Friday, December 12, 2008

Is Linux ready for the average user? My wife thinks so

In the beginning, as we all know, Linux was an OS that was limited to those of us who had the time and patience to spend all night getting things to work. As the OS has progressed the user friendliness of the OS has increased dramatically. Now here we sit on the cusp of 2009 and there are numerous mainstream vendors such as ASUS, Dell, and HP offering pre-loaded Linux desktops and laptops, which brings me to my story.

My wife has been asking me for a small form laptop that she can use to access the Internet, check e-mail, type some documents, look at some pictures and listen to some music, which is what most average users do. Up until now small form laptops were very expensive but products such as the ASUS eeePC brought the price down to levels I was willing to pay. I actually purchased an ASUS eeePC for my wife but quickly sold it, another post for later, and purchased a Dell Mini 9 as soon as I saw the ad on the Dell web site.

Now to say that my wife is computer challenged is putting is nicely. She has killed more than a few of my computers over the years, mostly Windows. So it was with some trepidation that I ordered her Dell Mini 9 with Ubuntu. I have been an Ubuntu users for almost 2 years now so I felt confident the OS had matured to the point that I could get my wife using it without too much problem. So I took the plunge and ordered the PC.

We have had the Dell Mini 9 now for about 3 weeks. I set the PC up for her, added the Japanese character input as my wife is Japanese, set the OpenOffice default type to .doc so she can send docs to her friends, and set up the network printer and then let her have at it. In the 3 weeks we have had the laptop she has not had one single complaint. Everything works just fine.

So is Linux ready for the average user. My wife sure thinks so and if I can get my wife to use Linux without complaint, I can get anyone to use Linux.

70 comments:

Alan said...

Loved the article. My wife is almost computer illiterate too. So when she was having problems with a virus about 8 months ago, I decided to wipe it and install Linux Mint 5 on her aging Dell laptop (about 7 years old). I couldn't put all the bells and whistles on there, but she has yet to complain. I think it's safe to say that Linux has matured nicely to be used by everyday people ..... although not all distros are like that.

SHANKHONEER CHAKROVARTY said...

Every user wants to install by clicking they fear terminal,once linux distros get a one click update and installer(ubuntu has GDebi) I can bet 1000 bucks nobody going to windows.

Devine said...

This opinion will only grow as long as people keep spreading this word and overwriting the common misconception.

Also, it would bloody well help if manufacturers would stick to mainstream distros like Ubuntu so that people can find support and they should bloody well just work.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Linux is ready for the average user who has someone there to set the whole thing up and troubleshoot when there are problems. When you can hand your wife a Linux PC and have her take it from there I'll buy your argument. I run Mac OS X, XP and Linux (Mandriva 2009 currently), and of the 3 the only one I have to work to use is Mandriva. I'm not saying its not worth it, only that the average user will not be willing to do the work. Yes, Windows especially requires work also, but running virus scans and os updates is not as complicated as using a CLI to get your video or sound card to work. Linux has come a very long way since I started using it in 1998 (MKLinux on the mac), but I have yet to use any distro that's "there" yet.

Anonymous said...

I also have my wife running linux. She has dell 2400 left from college and was tired of it crashing (windows) all the time. Didn't want to shell out the money to buy a new laptop so pulled out a linux mint 5, since it is ubuntu based, and has good codec and multimedia support, and slapped it on there. She loves it, works her ipod with banshee, she likes how she can plug any device such as printers, cameras, etc, into it and they all work. Only thing that doesn't have her convinced is OpenOffice, but thats because she uses advanced features of Microsoft Office. More than just a check book balancing i guess. Like all the crazy formulas and such... Anyway, Later!

penguiniator said...

I've had the same experience more than once. When people say it isn't ready, it is nearly always someone who wasn't able to use it themselves and generalises their experience to everyone else.

Free Man said...

This proves that M$ is no more required. :D
How wonderful this world of computing will be, when people around the globe can get their hands on free and open source software. I'm dreaming about that day. Hope it'll arrive soon.

viva la linux

Anonymous said...

My wife was the last holdout in my household too. After her last XP install died of natural causes (ie. Slowed down for no valid reason), I installed Arch Linux on her machine. Converted all her mail to the server (also Arch) via imap and configured her desktop for her. It was met with initial trepidation but just yesterday she came to be absolutely wrapped that she had figured out how to organise her contacts the way she likes them in kontact. She now knows her way around and loves that fact that every time she turns it on it's just the way it was last time she turned it off. No slower. She is not at all computer savvy either so it just goes to prove that if someone puts in the effort to build the machine for them, any non techo user can use Linux and will likely love it as well.

