xubuntu-devel Digest, Vol 99, Issue 16

raleigh rivers raleigh75 at bellsouth.net
Sun Dec 15 16:39:20 UTC 2013

On 12/14/2013 12:59 PM,

  Richard Elkins<richard.elkins at gmail.com>

> I have converted neighbors and family members to home-PC-Linux since
> 2003, lately exclusively to Xubuntu.  They were all non-computer-tech
> people with various levels of experience and education.  My simple
> approach (like an interview):
Linux may be easier to sell to non-techies. I've actually had an uphill 
climb with affluent, high-tech users. It seems impossible to persuade 
them of anything. They either see the merit right before their eyes or 
they don't. Force of habit is an extremely strong influence. A lot of 
very intelligent people in the middle class and above would rather pay 
$1000 - $10000 in additional costs, over the course of a lifetime (a 
cost they consider peanuts), using Windows products rather than learn 
Linux once.

>    * During the migration, stored data must be backed up from Windows and
>      restored to the new Linux system.
>    * Learn a new desktop and set of programs.  Essentially, learn how to
>      go find things one uses and operate, in general, in a different
>      manner.  Change is always a pain.  Intelligence and curiosity
>      helps.  People locked into habits will probably not succeed.

Well, the force of habit is also strong in otherwise in intelligent and 
curious people. There has to be something to motivate them to change. I 
have been corresponding with a strong player in my online chess club, 
and he doesn't like Windows 8, but he sticks with it anyway. His 
perception of Linux remains at "difficult to use" and "technical 
problems" and nothing I say will ever persuade him otherwise. He's used 
to the OS and programs he likes and would not change for any amount of 
money saved or any security consideration. Affluent people don't seem to 
mind paying whatever they have to pay to keep doing things the way they 
are used to doing them and the way they think is mainstream and wise.

> Potential large hurdles:
>    * Gamers and XBox owners.  I said "potential".  If this is a teenager,
>      you can try to sell them about the rebellious open source
>      community!  (-:
Good luck with that ;-)
They might like the fact they can download and try a lot of games for 
free. I know when I was a teenager, I didn't have much money at all. I 
often tried free or low-cost games.

>    * Migration of Microsoft Office to LibreOffice - Fortunately, the
>      Microsoft Word-documents, Powerpoint-presentations, and
>      Excel-spreadsheets are normally converted without too many issues;
>      some will probably require some manual cleaning up.  The big
>      obstacle here is the Visio drawing tool.  There isn't a way that I
>      could find to convert their drawings to be imported by `dia` or
>      other Linux drawing tools.  Mine too.
I've heard that Microsoft Office can be installed via Wine, so that may 
be a potential solution here. A lot of people have Microsoft Office 
install DVD's.

I should tell you guys that I had difficulty installing Wine on Xubuntu 
13.10. There was an error during installation (I did click "Report to 
Ubuntu"). However, when I checked Wine on Ubuntu Software Sources again, 
the "Installed" indicator was there. I have never used Wine before, by 
the way. The Windows programs I like do not run on Wine.

My theory is that possibly a temporary hiccup in the Internet was to 
blame, or perhaps the fact that I have tmpfs-ed my /tmp directory, which 
Eero Tamminen on this list believes may cause problems, and he could be 
right about that in certain scenarios. I suspect that Ubuntu Software 
Sources makes heavy use of /tmp. I like having tmpfs for /tmp, because I 
have 4 gigs of RAM. However, Ubuntu online documentation recommends 
using tmpfs for /tmp at least in cases where an SSD drive is being used.

>    * Outlook mail/calendar/etc. - I converted myself a long time ago by
>      doing a lot of Windows and Linux programming which effectively moved
>      me from Outlook to Yahoo almost-equivalents.  I don't recommend this
>      approach.  This is probably an individual by individual solution,
>      assuming there is one for a given individual (no other stumbling
>      blocks).

Unfortunately, many non-techie users use their browsers to access email. 
It is a pernicious habit that ISPs have sold them upon, because from the 
point of view of a business, you want to drive your customer away from 
mail readers and onto your web site, where you can pitch products and 
services. From the point of view of a virus, a non-techie checking email 
via browser is an easy target for infection.

Yahoo requires a subscription to use a mail reader, unless you are using 
your ISP address. Gmail supports mail readers for free. I use Thunderbird.

I don't feel that editing messages on this list is easy for me, because 
the quote indicator ( "|" ) along with the indentation tends to 
disappear if I happen to delete the wrong space. Also, quoted text 
always is introduced by the Xubuntu mailing list address, which I 
replace with the individual to whom I am replying. I do not know how to 
restore the quote indicator other than by Ctrl-Z to undo changes I made. 
That is not always convenient. In some cases, I may resort to typing the 
old-school quote indicator, ">".

 >>>* Photoshop to The Gimp? Photoshop is very complex to operate and so 
is the Gimp. I could not find a way to migrate one artist (my daughter) 
from Windows to Linux because of this single issue (she is already a 
Firefox and LibreOffice user).

Photo management and editing is an issue with Linux. The Gimp has a very 
unusual user interface. Some people seem to have grown accustomed to it. 
I use programs like gthumb or Ristretto to manage small numbers of 
photos in Linux. When I need to edit photos or manage a large 
collection, I go to my Windows PC. Another indispensable Windows program 
in my view is Call Clerk, which screens unwanted callers. I know a lot 
of people would love to have that on their cell phones, but I don't know 
whether Rob has a cell phone app out yet. I use it on my landline and 
run a PC 24/7 to screen my calls. I don't know whether Call Clerk will 
run via Wine on Linux. It's possible. The main dependency is .NET. The 
wineapps web site gives no indication. One day, I may try running Call 
Clerk via Wine in Linux.

 >>>>Everyone that I have converted said it was worth the effort because 
Linux is an excellent financial deal. All have gained a new respect for 
open source in general. Me too. Richard

Affluent users are a harder sell. They don't care Linux is free. I have 
an uphill climb with anybody with a fat wallet. They understand they pay 
more for Windows, but they think "you get what you pay for." With Linux, 
they are afraid of the unknown. They expect technical problems. They 
expect program incompatibility. They think they will be dependent upon 
you (the techie) for support. They think it's a trap. I think Linux has 
more appeal to people that want to save money, those who are willing to 
invest a little bit of time (and it is a little, actually) to save money 
and have a more secure system customized to their needs.


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