Over at foogazi, Adam wrote about 5 reasons your parents should use Linux.  These are excellent reasons, and I can find nothing wrong with any of them.

However, when I tried to get my mother to use Linux, she eventually brought the Linux system back.

Here are some reasons that she and others won’t be using Linux any time soon:

  1. Linux doesn’t work like the system they use at work (Microsoft Windows, of course).
  2. Linux requires learning something new which they say they can’t do. Either they’ll tell you they don’t have time or they’ll tell you they just can’t learn new things.
  3. The new system (or donated old system) already has Microsoft Windows on it.  It just works, and is something they already know.
  4. Viruses?  Often, they may not use the system all that much, and may even leave it off most of the time.  With proper email and firewall etiquette, they won’t get any viruses.
  5. It doesn’t run the software they want to use.  Virtually everything anybody wants to run will only run on Windows – nobody says “The system must be able to run Firefox” (or The Gimp – or Inkscape – or Thunderbird ….)  Linux won’t run Microsoft Outlook – or Microsoft Project – or Microsoft Excel – (notice a pattern?).

None of these are suitable reasons – but they are what users will tell you.  New adopters, people who like to learn something new, or are technically savvy will have no problems.  Most of these come down to one major complaint: They don’t want to learn something new.  Often times, “hard to use” translates into “doesn’t work like Windows.”

This is really unfortunate, but remains a problem that will not be solved by anything other than actually running Microsoft Windows.  Too bad, really.