Have done the same for family friends with teenage kids that could destroy a windows install in hours. Used to get weekly support calls for help! "What does this error mean? What should I do, accept or deny?" What a crock. Windows is THE most unfriendly OS on the planet to anyone with less than a degree in computing. I haven't had a support call from those people in overn 8 months. The only calls I do get are to tell me just how well it is going with this wonderful thing called Linux, followed by amazement that the paid for Windows desktop is as terrible as it is.

Linux is not only ready, it's better than anything on offer from Microsoft.

Cheers

Anonymous said...

What the success of ASUS compated to some of the others shows us, is that Linux IS ready and will be a commercial success, but in order to do so, the OEMs must support it properly.
1) It is no good offering it as the flavour of the month and then dumping it as soon as Microsoft cuts a deal to ditch Linux (a la Lenovo), and
2) it is no good just grabbing hardware and slapping on a distro downloaded from the Internet without proper driver, troubleshooting/diagnostics, and corrupted OS recovery(eg. ASUS unionFS) support.

An OEMs credibility in terms of long term support for the product is essential for sales success, and any OEM that undermines this its credibility by using any of the dodgy trading practices 1) and 2) described above to sell its products, will damage its sales and future reputation.


to market without this assurance will not be able to sell its products.

Anonymous said...

I have been using linux for 8 years.I an a nontechy grandmother that just got tired of reformat C.i used mandrake/mandriva till last year and tried edubuntu so my grandkids could see how they liked it.It just runs with very few problms,the kids enjoy telling teachers having computer problems that they dont see that problem in linux.rofl.i dont mind reading nor asking for help and appreciate that the people giving help do NOT get paid for that in chat rooms.LIG groups are especially helpful for when you are totally stumped also.
br3nphytedis

Anonymous said...

Someone (an anonymouse) above commented "When you can hand your wife a Linux PC and have her take it from there I'll buy your argument." See, though, that's never going to happen. Linux may be wonderful, but it's never going to be able to work out of the box for everyone. It's gotten close enough for the mainstream computer user, though, by far.

But, then what's the point in that? Ubuntu 8.10 is so easy to set up and get ready for a user such as the blogger's wife. I can't tell you how many installations I've done for family and friends, and once I get the drivers and ubuntu-restricted-extras all ready to go, there's really nothing left but making sure everything works properly.

Compare that to Windows. OEM installs may be nice and pretty well featured these days, but a fresh install of any Windows installation is far more work than any major Linux distro these days.

Again, some things won't work out of the box; that's what you call a computer, and these things happen. They happen in Windows too (Mac not so much because they're a hardware vendor, not a software vendor). Ever tried getting a Creative sound card working in Vista 64-bit?

As for your comment on Mandriva, 2009 really is not a release you should be basing your argument on. That one was not ready for prime-time, and Mandriva knew it. You should be looking at Ubuntu, OpenSUSE, MEPIS, or PCLinuxOS if you want a distro that just works.

-Nobody Important

Anonymous said...

well its great that your wife doesnt have any problems with the machine. But to generalise that 'linux' is ready for the 'average user' based soleley on her experience is pretty naieve. I spend a lot of time on various computer forums (4000+ posts so far this year) and I can tell you that 'Linux' is far from being ready for the 'average user'. Even when talking about very user-friendly distros like the various ~Buntus, there are still numerous instances where people with no experience of command line (Ie, what I would call an 'average user') have to type in a set of case-sensitive arcane commands to get various hardware working. Driver support is still hit and miss (probably the biggest criticism I would have over Linux's general useability) and while the Terminal is still a necessity, its a long way from being a breeze for the non computer-savvy.

Peterichardson said...

i had no idea linux was so easy (if you have someone (like your spouse) set it up for you)

im a mac user, but its good to see that people still have good heads on their shoulders to cut the crap with microsoft until MS can get rid of their bloatware.

Anonymous said...

Loaded my wife's computer up about a year ago with Ubuntu. She's been fine, didn't really even see much of a difference from XP.

Anonymous said...

I've been hearing that various flavors of unix were going to be taking over from MicroSoft since the days of MS DOS. Still waiting...

