[conspire] Dapper & Easyubuntu

Edmund J. Biow biow at sbcglobal.net
Tue Dec 5 15:14:59 PST 2006

> Message: 1
> Date: Sun, 03 Dec 2006 17:10:20 -0800
> From: John Andrews <jla1000 at comcast.net>
> Subject: [conspire] Dapper & Easyubuntu
> To: Conspire at linuxmafia.com
> Message-ID: <1165194620.5009.28.camel at localhost>
> Content-Type: text/plain
> pair the broken packages and get eayubuntu to work right?
> PS I decide to nuke mac os 9.2 and install straight Tiger on the old G3
> imac.I'd use Ubuntu but it's for my mother and she doesn't understand
> computer that well.(at all really)Besides I already bought mac Tiger.
> Maybe I can learn about Fink/X11/Open source/XTools/ stuff.There's a lot
> of open source packages available that I never knew about. Gnome,Kde,
> Open Office etc..

Message: 3
Date: Sun, 03 Dec 2006 19:27:58 -0800
From: Daniel Gimpelevich <daniel at gimpelevich.san-francisco.ca.us>
Subject: Re: [conspire] Dapper & Easyubuntu

> If you want to deal mostly with open-source software, people who don't
> understand computers well just don't mix with OS X. In the realm of
> open-source software, no environment is better suited to such people 
> today
> than Ubuntu. NONE.

Linux MAY actually be easier to use but many people are terrified by 
something that hasn't been sanctified by a big corporate household name 
like Microsoft or Mac, and are afraid to even try Linux.  So install 
Ubuntu and tell your mom that it is MacOS XII.  If you don't tell her 
she is using Linux she might not even recognize the difference, and 
hence be a lot less intimidated.

In the last couple of years I've fixed many Windows machines, and, with 
the permission of the owners, I've also set most of them up to dual boot 
some stripe of Linux.  When I've set Linux to load by default I was 
amazed how few people could even tell they weren't using Windows.  I set 
up a machine for a group called the Casa Cuba over at the Niebyl Proctor 
library and the half dozen folks that used it literally all thought they 
were using Windows.  These were smart people, mostly teachers.  Albeit 
the stripe of Linux was the Windowsy Xandros OCE.  I showed them all how 
to choose Windows at boot and told them that by default the machine 
would boot Linux, but none of them seemed to remember.  It also proved 
impossible to get them to grok booting in to different accounts, so they 
always ended up in the guest account that started automatically if no 
one intervened.
Then I got a call from one of them saying they hadn't been able to 
install her copy of Office 2003.  So I set up the box to boot Windows by 
default, transferred over all of their work & changes to that partition, 
and tried to install Office for them.  It wouldn't work because she had 
already installed Orifice on her laptop (though I understand you are 
supposed to be able to install the same copy of Office to both a 
portable computer and a desktop machine).

That was the last time they ever booted Linux.  In a few months I got a 
call saying that they wanted me to take Linux off the machine because 
Windows was behaving erratically, as it has a tendency to do after a 
while.  I told them that Xandros wasn't effecting Windows at all and 
they should boot in to it and continue using Open Office, but they were 
afraid.  They thought it would be too hard and unfamiliar, even though 
they'd already been using it for months.  And these were a bunch of 
socialist lefties who told me they hated Microsoft and liked the 
"notion" of open source software and a gift economy.
In July they said they'd like me to give them another machine that kids 
could use to browse the internet at the library, oh, and by the way, 
could you make sure it is Windows and take Linux off the first machine.  
I told them I'd give them the machine (I work with a group that sends 
donated computers to Latin America), but unless they paid for a Windows 
license it would come with Linux.  I tried to explain that it was much 
easier for me to install Linux.  The basic installation would put all 
the software that they would need on the machine and I wouldn't have to 
install an office suite, antivirus software, a firewall, etc., plus 
update everything and reboot a dozen times.  Plus, it would be much 
easier for me to lock Linux down so their kids wouldn't infect it with 
malware or screw up the OS, and I wouldn't have to come back and fix it 
later.  That's the last I heard from them.

Another guy had a friend format the Linux partition when Windows started 
acting up without even informing me.  I'd spent a fair amount of time 
tweaking the Linux partition to be easy to use and have his email, 
addresses, etc., so I wasn't inclined to go to SF and trouble shoot his 
Windows install after it continued to misbehave.  His friend tried to 
reinstall Windows, but couldn't iron out the bugs so now he has a $600 
ashtray holder.

One friend was slightly more technically proficient, so he'd wait until 
grub showed up and boot in to Windows EVERY time.  I'd ask what was 
wrong with Linux and he said he was just scared, that he thought Linux 
was "too hard."  But he was just using Firefox and Thunderbird in 
Windows, I'd set up the taskbar and panel in KDE to look just like 
Windows. He claimed he would like to try Linux when he "had time" (he's 
retired). In the meantime, whenever he has trouble doing something and 
calls for help my cousin and I both fire up Kubuntu and do what he wants 
done with minimal muss and fuss, but he's still intimidated.  I set up 
Windows to boot by default.

