robinmenneer at gmail.com
Fri May 4 12:18:56 BST 2007
On 5/4/07, Mark Harrison <Mark at ascentium.co.uk> wrote:
> Ian Pascoe wrote:
> > One question that's been missed off all of this valuable discussions is:
> > "Why should I try this Linux thingy?"
> PROLOGUE - I'm going to be contentious.
> I ought to explain that TheVeech and I exchanged emails offlist last
> night, in which we agreed that a bit of "violent discussion" would both
> lead to a better result than any individual could come up with AND
> hopefully spark contributions from people who have sat on the sidelines.
> BTW - if you want to carry on sitting on the sidelines and just reading,
> that's absolutely fine with me. However, I do find that many more people
> say nothing because they (wrongly) don't believe that they know enough
> than say things when they they are actually misunderstanding the issues.
> We generally get to better answers if more people join in.
> On that basis, if you all join in to tell me I'm wrong in what I'm
> writing below - that's FANTASTIC - it's the kind of thing I can use to
> improve my understanding and arguments in the future.
> MAIN ACT - I don't like "free" as a selling point unless I'm talking to
> someone where I know I have a minimum of 5 minutes to run through the
> "Free" works very well in a longer format, like the recent BBC radio
> programme mentioned on the list a week or so ago.
Free means to me no cost and I repeat my reasons for abandoning Apple mac:
Ubuntu is reliable, free and friendly. Much of the expansion of Ubuntu
will be where the threat offutu cost matters. Other more exotic meanings of
free are swept up in the concepts of reliable and friendly. Home computer
owners appreciate these 3 reaons more easily than corporate bodies.
However, in a "moment of truth", one of the hardest problems to overcome
> is what happens to potential users when you mention the word "free", and
> most people will make a "snap decision" inside a ludicrously short
> period of time, rather than bothering to listen to the arguments.
> When most people hear the "free" word, they think "zero cost":
> So for people thinking about an existing PC, it's a non-issue. They
> already have a copy of an O/S and continuing to use that is "free" in
> the money sense. The "no money" issue only applies if people were
> thinking of changing to Vista  or thinking of getting a new PC 
> Note 1: I suspect that another few months of horror stories about people
> who try to upgrade from XP to Vista will stop people wanting to do that.
> Note 2: Oh for a UK "household name" manufacturer who could ship Ubuntu.
> See other thread(s) about why we need to keep the pressure on Dell to
> offer this in the UK as well as the States AND why we need to make
> D*&mned sure that the price of a PC with Ubuntu is less than the price
> of a PC with Vista.
> The problem with saying "free" and meaning "freedom" is that you then
> have to explain the difference. There are two issues that arise with this:
> Firstly, some people get put off and think "that you're deliberately
> misusing words", and all the other things that _I_ get accused of :-)
> Secondly, most people aren't programmers, and therefore don't understand
> (short of a long conversation) why freedom to modify source code is
> overall good for them EVEN IF THEY THEMSELVES NEVER DO IT.
> Most people think "I'm not a programmer, I'm never going to change the
> code, so it's of no benefit to me" rather than "Because lots of
> programmers can see what's really going on, the total community of
> skilled people available to fix bugs and add new features is far bigger
> than any single company, even one as big as Microsoft, could ever afford."
> Personally, I always like tables that say "When should you use X, when
> should you use Y" that deliberately come up with circumstances when
> using a competitor's product is better - they come over as honest (even
> if they are always self serving.)... and you also make the reasons to
> use the competitor sound very niche.
> Why Linux?
> - It's stable - most of the world's web servers and email servers run
> Linux because it crashes much, much less.
> - It's more secure - Linux was developed with a sophsticated security
> model from the ground up, and Ubuntu applies a set of defaults that mean
> that, even if a user clicks on a virus by mistake, they won't make it
> infect the PC. (As an aside, most viruses are written to only work on
> Windows - because it's a lot easier to write a virus that attacks
> - There are a huge number of applications specifically designed to work
> together. In the Windows world it's very easy for a programmer to write
> one program that accidently causes another program to stop working. On
> Linux, because of the way that the code used to write programs is almost
> always available, it's very, very hard for a program to have these
> problems. Indeed, one of the things the Ubuntu community does is
> specifically check that things won't interfere with each other before
> they are included in a distribution.
> Why Windows?
> - At the moment, more PC vendors ship machines with Windows
> pre-installed than have Linux as an option. (However, many small local
> manufacturers offer Linux - it tends to be the big US multinationals
> that are pro-Microsoft, and Dell have recently started shipping Linux as
> an option, though today that's only available in the US.)
> - Some applications are written to only work on Windows. In most cases
> (email, web browsers, spreadsheet, word processing, audio editing, video
> editing, blogging, web-site creation) there are either versions that run
> on Linux, or Linux alternatives that work as well. However, quite a few
> Games are only available for Windows, so if you're a hardcore gamer,
> then you may be better buying an £800 Windows "gaming specification" PC
> than a £300 Linux "work, homework and web browsing PC".
> - If you use NTL cable broadband in some areas, then only Windows
> software will be provided. It is possible to get this working with
> Linux, but quite fiddly and you may need to find a local linux user to
> help (there are Linux user groups in all parts of the UK.)
> - If you are on a company email system that uses the Microsoft
> "Exchange" server, then this is designed to work with Windows only. If
> you use email from the likes of Google, AOL, Hotmail, Virgin or the like
> - these email servers actually run Linux (though they do work with
> Windows machines.)
> Reasons why you could you use either?
> - Linux and Windows both run "OpenOffice.org" - an application that can
> edit "Word, Excel and Powerpoint" files.
> - Both surf the web equally well. Indeed, the Firefox web-browser,
> originally written for Linux, has now been made available for Windows.
> This includes audio and video playback, as well as things like "Flash"
> and "Ajax" that some websites use for more sophisticated effects.
> - Audio-editing, graphics and video-editing packages are available for
> each. Generally, the Windows versions cost a few hundred quid and the
> Linux versions are free.
> Reasons why you should "pirate" a copy of Windows instead of using Linux?
> - Because you like breaking the law and being prosecuted.
> ubuntu-uk at lists.ubuntu.com
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