Five reasons your parents won’t use Linux (or UNIX)

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.

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3 Responses to Five reasons your parents won’t use Linux (or UNIX)

  1. Miles says:

    Yes – the writer is correct…most parents don’t understand Linux…but, most Linux Developers don’t understand parents or in that fact – the general computer user. How can I say this you say? Well, are you a developer? What is the first a..wipe question out of your arrogant mouth when someone complains the programs they are trying to use — don’t work or won’t work?

    I’ll tell you what it is! “Did you send a bug report?” “Well, why not?” Well, I’ll tell you why not! Duhhhh — because I’m a dumb user and I’m not supposed to know how to fix the television, radio or microwave when it breaks. What’s more – I’m not supposed to have to be able to take my iPod apart or my Blackberry apart in order to fix something that isn’t running on it! How about that answer you moron developers? When was the last time you bought a television that required you to fix the programming switch in it – and you complained? I’ll bet you took it back to the store you bought it from and asked for one that worked – in return….and don’t lie about it.

    So why do Linux developers feel that their product which they didn’t even invent – should be any different than buying any other product? Why is it that Linux developers want the world to use their product – but, expect the dumb users to all be developers like themselves.

    Let’s see here! Huh!!! You are a developer! I am a dumb user! If I could do your job then I wouldn’t need you around would I? What’s more – Windows gets a bad rap for all that it does or when it does it poorly – which is still way less problematic than all the things that Linux can’t do or used to not be able to do – and barely does well enough in this day and age to be used.

    So what that Linux can run Firefox!!! Big Whoopee!!! So can Windows!!! So what if Linux can run MySQL — so can Windows! So what if GIMP runs on Linux — Windows has graphic programs such as Adobe CS that runs circles around GIMP!!! You can barely get Flash to run on Linux. So what if that slow and sometimes not able to unfreeze OpenOffice runs on Linux. It actually runs better on Windows. Until version 3.0 OpenOffice was a nightmare on Linux. Sometimes it ran well and other times not.

    I put Linux out front without a GUI to take a beating from the internet – to provide a shield for my XP boxes and my Windows 2003 servers running production softwares – and yes they are expensive.

    Out front to the internet is where Linux should be because it came from the world that created Cisco Routers and Firewalls and they work just fine without GUI’s.

    Could you imagine running GNOME or KDE on a Cisco Router? That router would almost surely fail – if not from the stupid GUI failures but, from getting hit in their sockets. Linux needs to be kept in the proper work place and that is not on a desktop.

    Linux is a “kernel” and I think people should start acknowledging the fact that they are being sold a bad bill of goods when they think Linux. Linux is getting a Terrible Rap because GNOME and KDE run like crap in a Linux Environment. Quit blaming Linux when it is GNOME and KDE who are at fault.

    So when my XP box has been running for almost 3 years without issue – my 2 Linux boxes with GUI’s have sit there and done nothing because when I try to do things on them – they freeze up or just can’t do the job because of a broken program chain.

    Duh!!! I’m still running Windows 2003 server for almost 3 years without reboot other than doing updates – and the only Linux server I have running that long is a SuSE 7.3 box with a 2.4 kernel – without a GUI. Everything else GNOME and KDE will break and freeze just like Microsoft products do since GLNOME and KDE have gone for the really HUGE GUI’s.

    My first web box was a Slackware 3.1 box and it ran for 5 years until I got sick of looking at my website design…then it became the SuSE 7.3 box without the GUI. I may go back to Slack – it is way faster than openSuSE – even with GUI. The current Slack is extremely fast and stable without a GUI…faster than Sys V that IBM touts…but, then again – you have to be a SysAdmin and not just some ordinary user in order to make it run like a demon!

  2. Miles says:

    So – all computer users are now required by default of the Linux Developer World to go to Linux School in order to become proficient Linux Users! Well, why not become GNOME and KDE users? Linux users work from the command line and the expected masses are supposed to be GNOME and KDE users – but, the Linux Developers who are really GNOME and KDE developers – want the masses to think of themselves as Linux users whereas in fact – almost ALL GNOME and KDE users who are efficient users know barely anything at all about Linux. In fact – almost every GNOME, MacIntosh, KDE user I know of – can cross right over to Microsoft XP or Vista without any problems – and they know basically nothing of DOS, Linux or Unix but, seem to do quite nicely with word processors that work, spreadsheets that can give correct answers, databases that store data properly and make money at using them. Imagine that – making a living from using GUI driven softwares that work and not knowing anything about DOS, Linux or Unix.
    How about let’s start telling the truth about who is what and what is what. GNOME and KDE developers are developers of Linux, DOS and Unix or can crossover from one to another at some point in their careers. Facts are — GNOME and KDE are not Linux! Cheetah and Leopard are not BSD! Windows is not DOS! Linux is no more responsible for bad GUI development than DOS is responsible for Windows development or Unix is for Leopard or Cheetah.

    Point Being::Developers of GNOME and KDE should not be expecting their users to be somewhat developers or very experienced users to the point of fixing the programs and machines they run the programs on. Developers and technicians have jobs to do all this and usually get paid quite well for doing their jobs. Developers need to learn to create their programs that work and work correctly – out of the box and if the computer doesn’t work – then a technician should fix it or replace it. The same with GNOME or KDE — if it doesn’t work out of the box – then replace it or expect a GNOME or KDE Developer to get if fixed right away. When I used to run Helpdesks – I didn’t call Microsoft when something Adobe messed up. No – I called Adobe and they fixed the problems. So why should I have to call Linus Torvalds when GNOME or KDE are misbehaving or why should I have to call GNOME or KDE if KOffice or GIMP is messing up or VLC/VLS or any of the other software? GIMP developers should be held responsible for their creation such as Linux developers are for the kernel and GNOME and KDE developers are for their mishaps. I don’t need GNOME or KDE for a webpage to show up on the internet to a Windows XP/Vista driven box and I can still see all the same colors. In fact – most webservers are GUI-less and the end-user never knows the difference.

  3. lk says:

    Sorry, I’m a parent and I use Linux for the past 12 years. I sometimes run XP as a program under Linux with QEMU. I’m prepared to build systems for schools which will enable them to do a lot more at a lot less — with Linux. Nobody’s interested!

    Then there is a hidden fact: I wrote my first program in SAMOS. I could program in Fortran and somewhat in Cobol before I finished school. I liked Sprint as an editor — I could program it and it could generate postscript.

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