Anonymous said...

mark my words... linux will grow in popularity. as it does, more viruses will be created for it and it will become just like windows.

windows is a target for viruses because it is the most popular os. for a virus to be greatly successful it needs to reach the most users; hence, windows.

if linux becomes as popular, the same will happen. i love linux, i swear by it. however, it is a fact of life. hopefully there will be some advancements in software security and may be this can be mitigated.

Anonymous said...

by the way, i'm sorry for sounding cliche and pompous.... you dont have to "mark my words". Take it for what it's worth (i'm a humble software engineer).

M Raza said...

Unless YOUR wife is 50 years old, it doesn't matter if she can use Linux or not!

IF an average 50 year old can use Linux without any problems THEN it is ready for the average user.

Anonymous said...

I really can't relate to these testimonials.

13 months ago I installed ubuntu for Uni work and it was problematic from the start: video staying in 640x480 (or 800x600, can't remember), wireless not working, sound not working, ...

After a while I got the hang of it, but then I had done so much work on it (developing software for my master's thesis) that I didn't have the choice of switching back to windows. The reason why I wanted to switch back was that after a medium-size update (which happens regularly) things got broken, mostly wireless and sound. No sound: can live with that, but no wireless ... it starts to get ridiculous if you find yourself firing up windows to look on forums for solutions.

But then I started typing my thesis in OpenOffice. Don't know about the situation now (5 months later) but it was hell to get formulas right, and the spellcheck doesn't work for all languages (didn't write it in english).

These were the major reasons I dumped linux, minor reasons include lack of flash-support in the browser, lack of hardware acceleration for the video-card and a hard-disk that crashed because of a bug in linux that makes the HDD sleep. Another drawback - but this is subjective -
is the arrogance by the Linux fanbase, in most cases they pointed out to me that it's my fault or that of the hardware in the laptop, not linux.

My conclusion: yes, it's free, but the time you'll put in into getting it configured and maintain it after updates costs hours - I settle for Microsoft.

Tom said...

I was generally a Windows user, but brave enough to try XP 64 Pro. One day It started having a strange network performance problem which did not seem to have a solution. So, I installed Ubuntu 8.04 on another hard drive and ran it for a while.

Now, here comes the problem with Linux - Apple products. I bought an iPhone and the latest iTunes does not work in Linux (Wine). Also, found out it won't support the iPhone in XP 64. Oops. What to do - upgrade to Vista, scrounge the net for a 32-bit XP or spend some money and get a Mac.

As I'm a software developer, I opted for the Mac. This allows me to play with developing apps for the iPhone.

However, I felt that Ubuntu was a good Windows replacement. It just doesn't run some apps that are necessary for some hardware. Older versions of iTunes work with Wine as long as you have an older iPod.

Thomas Traynor said...

My wife made the switch over several years ago. She was tired of that 'other' O/S and the problems. I would average several calls a week and now it is maybe once a month. My daughter prefers Linux over windows as it plays the games she likes without crashing. Last year our daughter wrote a letter to Santa and we didn't show her how to open OpenOffice, we asked her how and she said 'Easy, just click here and then go to here'.

m&m Maker said...

I would have converted my wife and my self to linux on our laptops a long time ago except for 2 applications it will not run: Quicken and Turbotax.

I have too much history that will not import into the linux version of Quicken and TurboTAx has no 'nix equivalent.

It is not just about the device drivers but applications as well.

Tim

undead_rattler@yahoo.com said...

Linux does not have viruses because it is mainly used as a web server, and has strong firewalls built in that keep viruses out. Also, linux is more secure because of it's multi-user base in which the root account keeps viruses that are executed at a user base from doing anything to the main system. Unless a virus is executed as root, which would require the sys-admin to give his/her password. You can discuss it with me all you want, but i've done my research because i'm using this topic as my english paper.

Anonymous said...

@ undead_rattler:

In distros like Ubuntu, all changes are done through a temporary activated superuser (sudo), so how does a user account shield the system in these distros ?

Ian said...

Yes - Linux is suitable for the average user once you've gotten someone who's been using it for two years to install all the apps you need and set all the hardware up as well as the network settings.

Ergo, you contradict the point of your article in the first paragraph, don't you?

Anonymous said...

Damn, I've been tryin' for ages to get my wife to switch from windows to ubuntu. I've just got over the IE-Firefox battle, yet I still see her using IE every now and then. Women, puh...

