My first post to our groups mailing list

Mark Sisley msisley at
Mon Mar 12 15:12:23 GMT 2007

Hello all :)

My name is Mark Sisley and I just joined the list. I'm from 
Palmetto/Bradenton/Sarasota area (in descending order, in hoping 
that you'll recognize one of the former), but am at UF in 
Gainesville for college. I idle in the ubuntu-fl room as Mark007.

While I just joined the list yesterday, I was looking through the 
archives, and would like to respond to Mike's message.

>> Edubuntu is the "educational operating system"; promote it as
>> "educational software" that makes learning fun for the "kids".  
>> I have
>> been looking at this distribution as a gateway into the household
>> computing market.

This is an excellent idea. I had never thought of the merit of 
marketing to parents about Edubuntu. I had always thought of it as 
something for schools to use in teaching students. Kudos for the 

>> So you just let them know that they can keep windows and have 
>> this great
>> "educational software" too. All they have to do is pick which 
>> one they
>> want to use when they turn their computer on.
>> Note: Forget terms like "dual-boot" or other things that will 
>> scare
>> them.

This, however I feel a little differently about. When I first read 
this post yesterday, I thought, "That's a pretty good idea." 
However, pulling the wool over someone's eyes like that is 
dangerous for several reasons. First, and most importantly, we can 
never be entirely certain that (edu/x/k)ubuntu will work on a 
particular set of hardware. Just yesterday I was about to install 
Edgy on a computer at home, but was completely unable to get 
xserver to start when loading the live cd. Turns out, there are 
some problems with ATI video cards that I was unaware of in that 
particular version of xserver. While it may be fixed in 7.04, the 
case still stands that somehow, somewhere ubuntu will not work on 
someone's hardware. If you market it as software and something 
comes up like X not starting, uninformed users will worry that 
they've screwed up their computer and won't have the slightest 
idea how to get around.

I'm trying to formulate exactly what I mean clearly. I was going 
to state a second reason as being potential problems with 
partitioning and the bootloader, but ubiquity has really done a 
lot to remove those for the most part. However, I just don't think 
it's right to pull the wool over people's eyes and market this 
completely as educational software. Fact is, it's linux. Say the 
user wants to uninstall this piece of software; what do you tell 
them? There's no autouninstall feature for ubuntu so that the user 
can get their hard drive space back. What gives? It's simply 
dangerous catering to a completely uninformed audience.

Having said that, I'm going to take it all back. Sort of, at least 
:) I don't know if you all have heard of the install.exe project, 
but it's quite interesting 
( I had a friend 
try it, and it didn't really work too well so I wouldn't advise 
using it till it's stable, but this has the potential to offer 
something that _would_ have an uninstall process. I'm not sure how 
they would implement uninstalling the boot loader that is 
installed, but maybe if they could have some way of replacing the 
windows bootloader, then that particular facet of the problem 
could be solved.

Essentially, the idea is that NTFS writing is safe only so long as 
you don't change the file size of the file you're writing. So, if 
you create an ubuntu file while in windows, you can then modify 
the file in ubuntu. You just have to give ubuntu xGB of space to 
work with in the first place. Now, all of the problems involving 
drivers and hardware problems would still apply, but it is 
remarkably less intimidating and daunting than the prospect of 
repartitioning or reformatting your hard drive (if your hard drive 
has errors, then it won't be resized for the ubuntu install - this 
was the case for me - I had to completely remove windows and start 
over again, and that kept me from ubuntu for a while).

So, in essence, the gist of my meaning is that we really can't 
market it as something that simple. There's too much that could go 
wrong, and it would then be hard to justify our actions. However, 
I have no qualms with marketing the product in new ways. I just 
don't want to pretend that there is no risk involved to those less 
informed than linux geeks :)

Hopefully that's not too many words <grin>


More information about the Ubuntu-us-fl mailing list