Some folks won't run Linux even if they don't have a choice.  A friend 
of my wife brought be a laptop that she'd hosed by going to too many 
gambling sites, etc.  It was too loaded up with spyware and trojans to 
even boot, so I reinstalled for her, but also stuck Fedora 5 on the 
box.  I told her that I wouldn't be providing any more technical support 
for the Windows side of her box until she dropped AOL and got cheap 
broadband (I mean, she's strapped for cash and she could save $9 a month 
and free up her phone line and she agreed she needed to do this).  I set 
up IE to make an order form for SBC-Yahoo her home page, even.  A month 
ago I got a call saying that Windows was big and blurry and she couldn't 
use it (it had forgotten her video driver some how and was only giving 
her 640x480).  I tried to help but tracking down and installing the 
correct video driver was more than I could coach her through on the 
phone.  She hadn't dropped AOL and I wasn't driving 40 minutes each way 
to Livermore unless I could set up  a shiny new broadband connection at 
the same time, so I told her to boot Linux, which was working fine 
(albeit without an internet connection because of the proprietary 
modem).  As far as I know the laptop is now a paperweight.

Even when Linux handles people's proprietary hardware they won't use 
it.  I reinstalled Windows for a friend after his hard drive crashed and 
put PCLinuxOS on it.  It worked amazingly well (I've never used it on my 
own rig, but have always been impressed with how easy it is to set up 
for others).  It even recognized and configured his crummy Dlink USB 
wireless NIC and was able to hook in to his landlord's broadband (as 
well as his Lucent winmodem).  We went for a walk yesterday, I asked him 
how his machine was.  Windows had started to display quirks.  I asked 
him how the Linux side was behaving, he'd never even booted it.  Why 
would he want to, he asked?  What would it do for him that Windows 
doesn't?  I tried to explain that Linux is more secure and stable and 
since it doesn't need to run a firewall and antivirus services, it is 
actually markedly faster on older hardware like his.  Also, I mentioned 
that Linux was also easier since you don't have to constantly use 
Microsoft Update, patch you AV and spyware scanners, run periodic sweeps 
for trojans and virii, etc.
That argument doesn't work too well since he, like most people, doesn't 
even bother to do that in Windows. And then folks wonder how come they  
keep getting all these popups advertising Prozac and Vxxxxgra whenever 
they turn on their computer.  (I can't use the "V" word or the 
Conspiracy's spam filter will block my post.)

Some people even get huffy when you try to make their Windows install 
more secure.  I reinstalled Windows for one woman and of course, ran MS 
Updates and after about 10 reboots and several hours everything was 
patched and up to date.  Then I got a call asking what I'd done to "her" 
Outlook Express, she couldn't open attachments.  It turns out that one 
of the more recent MS patches disables opening attachments in OE that 
could be dangerous and you have to go in to the options and tweak the 
security settings to see pictures, etc.  I told her to use Thunderbird, 
which I'd also set up (with both email clients configured not to remove 
email from the server for 30 days), but even that was too much change 
for her (and forget about telling her to boot Mandriva 2006).

I've basically decided that if I do install Linux on a separate 
partition in the future, I'm not going to waste my time configuring 
email, bookmarks, boot options, installing extra software, etc. except 
for configuring X and their FSTAB so they can reach their other 
partitions if they want.  I'll just use a distro that has all the evil 
proprietary stuff pre-installed so if they do ever chance to use Linux 
they won't come back to me and say "but I couldn't play my....."  
PCLinuxOS was a good choice, but I understand that they are including 
fewer proprietary options.  I think I'd use Linux Mint, which is 
basically Ubuntu Edgy with all the extras you'd get with EasyUbuntu or 
Automatix2 already installed and working, e.g. plugins, codecs, Java, 
DVD stuff, etc.

If they ever boot in to Linux and are intrigued, I'll come over and help 
customize it for them, but that hasn't happened yet and I don't expect 
that it will happen, at least until Linux offers folks something they 
really want that they can't get with Windows (and security and stability 
are obviously not something they really want).

I'm hoping that once AIGLX & its kin become more mature jiggly windows 
may be that extra incentive.  The only time I've ever seen enthusiasm  
when I've demonstrated Linux to folks upon returning their computers was 
when I showed a bloke Fedora 6 with Compiz.  The cube, translucency, 
zooming in with the scroll wheel and a key, these things seemed to 
really get his attention.  Seeing the computer do things he'd never seen 
before on his new Dell with WinXP seemed to convince him that maybe 
Linux might be more advanced and worth trying.

Like people said in reference to that last election, with Diebold and 
company the Democrats would have to win in a landslide to eak out a 
marginal victory.   Linux is going to have to blow people away to get 
them to even give it a chance.


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