Anonymous said...

My wife has been on Ubuntu since Feisty Fawn and she has no problems with it at all. My kids use both of our Linux laptops with ease. They get a dose of Windows at school so they are familiar with both. She sees Internet Explorer as a work program because they only use that at school. She thinks Firefox is the Internet. She tells me she wishes the school would get Firefox so she could get on the Internet at school! :)

Anonymous said...

"She thinks Firefox is the Internet" - love it!

Clint Brothers said...

My Aunt is 65 and she uses Linux Mint with no problem. She doesn't even know the difference except for the menu button in the lower left corner instead of a start button. I will admit she got confused when I turned on the cube in compiz and she rolled it to a different desktop, but I just turned off all effects and she loves it.

Anonymous said...

Last year I installed Ubuntu... hated it coz it couldnt get my wireless to work. This November I installed 8.10 (dual boot) and now I hardly go back to Windows. Its faster, no need to defrag, clean up the registry, no antivirus etc. Would love to see how it evolves over the next two years.

Anonymous said...

Is there a list which states all the hardware which is supported by linux ?

truthspew said...

A couple years ago we got sick and tired of having to rebuild the damned public Windows machines that we had in the state library.

So we took a few steps. First we put a Debian box in front of their network connection and throttled bandwidth to 384kbps.

Then we took the public workstations and built an Ubuntu setup. Even made recovery discs so they could be rebuilt in no time.

The only requirements for the machines were web browsing, ability to read a PDF file, and to print. Ubuntu did that flawlessly.

They still run just fine today.

Anonymous said...

Depends.. if the user lacks computer skills then Ubuntu or Mint are more easy for them. But what if the users is use to Window XP? Migrating to a new OS is hard when people are use to difference OS. I believe if computer illiterate people starts with a Desktop friendly linux it would be easier for them rather then someone have intermediate knowledge of XP before hand.

bibi said...

both my mother (aged 63) and sister (35...a wonderful person but even has significant problems with cell phones) are now using ubuntu on 7+ year old laptops. I put the few programs they use on the launch panel (firefox, media players, etc.) and hid the rest from view. No problems!

One of the beauties of linux is the ease in which you can give beginner users the computer equivalent of a 12 button TV remote.

Anonymous said...

Your wife thinks it's ready, I also think it's ready.

I have also been an Ubuntu user for two years, and does all I need and just about all I want. It has been hassle-free and easy to use, a welcome and needed change from Windows.

I have two internal hard drives, for Windows and Ubuntu. I only start Windows to update the virus software, use itunes, and with some websites that still insist on using Internet Explorer.

If Dell would sell the mini9 with Ubuntu in Australia, I would buy it. No Windows for me. I have tasted a Windows-free world and it's good.

Eric said...

I could make Linux my primary OS at home (Linux was used exclusively at my previous job), but the thing that's holding me back is that very little mainstream software is made for Linux. I know I can find replacements for much of the Windows software I use, but there are some that are not available for Linux (I do enjoy playing a game from time to time, for instance). And not using Linux on a regular basis means I don't have to reboot into Windows to use Windows program, because I'm already using Windows.

For Linux, I suppose I could set up Wine to run my Windows software, but Wine isn't perfect. It would just be nice if more software was available in a Linux version.

shdy said...

Tried Ubuntu for a while. Liked it, but then I realized I still wanted to play games.

So... windows it is.

Anonymous said...

Try virtualbox by installing Windows as virtual machine. Now I run linux and windows apps flawlessly on my PC without needing wine or rebooting :)

Anonymous said...

Puppy Linux has been a great gateway into the Linux for me. There is a little learning curve in switching from Windows, but it has been a excellent experience. Puppy will automatically pickup almost all hardware, including wireless usb adapters, pcmia cards, and internal cards. I've ran Puppy on Pentium II and III. 128m ram is recommended for good performance. For web browsing and general computing it's a perfect solution for me, although I still run one XP box for certain programs that I have not learned how get working in Linux yet. Puppy can run from a live CD without installing to the HD.

Rocky1138 said...

Indeed. I've had a similar experience with my girlfriend. Though she is not computer-impaired (she is a mmo gamer like me) she is happily buzzing along now with Mandriva and has for months. See the story on this post on my blog.

Harold Fowler said...

