[ubuntu-uk] Research Required

Nigel Verity nigelverity at hotmail.com
Sun Jan 2 13:01:36 UTC 2011

Dear All


It's been very interesting to read
comments about my description of setting up Ubuntu for a non-techie
Windows user. It's very hard to disagree with any of the points
raised, both for and against.

My overall view, reflected in the
approach I took, is that the overwhelming majority of Linux users are
attracted primarily by the practical benefits, The underlying
philosophy of open source software is very important, but if the
software wasn't any good we wouldn't use it. For the average Windows
user there is no affinity with their software at any level. It's
simply what is on their computer when they buy it. Once they become
familiar with Windows it is simply the way computers work.

When there is a major software problem
that can only be resolved by reinstallation of the OS, they don't bin
the whole computer and buy a Mac, they go out and, if necessary, buy
another copy of Windows. This only serves to further enhance
Microsoft's revenues and market dominance.

The great strength of Linux over the
Mac is that it provides a real alternative to Windows without the
need to buy new hardware. This is an advantage that we should build
upon. I fully accept the point that presenting Ubuntu as an
"alternative" to Windows can be taken as presenting Windows
as the benchmark, but I'm not so sure that's a bad thing, when we
know it's a benchmark that Ubuntu can beat in so many areas.

To "sell" Ubuntu on any kind
of philosophical basis is a waste of time when addressing Windows users. Although I am a self-confessed geek, I really only
came to Ubuntu after finally having enough of 5 minute boot-ups and
regular system lockups with Windows. My embracing of the FLOSS
concept followed later. We need to acknowledge that many users don't
even recognise the distinction between a computer and the OS. They
just want their computer to work reliably and securely, and do the things they want
it to do. Ubuntu should do all it can to make the transition for
Windows users as simple as possible. If that means having an optional
UI that is very much like Windows, so be it. Once you've got Ubuntu
onto the computer, the user will inevitably tinker around and
discover the UI flexibility offered by Gnome, Xfce, KDE, etc. By
then, of course, if Ubuntu is really as good as we believe it is, the
user will be a convert anyway. 


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