[ubuntu-za] Karma vs Windows 7

Adrianna Pinska adrianna.pinska at gmail.com
Mon Oct 26 15:43:13 GMT 2009

On Mon, Oct 26, 2009 at 4:25 PM, Charl Wentzel
<charl.wentzel at vodamail.co.za> wrote:
> I have been very successful with simple word-of-mouth marketing, which I
> still believe is the best approach... for now at least.  I'm always
> afraid of creating such a big buzz that you have too many people with
> "unrealistic" expectations trying it out and being disappointed.  That
> would be far worse than reaching just a few people.

I agree with Charl.  I think it's good to tell people about Ubuntu,
but pushing it on people that you and the community can't support
adequately is likely to do more harm than good.

What are you actually trying to achieve?  To induce someone to install
Ubuntu for a day?  You can do that by compromising their box while
they're in the bathroom. :P  If you want someone to try using Ubuntu
seriously, you can't oversell it with cheap marketing tricks.  You
can't pretend that it will magically work just like Windows, never
give them any trouble and require no learning whatsoever.

If people don't have a realistic understanding of what a switch to
Linux offers them and what the tradeoffs are, they're going to get
frustrated and annoyed when they encounter an unexpected issue, and
this will most likely put them off trying it again in the future.

A big issue is support -- as someone else pointed out, Windows is
mainstream, and most people know someone who can help them with it.
If you recommend Linux to someone, you will probably become their
first line of tech support if they go for it -- are you willing to
devote time to help every person you persuade to switch?  You can
introduce them to mailing lists and google, but this will only work if
the person is someone who is willing to learn how to help themselves
(see overselling above).  If you do an install-and-run on someone who
isn't, they will not be very impressed.

I certainly hope that within the next few years Linux will at least
catch up to OSX in the alternative personal OS race, at which point
some of these problems will be lessened.  But we are not there yet.

Paradoxically, I think granny users are not the ones you need to worry
about.  People who use their computer for a very limited range of
tasks, and follow instructions that you wrote down for them every
time, can probably be switched to a different OS with the least drama.
 Just change the written-down instructions.  And if this is the first
OS granny is trying, there isn't even a switching issue.  It's people
who consider themselves sufficiently tech-savvy to try doing new
things with their computer by following instructions they found
somewhere on the internet, but who are insufficiently experienced to
be able to debug errors or understand the difference between operating
systems or mail clients, who are the most likely to have problems.

~ Registered Linux User #334504 ~
"If ignorance is bliss, then knock the smile off my face."

More information about the ubuntu-za mailing list