Yup, bring it on man, bring it!

jess
www.anonymity.at.tc

Anonymous said...

Yea,

I have switched the whole family. Thats one wife and three daughters. I took the militant approach. I jsut did it and said" If you want to go on the Internet or play with your music and video files than learn and use Ubuntu. Now, I know the average response. "I could never say that o my wife." Well the Linux interface is so perfect and easy to use NO ONE complained. Infact my 12 year old daughter just won a writing contest using OPen Officve. HAHAHAHA. I will laugh all the way to the bank. Ubuntu is ready, Are you?

Anonymous said...

My wife is almost done with grad school. The only computer she has done any of her school work on is a laptop she bought and had me install Ubuntu on. She has had so few problems (none, actually) that some of her classmates have made the switch. Her lab partner brought over a Dell with Ubuntu preinstalled on it the other day. The only help I ever have to give is my opinion on certain programs to do certain tasks, like music players or things like that.

Tug said...

I've recently started using Ubuntu and have become quite the fan. :]

Eric said...

I can see why a lot of people like Ubuntu. It's easy to use. But I don't understand why it has surpassed other distros (such as SuSE) so much. I personally like SuSE better. SuSE comes with a lot more software (it's available on DVD, whereas Ubuntu is only available on CD), and SuSE was able to detect the wireless network card in my laptop, whereas Ubuntu wasn't. I think SuSE is really easy to use, too, as it comes with some fairly intuitive GUI tools.

m-p{3} said...

I agree that Linux is a platform that is mature enough for daily use by an average user.

However, I am not an average user and therefore I am stuck to Windows due to my games.

If I would get a netbook (I'm thinking about it) it would be with a Linux distro, as I don't think I'll play any game on it.

Doug said...

I tried ubuntu for awhile about 6 months ago..the things i appreciated about it were its speed and lack of bloatware. However that being said, I came back to Windows for a few reasons:

1.Things (especially drivers) were tough for me to install and I was often typing in command lines into the terminal that I didn't understand and had to copy and paste from some forum

2. I had limited success with wine and crossover using MS Office, and when I used openoffice instead I discovered many documents had slight changes when opening them using MS Office..this was a concern when sending important documents to others.

3. Often times more obscure programs that I came to rely on in Windows were incompatible with linux and equivalent linux programs were either difficult to find, didn't exist, or weren't exactly what I was looking for.

In conclusion, sure Windows has its problems, but with a little tinkering it always gets the job done just how I want it.

WW said...

good article, keep spreading the word but just one thing.Some websites one has to use -e.g. banks - work only with internet explorer.
What then?

Tuomi said...

Gettinig your wife/girlfriend to use Firefox over IE isn't that hard. Just install adblock plus and go to an ad-bloated site on both the browsers, put them side by side, show her the difference and just remove her IE-shortcuts ^^

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry to spoil the party.

The computing world will not become better.

The old problem "Microsoft" will be gone in a few years.

The new problem "Google" will become obvious.

It's not about the unhealthy OS monopoly anymore.

It's about our very private user data trail that Google (and Facebook, etc.) collect about us.

And that is way more dangerous.

Anonymous said...

I am the wife of a technical guy who's been running Linux for years. I ran Mandrake a few years ago, but this year purchased a Dell Ubuntu desktop. I am thrilled with it. While I do not consider myself technically illiterate, I do need my husband's help for the commands I need to run in Terminal, etc. He set up WINE, which has me running my old versions of Photoshop and Quicken seamlessly. But for many things, I'm fine on my own, even installing fonts, etc. I think it's already there for most mainstream users who only need open office-type capabilities, browsing, some great games, browsing their photos, etc. The upgrade to Intrepid has been slightly more hairy with things like printing issues, but overall, I'm thrilled. So long, MS.

Anonymous said...

Linux isn't any different then Windows when it comes to it's userfriendlieness when properly configured by somebody with knowledge of either.

My mother has been working on my 7 year old pc with Ubuntu for 6 months where the only problem had been a failing HD that had to be replaced. The only complaint she has is that her friends keep sending her 'funny' mails with attachments that she can open, but don't exactly look or sound right like her friends describe. At that point I remind her that at least every two weeks, she hears about how her friends are having problems with their computers, so she doesn't mind that much.

