides,
these things are self-selecting, so it would depend on how much initial
support could be had on whether it would be a productive move.  The
barrier, I think, isn't time, but social barriers - have we got the
patience and absence of technical snobbery to be able to work with the
public?  Judging from the forums we have, but it isn't always like that.

> I would rather see new users not have to rely on the one person in their 
> area,

No, I'm talking only about the initial install.  After that, the CD,
then the resources it highlights.

> but use the tools and resources available. The support tracker, wiki 
> and so on I have already mentioned.

There's many people who won't get to these for a long time, if ever.
This is what I've found from some of the face-to-face people, anyway.

> This benefits them and everyone else too. If someone asks a question of an 
> individual the only person to benefit there is the person asking the 
> question and hopefully getting the answer. If the question is asked in a 
> forum or in the support tracker it gets recorded, is google-able and 
> referable when others have the same problem.

And I think everyone realises that getting more users can help this, as
can getting them hitting the ground running in these areas.

> I totally understand that some people want hand-holding, but we really 
> should encourage the use of the tools available.

Both are related.  'Hand-holding' or, rather, preparatory materials that
people actually want to use can lead them to comprehend and then make
use of their options better.  No field I know of ignores this process.

> >  I could cover my area easily, and this
> > seems a much more realistic and productive approach for most of us to
> > the question of getting Linux more mainstream...so long as enough people
> > offer to take part.  I can squeeze in a few hours a week
> Think how much more productive those hours would be answering questions 
> online though? A few hours in #ubuntu or on the support tracker - or forums 
> - could yield results that benefit so many people. 

Yes, it could, but face-to-face is a different kettle of fish
altogether, and fills a gap that isn't served online (obviously).
There's a subset of users that haven't reached the stage of IRC, the
tracker, the forums or the documentation.  It's these people I'd like to
see more of a focus on, especially with the usability ground being made
up with Feisty.  Companies like Microsoft had to reach people like this
out of economic necessity.  The imperative for us might not be there

> > and I'm sure
> > others could, too, especially those dreaming of one day blockading PC
> > World!
> >
> I don't know if you're joking,

Yes, I was.

>  but I don't think this is useful. Personally 
> I took part in Software Freedom Day last year. We stood outside PC World in 
> Tottenham Court Road (London) and handed out Ubuntu CDs and leaflets. You'd 
> be amazed how many people a) had heard of it, and b) were willing to try it.

To me, that's a bit bizarre, but different stroke for different folks, I
suppose.  Anything that can have that ripple effect that even one new
user can make helps.

> A London bus driver pulled up at the lights and was handed a CD:-
> Driver: "Is this that replacement for Windows I have heard about?"
> Andy: "Yes! :)"
> :)

It'd be interesting to hear if you followed any of this up with these
people to see how many actually followed it up themselves or were merely
being conciliatory and chucked the disk in the bin when they got home.
Is there a team applying any science to these things?

> > Doing CDs on their own is a bit of a waste of time.  I think a lot of
> > people have got more to offer than being button pushers, and they know
> > it.
> > 
> Not sure what you're saying there.

That people doing CDs isn't making the most of resources, particularly
their experience and knowledge and the community strengths of FLOSS.
Once you've done an install once, it's pretty easy.  Most newbies I come
across find it too daunting a task to even consider, not least because
they don't 'get' FLOSS.  A slick multimedia CD could help.

> > But this is the United Kingdom and, much as I hate to say it, when it
> > comes to community, we're often just not that good at it.
> > 
> So do something to get better :)

Outside of politics, religion and football, that's too tough an ask for
anyone.  We lead the world in pomposity, but community...that's a tough
one ;)

> Cheers
> Al.

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