The only real problem for linux distro's is still lack of hardware support and bug-resolution.
On my own pc, for which I did some research to make sure all the components run linux, there were some issues during network file transfers, this problem appears in all versions of ubuntu and all the other distro's I've tried have several other problems.
And before you ask, yes I did search for a solution and reported this bug: https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/linux/+bug/147464.
I will probably check at some later time wether the new kernel solves this, but allthough I love troubleshooting and solving problems, getting stuck every 5 minutes makes it very hard to troubleshoot as you have to do a hard reboot.

Due to this I had to install Vista, which also had it's fun set of problems (BSOD due to graphics driver). Two weeks later, a driver update solved that, while the bug which completely stops me from using Ubuntu is most likely still present.

xSacha said...

That seems like a bit of a confusing interface rather than a bug that stops you from adopting Ubuntu?
Are you sure you posted the right bug?
Also you know there are many other distributions at the same quality of Ubuntu, right?

Anonymous said...

Hmm,

there's some great disinformation goin on here. Interested people should read over the past posts and make a check on the following:
these linux distros work ... if an experienced user set it up and configured it. For some reason everyone is comparing their standard version of windows with a version of linux that has been finetuned and personalised. That's not a fair comparison - doing the same with windows takes less time and can be done by the laymen, no experts needed.

Anonymous said...

I agree with a "but". I've had all my kids using Ubuntu for the last 3 years - mainly because I got tired of constantly ridding Windows of malware. An old IBM T20 hums along on Puppy Linux and home built Asus P4P800se(P4)runs Ubuntu.

"But".. until the Linux community can convince manufacturers to cough up the source code for their hardware, things like webcams, printers and such, getting those relatively easy things to work (for Windows) will continue to be a crapshoot. A normal S3 suspend to RAM is a major challenge for Linux on most hardware because they're refused access to the BIOS's source code. It's tragic to because Linux actually recognizes more hardware out of the box than any flavor of Windows. But printers, webcams, and a simple thing like "suspend", which Windows users have taken for granted since Windows 95, continue to plague Linux.

Kasio said...

When are you going to get it? LINUX SUCKS! It's riddled with viruses and spyware, and it is REALLY SLOW. Windows is much better, and has cooler effects.

P.S. Switch round Linux and Windows :D

kr00lplatinum said...

First to Kasio, stop being an idiot!

Secondly,I'm glad your wife is enjoying linux. However, I don't think linux is quite ready for the mainstream public. I only say this because you did most of the difficult things for her. Such as setting up your printer, openoffice, etc. Most people don't have a tech person in the house to do this for them but, it was a great article!

Thomas said...

I've been a Linux user on and off for a few years, but I usually end up drifting back to my windows xp.
I've heard alot of good points and arguments for and against both sides, but it really comes down to personal taste.

Linux is eye candy, plain and simple. More customizable than windows can ever hope to be, and easy to use, especially for a new pc user, plus, you can use almost any windows app on it, or find a replacement for them rather easily.
Though on the other hand, the command line can be a scary thing if you don't know how to search around on forums for instructions.

Windows, on the other hand, has that 'comfort' feeling, and holds your hand through every install and problem with countless wizards, and automatic.. everything. Everything works with it, or can be tweaked to do so.
The down side being that you can't leave your antivirus or firewall off for more than a few minutes without catching something that can kill your system.

Anonymous said...

I converted my main pc to linux 2 years ago. My cat and dog don't even know it be changed. I have to say though both the cat and dog do have trouble using the keyboard and, um, the cat does tend to get preoccupied by the mouse cursor on the screen and go after that. But they have never looked back.

Anonymous said...

What's all this fuss about all your wives using kleenex for wiping windows clean? I wish my lazy Carla would clean our windows, let alone use kleenux for that! All she'd ever do is sit in my laptop all day long, squeezing the joystick with all her might, or make me do nasty things to her on our desktop.

Anonymous said...

My wife ran Ubuntu on her laptop for a couple months, and got along well with it. There was only one small sticking concern, but it's a legitimate one -- she is a pretty heavy Photoshop user, and even though we got it running under Wine pretty easily, it just doesn't "feel" right. The integration with the OS isn't as natural as it should be, but that is no fault of Linux, Ubuntu, or Wine. No, that's the fault of Adobe to be too short sighted to offer their apps as native Linux. The day they pull their head outta their butts and sell CS4 for Linux, is the day she'll never go back to Windows.

Alice said...

Yup, bring it on man, bring it!

Anonymous said...

Moved my wife to Ubuntu 8.10 from Windows a week ago. She has no complaints and loves how quickly her system performs.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous wrote one December 14, 2008 11:34 PM:

that's the fault of Adobe to be too short sighted to offer their apps as native Linux.

Linux desktop market share is less than 1%, Adobe is not making a bad decision for postponing development for Linux.

Secondly, as a former linux software developer I can tell you that it's a nightmare to write software for Linux. The documentation is pretty much non-existing, the different linux distros have different bugs which need to be taken into account and you need to constantly debug after major updates or your software becomes unstable.

Lastly, the Linux community isn't the fluffy happy community that it's portrayed to be. There are a lot of arrogant people who make support a living hell. To get an idea, check out the evolution of the conversation in this thread ... and that's just for a small development environment.

Anonymous said...

All night trying to get things to work? Try months. I've spend almost a year trying to get some things working

marius300482 said...

I put Xubuntu on the old (and I mean old) computer of my 74years old grandparents. And guess what after getting the wlan work, they had no problems since then. They surf the web, send emails and storing their pictures.
I agree. Linux is ready for an avarage user

TechsPalace said...

here is my response
http://techspalace.blogspot.com/2008/12/linux-is-for-your-wife.html

Anonymous said...

I think 8.10 in ubuntu in particular has been a big milestone. I have installed it on 2 laptops and a desktop and everything worked flawlessly after the install, wireless, sound, gfx, screen res, flash and even the touch screen hot keys on one of the laptops. Just by installing ubuntu over XP on my laptops I get about 40mins extra battery life, and for the months I have been using it, its never once crashed and is super fast.

So far ubuntu is perfect for my needs, even though I'm a heavy photoshop user, if I need it I have virtualbox on another workspace in seamless mode. Absolutely brilliant. Like someone before me said, photoshop is just that one thing I need windows for. I dont know if adobe will be releasing a linux version of Photoshop, but I sure hope they do, they seem to be going in the right direction with adobe flex and air, they work with no problems.

@SHANKONEER - in ubuntu there is add/remove and if your a bit more computer literate synaptic is just as easy to install apps as it finds all dependencies for you. About the one click update, ubuntus updater is easy peasy, it pops up every week or so, you click update and thats it.. not hard. Also there is plently of .deb files available that are double click to install just like exes.

It can only get better..

Anonymous said...

in ubuntu there is add/remove ...

my 2 cents: don't try the remove feature or you'll loose the graphics environment on most occasions. For some reasons it's considered a dependency for most programs.

Brian Masinick said...

Very nicely done. Several years ago now, my wife had an old computer with a 400 MHz processor and not that much memory, maybe 128 MB, if that, and she ran Windows 98 on it.

Often, she would use my 1 GHz system that was running Linux software, and she would use my Web browser to access Gymboree and other sites for children's clothing. This was in the 2001-2002 time frame, so it was years ago. I maintain that Linux was usable even then.

In the fall of 2004 I was working as a teaching assistant in an elementary school to weather a technology downturn in my area. I got pneumonia that fall and was out of work. I had a second job managing a mailing list for an international prayer ministry. I had to stop doing it for a while, but my computer was in the cold basement, so I was not supposed to even use it.

My wife logged on to my Linux system, navigated to the Web browser, found the person in change of the ministry and contacted them, then sent follow up notes, all from my Linux desktop system. She had no problems using it at all.

She also frequently uses the Pidgin (formerly GAIM) instant message and chat Internet application, even on Windows. She can most certainly handle it.

Just last night I found out that the company where she works now uses OpenOffice instead of Microsoft Office. There really is not much preventing her from going to Linux full time.

My two children, ages eight and ten, both routinely use Linux for their Web browsing and game playing.

The younger of the two, a boy, is so smart that he figured out how to create himself a Yahoo account and he created himself TWO Yahoo Mail accounts. He frequently runs Vector Linux, sidux, SimplyMEPIS, PCLinuxOS, and Linux Mint, and he wanted his very own system instance. I made him one with Vector Linux and he is very proud of it!

The ten year old girl is much simpler in her use. She plays games and watches video clips on Youtube. The only time I have heard either kid complain is when they come across Shockwave games that won't play, due to a lack of a Linux Shockwave plugin. Other than that, they seem to get along well with Linux and they use Firefox just as easily, if not more so, than Internet Explorer.